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Join a Ski Council
by Dick Healy

There seems to be growing interest in ski councils, and how much skiers and riders can benefit by belonging to one.

My council affiliation goes back over 50 years or, more precisely, to the time I joined a ski club which was a member of the New York Capital District Ski Council, based in Albany, New York.

The NYCDSC, like hundreds of other councils across the country, was at that time made up of 14 or 15 ski clubs. So with 500 to 700 council skiers/riders heading to the slopes each winter weekend, it was reassuring to know that an organized skiing group existed.

With competition among the clubs there needed to be some structured way of coordinating inter club-level ski races, first aid training, negotiating lift ticket deals with various mountains and, as I was to learn, developing certified alpine officials. And making sure clubs were active in the off snow months with a host of activities such as hiking trips, regattas, volleyball tournaments, golf matches, cookouts and assisting in fund raising for charitable organizations.

Laptop computers, iPhones and the Internet didn’t exist in those early days. One kept abreast of ski activities by attending club weekly meetings or checking with a given club’s representative to the council. A list of clubs chartering buses to a particular weekend race or myriad other ski related functions was more often than not conveyed to club members through the designated council rep.

Communication is much quicker and more accurate today in this electronic age, however ski councils and their member clubs pretty much operate as in past years.

Some ski councils go the extra mile and get involved in major events, such as NYCDSC did on three occasions beginning in 1970 and leading up to the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY. Over 40 members volunteered their time and expertise during the 1970 National Alpine Championships at the former Glen Ellen (now Sugarbush North) and filled in positions ranging from chief of start to the critical slots of timing and course maintenance.

Two years later (1972) many of the same NYCDSC members found themselves working the World University Games (FISU) at Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, NY. Eight years later these council members volunteered their time at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. So the 1972 FISU event and the 1980 Winter Olympics propelled the council onto the world ski stage in dramatic fashion.

The various positions members filled at these major outings were mostly learned and executed at the local council level. Hundreds of local and regional races prepared them to step up and handle these duties. Many ski councils throughout the United States have been involved in ski events of major importance. I’m not certain any of them can match NYCDSC’s contributions.

More by Dick Healy




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