Local group hits the slopes each Tuesday
● By Steven Hoffman
On Tuesday, Jan. 6, a fresh coat of snow fell in the Poconos, creating ideal skiing conditions for anyone who likes to hit the slopes this time of the year. It was a fine start to a new year for the members of the Weekday Skiers Club.
“It was a perfect day,” explained Nancy Hostetter, the secretary of the Weekday Skiers Club. “With the fresh snow, the surface was just fabulous. It was a great day for skiing.”
Each Tuesday between January and March, the two dozen or so club members from Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the surrounding areas board a bus and make the trek to one of the ski resorts in the Poconos. They do so for the love of skiing, but also because of the genuine camaraderie that develops among members.
“I've been involved for about ten years, and the camaraderie is phenomenal,” explained Art Knechtel, a resident of Chadds Ford. “I really enjoy it.”
Knechtel, 78, started skiing about 30 years ago, developing a love for the sport. For a long time, he was among several couples who frequently skied together, but when several of the friends stopped skiing, he wanted to find others to ski with. He heard about the Weekday Skiers Club and gave it a try. The skiing was still great; being in the company of the other members was even better.
“It's a great group of people,” Knechtel said.
“The camaraderie is just awesome,” Hostetter explained.
The Weekday Skiers Club travels to a different venue each week, rotating between Jack Frost, Blue, Elk, Camelback, Montage, or Bear Creek. Club members meet at one of three pick-up locations: the Smyrna Rest Area, the Boyd's Corner Park-n-Ride, and the Brandywine Town Centre.
While the participants are always eager to reach the destinations, the bus rides themselves are also enjoyable as members talk with old friends, share stories about family, or get to know newer members.
Knechtel said that the transportation to and from the skiing resorts is a major benefit to belonging to the club.
“You don't have to do the driving,” he pointed out, “which is nice, especially after a tiring day of skiing.”
According to Hostetter, the Weekday Skiers Club can trace its origins to 1973, which was the first time that the name of the group was formally used. However, several years before that, an attempt to regularly run a bus from this area to the Poconos was attempted. In 1972, Lav Wintzer and Sally Hawkins incorporated Skimore Tours, which offered six trips for a total of $30. The name was changed to Week Day Ski in 1973. When Wintzer and Hawkins retired, Peg Hollstein and Joann Ott took over the leadership. Peggy Anderson, a resident of Dover, Del., has been the president of the club since 1993, but has been involved longer than that since her mother also once served as president.
A $350 annual membership fee covers the cost of the round-trip bus to each ski resort. Members pay for their own lift tickets, but they sometimes qualify or group rates or other discounts. Payment plans for the club membership that suit individual needs are available.
The Weekday Skiers Club has members who range in age from their twenties to their eighties. Tom George, a resident of Landenberg, still enjoys a day on the slopes.
“I learned to ski my freshman year in college. I am now 85 years old. I still love it,” George explained. “The great virtue of the club is that it gets me out skiing, once a week, in the Poconos. It keeps me in practice. It's also a very genial club—it's people that I like. The bus rides could be boring, but there are so many interesting people.”
George said that his favorite skiing destination in the Poconos is Elk Mountain.
“Several of the resorts that we go to have their advantages,” he said. “Elk is my favorite because it has the nicest, longest runs. It's overall a fun place to go.”
Knechtel said that the members are of all different skill levels, ranging from relative beginners to very experienced skiers. The club members work together and help each other as they improve their skills week to week.
Typically, Hostetter said, the skiers will pair up with each other in groups of two, three, or more so that no one is skiing by themselves. There's always a kind word or a helping hand among members, which is one of the reasons why the participants in the Weekday Skiers Club are so loyal to the group.
Hostetter said that anyone who wants to go once or twice during the season can pay per trip. The remaining trips this year take place on Jan. 27, Feb. 3, Feb. 10, Feb. 17, Feb. 24, March 3, and March 10.
The club is also welcoming new members. Anyone interested in trying one of the bus trips or getting more information about joining the club should visit www.weekdayskiers.org or the group's Facebook page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.