News

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • 22 Mar 2020 3:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Chattanooga Ski Club Banff Adventures 2020

    I am so glad we got to go to Banff.  After seeing it in the wintertime, I am committed to coming back again to see it in the summer/fall time period.  There were so many things to do in addition to skiing.  Our flight was smooth and the bus transfer was very comfortable both arriving and departing.  We arrived at the Banff Ptarmigan Inn on Saturday afternoon in time to get our skis, gear, and supplies and to have dinner at the Inn.   It was so nice to have a good restaurant in our hotel.   By the way, Ptarmigan (pronounced “Tarmigan” - the “P” is silent) is a snow pigeon that turns white in the wintertime.  The Canadians added the “P” to remind us that it’s a pigeon. 

    We got free Roam bus passes to get around town, in addition to the regular ski buses going to the three main ski resorts - Banff Sunshine, Norquay and Lake Louise.  Many folks started skiing on Sunday at Sunshine.  We started off with a bang as Gene Shokes fell promptly after coming off the first lift of the day with his new snowboard.  He cracked a couple of ribs, but after a few days rest and a couple of relaxing visits to the spa, he was back at it later that week.  Tom DuBose “tipped over” as he STOOD talking to Bob Tramel (no injury and no alcohol was involved). Betsy Darken gets “Most Spectacular Fall of the Week” after her yard sale and then sliding half way down the mountain, and Judy Norton strained an Achilles tendon, but that gave me someone to hang out with after my injury as I hobbled around on crutches throughout the week.  Penny Kramer fell and then found out after she arrived home that she had a hairline fracture in her arm after completing a week of skiing.   We are “tough old birds” but we need to be sure to keep up that calcium with all these broken bones.  

    Let me say, the snow was great!  Dry powder, not too deep, many times we got fresh snow overnight, and it was really not too cold.  It was cloudy on many days but occasionally the sun peaked through the clouds and the scenery was brilliant!  Kevin Cleek spent part of the week looking for a rock that he skied off of several years ago.   On the last day, Robert Haile, Bob Tramel, John Hilbrandt, and Kevin came across a sign for Rock Garden and we think Kevin might have found his infamous rock.  We have the video to prove it.  The night before we left, they got seven inches of the white stuff and it was sunny! 
     
    Barb Wise was great as she headed up some side trips for those who were not skiing.  We had high tea at the Fairmont Lake Louise, "The Castle of the Rockies. Lake Louise featured a beautiful ice castle and ice sculptures around the frozen lake, 3-4 mini hockey rinks, and ice skating, an Ice bar with hot and cold adult beverages and hot chocolate for the kids.  We experienced a new dessert at the maple syrup bar.  Hot maple syrup is poured on fresh snow and rolled onto a Popsicle stick as a maple syrup sucker….YUM!  There were several delicious restaurants with beautiful views inside the hotel and every kind of gift shop imaginable.  The ladies at the high tea came home with leftovers as the wait staff encouraged take home boxes.

    One group gathered on a cold morning to do the Johnston Canyon ice walk.

    Since Judy and I were limping around, we caught the Roam bus up to the Banff Hot springs and used our free passes to soak in the 105 degree water.  Soooo relaxing!  In fact the next day I introduced MeShon to the hot springs.
    Later that week a large group took the gondola (above the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel) to the top of the mountain for dinner at the Sky Bistro and a breathtaking view.  They had a museum and gift shops inside and fire pits and a geodesic dome on the outside to stay warm because as the sun sets and the winds kicked up, it got really cold up there!

    Some people jumped on (or off?) the dog sled rides and snow mobiles.

    Barbie and I went to the Buffalo Nations Museum for a fascinating movie and displays about the native peoples in this region.  As we strolled through town, we stopped at Nester’s Market (where the locals shop) and I picked up some great souvenirs.  They had great prices on Canadian smoked salmon.

    Cindy and I actually walked across the Bow River which was frozen solid in some places, on our first morning hike on Sunday.

    I would have loved to have gone cross country skiing or snowshoeing but the old knee just did not cooperate.  Just means I need to come back again sometime. 

