8 Webster Avenue Hanover New Hampshire

Aspen Ski Trip - February 2006

Such a great activity, skiing. It’s capable of reuniting bro after 25 years as if no time has passed at all. It’s capable of plastering smiles on faces despite aching joints and muscles. It’s even capable of rallying people to hang out with hoards of … lawyers.

Yes, despite the genesis coming from the Dartmouth Lawyers Association, in late February 2006 Zetes T Weymouth ‘79, Win Craven ‘78, Mark Sullivan ‘79, and Chuck Liggett ‘83, along with Chuck’s friend Joel, converged on Snowmass Village, Colorado for the annual DLA mid-winter boondoggle meeting. Chris Mullery ’81 was already there, as he lives in nearby Basalt and is a ski instructor at Buttermilk, one of the four Aspen ski areas (Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass).

Actually, only T, an esteemed member of DLA, came for the lawyerly reason, but he was a total mun and blew off DLA events for skiing and beveraging with the bro instead. (Just like the old days in the Zete basement, you can always count on those god-like ‘79s.) Some of us had not seen each other since graduation, such as Sully and Win and Dooner, yet it was as if nothing had changed. Others among us had never met before, such as Chuck and Win, but the Zete spirit created immediate bonds.

The only real differences since the days of thrashing one another at beer pong and friends and enemies, I suppose, were that there was no pong table, none of us could have survived a good round of friends and enemies, and ibuprofen was more talked about as an après-ski topic than babes. Back to the lawyerly origins of this excellent trip. You see, during the winter of 2005, the DLA held its annual meeting at Heavenly Valley at Lake Tahoe. During this event, T and Sully (who lives at Tahoe) were able to meet up for a day of skiing, and then at T’s invitation, the latter joined in for the final night DLA dinner. The rewards were spectacular: witnessing a bunch of lawyers making long, impassioned speeches advocating for the next year’s mid-winter meeting venue. There were Taos advocates. There were Snowmass proponents. The Alps and several other places had their defenders for 2006 as well. After hours of speeches with rules of order, procedural challenges, petitions for recounts, and similar antics, the suspenseful vote turned out for Snowmass as the resort of choice for 2006.

Whereupon (a good lawyer term) T wisely said you know, we ought to tie (or turn) this into a Zete function, and from that our 2006 gathering was born. We began canvassing other Zetes to meet us in Snowmass, T arranged a great house through one of his partners, and Dooner provided local logistics, hospitality, and color commentary.

The weather and the skiing were fantastic – four days with hardly a cloud in the sky, abundant snow in great condition, and short to non-existent lift lines. The ski areas of choice were Snowmass and Aspen Highlands. Each evening everyone reported in where they had been, what was good, and where they were thinking of going the next day. For me, the highlight was hiking up the Highland Bowl with Win, launching off a small cornice (following Win after telling him that I don’t really do cornices), and skiing down the bowl. A few photographs are attached.

Upon rallying back to the house after skiing, the key activities tended to be hot tub with beer, dinner, and crashing. Win had brought along some great tunes for the hot tub (which had a built-in stereo system and speakers), a mix that included lots of Led Zeppelin and typical basement-era tunes.

There were exceptions to the early crashing too. One night Dooner arranged free tickets for all of us to attend a jazz ensemble concert at a cool venue in Aspen, since the pianist, singer, and group leader (all the same person) had been taking ski lessons from him all week. The performance was superb. After the applause had died down (and all the people had drifted away) Dooner was publicly acknowledged and we were invited back stage to meet the band.

Another night, Chuck made a heroic effort to rally everyone for pool. We went to a pretty cool pool hall and bar in Aspen, but it was very crowded and the tables were turning over slowly. (They didn’t have pong rules where you could get in line as a challenger.) We were mostly dead on our feet before we ever got a table, so we bolted and then crashed. Another night we debated seeing Little Feat (at the same venue as the jazz concert) but passed, as a few of us had seen their tour at previous venues. Once we saw the place for the jazz concert, though, many of us wished we had gone to see Little Feat there.

A few summary observations are in order. It was a great weekend and a great way to reunite with bro. All who ski should consider doing it next year, when we hope to expand the group. The Dartmouth lawyers are good guys, despite the ragging provided above. Some things have changed over the years, and others have not. The most common word coming off the slopes was the aforementioned ibuprofen, not chug. The most enduring activity was hot tub, not drinking. The average bedtime seemed like 10:00 pm, not 10:00 am. The average number of bro getting laid was 0, not 0.

A final and important recognition is in order for T’s partner, Mark Mazo, who let us use his house in Snowmass Village. That was a special gesture by someone none of us except T has ever met, and it must say a lot about his respect for T. Thank you.

Next year the DLA will be holding its mid-winter meeting at Breckenridge, also in Colorado. We can link our gathering to this group again or plan it independently, but either way it would be great to expand the pool of participating Zetes. Anyone interested in next year’s ski-Zete rendezvous please get in touch with and provide any suggestions on location and timing by email to either T Weymouth or Sully