If you want your team riders to share a goal, get to know each other, get some sun, and to do quality product development on the side, take your team to Hawaii for a week.
Shimano Snow Technologies Product/Team Manager John Telfer came up with the idea at this year’s SIA Las Vegas tradeshow.
“I wanted to get the team as far away from that setting as possible,” he says of the yearly Vegas gamble. So he brought the Shimano snowboard team-including Shannon Haynes, Elliot Peacock, Damian Sanders, Jason Schutz, Ami Voutilainen, and Tara Zwink-together for the first time at a no-snow setting: Kawela Bay on the North Shore of Oahu.
It was an end-of-season, relaxation week for everybody, giving the group an opportunity to get to know each other better and bond. It was also a way to thank everyone for a good season.
But the purpose of the trip was not all surf and sun. With the coming season strongly in mind, riders met with Shimano’s engineers and designers daily, working on all the aspects of the ’99/00 product line.
Of course, there was a bit of play time. The group took in some local snorkling, ate fresh fruit, drank daiquiris and Starbucks coffee, and generally enjoyed a Hawaiian holiday. Everyone scored some waves too. Zwink, for example, showed some natural surfing talent by catching the very first waves she ever tried to paddle into. But after finding out that an eighteen-foot tiger shark-Barnicle Bill-also called Kawela Bay his home, no one was into surfing the bay anymore.
Some of the highlights of the week: The trip started with trouble in Los Angeles when a trolley driver reversed into the wing of the plane that the team was on. “We’ve been advised that this plane is going nowhere,” announced the Delta flight attendant. Somehow the team got on the next United flight. “The trick is to act nicely when everyone else is being a jerk,” revealed Schutz.
At the Honolulu airport, Voutilainen got a ticket for skateboarding.
Telfer was on top of things all week, and even a evil centipede bite didn’t stop him from taking the best care of the group. Elliott belted out sad tunes on the piano, while Sanders kept everyone entertained with Southpark reruns.
“It was the best trip I’ve ever been on,” claims Finnish world traveller Voutilainen. “If we came here mid-winter, no one would want to go back to snow.”
Results of the trip exeeded Telfer’s expectations and he’s determined in making this get-together a yearly tradition for the Shimano snow-product team.