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History of Winterset Ski Club

 | Published on 11/12/2019

As Winterset Ski Club turns 50 this year, we look at our past...

Newtown's Winterset Ski Club's History...

Winterset Ski Club was given a copy of a newsletter from the 1991-1992 Season which along with the list of board members and schedule of events for that year, included an "EARLY HISTORY of WINTERSET SKI CLUB".  This history was originally written in several different parts and assembled together for this 1991-1992 newsletter.  We have reproduced that article here. Below you will find the article as it actually appeared in the 1991-1992 newsletter.

 We have, for privacy, deleted the last names of the people mentioned in this article. 



    "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth, including Newtown, and Newtown was without a ski club, and void, and Mike & Fred started a ski club for children under the sponsorship of the St. Rose Sports Guild, and after the first season, they looked back, frowned and said, "Last ski season did not work out so hot!".     So in the fall of 1970, Mike and Fred sat down and wondered whether they should try again.   Out of this conversation came the idea for an independent, town-wide, family-type ski club.

    After talking to a lot of people, putting articles in the paper, and generally trying to excite interest in the club, on December 13, 1970, the No-Name Ski Club was formally brought into the world and officers were elected.

    Our first Board of Directors consisted of Fred, President; Bill, VP Membership; Rudy, VP Ski Trip Planning; Joan, Secretary; and Fran, Treasurer.   They held a name contest, and Mrs."B", a non-skier, entered the award winning name - Winterset Ski Club".

    Next issue of the WINTERSET SKI CLUB - NEWSLETTER will give some of the basic philosophies generated in the formative first year, since fulfilling these basic ideas is what molded our club into such a great outfit, and which has brought a truly great bunch of people together.    This December we celebrate the Club's 15th Anniversary and hopefully, by the time we have our Founder's Day Christmas Cocktail Party, everyone will have a better idea of the Club's history.



Extract from Speech on Club History by Fred

    "In the beginning, when God created the heavens and earth and Newtown, and Newtown was without a ski club, Mike & Fred with the initial help of St Rose (Sports Guild, that is) set about to create a club to fill the void.  Here are a few of the key, basic philosophies generated in our formative first year, because fulfilling these basic ideas is what has molded our Club into such a great outfit, and which has brought a truly great bunch of people together.

    First, membership was limited to families, or single adults over 21 (now lowered to 18) and minors would not be allowed on trips unless accompanied by their parents.   This solved the problem we had the previous year when two or three adults tried to watch 30 kids at a ski area.    Second, we would plan bi-weekly bus trips to local areas, interspersed with occasional week-enders.     The first of three week-enders was a memorable trip to Sugarbush, where our members stayed at the luxurious flop house (Lodge), The Bagatelle, and frolicked in the snow at The Spaghetti House.

    Third, we would work and plan so that we would eventually have a lodge, a goal you will find is close to attainment.   Fourth, our Constitution was set up so that a President could not succeed himself in office, and no member could serve more than two consecutive terms on the Board of Directors; this insured that new people and new ideas came into the Board of Directors each year.

    Our first year was tough but pretty successful, and because our bus trips home from Massachusetts, we became known as the most fun, but flattest-singing club in Connecticut.  In our elections, Meg was elected President for the 1971-72 season along with Mike, Membership VP; Dave, Ski Trip Planning VP; Linda, secretary; and Bill, Treasurer.    These officers were installed at our first Annual Pass-the-Gavel Dinner Dance, at which several new traditions were started.

    First, the gavel was made and given to Meg.  Also an Outstanding Officer's cup was made and awarded to Rudi by the President (me).   As I said that night, everyone pitched in and did an outstanding job but Rudi was outstanding at being outstanding and was a really big boost for me.

    Our second Board of Directors initiated several fine programs...More next letter.

    Next issue of  WINTERSET SKI CLUB NEWSLETTER will show how and when several more traditions were started and are now accepted as standards of WINTERSET SKI CLUB! ! !



Extract from Speech on Club History by Fred

"In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth and Newtown, and Newtown was without a Ski Club, Mike & Fred with the initial help of St Rose (Sports Guild, that is) set about to create a club to fill the void.  Today we discuss some of the club's traditions and how they came about.

    Our second Board of Directors initiated several fine programs.    The annual combination picnic, volleyball, rib-cracking day at Linda P's home.  Membership was dramatically boosted through Mike M's programs.    And our Second Annual Ski Sale was so much more successful than our first, that it really deserves the title, First.

    This second year was really a dynamite year, and really got the club rolling.   We entered our first float in the Labor Day Parade, we had outstanding bus trips, and on week-enders the tradition for zany activities was continued with a midnight slalom down Great Eastern at Killington.  The year ended for the Second Board of Directors, namely; Meg, President; Mike, VP Membership; Dave, VP Ski Trips; Bill, Treasurer; and Linda, Secretary.