    Evenings were fun as we enjoyed a variety of cuisines from cheese fondue, wild meats, vegetarian, and Greek food at the Balken Restaurant where Tom DuBose was whisked off his feet by a cute belly dancer.  He did his best to show her how it’s done in Tennessee.  Earl's was a hit after a day of skiing with great drinks and appetizers and happy hour pricing!

    I really hope we can do this trip again.  Great lodging, food, attractions, skiing and great friends.   You can’t beat that!

    Suzanne Grueser

  • 22 Mar 2020 3:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    THE EUROPEAN TRIP 2020 (or how to survive a pandemic in a foreign country without really trying)

    On March 6, 2020, 29 brave members of the Chattanooga Ski Club caught a big bird and set off to find a pot of gold, the Ark of the Covenant, or just a good time in St. Moritz, Switzerland and Scotland. But as it is with many spiritual campaigns, such as the Crusades to the Holy Land, sometime obstacles get in the way.

    The coronavirus, or what everyone on the trip referred to as a ”simple ingrown toenail type of situation,” was on everyone’s thoughts. Our side trips to Italy were canceled but everyone felt comfortable staying in Switzerland and started to slide in their own “easy chair happy person mode,” to enjoy the sights, food and skiing in St. Moritz. 

    For skiers, St. Moritz is a no-mogul area. It is just a lay the skis down the mountain and let them run like greyhound puppies. Several hard cores skied five days and loved it.

    While some skied, everyone else took a horse-drawn sleigh ride around the town, and they went to the castle of Not Vidal (Yes, it is Not Vidal, not Gore Vidal). He is an artist of some note, but I encourage everyone to look at his portfolio online and speak to anyone who went on the excursion. He was a friend to Andy Warhol and his paintings and photographs in his castle cannot be explained in this little letter (ask about the Asian guy they cut with a knife head to knee at a cocktail party done as “Performance Art”). Of any regret I have of this trip, not going to the Not Vidal castle was a boo-boo on my part. I will always go on castle trips again even though I have been to many others in the past.

    The cities of Chur and Lucerne were side trips that everyone seemed to enjoy and Lucerne was just as lovely as it was years ago on a trip with John Rollins.

    Everybody was having a great time until about 2:45 am Thursday morning when our government closed the U.S. borders for travel from Europe.

    The closing of the borders was not the problem. The part about American citizens being able to get back in the country was left out of the President's speech, but was prominent on the Homeland Security website. This brought some comfort, but whether we needed to go home, continue with the trip, or if we would be able to go home or stay in Switzerland for an extra 30 days was just unknown by everyone including Alpine Adventures. Interesting time. 

    The telephone call and bustle at these early morning hours in our room was intoxicating and you could cut the uncertainty in the room with a knife.

    Another group from Boston traveling with Alpine Adventures were in Davos. At 3:00 a.m. several from the group packed their bags, rented a car, drove straight to Zurich, and paid a pretty penny to catch the first plane back to the U.S.

    Panic is a dangerous drug!

    Most everyone with the club on Thursday was ready to go back home without touring Scotland. We were in the process of obtaining tickets reissued to go back early on Saturday, and then the most amazing thing happened: we got a tour of Edinburgh.

    A clean, beautiful, and historic city is Edinburgh and before we got off the bus from a short city tour, everyone wanted to stay as long as they could in Scotland. We did not go to Loch Ness, Inverness, or see the Highlands up close. But we saw Edinburgh, Perth, St. Andrews, and Glasgow and every place in between the central part of Scotland.  It was amazing.

    Our guide for our trip was Joe Harrower. He is a retired microbiologist raised in Edinburgh and was involved to a small degree with the Scottish cloning of the sheep “Dolly” several years ago by Edinburgh University. He also had taught, in the U.S. and Scotland, techniques used for gene splicing with Dolly and how it may relate to other areas of science.

    Joe had an amazing personality, but, other than his charisma, he went out of his way to make us understand and see the simple beauty, the complex intricacies, and reasoning behind why Scots have such pride and love of their country.

