Thursday, March 06, 2008
The conference was a lot of fun. This one was scheduled a little bit better with three hours of lectures early in the morning, followed by a six-hour break to enjoy the resort, and then another three hours of lectures. On the first day, the sun was out and there was fresh snow from the night before. We all went downhill skiing. This year it went more smoothly than last time. I still tend to do a lot of snaking back and forth across the trail, snow plowing most of the way to slow myself down. One of my friends calls herself a beginner, but she's at a much better place than I am. However, we went all the way up to the summit and skiied down twice, sticking only to beginner trails. I still managed to fall twice on each run, but it was a lot better than last year. My main problem is when I look down, I get this lurching sensation in my gut that I am somehow going to fall off the face of the Earth, so I stick to just watching my feet. Supposedly, one can see three different states from the top of the mountain, but I couldn't discriminate one state's snowy pines from another's.
The second day I had planned on trying cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, but unfortunately it rained all day. Instead, I booked a Swedish massage at the resort spa. I had never had a massage before, and all of my muscle aches from skiing were immediately gone after the massage, but they did come back in about two hours.
Another neat thing about the resort was that despite there being tons of snow, their pool was outdoors, with a plastic-flapped indoor entrance. The thing was heated to bathwater temperature so that it was constantly steaming. It was an odd sensation to be standing in the pool with your hair and eyebrows forming icicles while the rest of you was nice and toasty. Interestingly enough, the city where this resort is located has a bunch of light pollution laws. Although this meant that the resort couldn't offer night skiing, it was cool to float in the pool or sit in the hot tub in the evening and be able to actually pick out constellations.
I was able to meet up with Ru for dinner on the last night. She was gracious enough to entertain me for several hours and we found perhaps the world's best Bowling Alley hot chocolate. With there being only two single females in my class, I wound up being roommates with McNeedy, who despite being at a ski resort and away from work, still managed to find things to complain about incessantly. I probably let it bother me more than I should have.
After dinner, I stayed up with the boys playing poker. We had brought enough alcohol and munchies to stay in our rooms for most of the conference (burgers in the restaurant downstairs were $16!). We just played for pocket change, but I doubled my original $2 and left with a heavier backpack.
The last morning we ended up leaving right after the lectures were done. I had hoped to sneak in more winter sports after the conference, but again the weather wasn't cooperating. On the drive home, the rain suddenly turned into soggy fistfuls of slush, and then pelting hail. We turned a slick corner to find that the SUV that had passed us about a mile back was now lying on its passenger side. We pulled over to check it out. Luckily, everyone was able to climb out on their own and refused an ambulance.
Today I was sad to drag my carcass back to the hospital, although it was just for a few hours with a radiology review. The conference was a good educational mix-- including orthopedic, pediatric, radiology, and toxicology topics in addition to a hands-on ultrasound workshop. I think I may have even found an article to present at journal club this month!