    Our Second Annual Pass-The-Gavel Dinner Dance was held at the Colonial Club in Oxford, but the gavel was passed symbolically only, because an individual who shall remain nameless, forgot to bring it with her.

    The Outstanding Officer Award (Now the President's Award) was given to Mike for his excellent job on increasing the membership, and a new award for Outstanding Achievement of a member was given jointly to Barry and Wally, who co-chaired the fantastically successful Ski Sale.    Finally, under the leadership of Rudi, our float committee came up with a real winner to take the "Best Non-Musical Entry" prize in the Labor Day Parade, with their Ski Mountain Float.  The Club ended the year with a roster of 50 memberships representing between 150-175 total members, counting all the children.

    With two years of operation the Club is settling down as a well run, organized Ski Club and the new Board of Directors installed at the Dinner were: Mike, President; Bob, VP Membership; Frank, VP Ski Trips; Sven, Treasurer; Eleanor, Secretary; and Ed, Member at Large...more to come.




Extract from Speech on Club History by Fred

    The town of Newtown now knew it had a Ski Club as The Club was in it's third year and had settled down as a well run, well organized establishment.  One of the first big events was the Ski & Skate Sale with the Three Ed's at the helm (Ed H, Ed O & Ed W) who at the end of the year shared the Outstanding Achievement award three ways.

    Membership grew under Membership VP Bob to just under 60.  Day Ski Trips under Dave were run on both a car-pool and a bus basis.  Unfortunately the Butternut trip cost for an adult including bus fare was a whopping $8.00.    This was the 1972-73 season and much discussion was held, pro & con regarding whether or not to have a Lodge for the next season.

    Rudy chaired the Labor Day Parade Float and Winterset won First Place in the "Most Original" category with it's "A Club for all Seasons" featuring a giant boot on a giant ski.    The Annual Dinner Dance and Installation of Officers was held at the Colonial Club and Outgoing President Mike presented the President's Award jointly to Bill and Ed S.

    The Officers for the 1973-74 season were installed: Ed W, President; Rudi, Membership VP; Rich & Ed O as Ski Trip VP's; Ron, Treasurer; Liz, Secretary; and Frank as Member-at-Large.

    This new season proved to be a disaster as far as Bus Trips were concerned.  Out of 9 trips scheduled (including rain dates) only 2 were able to go as Vermont had more rain than snow.   However our "Chicken Skier" Float again won First Prize and the Picnic at Linda P's yard was a big success.   The Ski & Skate Sale (still being held in St Rose Hall) was another success and by 10 AM people were lined up across the parking lot waiting to come in.  Bill R, John C and Mel D were pleased to have run a successful sale.

    Membership was now just under 70 and President Ed W was inundating everyone with very frequent, newsy and most enjoyable News Bulletins.   The Christmas-Founder's Day Party at the "C's" was well attended and enjoyed by all.

    At the Annual Dinner Dance Out-Going President Ed W presented the President's Award to Bill T and again, the Club Achievement Award to the triumvirate who put so much effort into the Ski Sale, Bill R, John C and Mel D.

    The Officers installed for the 1974-75 season were: Bill R, President; Ed O, Membership VP; Evie W, Ski Trip VP; Ron A, Treasurer; Helen T, Secretary; and Bev M, Member-at-Large.

    We can not close this year without mentioning the warm or shall I say heated, discussions on whether or not to have a Lodge.   Finally at the April General Membership Meeting it was decided it was "Now or Never" and Ed W took up the assignment to head a committee to find a Lodge.




Extract from Speech on Club History by Fred

    The 1974-75 Season started off very well, about 100 people attending the bang-up picnic at Linda P's.  It was well remembered the next day as the "Touch-Tackle" bruises showed up.  This was followed by a well attended (90+) General Meeting at the Yankee Drover Inn.

    The Winterset Ski & Skate Sale has now become an established event with people coming from all over Fairfield and neighboring counties to St Rose Parish Hall.  By the time Sale Co-Chairmen Frank J, Ed H and Stan M opened the doors the line extended clear across the parking lot.  This year the heavens smiled on skiers and all the bus trips were run and Ski Trip VP Evie W had to even have a second bus to take all to Butternut Basin.   Many will remember celebrating President Bill R's birthday at the top of the mountain.

    By now the membership had climbed to 88 memberships representing 309 bodies thanks to the diligence of Ed O, VP Membership.   With this size of a membership list we could support both bus trips and a Lodge and Ed W, our Lodge Chairman secured one in Proctorville VT.   This town was not exactly what could be described as a fast growing, middle American town but rather as what a deserted Silver Mining Town would be like after it was deserted a second time.  The Lodge was strictly from the dark ages and we wondered what really held it up.

