For many folks, summer is the time to do fun outdoor activities, such as swimming, hiking, water skiing, and BBQs. The summer months are great, no doubt about it and it’s when most folks have all their fun. The rest of the year, they spend bemoaning the cold and dreary months of winter. But it doesn’t have to be like that! If you know where to look and where to go, winter can be even more fun than summer. Lucky for you, there are great ski and boarding clubs in Europe that will help to ensure your winter is far from boring.
In the KMC we are fortunate to have not one, but two ski clubs offering fabulous trips to some of the greatest ski areas in Europe. If you‘ve never skied or boarded before, you might at first write this opportunity off, but before you do, keep in mind a couple of things.
First, many of our members join simply for the camaraderie and opportunity to meet and make new friends as well as the opportunity to travel to beautiful resort villages in the Alps. Second, many of our members are at the early stages of skiing and boarding and are beginners themselves — it’s never too late to learn a new hobby!
Kaiserslautern-Westpfalz Ski Club is a small club. It is generally geared towards families with children and for people who enjoy a low key, quieter crowd. But don’t let that fool you, this club is all about having a wonderful ski experience.
The President is the affable Dave Sowell. The Tannenbaum Ski Club is a larger club, in fact, they boast of being the biggest ski club in Europe. It is geared towards singles and couples who enjoy a very energetic crowd. The members like to have fun and they have an infectious spirit that can make a ski trip an unforgettable experience. The President is the lively Jennifer Spencer.
Membership in both clubs is open to any individual, military or civilian, who has a desire to be a part of a fun club, meet and make lasting friendships, and to get out and enjoy Europe. Each club holds two monthly socials from September through May. The socials feature trip sign-ups, entertainment, refreshments, and a chance to hobnob with fellow enthusiasts.
The beauty of ski clubs is the convenience they provide to their members. A Trip Captain (TC) is assigned to each trip. The TC is responsible for running and organizing all aspects of the trip from sign-ups, payments, and hotel arrangements to transportation and purchasing lift tickets. All you have to do is sign up, make your payment, and drive to the centrally located departure point.
After loading, you’ll settle in your seat and enjoy the ride. Both clubs provide food and drinks on the bus. Depending on the location of the hotel, the TC may collect lift pass money and purchase the passes for you the next day. TCs will provide you with departure times, breakfast and dinner times, and help you find the lifts.
Sometimes the lifts are within walking distance from the hotel, sometimes you’ll take public transportation, and sometimes the group will use their own bus and go to the lifts together, it all depends on the location. When the weekend comes to an end, the bus will return you to the original parking area. Does it get any more convenient than that? I don’t think so!
The cost of a trip varies depending on the destination. The price for most trips includes bus transportation, hotel room, breakfast and dinner, and food and drinks on the bus. You’ll be responsible for paying for your lift ticket, lunch on the slopes, and drinks at dinner. Bus trips usually depart on Friday afternoon and, depending on the weekend, will return Sunday or Monday evening. Trips can take anywhere from 6-9 hours depending on the destination.
Both ski clubs provide its members not only an opportunity to ski Europe, but to see and do other interesting things as a group. For example, the clubs also take trips to Oktoberfest, Bad Dürkheim Wine Fest, wine probes, and river cruises.
They foster positive relations among its members, the KMC, and the European skiing communities through both skiing and social functions. The Kaiserslautern-West Pfalz Ski Club meets the first and third Wednesday of the month, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Bistorante Paradox in Ramstein Village. Complete club information can be found at www.kwpskiclub.com. The Tannenbaum Ski Club also meets the first and third Wednesday of the month, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Ramstein Brit Café. Complete information can be found at www.tannenbaumskiclub.com or friend them on Facebook.
You owe it to yourself and your family to take advantage of the opportunities the area ski clubs offer. If you haven’t been to the Alps in winter, you’re missing out on one of Mother Nature’s wonders. Hopefully by now you’re interested in at least checking in on what the ski clubs have to offer. Both clubs are hosting their annual membership picnics in August. The Tannenbaum Ski Club picnic is Aug. 13, 12 to 6 p.m., at the Seewoog in Miesenbach. The Kaiserslautern-West Pfalz picnic is Aug. 27, 12 to 5 p.m., also at the Seewoog in Miesenbach.