-- Clark Vandeventer
Tech, social media, and snow-sports all converged at Heavenly Mountain Resort and Harveys Casino February 27 - March 2 for the 5th Annual Snowcial. While Tahoe South locals and tourists enjoyed spring like conditions on the slopes, some of the world's most connected snow-sports enthusiasts spent three days and four nights in session. There was more than presentations -- parties, poker tournaments, live entertainment, and plenty of skiing and riding also filled the agenda.
This was my second year attending Snowcial so I came in with a pretty good idea of what to expect. This is the only conference in the world I'm not at all surprised that the closing dinner included drinking beer out of a snowboard boot.
I also knew the speakers would be top notch. While I looked forward to the speakers, though, I have access to amazing minds every day through this thing called the world-wide-web. I was excited for the synergy of pulling those minds together as well as the networking and opportunities to begin and continue lifelong friendships with people who share my love for skiing and marketing the ski industry.
Jules Older of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that at Snowcial, "Silicon Valley meets the High Sierra."
There's a leveling that happens by hosting a conference of this nature at a ski resort. During the conference sessions, sure, the speakers are the experts. In our love for skiing and riding, we're all equals.
When Chris Heuer, a social business strategist at Deloitte Digital and founder/chairman of the Social Media Club, took the stage at Snowcial, he said, "I don't live in Tahoe, but my heart has a home here."
At that moment, Chris Heuer and his audience were equals. He may have 21,000 Twitter followers and be one of the top people in his industry but we all share a love for Tahoe. So later in the weekend, it didn't feel remarkable to party with him while the Heavenly Angels danced away at the party Forbes Magazine called the “Best Après-ski party in North America.” It felt natural for me to throw my skis in the back of his car and head to Off the Hook in South Lake Tahoe with a dozen or so other snowcialites. Dean Eckles, head of data analytics at Facebook, was just another ski bum in our group.
The people who attend Snowcial are an inspiring group of people to be around. If you want to do great work, you've got to do what you love. These people love the work they do. They're doing great work.
They're the type of people I want to be around. I want to ski with them. I want to be their friends. I want to work with them.
Clark Vandeventer used to wear business suits and go to important meetings. He moved to South Lake Tahoe to reinvent his life and now wears Helly Hansen gear and skis 50+ days a year. When he’s not being a professional ski bum or playing with his kids, he’s blogging. You can read about his family’s quest to work less, live more, and travel the world at FamilyTrek.org.