    To lose something you come to love is always harsh, but Alpine Adventures felt we had to come back three days early to make sure that we could get back home. I think that I can safely say that leaving Scotland was difficult for everyone. But when we had our going away dinner in a casino in Glasgow, we were the only ones in the restaurant. Coming back early was not from our being scared but from just the uncertainty of everything. 

    We came back to the states with no broken bones and no viruses (hopefully), but everyone felt a self-quarantine period was on their immediate future for friends and family’s sake.

    KUDOS TO THE FOLLOWING:

    • 1.     Ina Gerlach - While putting up with several groups that were panic-stricken, Ina took care of everyone in the group whether they needed to go home early, stay a little longer, or just needed a flight changed by several hours. The year before last, Ina dragged me out from the bowels of St. Anton one night after I had busted my shoulder and she did it again this time with the entire group.
    • 2.     Alpine Adventures - Whether we were all going, all staying, some going, some staying, the company went out of their way to do what we wanted until it was time to come home. We were not the only group they had to deal with.
    • 3.     Don Drumm - When we were leaving, the gate representative from British Airways said he and Janie could not travel and enter the U.S.  Don calmly told the rep very nicely that she needed to call her superiors because there was going to be a riot if our group could not get on the flight. The rep and her superiors listened to Don and we came back with no problems. Word to the wise, always listen to Don about anything.
    • 4.     ABBY TOURS - This was the group that toured us around Scotland. They did an excellent job.

    I think it is safe to say this sounds like, and was, the basic, ”TRIP FROM HELL.”

    However, I feel confident that this was a great trip for everyone because it had good skiing, good food, and we were all ski cub people just getting along enjoying each other. We saw some amazing sights.

    I will never forget walking down the 18th green of St Andrews’ old golf course, hearing something beside me, and seeing it was a dog with a ball in its mouth rolling on the grass. Everybody walks the course grounds on Sunday due to the course being closed to golf, but open to the public for walking and playing with frisky dogs. Take that, Augusta.

    As with the song “A Boy Named Sue,” in the end, he said he was going to name his son anything but Sue. It is my hope and wish that with any other ski trip the club takes in the future, the trip leader deals only with lost luggage, acute tummy aches, and just good old country whining about the weather.

    It is my prayer that no other trip leader in the future will  have to deal with   anything close to or anything resembling a global- and panic-inducing-pandemic virus!!!

    Cheers.

  • 22 Mar 2020 2:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hello to all our members and guests. To say the least, it has been a very interesting last few weeks. I had the displeasure of sending out a cancellation of our April general meeting and board meeting.  Sad to say, it was supposed to be my last meeting as President. Sorry folks, but you're stuck with me for another month.   

    All our members made it back from the European trip, but I know nerves were frayed for some.  I'm looking forward to hearing about it from Pat.  Who could ever imagine that a virus could take down the ski industry? Ski people are some of the most healthy people in the world, and on top of that, the cold weather should have frozen the virus.  Enough about that, let's look to the future and hope this bump in the road will soon pass.  Our group of members have a lot of things coming up  and we need to get back to the pleasures of life!

    Thanks,

    Mike


  • 21 Feb 2020 9:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Welcome to all our visitors and members who enjoy all the lifestyle activities that our club has to offer.  As we are midstream of this year ski season, we are waiting on departure to Banff this coming Saturday.   It's my first trip up there, and I hear it is a great destination.  We should have some good stories to share at our next general meeting March 3.  Be sure to let Bob know if your having dinner with us, so we can order the proper amount of food.     

    Exciting times are ahead for our club with election of officers in April.  We will be posting candidates after the March board meeting.  I would like to thank Tom for the trip report on the Salt Lake trip.  As we can see, mother nature still rules, but it looks like they all had a good time. 

    No good news on our race team, as weather keeps canceling races. But Kevin is doing a great job and his team is keeping us competitive.  

    As I write this,  snow is suppose to be in Chattanooga this afternoon and temps are dropping. Maybe the eastern ski resorts can get back on track. 

    Well , I better go pack for Banff! Looking forward to seeing you at our next meeting.  

