As groups of skiers go, the group assembling inside the Base Lodge last January seemed less alike then one could imagine for a ski group. Yet, they had something in common: This group all belonged to several area ski clubs. In fact, after buckling boots, a group of about 10 men and women headed outside to catch early runs.
Truly, these were serious skiers. In fact, many come every weekend. That day the group included a dozen or more skiers representative of “houses” rented for the season, as well as members of several different ski clubs.
By 7:45 am most were tossing boot bags. By 8 am, more than 25 skiers – I counted – bustled off to the lifts. Upstairs another large group was dressing. While the group I saw downstairs seemed more like a group of singles, or high energy couples, this group was less intense. Many stopped to hug friends and families. Their dress was not so stylish.
Representing clubs from Jersey Ski to Connecticut, the room was marked by a light hearted camaraderie. Nearby I also heard folks who rented “houses” and represented groups from such areas as Boston and Hartford.
I joined a group of 12 skiers and we quickly ascended the mountain. With the group sharing early reflections on the snow, the conversation alternated between questions and comments on snow conditions to the kind of friendly banter which personifies good friendships. I smiled. This might be fun.
A half-hour later the group split in two, as four skiers headed off to Carinthia and eight of us headed to the North Face.
Watching folks drop down the Face, it was clear that these folks enjoy skiing. The group moved quickly. We caught run after run with little commotion, and we seemed to somehow explore a wide array of terrain.
It was a good, hard-charging morning.
Lunch, 12:30 pm.
Walking into the lodge I found I was enjoying the easy friendly rapport of the group. One fellow, for example, offered to lock my skis with his in a gesture of friendship. I had a lock. But, tandem locking keeps more fingers warm, and speeds up the process.
Lunch was fun. It was friendly. After lunch the afternoon passed quickly. And as we waved goodbye at 3:30, I was struck by the genuine warmth of the group.
Apres ski, 3:35 pm
Inside, as folks de-booted, I was captivated. Many folks were watching one woman. While I missed her name I knew her as a cougar. Slim and single, the cougar seemed to have come looking for adventure. Well-educated, she spoke of a high-tech career, her home, and regular ski trips. Still, she seemed on the prowl hunting big game.
Handsome Hank was equally fun to observe. With a tight turtleneck showcasing his abs, he happily enjoyed a beer as he spoke, loudly, of his day’s exploits. Truly, no one’s run was steeper. No turns smoother.
I saw others. From the Huntress to Handsome Hank, the group included Poor Pete, who seemed to borrow everyone’s money, and Shy Suzanne, as well as a wide array of characters. Okay. I confess. From the sidelines this was a great show.
The personalities are plain enticing. These club groups are large, and everyone seems to enjoy the differing roles. We saw Chatty Cathy. We saw Plain Jane. We saw Boring Bill. We heard, yes we heard, Loud Larry and I envied Handsome Hank. Of course, lots of folks, both men and women, were enjoying the action.
In truth, club trips bring large numbers of skiers and riders to the mountains. We could go on. One guy looked plastered. One woman looked, well, plastic.
They will tell you clubs have a special charm and excitement. They tell the truth. Watching the different groups it was clear that clubs offer camaraderie.
The thing is, some of these folks can really ski, hard. While others just party hard. But when it comes together, it’s fun!
Should you explore ski clubs?
The answer, of course, is that it depends. Many clubs have lodges on or near the mountain. Typically members can stay for a modest fee.
Fun? That Saturday the group seemed wired. Sunday morning they seemed under the wire: It’s not always so simple, though, capturing club life. Clubs differ. If you have an interest in these activities, and in forming new friendships, clubs are a good option. If interested consider contacting the ski club in your town or the ski council in your state.