Monday, February 7, 2011
Ski Venture, Glenville NY: 02/06/2011
Membership in the club is amazingly inexpensive: annual family dues are $60 (basic) or $100 (sustaining), making Ski Venture an economical alternative to the big resorts. The well-maintained operation is entirely run by the club’s enthusiastic members, and the friendly environment is ideal for families. A friend who has been a member for about a year told me about the club, and invited me to come along with his family for a visit.
The slopes and lodge are located out of sight from the parking area, about a hundred yards away through the woods. A ski trail with a very slight downhill grade leads from the parking area to the lodge, so we put our skis on at our car and skied in. At the end of the day, you can ride the main rope tow to the top of the hill and ski another trail back to the parking area. Once at the lodge, you'll feel as though you've stepped back in time to how skiing was 40 or more years ago.
The lodge is a small, rustic but cozy A-frame with a wood stove and large windows facing the slope. Inside there’s a small table or two with chairs, and benches along the sides for warming up or having a snack. Looking up at the hill from right to left are the beginner, intermediate and expert slopes, a glade run, and two more narrow expert trails through the woods beyond the glade.
Sleet and freezing rain overnight on Saturday, with temps just below freezing on Sunday, had me expecting very firm conditions, but the slopes had been groomed by the club and the skiing was surprisingly good. There is no snowmaking, so the skiing is entirely on natural snow. Unlike the bigger mountains, the slopes never got skied off, so the snow stayed in good condition all afternoon. There was no hint of hardpack or scratchiness anywhere on the hill.
If you’re like me, the idea of local skiing on natural snow and participating in the operation of the ski area has strong appeal. I joined.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Ski Venture, the club’s website is here, or you may contact Ski Venture president Frank Winters. Also, Jeremy Davis recently updated the NELSAP site with a report on Ski Venture here.