    Thank you, 

    Mike      


  • 9 Feb 2020 3:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    All ten club members arrived at the Crystal Inn in Murray, Utah (suburb of Salt Lake City) on Saturday afternoon, February 1st including John Neblett, Jim Mullenix, brothers Randy and Chris DeHart, Gary Farmer, Dave Conner, Pat and Ashley Ownby, and Tom and Susan DuBose,   The rental shop picked some of us up and took us to get our skis.  Pat Ownby talked our driver in to taking us to the state liquor store where there were long lines because everyone was stocking up for their Super Bowl parties.  We joined about 30 skiers from the Raleigh club and four members of the Coastal (Myrtle Beach) club who were also staying at the Crystal Inn and had booked their trips through Skigroup.net like we had.

    Sunday morning eight of our ten members who were skiing (Pat and John were on a relaxation trip) took the bus to Alta Ski Resort which is at the end of Little Cottonwood Canyon.  There was a traffic jam at the base of the canyon so the trip took an hour and a half.  Ashley, Randy and Chris had lift tickets while the other five had IKON passes.  The lift ticket holders found out that their lift tickets didn’t work for the bus or the lifts.  After a few phone calls the situation was finally resolved.  Temperatures at Alta were in the 40’s but it was extremely windy, especially at the top of the Sugarloaf and Collins lifts.  So most of us made it over to the Supreme lift were the wind wasn’t so bad.

    On Sunday night several went to the Bohemian Brewery for Czechoslovakian food and beer and to keep an eye on the Super Bowl - it started 4:30 pm local time.  Then everyone went back to their rooms and most reported watching the rest of Kansas City's victory before going to bed.

    On Monday a huge snow storm arrived in Salt Lake - we woke up to about 4 inches and it snowed in Salt Lake most of the day.  Four skiers - Chris, Randy, Gary and Tom - made their way up Big Cottonwood Canyon on another hour and a half bus ride (some had to stand the whole way - not fun!) to Brighton Ski Resort.  And even though forecasts had all four resorts getting 10 inches or more, they only got about an inch.  It was very cold - below five degrees - but not much wind.  And the sun even came out after lunch.  Gary exhibited his ski instruction abilities so now all four of us are ready to try out for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

    Non-skiers soaked in the hot tub and went to the nearby mall for a delicious lunch at Red Rocks Brewery.

    Tuesday was another day at Alta for some skiers and included a fancy lunch at the Collins Grill (see picture below) - they even have slippers you can wear while you eat.  Other skiers went to Snowbird.


    Wednesday’s skiers went back to Alta and that evening several in the group skipped the free Crystal Inn chili cheese dogs, opting instead to take the Trax train downtown to the Red Iguana for some delicious Mexican fare. 

    Because of the snow storm that started on Wednesday night and the fact that the road going to Little Cottonwood Canyon was closed, Thursday morning the buses were running really slow.  After an unsuccessful wait of about 30 minutes Jim, Susan and Tom decided to take the day off instead of skiing.  Gary, Dave and Ashley drove over to Deer Valley where the World Cup was being held.  They toured the very swanky Stein Eriksen Lodge and came back with some great swag.  The five non-skiers went downtown to the mall and three of them went to the planetarium.  That night Susan happened to see a short video clip of John, Jim, Pat, Tom and herself on local TV waiting to board the train!

    Friday Dave and Gary headed back home by car, and the DeHarts and the DuBoses went to Brighton.  The road up Little Cottonwood Canyon was closed so everyone in Salt Lake wanted to go to Brighton and Solitude - it took the bus 2 hours to get there.  The other 4 of our group relaxed at the hotel.  Friday night the remaining eight of us enjoyed a great Italian dinner at Celeste Restaurante.


    Randy DeHart, Susan & Tom DuBose


    Chris & Randy DeHart

    By the time we left on Saturday morning the snow base depth at Alta was 128”, up from just over 100” when we arrived the week before.  Total additional snow at Alta and Snowbird while we were there was between 30-40”, almost all of which fell Wednesday night through Friday.  The road up Little Cottonwood to Alta and Snowbird remained closed from Wednesday night through Saturday morning and the people at those resorts were “interlodged” meaning that because of avalanche danger they could not leave their lodging for over 2 days!

