Skiers group hits the slopes each TuesdayNov 23, 2015 03:25PM ● By J. Chambless
The Weekday Skiers Club at Elk Mountain.
By Steven Hoffman
Richard May is looking forward to the day in December when participants in the Weekday Skiers Club gather to talk about the upcoming skiing season. It will be a day to celebrate old friendships and to start new ones. Each Tuesday between January and mid-March, the two dozen or so club members from Delaware, Pennsylvania, 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 joined the club when I retired in 2000,” May, a resident of Hockessin, Del., explained. “A friend of mine put me on to the club. It is a great group of people, a very diverse group. We have a really good time.”
Art Knechtel joined the Weekday Skiers Club about ten years ago. He, too, talked about what a pleasure it is to spend winter weekdays with the people in the group.
Knechtel started skiing about 30 years ago, developing a love for the sport. For a long time, he and some friends 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. The camaraderie is phenomenal,” explained Knechtel, a resident of Chadds Ford. “I really enjoy it.”
“It's a great group of people,” Knechtel explained.
“The camaraderie is just awesome,” agreed Nancy Hostetter, the secretary of the Weekday Skiers Club. She explained that 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 served as the president of the club since 1993, but has been involved longer than that since her mother also once served as president.
The annual membership fee is $350, which covers the cost of the round-trip bus to each ski resort. There are payment plans available to meet the individual needs of members. The members then pay for their own lift tickets, but they also sometimes qualify or group rates or other discounts.
May said that group members like to ski on Tuesdays, because that tends to be a day with smaller crowds on the slopes.
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.
May is an intermediate level skier, and is very content with that skill level. The group emphasizes having an enjoyable time, and there is no pressure to improve skiing skills.
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.
The members have an open-door policy for anyone who would like to become a member or join in for just a day or two during the season. Hostetter said that anyone who wants to go once or twice can simply pay per trip. 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 [email protected]
To contact Staff Writer Steven
Hoffman, email [email protected]