The Hartford Ski Club (HSC) was founded in 1936 by skiing enthusiasts who wanted to foster interest in both the recreational and competitive aspects of the sport. There are currently about 300 members.
The HSC was founded on two basic principles:
- a low cost approach to skiing
- member involvement in club activities
These characterize the Club's informal, happy, low-key but well organized approach to skiing.
Formation of the Hartford Ski Club was a direct outgrowth of a "dry course" in skiing being conducted at the Broad Street YMCA during the Fall of 1936.
At the last session of the course, the suggestion was made that some of those attending might be interested in forming a ski club; accordingly, on December 29, 1936, the initial organization meeting was held with the following ten charter members:
|A. B. Belcher||Ellsworth Newberry|
|Harry Gold||Payson Newton|
|Bunny Goodrich||Monty Pratt|
|West Griswold||Rocky Ward|
|James Green||Emerson White|
Jim Green was elected to serve as provisional president until the first annual meeting to be held in the Spring of 1937, and the Constitution and By-laws were prepared. At the first director's meeting in January, 1937, it was voted that the newly formed Club join the United States Eastern Amateur Ski Association.
In the Fall of 1937, the Club obtained the use of the slope on the west side of Avon (Talcott Mountain) and work was started on a trail. The original open-type shelter and fireplace were constructed in 1939. In 1941, the lower slope was equipped with floodlights for night skiing. In 1943, the lower ski tow was erected. In 1945, the enclosed shelter was built. In 1951, additional slopes and trails were cleared and the upper ski tows were completely rebuilt.
The abandonment of our Avon slope in 1959 was caused by the lack of snow and the inroads of golf. It was with nostalgic feelings for many to see the passing of this era in the history of the Hartford Ski Club.
The Mad River Glen Lodge
In 1955, after favorable experience in renting ski lodges for two previous seasons, the Club acquired land at the foot of the chairlift at Mad River Glen, Waitsfield, Vermont. The Club constructed a ski lodge, complete with all facilities, and designed to accommodate 36. This lodge has served as the principal focus of the Club.
The basement was finished in the 1960s. The lodge was substantially renovated and improved during the mid-1980s and the late 1990s.
Bird's Nest Lodge
In 1961, the Club accepted an offer to pay the taxes on an old farmhouse at Berkshire Snow Basin in return for its full-time use. The house, subsequently named "The Bird's Nest," was painted, cleaned, and partially furnished. It proved to be a popular lodge, particularly for our family members and weekend skiers. Its convenience and homey atmosphere helped to draw our members closer together and filled the spot left open when the Club's Avon ski slope was abandoned. Berkshire Snow Basin closed in 1985.
Although the Bird's Nest is no longer available, the Club continues to explore the development of a special relationship with a Southern New England ski area. To this end, the Club rented a 22 bed chalet at Magic Mountain for the 1990-91 season.
It was hoped that a significant success in this experiment would lead the Club to the permanent development of a Southern Vermont facility. Unfortunately, Magic Mountain ceased operating in 1992, which ended the experiment.
Magic Mountain reopened in 1998. Discounted lift tickets are available through the Connecticut Ski Council to Magic Mountain, and other Vermont ski resorts.
Our thanks to these past presidents of the Hartford Ski Club, Inc. Life members are shown in italics.
Famous HSC members include olympic champions and hall of famers. Jim Shea was the 2002 Olympic Skeleton Gold medal winner. Three-term HSC past-president Ed Eaton was elected in 1980 to the National Ski Hall of Fame.
Share Your Memories and Photos
HSC members! We need your help to supply photos and other details on the last 74 years or so of Hartford Ski Club history. If you know the answers to any of these questions, please contact us. Thank you!
- The Lodge at Mad River Glen
- The Charter of the Hartford Ski Club Incorporated
- The Board of Directors
- Membership Benefits