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  • The Garrett Companies

About Last Week: Telluride Ski Retreat

Beginning with a group of 5 teammates in 2014, every February Eric Garrett invites the team to join him in one of his favorite places on earth: Telluride, Colorado. For the 8th annual trip this year, 89 teammates packed their ski gear and headed for the mountains for, what some refer to as, the best perk of the job.

But this trip is more than a perk. This trip is an experience. From the novice- to the never-skied, this trip is a chance to discover or rediscover your sense of adventure. It also serves as one of the most organic and powerful team bonding & development experiences that our teammates have ever encountered. And although it is often difficult to understand going in, our group walks away from this week-long trip with insightful correlations between ski and business.


Rarely will a skier hit the slopes independently; most trails are skied in groups. With each assembly of teammates, the same patterns will form. One person always takes the lead. This is usually the strongest skier. They will set the pace. And even when their pace is faster than what the other teammates can match, they carve out a path for us and show us what we are capable of. Some in the group become the coaches and mentors. They keep their eye on those in the rear, stopping regularly to allow them to catch up, and suppling regular doses of form suggestions, trail directions, and ‘thumbs up’s to their teammates. And finally: the beginners. They are unfamiliar with the terrain, unsure of their untested skill level, and yet full of exhilaration for the views from the top. The beginners are excited to be here but must place all trust and faith in their team to get them safely back down the mountain.


To enjoy skiing, there is a great deal of preparation required. Many factors play into your performance: hydration, adjustment to altitude, the proper training, the right gear, and endurance to fight fatigue. The steps to prepare are not a secret; the ones who’ve gone before share their knowledge and experiences freely with the team. It comes down to discipline to heed the warnings and take the steps necessary in advance to make the most of your week. Failure to prepare can result in injury, dropping out early, and an inability to meet your goals for the week. But with the proper preparation, you are prepared to push yourself ahead and enjoy the view from the very top.


What you see on the trail map doesn't always match what you see on the trail itself. The map can't clearly illustrate the changes in elevation, the steepness of the slope, and the ruggedness of the terrain. So as helpful as a map can be, you also need a guide. Someone who's been there before. Someone who can advise you on what's ahead, tell you how to prepare, and warn you when to adjust your speed up or down.

Personal Accountability.

There are very few aspects of the trip that are scheduled or required. The limited requirements include picking up & returning your rentals on time, showing up on time (early) for the team photo, and not missing the bus back to Montrose airport on Friday morning. Despite limited requirements, the mission is clear: Make the most of the week. So each team member must design their schedule and plan their time to do just that. Whether it includes preparing meals together with your housemates, making it to the final round of the Euchre tournament, or achieving that trail you shied away from last year (See Forever, perhaps?). Just like in business, it's less about following a detailed plan, and more about keeping focused on the mission, then adapting strategy and maintaining personal accountability to get there.

Teamwork, preparation, forecasting, and personal accountability. All business, and not what one may typically think of being included in a week of ski. But The Garrett Companies celebrates different ways of doing business, and the results show in our accomplishments. When you are ready to try a new way of doing things, give us a call. We’re growing and we’re hiring… and we’d love to invite you to join us next year on the Telluride Ski Retreat.


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