SCNJ – Some history about The Ski Club of New Jersey
From the archives…
Early Days of the Ski Club of New Jersey
When skiing was in its infancy and our club’s founders had to travel to Lake Placid or North Conway to get professional instruction from Otto Schneibs* or Hannes Schneider respectively, a group of about 15 skaters and hikers affiliated with the Hackensack “Y” got the urge to ski, and decided to do something about it.
The “word” was passed around to friends that a group would get together at the ”Y” in December to talk and make plans. Approximately 25 attended that first meeting, and after a general discussion it was decided to form a ski club, but as an outside organization that was not affiliated with the “Y”.
The outcome of all this was the formation of our Ski Club, and the first regular meeting was called on December 13, 1939 at which time a president (Fred Leeman), a vice-president (Jim Carew), a secretary (Marie Eimert), a treasurer (Jerry Sone) and a weatherman (John Bourne) were elected. By 10:30 that night, our ski club was on its way.
Its objective: To promote safe, controlled skiing, and ski excursions; to cultivate good fellowship between ski clubs, ski club members, and skiers everywhere, and to buy the right kind of sound, adequate equipment.
In essence, that is nearly our verbatim mission today!
The name “Ski Club of New Jersey” was chosen at our 2nd meeting; ten cents was collected from each member to defray current expenses, and dues of $2.00 were charged each member to set up a treasury.
Our first ski club trip took place January 2, 1939 when about 20 members left at 6:30 a.m. for Simpson’s Memorial Slope in Phoenicia, N.Y., a hill with a rope tow. Snow was good, weather was sunny and cold, and we had FUN!
A temporary Constitution and By-Laws were voted on and accepted that January, and dues set at $2.50 for the 1939-40 season. The club colors of Maroon and Grey were adopted at our 6th meeting. The emblem was a grey field, a shield-shaped, with the letters N.J. in maroon, and a skier skiing down the bar of the “n”. These first emblems were made of felt, with the skier and NJ sewn on, and the shield bordered in maroon. We were mighty proud of them!
Bousquet’s of Pittsfield, Mass., was often visited by our group, and Yokum Seat Mountain House” was our retreat. There, we had many good times, and held our 1939-40 New Year’s party. We also did a lot of skiing at our local golf clubs, when snow permitted.
Money again: in April 1939 we voted to make a voluntary contribution of $1 per member, to enable us to join the USEASA as a member club for the year 1939-40. Those contributing were to be made a charter member of the club. Fred Leeman, Jim Carew, Otto and Vera Hikadi, Claire Koller, Marge and Rudi Loegel, Jerry Stone, Elinor Samuels and Gene Bedell took part.
During the 1939-40 season, a first aid ski patrol was organized and the SCNJ patrol was registered with the national Ski Patrol System during the 1040-41 season.
Our first annual dinner-dance was held at Calks Castle, May 11, 1940.
The club’s membership grew so fast that we were obliged to leave the Hackensack “Y” and move to our own quarters at Howland Avenue, River Edge, where we held our first meeting in November, 1940.
When the dread, dark days of World War II came upon us in 1941, our club’s membership had grown to about 120.
Both boy and girl members joined the services, gasoline, as was everything else, had been rationed, and our membership dropped off sharply. But a few members kept the club going, gave parties for those going into services, and corresponded with them while they were away. Their membership was kept up by the club.
When hostilities ceased, many of our service people returned. Three did not: Trevor Jarrad, Bob Ranges, and John Wissing.
Along with everyone else, we had post-war housing problems, and moved to several different places between 1946 and 1951, when we settled down at Visentin’s Grove in Fair Lawn. Here we were afforded every convenience and consideration.
One hudred percent member club status in the USEASA was achieved in 1949, and the club was incorporated in 1951.
The SCNJ won the Divisional Award set up by Miller HighLife for the best organized club in the Eastern Division in 1956, and again in 1961; and won the divisional and the National awards in 1957 and in 1965.
During the summer of 1960, a committee was set up to scout the Rutland Ski area for a possible lodge.
Bob White headed the committee, and was assisted by Ed Pecht, Joe Koch, De Kiligas, Frank Knight, Ken McBride, Bob Mathews, Bill Muller and Dick Oberrit.
Thanks to their efforts, a delightful place was found in Chittenden, Vermont, that could be used as a Lodge, and the club now has a wonderful year round place to go…for skiing in the winter, and vacationing during the summer months.
The club boasted at that time, a First Aid Ski Patrol of 32 members of whom nine are National appointees, and nine First Aid Instructors. We also had four professional and 12 amateur ski instructors on the club’s roster.
*Otto Schneibs coached Dartmouth and St. Lawrence University ski teams and helped design Aspen and Whiteface Mountain and hundreds of other runs across the country. He authored three books on skiing and was the director for the first instructors school for the Eastern Ski Association.
*Otto Schneibs from Wikipedia
He was born in the town of Stuben am Arlberg in Austria as a son of a cheesemaker.
He first observed skiing in 1900, and in 1903 obtained an authentic pair of skis and some instruction from Viktor Sohm.
In 1939 he moved his operations to Cranmore Mountain Ski Resort in North Conway, New Hampshire. He had run into trouble with Nazi policies and even spent time in jail after the Anschluss. During the Second World War he helped train the 10th Mountain Division of the U. S. Army in which his son Herbert served. Hannes became a member of the US Ski Hall of Fame in 1958.
**Hannes Schneider (from Wikipedia)