Annual Ski Seminar Wrapup
The Inn at Beaver Creek
Beaver Creek, Colorado

February 17-22, 2008
Annual Ski Seminar Report
By Ronald H. Rouda
I was honored this year to be one of the seminar co-chairs, along with Wylie A. Aitken, for the CAOC Annual Ski Seminar held February 17-22, 2008 at Beaver Creek, Colorado.

Imagine five nights in the glorious mountains of the Colorado Rockies, sunny blue skies, beautiful weather, fresh snow, no lift lines, and a chairlift outside your door waiting to take you up to the incredible beauty of the awesome winter wonderland.

Imagine the collegiality, conviviality, and friendship of some of the nicest people in the world – highly skilled trial advocates – whose jury verdicts and courtroom prowess have become legendary.

Imagine their families, children and friends who journeyed to one of the finest skiing paradises in the world to spend the week skiing in the morning and the afternoon where the daily temperatures averaged 32 degrees and the contrast of the evergreen Lodgepole pines against blue skies which cannot be adequately described. Attendees began each day gathering together for a full complimentary buffet breakfast before walking ten feet to private ski lockers and then another "grueling" twenty feet to hop on the closest ski lift to a hotel in North America. A mid-mountain base of 72 inches with 1,805 total skiable acres, 10 high-speed quad chairlifts. Alpine skiers and snowboarders alike appreciate the European feel of village-to-village skiing to three distinct mountains. Traversing the mountain for an afternoon patio lunch at Sapago’s outside the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch was a treat enjoyed by many.

Imagine participating in a truly inspirational panel program where you would learn secrets to success from the best of the best, teaching you to become a better skilled consumer advocate for your deserving clients.

If you can imagine all of this, then just think what it must have been like in real life when all of this came true this year at the Annual Ski Seminar in Beaver Creek.

Participants in the program this year included members of the Seminar Committee: CAOC President Don A. Ernst, Cynthia R. Chihak, John A. Montevideo, Christopher R. Aitken, and Stuart R. Chandler.

Panelists on the program included such highly regarded lawyers and judges as John A. McGuinn, the Honorable Steven R. Denton, Terry R. Bailey, Kevin P. Kane, Richard L. Duquette, Sanford Horowitz, Marvin K. Lewis, Eric H. Gibbs, James R. Traut, Stephen M. Garcia, Stuart R. Chandler, Adam Shea, and Reuben J. Donig.

Douglas H. Arnest, MS, of High Impact Inc., our generous and tireless seminar co-sponsor, spoke to our group about the effective use of animations, medical exhibits and timelines, and settlement documentaries. John S. Bat, CSSC, of High Impact Structures, LLC, shared with the group the benefits offered by their new offering of trust services through ING Trusts. It is interesting to note that John is one of only a few structured settlement specialists that can speak with clients about structured settlements, trusts and overall wealth management.

High Impact also sponsored the Welcoming Reception on Tuesday evening which was delightful. Attendees enjoyed an open bar and feasted on Maryland Lump crab cakes, Colorado lamp chops, bacon wrapped quail and a mountain of jumbo Gulf shrimp. Many dinner reservations were canceled as guests socialized late into the evening.

It was none other than the estimable Wylie A. Aitken who reminded me that we have been coming to this wonderful Annual Ski Seminar for more than 25 years. In 1995 Wylie and his lovely wife, Betty Aitken, prepared a Beaver Creek/Vail Restaurant Guide which included the following comments that I have appreciated over the years: "the Bristol at Arrowhead: Open for dinner only, great atmosphere. Blackened salmon is terrific. Creative cuisine with a southwestern blend. Take Ron Rouda with you; he’s great company."

This is a rhetorical question: Do you know another member of CAOC who has a restaurant guide hanging on the wall of this office?

I would be remiss if I did not mention that most of us attending the seminar participated in the NASTAR Ski Racing event on Wednesday. Stephen Garcia took first place in the men’s division and Jeanne Jackson took first place in the women’s division. Taylor Ernst boarded to first place in the snowboarder’s division. Oh, yes, John McGuinn and I also earned bronze NASTAR medals this year, and John was only just a few seconds ahead; but wait till 2009! I can also tell you that Wylie and Christopher Aitken earned their NASTAR medals.

Thursday evening was a toss-up as ten attendees rocked the night away at a concert with The Temptations and another forty attendees enjoyed a sleigh ride in a light snow up to the rustic Beano’s Cabin where guests dined on Beano’s Lump Crab Cakes, Pan Roasted Wild Striped Sea Bass, Braised Beef Short Ribs, and Elk Wellington.

Many guests skied Friday before departing, but not before providing verbal confirmations that they will be returning in 2009. It is important to note that the seminar committee has chosen to maintain the roundtable discussion that has made the education portion of this seminar so popular. This means that the number of seminar registrants will be capped at forty-four (44) for 2009.

We have already received verbal confirmations from twenty past attendees and we expect to completely sell out by July 1. There will be a new slope-side hotel, the addition of après ski entertainment, more prizes and of course a week of education and networking with the masters. If you are interested in becoming a part of this longstanding CAOC tradition, please contact Lori Sarracino, CAOC Education Director, at 916-442-6902 ext. 108 to reserve your seat at the 2009 Ski Seminar Roundtable.

A special thanks should go to our gracious sponsors, the Consumer Attorneys of California and High Impact, Inc. Their tireless efforts have revived a winter seminar tradition that will both unite members from all over California and become the envy of many.

We look forward to seeing you next year at the Annual Ski Seminar.
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