Watchung Amateur Ski Club Holds Open House

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MOUNTAINSIDE – The Watchung Amateur Ski Club will host its annual open house at the Mountainside Elks Club, Route 22 East, tonight at 7 p.m.

There will be door prizes (lift passes, ski accessories and more), reps from ski resorts, and fitness experts who will be on hand to give some helpful hints on how to get in shape for the season. Interested skiers and riders will have an opportunity to meet the members of New Jersey’s friendliest and most welcoming ski club, and get detailed information on club membership and WASC’s exciting 2010-2011 trips. Admission is free and includes complimentary refreshments (cash bar).

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Established in 1938, the Watchung Amateur Ski Club is the oldest ski club in New Jersey.  The beginning of ski clubs in New Jersey dates to the late 1930s, when a small group of visionaries realized the potential of the sport in a state that has no “real” mountains. Because of the growing popularity of cross-country skiing and jumping, Francis S. Mathewson, who was director of recreation for the Union County Park Commission at the time, began readying ski sites at Warinanco Park in the Watchung Reservation. In 1935, Mathewson inaugurated the first of several annual cross country races held in the Watchung Reservation.

Soon thereafter, Mathewson recognized the need for a structured organization that could serve the public’s growing interest in the sport. He approached Erling Omland who, along with Theodore Pistor, William Frutchey, Richard Wade and Thomas Huitfeldt, agreed to form the state’s first ski club. On December 8, 1938, in the Union County Park Commission Administration Building in Elizabeth, the Watchung Amateur Ski Club had its first meeting. Their first trip, to Mt. Mansfield in Vermont, was held just a few weeks later.

Today, the Watchung Amateur Ski Club carries on the great tradition established by its founders: that the good conversation and camaraderie that happens not only on the slopes, but during the “getting there and back” on Watchung’s trips, is an integral part of what makes the WASC experience so unique, and so meaningful. This is a warm, open and welcoming group whose members are singles, couples, married people and families, of all ages, from beginners to experts—and whose common bond is simply a great love of the sport.

And that “great love of the sport” translates to great trips: Watchung’s “season warm-up weekend” will be to Okemo Mountain, VT, December 10-12, followed by a weekend trip to Mount Snow, VT January 21-23 for the Annual Club Outing, an exciting weekend that includes a Club NASTAR-style race and special club dinner. An eight-day trip to beautiful Sun Peaks, British Columbia is planned for February 12-19, as well as an extended weekend (4 days) trip to Sugarbush Resort/Mad River Glen, Vt. The Club will also be running our famous one-day “Sunday Bus Trips” to Belleayre Mountain, NY (December 19), Windham Mountain January 2), Elk Mountain, PA (February 6), Hunter Mountain, NY (February 27) and a surprise “Mystery Trip” (March 20). Sunday Bus Trips include transportation, lift tickets, breakfast on the bus and après-ski snacks on the way home. In addition to our trips, the club hosts numerous social events  throughout the year including parties, pot luck dinners, hikes, bike rides and other activities.

The Watchung Amateur Ski Club meets at 8:30pm (doors open at 8:00pm) every Thursday at the Mountainside Elks Club, Route 22 East, Mountainside. For more information on trips, meetings and membership, email info@watchungskiclub.com, or visit the Club’s website, www.watchungskiclub.com.


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