THE SKI & SPORTS CLUB OF WASHINGTON, DC
GREAT SPORTS FOR ALL SEASONS
To someone who’s never led one before, leading a ski trip can sound like an intimidating prospect. But every year, we get several new trip leaders, people who have never led a trip before. No, they’re neither geniuses nor gluttons for punishment. They’re people who want to help their fellow club members, and who want to really feel good after a project successfully completed. They also want to ski free. Yes, free. We’ll get to that.
How do they do it? And, more importantly, how can you do it?
The same way you learned to walk – by baby steps. Our novice leader starts by leading a one- day instruction trip to a local resort, where skiers provide their own transportation. All the leader does is collect the money ahead of time, order the lift tickets, and hand them out at the resort. Our ski school, which has been working closely with the novice leader all along, takes over from there.
Once our novice leader has led a one-day trip, he or she is ready to lead a weekend trip to Canaan Valley, Snowshoe or Seven Springs or some other resort with rooming accommodations. Now it’s a little more complicated, because there’s a resort hotel to deal with. But our now somewhat experienced leader has a trip monitor; the trip monitor is there as a mentor, to answer questions, to help out, and, yes, to make sure the leader doesn’t “drop the ball.” Every leader, even those with many years’ experience, has a monitor. It’s one of the things we do to make sure everyone has a fun, safe, and enjoyable trip. Including – especially including – the trip leader.
After leading a weekend bus trip, our now experienced leader is ready for The Big Time, The Major Leagues, The Show – a western trip. Now our leader is dealing with a travel agent (AKA The Leader’s Best Friend), as well as a resort and an airline. Our leader is shepherding thirty or forty people across the country, or, as some leaders like to say, “herding cats,” or “shoveling fleas across a yard.” Yes, it’s more complicated than anything he or she has done before, but, again, there’s help all along the way. There are leader training sessions, there’s a trip monitor, there’s that travel agent, and there are other leaders who’ve been there before, all of whom know what it’s like to run a western trip for the first time, and are happy to help out
Okay, that’s not all a trip leader does. The leader takes the time to take reservations, make deposits, create and submit records for the tour operator, hold a pre-trip party, get the participants to any contract transportation, work throughout the trip to set up socials and dinners, arrange ski buddies, and handle health matters or injuries.
It’s a serious job, with serious responsibilities. That’s why the leader generally gets to go free on the trip.
That’s right. Trip leaders don’t pay for lift tickets. They don’t pay for hotels. They don’t pay for airfare (have you seen air fares lately?). While the other trip participants are writing a check equivalent to a month’s mortgage payment, the trip leader isn’t worrying about any of that.
So how do you start the ball rolling? By leading a one-day Eastern ski trip. Get in touch with someone on the Eastern Trips committee and tell them you’re interested in leading a one-day trip so that you can ski free.
For more information about leading ski flight trips and the specifics of filling out the form please contact one of our Activity Leader Evaluation Committee (ALEC) members:
If you want to discuss the possibility of leading an Eastern trip, contact:
Some of our leaders have been running trips for more than ten years. They’re not crazy – well most of them, anyway. They love leading ski trips. You can be one of that select group to lead an Eastern trip. But first you need to apply, so contact Ron.