    In summary while we were never confined to the hotel and we did experience some really good skiing, most felt they could have done without the long bus rides and the complimentary but low-quality hotel food.

  • 31 Jan 2020 9:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Chattanooga Cleek Team and Megan lined it up again at Appalachian Ski Mountain for the 2nd race of the season.  The team again worked its magic and held on to 4th place overall.  Individually, only Ben Cleek made it to the podium, but a sibling rivalry seems to be developing in division 2.  Team Captain Kevin Cleek, competing in unfamiliar territory in Flight 3 Saturday, found himself on his back on his first run and finished last, followed by a clean run where he finished 2nd from last.  On Sunday, he moved up to 5th in the giant slalom.  Cody Cleek, also racing above his pay grade found himself in 5th place both days.  He did place 2nd in his first run Sunday, but he too managed to leave a body-sized divot on the course on the 2nd run.  Megan Wigginton gave a stellar effort both days finishing 7th and 8th, but leaving no permanent marks in the course.  Ben Cleek took a 3rd Saturday and a 6th Sunday.  He is presently leading the field in "Most Improved Racer" points, and hopefully nets himself a prize at the end of the season.  But the real story is Beverly Cleek who found her idiot husband had inadvertently entered her to race, so she did, and qualified for the first time ever.  Welcome to the team, Bev.

  • 22 Jan 2020 3:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Welcome to all our visitors and members who enjoy all the lifestyle activities that our club offers.  Thirty-nine of us just returned from Snowmass CO where we enjoyed great snow.  Our accommodation's were slopeside, and right across from the hot tub, which several of us enjoyed daily.  Snowmass ranks as the number one spot for me with lots and lots of wide open slopes.   Our next club trip is Salt Lake City UT, which has been getting a lot snow in the mountains. They should have excellent conditions.  

    As said at our last meeting, there will not be a February general meeting or board meeting due to the Salt Lake trip. Please make a note that in March we will be in full swing getting ready for our election of officers in April. My time as President will soon come to an end, and I want to thank everyone for making my time as president a great success. I encourage anyone who wants to volunteer to help our club to please let us know.    

    Our race team hasn't had the best weather in the eastern mountains yet.  I know a race is suppose to happen this coming weekend.  Hopefully, the cold air we brought back from Colorado should let them make snow. Good luck to all our racers.

    Looking forward to seeing you at our next meeting in March.

    Thank you,

    Mike   


  • 22 Jan 2020 3:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For the second year, the Chattanooga Ski Club had a exhibit table on Saturday during the 2020 Lookout Wild Film Festival at the Tivoli Theater. The Lookout Wild Film Festival is a four day event held since 2013 featuring a variety of terrific national and regional outdoor and conservation documentary films on subjects such as skiing, rock climbing, kayaking, trail running, and preservation of endangered wild areas.

    The Chattanooga Ski Club was one of several regional outdoor sport and conservation organizations offering information to the varied audience members. Many who stopped to speak with us were surprised that Chattanooga has a ski club. Many who talked to us said they had never skied or had not skied in many years. Having a presence at events that attract a lot of people interested in skiing, snowboarding and/or travel may help with future membership recruitment.

    There were three movies on skiing, which fortunately are available in full on YouTube: "Lhotse," about two people who climb and ski in the Himalayas; "Zabardast," about a group of skiers and boarders who climb and ski in a remote area of Pakistan; and "REI Presents: Brotherhood of Skiing," about the history of black ski clubs. The hilarious cartoon, "Hors Piste," is sadly not available for free, but the trailer can be seen on Vimeo.

    Thanks to our Publicity Chair, Suzanne Grueser; Joe Wilson, who prepared an informational poster for our table, and Tom DuBose, who coordinated this event with the film festival group.  Thanks also to club members who volunteered at the event: Cindy Dees, Betsy Darken, Joe Wilson, and Tom DuBose. Many club members came to various sessions during the four days of the festival. It was great to see everyone there.


  • 26 Dec 2019 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Welcome to everyone this winter. Glad to hear everyone got back from the Crescent Ski Council trip to Steamboat with nobody hurt.   But I did hear mother nature threw snow at them on the day they were suppose to leave, causing some delay. 

