Brandon Jones is a first-year student at Chicago Booth. Prior to Booth, he worked as a project manager for construction firms in Chicago and Los Angeles. Outside of school, Brandon is an avid snowboarder and diehard USC Trojan fan. At Booth, he is a member of the Management Consulting Group, Giving Something Back, Dean’s Student Admissions Committee, and is a Dean’s Student and Alumni Representative.
He recently returned from the Booth Ski and Snowboard Club annual trip. It is a fun opportunity for Booth students to hang out and let loose after finals. As Brandon’s photo essay shows, the trip is not just about skiing; it’s also filled with themed parties and great bonding experiences for first- and second-year classmates. Enjoy his pictures!
It’s Friday evening and I just turned in my last final. The first quarter of school at Chicago Booth is officially done, but it’s not time to celebrate yet. I head home, grab a quick dinner with my wife and pack up for the Ski and Snowboard Club trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. After a 2 hour nap, I manage to pour myself in a cab with two second years and we’re off for our 6:30am flight.
By 9pm, 253 Boothies and partners are checked in to The Lodge at Steamboat and headed to one of the slopeside restaurants for appetizers and much-needed libations. I head back to the condo relatively early to catch up on sleep so I’m ready to hit the hill early.
My roommates and I were more tired than we expected. After sleeping in, we scramble up some eggs and bacon and finally get to the gondola by mid-morning. It appears a few of our classmates have already left their mark in a deep snowbank. It’s going to be a great day.
After a solid first day of skiing and snowboarding, we change into our most radical attire for an 80’s-themed après ski happy hour hosted by the Ski and Snowboard Club. From the photo, you can see that rock star Axl Rose (me), several members of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” USA Olympic hockey team are here, and a few random 80s people.
After a quick dip in the hot tub, we head back to the condo to transform into angels and demons for the Heaven and Hell rave, because the only thing better than a themed party to celebrate the first day of skiing is two themed parties in one night. Rumors have been circulating that a special musical guest might be at the rave, but no one was saying who. Halfway through the night, The White Panda appears and Steamboat is temporarily transformed into an EDM mega-show (at least for the Boothies).
The next day of skiing and riding is gorgeous. We manage to track down some hidden powder stashes in the hike-to-ski double black diamond chutes on Steamboat’s perimeter. Our legs are definitely feeling the gym days we skipped during the last two weeks of class and recruiting.
Of course, not everyone on the trip is a skier or snowboarder. Quite a few people just came along to hang out with friends. A few of these folks discover that Steamboat offers bumper cars on ice and head over to the rink to take out some post-finals aggression on one another. Others go for an adrenaline-packed snowmobile ride or an idyllic snowshoe tour.
Three more days of skiing are punctuated by more après ski events, including a costume-mandatory flip cup tournament, where the Second Year Goths prevail over the First Year Onesie Directions, a pub crawl, a visit to the local hot springs, and an impromptu late-night grilled cheese bake-off. The week culminates with the Ski Bum Prom at Thunderhead Lodge atop the gondola. Everyone puts on their best mountain formal wear for a sit-down dinner before showing off their moves on the dance floor.
It’s finally time to pack up and head home for the holidays. Looking back at the last 6 days and nights makes me realize how fortunate I am for the opportunity to be at Chicago Booth and for the amazing friendships I’ve developed already. Finding a group of people with wildly different backgrounds that can learn from each other in class, support each other during recruiting, and travel across the country to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, and raise a glass together is what defines the Booth Experience for me. I can’t wait to see what the next year and a half brings.