Saturday, January 05, 2008

Norway Ski Club

For decades I've driven by the Norway Ski Club in Shandaken, New York, on Route 28 as I head towards Delaware County and Catskill Forest Preserve (what I think of as the real Catskills). It always fascinated me, a beautiful white house with green shutters that close and lock, right next to the road, only open on weekends as far as I could tell. What was this Norway Ski Club? Turns out it's a NYC institution (of course) started in the 1930s, still going but struggling to attract new members.

NYTimes: Oh, My Poor Arthritic Ski Club

Yet, there are still vestiges of skiing’s past as a sport accessible to the working man. Starting in the 1930s, city-based ski clubs such as the Norway, Swiss and Miramar flourished. Many were formed by immigrants from ski-loving countries, or groups of neighbors who wanted the sport to be both sociable and affordable. They pooled their money and bought modest houses in ski towns like Ludlow, Vt., and Shandaken, N.Y., in the Catskills.

Membership is dwindling at the clubs that have survived. Many modern skiers find the idea of doing a few chores and sharing a bathroom with strangers, which many clubs require, as unacceptable as a T-shirt without a designer label.

No comments: