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Report from the Fall 2019 BRSC Meeting

Published on 10/6/2019
The Blue Ridge Ski Council held its semiannual Fall Meeting on Oct. 5, 2019 at Liberty Mountain Resort in Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania. Tom Crockett represented Peninsula Ski Club. Agenda items included status reports on Council trips for the upcoming 2020 season, selection of tour operators for the 2021 Western Carnival and Eurofest trips, consideration of destinations for 2022, and a few other items of Council business.  Here's a rundown on planned Council trips:

Western Carnival

This is the Council's premiere annual trip to the western U.S. or Canada, often drawing 300 participants or more.

The 2020 Western Carnival is set for Snowmass, CO, Jan. 25 - Feb. 1, 2020. The Council coordinator is Valerie Chafee from Richmond Ski Club, working with tour operator Encompasse Tours. Response has been strong, with approximately 315 of 320 slots filled across nine clubs. As decided at the spring 2019 Council meeting, this will be the last year that the Council runs a formal racing program in conjunction with Western Carnival, due primarily to participation levels that have fallen to around 50%. There was a discussion of whether to run this final race in a "show-and-go" format or stick with the established format of assigned time slots for individual clubs. The concern is that clubs which draw a later slot have to ski on a degraded course (rutted and/or softer). The decision was made to stick with assigned time slots which reduces time waiting in line and provides for a more orderly process.

The 2021 Western Carnival will be in Telluride, CO, Feb. 6-13, 2021. Sportours was selected as the tour operator from three bids. Dave Karczmarek from Baltimore Ski Club is the BRSC coordinator.

Jackson Hole was reaffirmed as the intended destination for the 2022 Western Carnival. A trip coordinator will be selected at the spring 2020 meeting and a tour operator will be selected at the fall 2020 meeting.

International Trips:  Asiafest/Eurofest

The Council's international trip for 2020 (Asiafest) is to the Hakuba Valley in Japan, Feb. 21-29, 2020, with an optional pre-trip extension to Niseko (on the northern island of Hokkaido) and post-trip extensions to Tokyo and Kyoto. The BRSC coordinator is Kenneth Eng from the Ski Club of Washington DC (SCWDC) and Holidaze Ski Tours is the tour operator. This trip is also selling well, with seven clubs participating (including PSC) and 103 of 120 slots sold.

St. Anton, Austria, had been previously selected as the destination for the 2021 Eurofest trip, but none of the three tour operators who received the Council's RFP were able to secure room blocks. Instead, wild card bids were submitted for Davos and Zermatt, Switzerland. Davos was selected with Holidaze Ski Tours as the tour operator. Dates are Feb. 26 - Mar. 6, 2021, with an optional 7-day post-trip extension to Portugal. Susie Pumphrey from Pentagon Ski Club is the BRSC coordinator.

Grindelwald, Switzerland had been selected as the intended destination for Eurofest 2022 at the 2019 spring meeting, but with the substitution of Davos for St. Anton in 2021, this decision was revisited. After some discussion of South American ski resorts as possibilities, the Council settled on Sölden, Austria as the 2022 destination. The tour operators in attendance did not expect room availability to be an issue for Sölden. A trip coordinator will be selected at the spring 2020 meeting and a tour operator will be selected at the fall 2020 meeting.


Winterfest is the Council's annual eastern trip. Winterfest 2020 will be at Killington, VT, Mar. 8-13, 2020, with Dave Karczmarek of Baltimore Ski Club coordinating and Banchi Outdoor Adventures as the tour operator. So far, four clubs are signed on, with a total of 120 slots available.

Winterfest 2021 is slated for Jay Peak, VT, March 7-12, 2021, with Dave Karczmarek coordinating and Banchi as the tour operator.

Okemo, VT and Le Massif, Quebec are under consideration for the 2022 Winterfest trip.

Other Business

Liberty Mountain's general manager (or director of operations?) gave an overview of recent developments at the resort, including the acquisition of parent company Peak Resorts by Vail Resorts. Liberty will honor both Peak Passes and Epic Passes for the 2019/2020 season; after that, Liberty will be entirely on the Vail system. Recent improvements in snowmaking will allow them to cover the entire mountain in three nights during favorable conditions. Aside from Peak or Epic passes, the best lift ticket rates are available online, with dynamic pricing based on demand.

Council Treasurer Yasmin Beg (Columbia Ski Club) reports that the Council's finances are sound. Current membership is 24 clubs, down from 28 as four member clubs have become inactive or disbanded. The Council's tax-exempt status has lapsed due to inattention to required filings under a previous treasurer; she is working to reinstate this as time permits.

Dan Ellis of Winter Ski & Sport presented a new offering from his agency for airport lodging and parking at
Dulles, Reagan National, and BWI. Rooms are offered for $89 plus tax at nearby hotels on Friday nights during ski season, with up to 8 days of free parking at the hotel and shuttles to/from the airport. This is sufficient to cover the typical western ski trip with a Saturday morning departure and a return on the following Saturday, and provides an attractive alternative to expensive airport parking, particularly for out-of-town travelers with early flights.

Frank Peñaranda of Potomac Ski & Adventure Club will head up the Election Committee to recruit candidates for the next term as Council President.

The spring meeting will be held on May 2, 2020 at the Wildfire Restaurant in Tysons Galleria, McLean, VA. Black Ski volunteered to arrange the next fall meeting, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 26, 2020 at Tysons Galleria or another suitable location.

Submitted by Tom Crockett, 10/6/2019


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