The Ski Club of Washington DC (SCWDC) has a vibrant new look, but is still the wonderful club which offers its members and friends a variety of activities, on and off the snow. The Club has been reaching out to younger members, in addition to those of us who have been around long enough to remember wooden skis and rope tows.
There were old and new faces at the latest ski fest, held in the Westpark Hotel in Tysons Corner, Virginia on September 20, 2008. There was also a guest DJ and dancing and wonderful hor d’oeuvres. It was definitely an informative and fun night.
About 300 people attended the event. President Bill Johnston says there are now about 1,900 members in the club, making SCWDC one of the largest ski clubs in the country. The club has added an engineer, Leo Boelhouwer, to handle public relations and outreach. He placed an ad in the Washington Post, which drew more attendees to the event. The dues to join the club are modest - about 45 dollars a year and $35 renewal (there are categories), and the trips are great fun and good value. 20 Western/international trips and 8 Eastern trips are planned for this year. There are also a variety of local excursions. On the trips, participants can take ski and snowboard lessons from qualified instructors who are part of the club. The instruction groups are often small in size, and can last several hours. It becomes more of a ski clinic than a restricted one hour ski resort lesson.
Even though wonderful winter is closing in, SCWDC also has more sailing trips planned and tennis throughout the year.
The Ski Fest was sponsored by a variety of exhibitors, and admission was free to those who attended. The prime sponsor was Vail Resorts, owners of some of the greatest ski areas in the world! I am not the only person who thinks that. This year, Vail is offering its new Epic Season Pass. Vail representative Jill Canning explained that it provides unlimited, unrestricted access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Heavenly. The $579 price is available until November the 15th. I consider this a great deal for anyone making one or two Western trips this year - the daily and weekly prices can add up!
Jill said there are improvements at all of the Vail resorts this winter. Last winter, Vail unveiled two new high-speed quads, replacing older lifts and speeding the time to the Back Bowls. There are new skier services at the foot of the mountain. Beaver Creek has a new River Front gondola. At Breckenridge, there is a new base area at Peak 7 and enhanced grooming for early season skiing (which is good for us, since we are going there in early December). Keystone has a new 8 passenger gondola, which brings people down in the center of the village. Hopefully, that will reduce the long walk to the shuttle busses (which I found difficult last year, with the heavy boots, skis, and altitude). Heavenly has two new trails, and more snowmaking on 75% of the mountain. More details about all of these enhancements can be found on the Vail Resorts web site at www.snow.com.
In addition to Vail resorts, there were a number of other fine sponsors for the Ski Fest. They included SnowEast Magazine, whose publisher, Bill Jones, drove down from New Jersey and back for the occasion. Other sponsors and presenters were Willi’s Ski Shop, Ski Chalet, Canadian Mountain Holidays (the heli skiing folks from the great land to the North!), East Coast Board Company, Encompass Tours, Sportours, Winter Ski and Sports, JTM Tours, and a variety of ski areas, including Stowe, Roundtop, Liberty, Whitetail, Snowshoe, Canaan Valley, Wintergreen, and others I hope I did not miss.
There are a wide variety of ways to get to the slopes and share the experience with friends. In addition to SCWDC, there are numerous other ski clubs in the area. (DCSki provides a list of local ski clubs here. So, think cold and snow, think car-pooling or group trips, and prepare for a wonderful winter!
When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.