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Celebrating 40 years with Ski Club Vail

Tom Boyd

Like many things born to last, Ski Club Vail was born of necessity.And since then it has become so much more.In order to host its first sanctioned ski race in January of 1963, Vail Associates needed a sanctioning body, a ski club, drawn up and designed for one thing and one thing only to host ski races on the face of the nation’s most promising young resort.”Racing, even international racing, was an important part of our original plan for Vail,” Vail founding member (and The Vail Trail’s original ski columnist) Bob Parker told the paper in a 1982 interview. “And in order to have sanctioned races there had to be a ski club).”It was two years later when one of Vail’s cornerstone organizations earned non-profit status.Which accounts for a little bit of an oddity.Because the 1982 Bob Parker/Vail Trail interview was conducted to help commemorate Ski Club Vail’s 20th anniversary. Yet this weekend (Jan. 9-11) Ski Club Vail is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary.Do the math, and you’ll come up with a bit of a discrepancy.One way or another, Ski Club is taking the time to look back over more than four decades of history, from its inception as a competitive ski race hosting organization to its transformation into a program designed to teach a handful of youths how to ski competitively, and finally into the organization it is today, which includes more than 300 youths, 60 staff members, and four different snowsports (freestyle snowboarding, freestyle skiing, alpine snowboarding and alpine skiing) coached to club members of all ages.Current Ski Club director Aldo Radamus has spent the past few weeks looking through artifacts from the club’s history, recalling his time as a ski coach there in the 1980s, and he says the process has helped remind him of the value of the club to the town’s identity.”It’s been a real treasure,” he says. “Even this morning we were looking at the old scrapbooks, and old photos, and remembering the history. It gives us time to pause and reflect on what’s made this organization what it is today.”Radamus says his stroll down memory lane has reminded him how much the Club has grown and changed over the years without losing its sense of purpose and place in the community. And in the future he has a vision for the club to continue offering growth, guidance, and instruction to youths of all abilities and skill levels in all of the many snowsports that have taken hold in alpine culture.”Nobody could have even imagined a snowboard 20 years ago, and now we have that program,” Radamus says. “So 20 years from now we don’t know what we could have. But our focus is really on helping create an environment where all our programs are accessible to all the kids in the community who have a passion for snowsports.”From nordic skiing to snowbiking to snowshoeing, Radamus says his club won’t rule out incorporation of a sport so long as the main mission of the Club isn’t compromised in the process.That mission, he says, is “to provide youth in the community the opportunity to grow their character, excel in snowsports and have a great place to be and grow up and learn about themselves.”This sense of duty to young skiers wasn’t necessarily part of the Club’s original format, as general coordinator of Ski Club Vail Paul Bacon wrote in The Vail Trail’s initial SCV report, carried in the Jan. 21, 1966 edition of the paper.”Ski Club Vail has been around since the founding of Vail in 1962,” he wrote. “But it has not taken an individual and outstanding role to date. Now that things are beginning to get settled here at Vail the club will be taking responsible action in matters such as competitions, the promotion of Vail skiing, and sponsoring such events as races, ski movies and slide lectures and, of course, parties.”The parties and festivities have certainly remained a part of the Ski Club Vail tradition (and the Vail tradition, for that matter). And many of SCV’s alumni will be on hand Jan. 9-11 enjoying on-mountain and off-piste social and athletic activity, remembering the old glory days of the Club and pondering the future of the Club, the town, and snowsports in general.For more information, call Ski Club Vail at 476-5119 or e-mail Ski Club’s Alix Berglund at aberglund@skiclubvail.org.Ski & Snowboard Club Vail40th Anniversary&Alumni ReunionFriday8 a.m.First Tracks at Beaver Creek followed by breakfast at Spruce Saddle2:30 p.m.Meet in Game Creek for group ski Minturn Mile to the Saloon3 6 p.m.Aprs Ski at the Saloon in Minturn4 6 p.m.Transportation provided back to VailSaturday1 3 p.m.Alumni Race at Black Forest5:30 7:30 p.m.Cocktail reception at the Vilar Center with Awards and RecognitionSunday8 10 a.m. Farewell continental breakfast at Colorado Ski Museum9:30 11:30 a.m.Group ski outingAll Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumni and current members are invited to attend the events. Call 476-5119 or e-mail aberglund@skiclubvail.org for more information.


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