While you may have heard that it “takes a village to raise a child,” we’re pretty sure that it can take a ski club to raise a snow kid.
Family ski clubs run the gamut from informal organizations where parents share carpooling, gear wrangling and on-snow chaperoning, to organized groups that sponsor races, manage lodging and travel together in pursuit of winter fun. In this article we’re going to take a look at what is involved in setting up and running a successful family ski club.
What’s A Family Ski Club?
A family ski club is group of like-minded families who join forces to meet their goals.
Here’s a typical scenario.
You’ve got children and you’ve signed them up for a series of weekend ski or snowboard lessons.
This commitment means getting to the resort at a certain time on certain days. This can be a burden on parents and families, especially those who work on weekends or have other children who are too young to ski or children involved in other activities.
While waiting for your kids to finish their first lesson, you chat with other parents about how you can help one another with carpooling. Soon, you’re all friends and planning ski days together.
At the end of the season, you’re sharing the clothing and equipment your kids have outgrown while you take advantage of the gear other families are passing down.
And so it evolves.
Begin With a Goal
This scenario could be seen as a natural progression of friendship among families, which it is.
If your goal is simply to meet up with other families to ski, you won’t need much structure beyond a meeting place and time.
But if the purpose of the group involves any commitment on the part of parents or children, it’s important to gather everyone together and hammer out who is going to do what when. It’s also critical to make sure that everyone’s goals match up and that there is good communication so that you can all stay friends.
When setting up a family ski club, some basic questions to ask include:
What do we want to achieve?
How will we share responsibilities?
How are we going to stay organized?
Depending upon the group’s goals, the questions that need to be asked and answered will be as varied as the families involved.
Since many family ski clubs are simply handy arrangements to help everyone more easily enjoy winter, these groups usually don’t need by-laws, insurance or dues. And they often fade away as kids grow and priorities change.
But depending upon your club’s goals, you may need a formal structure now or in the future.
Evolution and Change
Among established ski clubs, evolution is a constant.
According to David Cronheim, founder of the Ivy Ski Club, the first wave of recreational ski clubs were started by European mountaineers during the early 20th-century and spread throughout Europe and into North America during the 1920s and ‘30s.
As these clubs grew, their missions grew, too. Some clubs became race-focused. Some clubs acquired land and built ski lodges. Other clubs began organizing group travel, and so on, while some did, in fact, fade away.
While your family ski club may not aspire to build a lodge today, the situation can change depending upon the interests of your group.
A Family Affair
At their best family ski clubs, of any size and focus, make winter more fun for families. And in some cases they may even become a cherished family tradition.
Trina Abbot is a ski mom and president of Ski Club Hochgebirge in New England. Abbot’s father joined the ski club during the 1950s and raised his children in it.
“I loved the ski club when I was a kid because I got to see my ski friends,” reminisces Abbot. “We’d ski in a pack and meet for lunch at the top of the mountain.”
Today, Abbot is thrilled to share her “pack” with her husband and children.
“Being a part of a ski club is very fun and bonding,” she shares.
Whatever your goals in starting a family ski club, whether informal or formal, be sure to put skiing with other families at the top of the list.
Because while a club may help you save time, money and effort, the biggest benefit is the fun you all will have with your new skiing friends.
Hailing from Colorado (USA) Kristen Lummis, or as she is better known, the Brave Ski Mom, is an avid skier and true family mum in every sense of the word. www.thebraveskimom.com