    But it was this year that we found out the importance of Camaraderie & Esprit de Corps.  After a weekend of sharing refrigerators, food, kitchen, food, bathrooms, fireplace and livingroom sofas, a bond seemed to form between families.  There always seemed to be so many children around and we always had a pot of hot chocolate going.  The decor of the Lodge was not what mattered, it was the Spirit that prevailed that was important.

    The year ended with the Annual Dinner Dance and Installation of Officers being held at the recently built Ethan Allan Inn.  President Bill R presented the President's Award to Evie W and the Club Achievement Award to the sale Triumvirate of Frank J, Ed H and Stan M.

    Bill R turned the President's Gavel over to Paul M and he presented the 1975-76 Board of Directors: John C, VP Membership; Margot H, VP Ski Trips; Treasurer, Bill W; April A, Secretary; Sharon B, Member-at-Large; and Ed W as Lodge Chairman.

    With the Club entering it's sixth year everything was running smoothly.  Next issue will have information on succeeding Officers of Winterset Ski Club.

We, Winterset Ski Club, would like to thank Ed O for preserving and passing that information on to the club.  That was all that we had as written history until our 30th Founder's Day Anniversary Dinner Dance that then President Susan B would (with the idea from Ed and Marge O) not only initiate, but follow through on and make a very successful event.  The following is the speech written by her husband, Scott B, and presented the night of Winterset Ski Club's 30th Anniversary:


Please come celebrate with us at the 30th Anniversary Dinner Dance

Friday, December 15th, 2000

7:00 pm cocktail hour, hors-d'oeuves

8:00 - 12:00 pm dinner and dancing

at the Colonial Tavern, Oxford

The following is the speech given that night, was written by our then President's husband, Scott.  We thank Scott for all his time, writing skills and research.  (Again, last names have been left off of the website.)

Thanks everyone for coming to our 30th Anniversary Dinner Dance.  I hope you enjoyed see the slide show during our cocktail hour, and I thank everyone who contributed photos for the show.

Now, I'd like to introduce our MC for the evening.  You know him as our favorite Race Coach, Brian B.

"In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth, including Newtown.  And Newtown was without a ski club, and void.  And so, in 1969, Mike M & Fred M, skiers and fellow members of St. Rose, started a ski club for children under the sponsorship of the St Rose Sports Guild.

And after that first season, and trying to keep track of 30 kids at a time, they looked back, frowned, and said "this arrangement was not so hot!"

So in the fall of 1970, they sat down and brainstormed on a bigger scale - an independent, town-wide ski club for children and adults alike.

They talked to a lot of people, put articles in the paper, and generally tried to excite interest in the club.  And on December 13, 1970, a new organization was finally brought forth into the world - The No Name Ski Club -- and officers were elected.

One of those officers is here tonight.  Please welcome Winterset Ski Club's first Vice President in Charge of Ski Trip Planning, Rudy S.

(Rudy comes up to the front of the room; present him with champagne; he sits in chairs in front of room).

The rest of the officers elected that year, 1970, were:   Fred M, President; Bill T, VP Membership; Joan S, Secretary; and Fran G, Treasurer.

Also here with us tonight are many of the original Charter members of the Winterset Ski Club.

Our first Charter members are still members of our club today.  In fact, this year, we'll see three generations of the family skiing with Winterset.  Please welcome Bill and Liz M. 

Our next charter members They are now living in *********, please welcome Dave and Lynda L.

Our next charter member served in many capacities over the years, but most enduringly, he was the newsletter voice for more years than he wants to remember, please welcome Ed O...

One of the first tasks of the club that first year was to find a name for their new organization.  The decided to hold a contest.  And as the early records tell it, a "Mrs. B," a non-skier, entered the award winner: "Winterset".

The wisdom that Mike M & Fred M gained from their 1969 experience with their St Rose kid's group helped guide many activities and policies that our club still adheres to today.

They ran day bus trips...and several multi-day trips per year...and really started our club's long history of having fun.

That's why many of our members have BEEN part of our club for so long.  I'd like to recognize the people here tonight who have been members for more than 15 years, continuously.  Can you please stand at your seats when I call your names?

Carole & Ron A; Rick & April A; Brian & Maria B; Andy & Rita L; Bill & Liz M; Ed O; Stan & Carole P; Shirley R; Carole S & Jim M; Bill & Evie W; Jean W.

Many of these long-standing members may be saying..."Was it ALL fun?" Let's remember...

Does anyone remember that first weekend trip to Sugarbush in 1971, where we stayed at The Bagatalle?  The newsletter editor that year called it "That luxurious flop-house."

