Many of you know that I’m an avid skiier and you can find me skiing at Big Sky, Montana, throughout the winter season. I’ve been asked to contribute with a bi-weekly business column to Explore Big Sky. You’ll find my first column below, and you can see the entire issue HERE. (I’m on page 17!)
Opening day of the ski season is here. While many of us are eager to ski or snowboard, some of us have business demands requiring that we have a communication device on us at all times.
It’s tough to disconnect, even if fresh snow on the slopes is calling your name. Chances are, you’ll want to keep in touch with emails, texts and phone calls, and you might want to capture those “high octane” moments on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram. The tools below will help you sneak in some work from the lift or the lodge:
Keep your hands free – and warm. Text-to-speech and voice-to-text applications can help you manage communications without having to pull off your gloves. An app like Drivesafe.ly will read your text messages and emails to you – and let you respond by voice if you purchase the pro version. Dragon Dictation allows longer-form correspondence for urgent emails, as well as the great ideas that hit you when your body is occupied and your mind roams free. Bonus: Apps like these will be just as useful when you’re commuting to the hill.
No wires on the slopes. Part of the joy of working remotely is being untethered from your desk, so don’t undermine your freedom by remaining tangled in wires while you’re skiing. Outdoor Technology has wireless Bluetooth speakers called “Chips” that have a built-in microphone and are specifically built for your audio-enabled ski or snowboard helmet. With Chips, you can be on the phone when it rings or use them to listen to your favorite music.
Don’t lose your phone. Having your smartphone slip out of your pocket because it wasn’t zipped or Velcroed securely might be tough to recover from, especially if it lands somewhere in Liberty Bowl. One solution is a myBunjee, which slips over your phone and lets you attach it to your belt and slip it into your internal media security pocket – which you’ll find in many new ski jackets this season.
“Hire” a virtual assistant. Amazon recently unveiled Echo, their contribution to the emerging world of virtual assistants. A tool like this gives your post-ski unwind a dual purpose. Have Echo catch you up on the news of the day, play some music for you, or take care of online purchases.
Ski with a friend – a strategic friend. I always say, “One woman’s golf course is another woman’s ski slope,” and skiing is a great way to expand your business network. Big Sky Resort is an ideal place to make new professional connections, to organize company retreats, and to deepen relationships with strategic partners. Get to know each other on the lift and at the lodge, then put each other through your paces on the mountain.
Despite the fact that you can work remotely from this natural playground, remember that you’re on the slopes to have fun. Don’t be scared to disconnect and turn your attention to the beauty around you.
Johanne Bouchard is a leadership advisor to CEOs, executives and entrepreneurs, as well as an expert in corporate board composition and dynamics. An avid skier, Bouchard and her husband have a second home at Big Sky. Visit her blog at johannebouchard.com.