How the Bears Spent Their Winter Break
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  01/17/2012

Jan. 17, 2012

BERKELEY - For students at the University of California, the time between the last final and the first day of classes is a wonderful span called winter break. As part of the 30-day lead into the season, chatted with the Golden Bears to see how they spent their winter vacation and if they have any special holiday traditions.

Valerie Arioto -
I spent a lot of time at our beach house this winter break! Eating a lot of good Italian food is a tradition for my family during the holidays! We love food!

Cheyenne Cordes -
I spent the first half of my break in South Africa competing in the World Championships with the USA Junior National Team. I brought home the gold and spent the rest of my break enjoying the time I had left with my family.

Ashley Decker -
I spent my winter break with family and friends. A tradition we have is that every Christmas Eve, we have a white elephant and exchange all kinds of gifts! My favorite part of break was sleeping in and spending time with family and friends.

Frani Echavarria -
I spent Christmas at home with my family. For New Year's I went to San Francisco and watched the fireworks over the bay at midnight with my family and boyfriend. Throughout my break, I worked out and hung out with friends. My favorite part of break was the home-cooked meals and catching up on sleep.

Arianna Erceg -
I spent winter break at home with my family and friends. One holiday tradition that my family has is that we always make white chocolate-covered pretzels and give them as gifts. My favorite part about break was just being able to spend time with family and being able to see my friends.

Danielle Henderson -
All I really did was hang out with my family and work out. I just loved being back home and surrounded by my family. There were lots of family parties for birthdays and holidays. For Christmas, we always have two Christmas parties with both sides of the family, and that's always fun. On my mom's side of the family, we have started making it a tradition to play Pictionary. But our family is always competitive, so it's tough. While I was on break, I feel like the best part about it was being at home with my family.

Jolene Henderson -
I spent my break hanging out with family, working out, and sleeping until noon or 1 p.m. every day. I go to this gym and did crossfit and conditioning workouts. I also did a lot of Bikram yoga to get more flexible and just relax. Our holiday traditions consist of a lot of food and a lot of family. The favorite part about my break is just being home because I won't be there for a while, so I definitely enjoyed it while it lasted.

Angie Jacobs -
I got to go home to Salt Lake City. When I was in California, I was been able to get out and ride my road and mountain bikes. Our family always goes to a movie on Christmas Eve, and then we have a big breakfast Christmas morning with all the good holiday foods.

LaRisa Jones -
I spent most of my break just relaxing at home with my family.

Victoria Jones -
I spent my winter break with family and friends. My favorite part of break was being able to be home without stress and being able to spend time with my family.

Breana Kostreba -
I spent my winter break with my family and friends back home. I went to Las Vegas with my parents for a week, and saw many shows while we were there. I also worked on my game, along with my strength and conditioning.

Mary Lee -
I spent my winter break with friends and family at home in San Diego. I went to the Holiday Bowl to root on our Cal football team and spent a lot of time at the beach. As far as holiday traditions, my family always opens gifts on Christmas morning then usually plays a family football game, which we call the "Baby Jesus Bowl," before eating dinner. I enjoyed getting to relax and catch up with my friends and family over break, while training for the spring season!

Tammy Lohmann -
The holidays are a big thing for my family. We always get together, even though we're living in different parts of the country. All the siblings stay at my parents' house on Christmas Eve, which is a big family tradition. On Christmas morning, we always open presents. The rest of the family comes over for breakfast and we open more presents. My favorite memory of this winter break was playing Michael Jackson: The Experience with my 85-year-old grandmother.

Diane Ninemire -
I was anxious for the season to start, so I spent some time watching game film.

Nikki Owens -
I spent my winter break training and spending time with friends and family. My favorite part of break was getting another tattoo and working out at my old gym, where I spent most of my summer.

John Reeves -
I just enjoyed the time off and the peace and quiet. Our winter break comes at a great time. It's a great time to store up your energy before starting the season. My family does go to Cracker Barrel whenever we can. If we're in a state with Cracker Barrel, we go.

Elia Reid -
I spent my first 19 days of winter break in Norman, Okla., with my boyfriend. I would say my favorite part about winter break was being able to spend my Christmas and New Year's in different states.

Jamia Reid -
This winter break I spent time with family and friends. I helped take care of my nieces Madison and Lilah, who are also twin girls. My favorite part of winter break is being able to spend time at home with my family because once season starts, I can't really go back home.

Alex Robben -
I went to Disneyland for a week with my family. It was a good way to end my winter break.

Taylor Vincent -
I spent my winter break at home with my family. One of my family traditions is that my parents hide a pickle ornament in the family room and the first one to find it in the morning gets a special present. This past Christmas, I found it on top of the fan and had to get a ladder out in order to retrieve it.

Britt Vonk -
I finally got to go back to Holland, which was a long flight, but it was all worth it! In Holland, at least in my family, the month December is pretty special. On the fifth of December we have a special Dutch holiday that we call "Sinterklaas." Of course, there are Christmas and New Year's Eve. It was great to be back home with my family and friends. My favorite part was Christmas with my family and the trip to Berlin with my friends.

Jordan Wallace -
For majority of my break I slept in and caught up on my favorite TV show, "The Game." I figured since I do not get to do either one of those things on a regular basis, I might as well take advantage when given the opportunity. My family and I always make sure to take time out and go to Candy Cane Lane in my hometown. Candy Cane Lane is about two to three blocks long full of extremely over the top decorated houses, the kind of stuff you only see on the movies. We get hot cider, walk the blocks together and just admire the time and effort these people put into decorating to bring out the Christmas spirit. My favorite part of the holiday season would have to be spending every day with my family. They are by far the most important thing to me, and what better way to spend the best time of the year with the best people in your life.

Jace Williams -
San Diego was blessed with incredible weather over the winter holidays, and I took full advantage of it. If "beach bum" was in the dictionary, my name and picture would be included in the definition. I had quite the routine going: wake up, walk my dog, lift at the gym, go on a run, hit, then go to the beach and play volleyball from 12-4! Coming back to Berkeley with a winter tan is pretty epic. Every year, my grandma hosts a Christmas Eve party with all our close friends and extended family members. My grandma, aunt and mom (and me for the first time this year) cook a huge Christmas dinner that takes all day to cook. We all spend the night after the Christmas Eve party and open gifts together on Christmas as a family. This year, I cooked breakfast and almost ruined Christmas dinner by locking the potatoes in the oven. I "locked" the oven with what was not a lock but indeed a self-cleaning lever. We had to turn off the oven and wait for it to cool before we could get the potatoes out. It was a near disaster, but my potatoes turned out great!! I haven't seen my little brother on Christmas in five years, so it was a real treat being able to spend the break with him. Seeing my little brother and going to the beach every day was the best part of my break.

Lindsey Ziegenhirt -
My winter break was interesting. I had surgery three days after my last final to remove my tonsils and adenoids. I lost 20 pounds in a week because I couldn't eat, and the only thing I could drink besides the medication was ice chips. For some reason all I would watch is Food Network shows (even though I couldn't eat). Paula Deen and Giada De Laurentiis have some amazing-looking recipes I wanted to try when I felt better. I decided to make tiramisu and buttermilk pie, and they turned out to be really yummy. I really enjoyed gaining some weight back by eating my desserts. Basically, during my winter break I was either miserable on my couch or baking dessert. will be posting a release or feature every day until the 2012 season begins on Feb. 10. Check back Wednesday to take a virtual tour of Mary Lee's dorm room. To see all 30-for-30 releases and features in one place, please click here.