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Wed: 1/23
There is a rumor that only 4 floats may be entering the Mary Jane Birthday & Winterfest Lighted Parade through downtown Winter Park. There are trophies and prize money to be won. With a very modest budget, 10 adult program snowboard instructors decide to enter a float.

Thurs: 1/24
The group convenes for a few hours by buying refreshments, three cans of spray paint, a roll of tape, and procured cardboard from a local establishment. All supplies are taken to an undisclosed location in Tabernash and construction of props for the float begins.

Fri 1/25
After work, the group loads into a van and heads to Tabernash with a designated driver. Float construction begins in earnest while enjoying the frosty weather, frosty beverages, and paint fumes. After 3 hours we hop back in the van for transport back to respective domiciles.

Sat. 1/26
Some instructors take off to the Tabernash location after work and finish float construction by securing the props to the flatbed truck, installing the lighting/generator, and driving it to Winter Park. At 5 PM the truck arrives in WP and final touches are added. We don our Ski & Ride School jackets and climb onto the float- er, truck bed. We find out then that the lift department may have entered and that there are 14 floats competing for the prize money. Some floats look like they had expansive budgets and substantial time invested in it. The parade starts, we wave at the crowds and enthusiastically chant/cheer “Ski School, Ski School” and throw candy to the kids. The crowd responds. There were floats by the East Grand County Fire Dept, a florist, YMCA, Ski Broker, a backcountry rescue team, and others I don't know. One had a giant Tiki Bar with palm trees, flamingos, and working grill.

The parade ends and we drive back to the start location to start tearing it down. The Ski Broker float team drives by and yells “Our float is so much better than yours”. Their’s looked like they ripped it off from us. Ours however had two BIG lighted mountains with blinking peaks, theirs only had one. There were plenty of people taking pictures of our float before and during the parade so they will have to post them. We then bummed grilled brats off the tropical float in front of us. They grilled them during the parade.

We headed off to the awards ceremony. Floats were judged on creativity and crowd response to the float. They announced third place. It wasn’t us. We mildly panicked. They announced second place as “Winter Park Resort”. It didn’t register with us –we were Ski School. Our team leader then said “oh yeah, that’s what I entered us as. That’s us!”. We chanted “Ski School, Ski School” and collected our trophy and prize money. First place was won by the YMCA. They had a lady dressed as Mary Jane who drove around on a barstool racer with her wares lighted up. We celebrated by going to a local establishment that was having an Australia Day party.

The snow is awesome in Winter Park right now!