If you want to save some money and schedule some quality family time this winter then it’s never too early to think winter; start a club or join a club
Saving money and finding ways to get the family together for some quality recreation time are two of the most important tasks a parent takes on, and no doubt two of the most challenging ones.
During the winter season, this job is particularly difficult since there are fewer options of fun things to do, especially out-of-doors activities. One popular choice is joining a local community family ski and snowboard club. And when you can’t find an existing club in your area, you can start your own by reaching out to other families you know.
“Club-style” recreation has some distinct advantages; larger groups of people (typically 15 or more) can get discounted rates at ski areas and save as much as one-third off the retail gate prices. Club trips also mean you make several trips in a season; if parents and/or kids are learning snow sports for the first time there’s a real learning benefit to getting on the mountain multiple times and practicing what was taught in a lesson. The best reason to get involved with a club is for socialization; kids will make new friends and they will develop bonds tied to their common snow sport interest.
New Jersey is located in a perfect place for skiing and snowboarding. There are a number of ski areas that can be easily traveled to in about one hour. Shawnee Mountain Ski Area in the Pocono Mountains is easily accessed from Interstate 80 and just 10 minutes from the highway. Their claim to fame is that they cater to families. They have a well-staffed ski and snowboard school, contemporary rental shop and lots of lodge seating and food outlets.
“Hmmmm … snow time with the kids and hot chocolate by the fireplace; sounds like fun.
Shawnee has a club program that offers an assortment of packages that can include ski or snowboard rental equipment and lessons. Families can “mix and match” packages depending on what they need. Club packages offer a 5-visit deal and are relatively inexpensive when one considers the retail cost of snow sports. A full ski or snowboard package that includes lift ticket, equipment and a one hour lesson on a Sunday afternoon package can be purchased for $225.00; that’s $45.00 for everything. Sunday afternoon is described as “Great for Family Groups” because you can start at 1:00 PM and stay till 9:00 PM. Most families stick around till 6:00 or 7:00 PM and then head home so kids (and parents) can get to bed before work and school on Monday. It’s likely some of the kids won’t make it out of the parking lot before their eyes are closed.
Winter doesn’t have to be a long season that drags on while you wait for the snow to melt and spring to arrive. Adding a fun activity that all family members can do together gives parents and kids something to look forward to each week throughout the winter months. Skiing and snowboarding as a family also creates a shared connection between parents and kids and siblings too.
Like Christmas, winter can sneak up on us quickly so it’s never too early to start doing your research. Is there a snow sports club in your area? Check with the local recreation department and look at your community newspapers. If you can’t find an existing club, start your own. We all know two or three other families who would love to try the idea. And check out Shawnee Mountain’s club program and don’t be afraid to ask for help.