    Snowmass is coming up in a few days, and we all are excited.   Snow conditions are showing a lot of packed powder and 16 of 22 lifts open as I write this.  So, 90 percent of the mountain is open, with more snow to come. 

    We would like to thank everyone who came out to our Christmas party at our new location.   It seemed to go over very well for everyone.   Thanks to all who brought desserts.   

    At our next general meeting, we are having our buy / sell / swap ski gear event on Jan. 7.  Be sure to RSVP for the meal.

    In other ski news, it was announced this week that Uber is extending its “Uber Ski” program to a number of new locations after having successfully piloted the project in select U.S. cities in previous years. Now, the program is being introduced in a total of 23 locations across the U.S., with both mountain locations and big name cities located hours away getting the green light. But what exactly is “Uber Ski”? Well, it’s simple. Uber users looking for a ride will open the app as usual, and select the Uber Ski option. In doing so, the rider will be guaranteed transportation by a spacious vehicle equipped with 4-wheel drive, and most importantly, either a roof rack or a truck bed for ski equipment. The fee for the service is reasonable as well, as it’ll cost riders just $8.00 in addition to their standard trip fare. 

    Thanks and Happy New Year to all,

    Mike


  • 25 Nov 2019 10:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On Saturday morning November 2nd, twenty brave souls left cold Nashville for the warm, sunny Dutch island of Bonaire.  The flight down was interesting since right after we got over the Gulf of Mexico, the plane turned around and returned to Houston due to a navigation system problem.  After about five hours we re-boarded the same plane to try again.  This time we made it to the island, after 10pm.  Representatives from Buddy Dive Resort met us at the airport and took us on a 10 minute ride through mostly deserted (at that hour) town to the resort.

    The next morning everyone met at one (of the two) restaurants on the resort for the first of our daily buffet breakfasts, complete with pancakes, bacon, sausage, potatoes, fruits, juices, breads, made to order omelets/eggs, and more.  Since we were so late getting in the night before, we were then given a special 30 minute orientation to the island (that is required for all visitors since the water around the entire island is a protected marine park) and to the resort.  After that we received our vehicles, either seven passenger vans or five passenger extended cab trucks (each of our five apartments included a vehicle) for carrying dive gear and tanks.  Next, all the divers went to the dive shop/pier and got wet, checking out our gear and ensuring we had the proper weights to submerge and stay off the coral.  The diving at Buddy’s was some of the best on the island, with two ladders for entering the water and a very short swim to the reef wall.

    Our dive package included unlimited tanks (air or Nitrox) for shore diving and most of us made 2-4 dives a day.  The great thing about shore diving was that we did our dives on our schedule.  Another plus was we weren’t bumping into people on a dive boat when getting geared up or when submerged.  In addition to Buddy’s reef, some of our favorite locations were the Salt Pier, Karpata, and Hilma Hooker (a sunken ship/artificial reef).  Some also did some boat dives to locations that aren’t accessible from the beach.

    Those of our group that didn’t dive enjoyed the snorkeling, usually at the same sites where others in our group were diving.  Due to the protection of the marine park, there is an abundance of coral and fish.  Some of the things seen included barracudas, stingrays, eagle rays, tarpons, groupers, turtles, lionfish, scorpionfish, and spotted and green moray eels.

    On Monday and again on Tuesday, some of our group went on a three hour horseback ride with Horse Ranch Bonaire.  The group was led by Simone through the countryside, including deserts and mangroves to Loc Bay.  Once at the bay they swam with the horses in the bay, then returned to the ranch.

    Monday night everyone went on a Sunset Snorkel Dinner Cruise with Captain Miguel from Epic Tours.   We sailed along the coast of Bonaire and Klein Bonaire where we had two guided snorkel sessions. After snorkeling, the crew prepared a luxury BBQ diner on board our catamaran while we watched the sunset and then the stars come out.

    Wednesday night we had a surprise birthday party for Bobbie Witt.  I’ll leave her age up to your imagination.  During the evening we had pizza and played various games.

    Overall, everyone had a great time and we are looking forward to a return trip.


<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >>