Rochester Ski Club
75th Anniversary - 1936-2011
In 1934 a recent graduate of Dartmouth and an ardent skier, Dr. Roland Stevens, came to Rochester as a medical student at the University of Rochester. Having previously enjoyed all the wonderful skiing in New England he was disappointed that there was hardly any skiing available in this area. He obtained names of six or seven interested skiers from a local sports writer and organized the first ski club in the greater Rochester area in 1936. This was one of only five organized ski clubs in the United States.
The first meeting was held in the Rundel Library in December of 1936 and with very little money, poor equipment, and no ski lifts the group had its work cut out. During the second year the group tackled the ambitious project of clearing a slope in the Huntington Hills area near Durand Eastman Park and installed a rope tow powered by a Ford engine to become one of the first ski clubs in the nation to have a ski lift. The slope was lit for night skiing by gas lanterns.
The new ski club worked hard to clear some slopes at Powder Mill Park and conducted classes in the fundamentals of skiing as the group began to grow. They were able to talk the County Parks Department into building a ski jump in the park and used the 4H cabin as the base. By 1940 the club was ready to hold its first informal ski jumping competition and soon formal competitions were held with participants from around the state. Also in the ‘40’s, except during the war, ski train excursions left Rochester on weekends for Old Forge for a round trip fee of $8 for adults and $3.50 for children. Winter enthusiasts were treated to ski tow service on three open slopes and five downhill trails, an outdoor skating rink, toboggan slide, horse-drawn sleighs, and heated ski huts adjacent to the slopes.
During the second season the club grew rapidly to more than 150 members. The instructional program was very popular and gradually more and more ski areas began to open. During the ‘50’s RSC members increased the growth and safety of the sport by providing lessons in health and exercise and instruction in many new skiing techniques. In 1969 the program of instruction for children of the Rochester School for the Deaf began in hopes that these children would also have the opportunity to enjoy skiing.
As the decades went by the ski club expanded its activities throughout the year with the focus on fun with interesting meetings, exciting trips, non-skiing activities such as golf, hiking, bike tours, picnics, holiday parties, and fashion shows. Ski club sponsored trips included Vermont, New Hampshire, Canada, the Rockies, Maine, all of New York State, Alaska, California, Montana, Colorado, Utah and many others.
Today the Rochester Ski Club carries on the tradition started by its founders with events such as interesting monthly dinner meetings Nov. – April, hiking events, a wonderful spring banquet at a country club in May, a Summer picnic in August, a pig roast in October, and a holiday party in December. Also the upcoming ski season includes trips to Okemo, Vt., Sunday River, ME, Park City, UT, and Stowe, VT. Current membership is approximately 400. Happy 75th anniversary, RSC!!!!
In preparation for the ski club's 75th Anniversary celebration, Marcia R. reviewed many boxes of the club's historical data - and did a terrific job summarizing 75 years of Rochester Ski Club history.
A most sincere thank you!
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