Does anyone remember a certain "Touch" football game in 1974 during our annual picnic?  Legend has it that there were a lot of Monday morning bruises after that game...!?

Who can forget the single shower - for the entire club - at the St. Jovite hotel?

Here's a memory question: Our first Ski & Skate Sale was held in 1972.  It was hosted by three Ed' of them is here right now....Ed O....Does anyone remember the other two Ed's?  Chairing that first sale were Ed O, Ed H & Ed W.

Our newer members may not remember this, but this club has had Ski Lodges over the years.

Does anyone remember our FIRST lodge in Proctorville, Vermont?  It was arranged by then Lodge Chairman, Ed W.

A few years ago, Ed O wrote about the place.  He wrote "The Lodge was strictly from the dark ages, and we wondered what really held it up.  But we found the importance of camaraderie and Esprit de Corps.  After a weekend of sharing refrigerators, food, bathrooms and sofas, a bond was formed between the families.  There always seemed to be so many children around and we always had a pot of hot chocolate going.  The decor of the Lodge was not what mattered, it was the Spirit that prevailed that was important".

That seems to sum up our club.

As long-standing member Bill W recalls, "In those early days, before the Age of Affluence, we were a pretty down-to-earth group.  The sleeping arrangements at our lodge were simple: all the kids and adults crammed into one huge room.  It was wall-to-wall sleeping bags and there wasn't a bit of privacy.  But one thing was sure -- we aways had a helluva good time."

We heard about the lodges from Meg S, a founding member and our second president.  She wrote us from Cape Cod and said that over the years, we had TWO lodges in Proctorsville, and one in Ludlow.  Meg wrote that she thinks fondly of all the great friends from those days and sends her "hellos" to everyone at the Dinner Dance.

Does anyone remember the first time that then Bus Trip Coordinator, Evie W, had to hire two buses for a trip for the first time?  (Our destination was Butternut and the entire trip cost $8!).

Our newer members might not remember the trip to Mt. Tremblant in the early 90's, when the bus got stuck in the snow at the Canadian border and that nutty bus driver made us get out and push!

How about skiing in the rain and slush at Andy L at Sugarloaf?

Minor inconveniences, for sure, and always overshadowed by the camaraderie on the slopes, the wine-and-cheese parties in the hallways, or the hope for better weather next time.

Our club is now beginning its' 31st year, now as one of the largest ski clubs in Connecticut.  It takes a special person to step forward and lead a group like this.  Some for more than a year - Masochists, some might say!

Many of the Presidents of our club are with us today, and I'd like to invite them to come up when I call their names:

Ron A (76-77); Evie W (78-79); Bill M (79-80); Andy L (82-82)(95-96)(96-97); Carole A (83-84); April A (84-85); Ed O (85-86)(86-87); Carole S (91-92)(Co-President with Paul D); Kevin M (89-90)(99-00); Susan B (00-01).   This is a Kodak moment, for sure.  One quick photo of all the Charter members, and the Presidents.

We certainly owe our thanks to all people who've helped run these and other events during the years.  And we owe special thanks to those whose names are perpetually on the volunteer list.

First, I'd like to thank Ed O.  The idea for this event was Ed's.  He and Marge lobbied hard for us to do something to commemorate our 30th Anniversary...This was back in May at the Installation Dinner at Chuck's Steak House.  Ed, I think it was a wonderful idea, and I thank you.

Next, Evie and Bill W put in long hours compiling the names of all the members we could find from the first year of our existence to today.  This was no small task, and I thank you, Evie and Bill.

Carole A did all the labeling and hand addressing of the invitations.  We send out almost 100 hand-addressed invitations!  Thank you Carole.

Linda V and Nickie O worked together with the Colonial Tavern to arrange the evening.  In addition, you have Linda to thank for these lovely tokens of our appreciation!  Thanks to both of you.

Scott B spent considerable time creating our slide show and presentation, and getting the AV equipment to run the show.  Thank you Scott.

And last, but not least, thanks to our MC for the evening, Brian B, who didn't know what he was getting into when he said "yes", but he's been my MC for the night.  Thanks Brian.

A little later this evening, we will be drawing for our door prize, a pair of lift tickets that arrived too late for our Raffle Night Event.  And we'll have our Refer-A-Member Raffle then as well.  So plan to stay a while.

Now, I'd like to ask everyone to join our Founding Members and Past Presidents on the dance floor, for some more music and dancing.

From time to time The Newtown Bee has done articles not only on various ski events, but on the club as a whole, anyone having copies of these articles or any additional written history about the club, and would like to see it passed on, please write or email the club.  We would also be glad to publish any individual write-ups on the club under the "My Winterset" web page.