What do members of ski clubs do when they're not racing down the slopes? They plan return trips to ski country. Or they schedule bicycle races, bowling, tennis, volleyball, marathons, picnics and barbecues.
"Ski clubs are more than just clubs for people who ski," said Bruce Chatterton, president of North Hollywood's Tri-Network Ski Club. "They're a whole social environment." Ski clubs also offer discounts on transportation, hotels and motels, and ski lifts.
About 20% of the organizations that belong to the Los Angeles Council of Ski Clubs meet in the San Fernando Valley. In addition, area high schools, California State University, Northridge, Pierce College and many private companies have their own ski clubs that are not open to the public.
"L.A. Council member clubs participate in downhill and cross-country races at Mammoth," said Skip de Young, vice president of programs for the Los Angeles Council. "A lot of people go up there just for a vacation and to ski and have a good time. A lot go up to do hard-core skiing and racing."
Ski season runs from late November through March or April locally and through July 4 at Mammoth Mountain, depending on the weather. This winter's storms have provided much better skiing conditions than last year. There are 40 to 84 inches of snow at Mammoth.
The following is a sampling of local ski clubs that are open to the public:
Conejo Ski Club: Five years ago, 16 members attended the first meeting of the Conejo Ski Club. Today, it is the largest club in the L.A. Council, with more than 1,000 members. According to President Mike Perea, members come from as far as Upland, Pasadena and Santa Monica to participate in club activities, which are frequently scheduled three out of four weekends each month.
Besides ski trips, members participate in water-skiing outings, houseboat excursions, cruises to Ensenada, bike rides, camping trips and parties. Dues are $20 per year after a one-time $10 initiation fee. Meetings are at 8 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of the month at Reuben's Restaurant, 299 S. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks. Each meeting, for which non-members pay $3, is preceded by guest orientation and is followed by a disco dance with no-host bar. Members range in age from their 20s to 60s, with the average about 30. One trip is planned each winter for families because children are not allowed on most other ski excursions. Perea can be reached at (805) 498-7885. The club's mailing address is P.O. Box 6276, Westlake Village 91359.
Sun Sports Biathlon and Cross-Country Ski Club: This club meets at 8 p.m. on the first Monday of the month at Mercury Savings & Loan, 7040 Sepulveda Blvd., Van Nuys. Dues are $15 per year, and membership runs from 50 to 110 people, depending on the amount of snow each season. "Right now, people are rushing to join," said President Allan Immerman.
About 20 members participate in biathlon activities, which involve combining cross-country skiing and target shooting. Local ski trips are scheduled every weekend, and an out-of-area trip is planned at least once a month. Members, whose ages range from 18 to 60, vary from first-timers to elite racers. Immerman can be reached at (818) 782-1285 in the evenings or (213) 581-7826 during the day. The club's mailing address is 15832 Hartland St., Van Nuys 91406.
Recreation Ski Club: Members (about 90) meet on the first and third Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at Todd's Restaurant, 5371 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills. Dues are $25 a year for individuals and $35 for couples. Most members are singles in their 30s and 40s. The majority are intermediate-level skiers, with a few at beginning and advanced levels.
One or two weekend trips to Mammoth are scheduled per month (by car pool or bus), and a weeklong trip to Austria is planned for the spring. Members also participate in a variety of activities during the summer. Vice President Marsha Henry can be reached at (818) 893-6621. The mailing address is P.O. Box 270, Reseda 91335.
Tri-Network Ski Club: This 17-year-old club meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at Shakey's Pizza Parlor, 5321 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood. The social hour begins at 7 p.m. and the business meeting at 8 p.m. According to President Bruce Chatterton, about 90% of the members are singles, with the average age ranging from 25 to 35. Dues are $25 a year and include a monthly newsletter.
Weekly trips to Mammoth are scheduled during the winter, and there are waiting lists for trips to Taos, N. M., and Sun Valley, Ida. Other activities scheduled include a Magic Castle night, a brunch and bowl, and a number of bike outings.
"Our members range from people who haven't seen snow before to experienced skiers," said Chatterton. "We try to encourage everyone to ski with others of similar or slightly better ability." Chatterton can be reached at (818) 360-7764 (home) or (818) 789-0463 (office). The group's mailing address is P.O. Box 1092, Studio City 91402.