On the morning of Day 2 we learned our standings. Team Florifornia was sitting right in the middle of the 15 team pack. Not bad for a couple of snow noobs. But we knew we had our work cut out for us since today definitely favored the skiers! We hoped to tackle the morning events with enthusiasm and strength that would help us hold our spot.

The Good

We still had five events ahead of us for the #OmniGames. You might remember this image in yesterday’s post.

The OmniGames

The OmniGames

Our first day of activities covered the Games on the left, but we still had the entire right side to go. The first three were all feats of strength and bravery at the Olympic Park facilities. High Ropes courses, zip lines, and jumping off of a 60 foot platform. These events definitely appealed to the climber in me! And I said a short prayer of thanks that heights don’t bother me.

Unfortunately, the winter storm closed some of the facilities so we didn’t get to zip line or jump off of a 60 foot platform. And yes, while some of you might think that is a good thing, I am saying that with disappointment. Luckily the ropes courses were still open so we got to do those.

Team Florifornia Ready to Rock the Ropes Courses!

Team Florifornia Ready to Rock the Ropes Courses!

We did two courses, a 25 foot high intermediate course and a 55 ft high advanced course, getting points for finishing each. Separated into two groups, I ended up getting to do the hard course first and Team Florifornia were some of the first people on the ropes.

High Ropes Courses at the Olympic Park

High Ropes Courses at the Olympic Park

The advanced course had 13 obstacles, and the hardest ones were stacked near the front. I think everyone got through the first one okay, but the second one was quite a challenge. It was the only obstacle where I fell, and I definitely wasn’t the only one! It was great going through the obstacles with my teammate, since we were able to strategize, coach, and encourage each other through the tricky parts.

Me before falling on the hard one

Me before falling on the hard one. Photo by Dave Creech

And after falling. Should have taken off my gloves, nuts.

And after falling. Should have taken off my gloves, nuts. Photo by Dave Creech

I like to think I have some pretty strong forearms from climbing but I was worn out quickly, arms burning by the end of the second obstacle. It was definitely harder than I expected but I loved every second of it. I hardly noticed the height off the ground, I can’t imagine trying this with a fear of heights!

After the high ropes course we took our turn through the lower course. It was a piece of cake, we practically ran through! I’m really glad we got the hard stuff out of the way first!

The last obstacle! I practically ran across this one.

The last obstacle! I practically ran across this one. Notice people starting the hard one above me. Photo by Dave Creech

The Bad

With no time to spare, we were whisked back to our hotel at the Canyons and geared up with downhill skis, boots, poles, and helmets. The final on-site OmniGame was skiing. The goal was to get as much combined total vertical with your teammate as possible in 1.5 hours.

No Rest for the OmniTen!

No Rest for the OmniTen!

As I established the other day, this is not my strong suit. I can count the number of times I have had downhills skis on my feet on one hand. Okay, on one finger. We had no instruction, they just yelled GO and people took off for the lifts. I hadn’t even figured out how to clip in my boots. When I finally did, I fell down. Oh this is not going to go well. My partner, Julie, managed to take off much smoother than I had and I told her to GO GO GO get that vertical!

This is me on skis

This is me on skis

I hooked up with Katie Boué, another Floridian, and we rode the lift together, exchanging high fives when we managed to dismount without falling down. That led to the next challenge: getting back down the hill. I started off okay but as the slope (green hill, yeah right) steepened I took a few tumbles. A ski patroller came by and tried to explain pizza/french fries. I tried to explain that I prefer going UP mountains.

Before long, Katie and I had tumbled into Eric and Heidi. It wasn’t going well for any of us so despite being competitors, we teamed up together to re-strategize this skiing thing. And thus was born Team Gondola.

Team Gondola

Team Gondola. Photo Credit: Heidi

The Canyons has a lovely gondola that takes skiers mid-mountain. We decided that it would make a lovely ride, and even get us some vertical. Not nearly as much vertical as the skiers, but it would be a way for us to enjoy the remaining time safely. The four of us managed to get two round trips in the gondola and I really enjoyed it.

Riding the Gondola at the Canyons

Riding the Gondola at the Canyons

On the way down on our second ride we were with one of Columbia’s videographers and he got lots of footage of us yakking about the OmniGames. We chatted with a ski instructor on one ride, and she said she wished she could have started with us and gotten us some tips. Aww, thanks! After joking with some of the lift and gondola operators, I have to say that The Canyons has some seriously nice employees!  

The Ugly

In my first post I promised mystery bruises. Are they from the ropes course or the ski tumbles? We’ll never know.

The Ugly

The Ugly

Did We Win?

How did Team Florifornia do in the OmniGames? Well, the games aren’t over yet! In fact, it’s still almost any team’s game! You are actually taking part in the final challenge, Charles Dickens, right now! Columbia challenged us to tell our stories about the OmniGames, and that’s what we have been doing this week.

Follow the #OmniTen hastag on Twitter and you can see the stories that people are telling through various mediums. It’s fascinating to read how the OmniGames challenged people in different ways. I love the creative storytelling that is coming from the big ball of enthusiam that is the OmniTen. As for me, I wanted to stick to what I know best – yakking about things on my website. I hope I’ve been able to share the range of excitement and emotion that I experienced over the two days of the OmniGames!

What other surprises did Columbia have for us?

What other surprises did Columbia have for us?

But It’s Not Over Yet

There was a lot more to this trip than the OmniGames. I haven’t even talked about the amazing evening activities or Olympic Uniforms (whaaat?) Stay tuned, it’s coming!

Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd

Mountain sports addict. Dog Mom. Craft beer drinker. Tech nerd. The best days are those spent above 10k ft. Meet me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google +


Katie Boué · January 15, 2014 at 11:16 am

High-five, Team Gondola! 🙂 It was so great getting to spend some time with you Rebecca, even if it was mostly while I violently ate snow whilst attempting to ski, haha.

    calipidder · January 15, 2014 at 11:20 am

    I’m glad that we weren’t alone in our lack of skibility (ski ability, made up a word there). It made it much more bearable to have Team Gondola to commiserate with!

Heather Balogh · January 15, 2014 at 11:52 am

The dog photo is KILLING ME!

    calipidder · January 15, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    When we were getting our rental gear I turned to Casey and asked if he knew that meme with the dog in the laboratory. He started laughing and I told him that was exactly how I felt. So I had to find it for this post!

Leanne Waldal · January 15, 2014 at 12:23 pm

You’re awesome. I love the sentiment of preference for going UP a mountain 🙂 I tried downhill again, last year, after not skiing downhill for 20years, and realized I don’t like speed as much now as I did in my teens/20’s.

    calipidder · January 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    I don’t know if speed will ever be my thing. I prefer steady and deliberate, controlled climbing on solid ground. Good thing I live in CA.

      Leanne Waldal · January 16, 2014 at 11:50 am

      You and Moya! She loves to hike up up up 🙂

Heidi Henry · January 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Oh my gosh. I was still hurting 3 days later and yes, I have mystery bruises as well. While I wish we could’ve done more skiing we had a pretty rad team in TeamGondola. High five!

    calipidder · January 15, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Went climbing this morning for the first time since the ropes course and my arms didn’t last long. It really took a lot out of me!

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