1945 - The war was over, and all over the country young people were putting interrupted lives back together and enjoying the company of others who loved to get out and enjoy the things that made life worthwhile. In New England, that meant skiing! The ski industry was growing up with them, and skiing outings quickly morphed into ski clubs.
1946 - In Hartford, Connecticut, a group of like-minded snow enthusiasts formed a ski club of their own, and called it the Mountain Laurel Skiers, in honor of the Connecticut state flower. The friendships they enjoyed during their early weekly bus trips from Hartford to the ski slopes in Massachusetts and Vermont were the beginning of what has grown today into the strong, vibrant and active organization that we have become.
Through the late forties and fifties there were weekly rolling bus parties to the slopes (remember, this was before there was I-91). There were some long and rousing trips up and back with great skiing in between.
The first season for the newly formed club was 1946-47. As the years went by, strong friendships (and some romances) were formed, families founded, and newer generations introduced to Winter sports that now includes cross country skiing, snow shoeing and snowboarding. Some members became PSIA & ASIA certified instructors, offering fellow members opportunities of all ski levels lessons to develop their technique.
1946 – 1970 - Mountain Laurel Skiers became known for their competitive spirit, engaging in friendly racing competitions with other nearby ski clubs. From this core group of clubs, the Connecticut Ski Council was formed, and now includes 43 clubs in and around Connecticut. Collectively, we use the buying power of the Council to gain deep discounts in skiing for the 30,000 members of these clubs.
Over the years, the Club made several attempts to either buy or lease a winter property that could serve as a seasonal Lodge for the Members, and several properties were leased during that time.
1980 – A group of four Mountain Laurel Skiers members found what they thought would be the ideal winter home for the club. But owning a lodge was not something the membership wanted to do at the time. So … they bought the property themselves and renovated it to lease to the club during the Winter months. This 38 bed Lodge in Proctorsville, Vermont served us well and created a lot of fond memories during the winter months until 2013, when we bought our current lodge.
During this time, Mountain Laurel Skiers grew to over 400 members.
Continuing in the vein of its early founders the club continued to stay active and engaged in outdoor (and indoor) fun. We developed a year-round schedule of sport and social activities that included hiking, partying, biking, kayaking, partying, trips out West and to Europe, picnics and…. oh – partying.
2011 – It became increasingly apparent that the club had outgrown our Proctorsville location, and a group of members began to explore other properties that could serve as a year-round home in the Ludlow area.
2013 – Our ideal property turned out to be a bank owned, abandoned, 150-year-old former bed and breakfast in Ludlow, Vermont formerly known as ‘The Jewell Brook Inn’. Nothing says more about the Mountain Laurel Skiers than the time, treasure and effort by so many members in making this a truly welcoming, cozy and safe Vermont home for members and their guests.
2019 – Our journey continues with a shiny new website, a new Board of Directors and just over 500 members!
This Fall, we enter our 74th year as a club, and our 6th year in the lodge in Ludlow. Our dedication to making Winter sports more affordable is reflected in the lodge rates and discounted ski pricing that our members enjoy.
We also continue a very full and active calendar of events in Connecticut and Vermont, and members receive weekly activity email updates.
The Mountain Laurel Skiers truly offers champagne experiences on a beer budget, and we even make the work of running the club and lodge a fun and social experience enjoyed by all.
If you think that you might enjoy being a member of the Mountain Laurel Skiers, and want to share the activities that we enjoy, please take the opportunity to explore our new website.
Better yet, we invite you to introduce yourself at a Club meeting. We meet twice monthly at 7:30 pm on Wednesday evenings at the Back 9 restaurant at the Stanley Golf Club in New Britain.
We can’t wait to meet you!
Additional History Information