NSC History, Connecticut’s Oldest Ski Club
According to legend, three local skiers, Hugo Pester, Clifford Scofield and Herbert Schwartz were the founding fathers of the Norwalk Ski Club. In the winter of 1933-34, the three of them kicked the idea around while riding a snow train to the Berkshires and by the winter of 1934-35, the Club was formed. Cliff Scofield became the first president, and Pester and Schwartz the first Club officers. With the help of a little publicity in the Norwalk Hour, the Club drew 25 members the first year.
During the early years, Club members made day trips by train, usually on Sundays since Saturday was a normal working day in those times. Groups met at the South Norwalk train station and spent the day together at the same ski area somewhere in the Berkshires where the Snow Train dropped them off.
In later years, activities still centered around day trips but the automobile replaced the train. Members drove up Route 7 to ski areas like Bousquets, Pittsfield State Forest and an old, now abandoned, ski area just south of the present Brodie Mountain, getting there in about the same length of time it takes today.
When World War II came along, the club lay near dormant for about five years. Lack of gasoline made travel impossible, so the Club limited its activities to organized local meetings on golf courses and parks whenever they could. Four young Club members, Gene Fekerty, Mark Marcus, Ed Petersen and John Magrath joined the United States Ski Patrol and served in the mountains of Italy. John Magrath was killed in action and was awarded posthumously the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Magrath Elementary School in West Norwalk was named in his memory. As the Club grew, the members dispersed to different ski areas throughout New England, heading far enough away to require a full weekend to complete a ski trip. This brought about the era of the ski house, a solution to the problem of the high cost of weekend lodgings.
At first, various groups within the Club rented houses for the winter in small Vermont towns near Bromley or Sugarbush. Around 1962, a group rented a house in Weston, Vermont, and from this nucleus the official Norwalk Ski Lodge operation began. The Club took over the operation of a rather dilapidated, former farm house near the center of town, located conveniently next to the town fire house.
Within a few years, Mac & Dot McMorris, Club members, purchased a large farm house north of Weston and remodeled it into a combination ski house for winter rental and a permanent home for his family. The Club rented the McMorris house for use as its lodge from 1965 to Spring 1998. In the Summer of 1998, the Club purchased and refurbished its present Lodge in Ludlow, VT.
When the Club was first formed, meetings were held in members' homes. As the membership grew, meetings were held in the Norwalk High School on West Avenue. From there, meetings were moved to the Roger Ludlow Junior High School in East Norwalk, then the Gallagher Estate on Grumman Avenue in Norwalk and more recently meetings were held at the Christ Episcopal Church, East Norwalk, Merritt View, Norwalk and The Norwalk YMCA. In January 2002, meetings moved to Community Room at the Shop Rite Store, Norwalk. Since early 2009, they have been held at the main Norwalk Library.
Over its long history, the Club witnessed and experienced the complete development of almost all phases of skiing, from techniques to equipment, clothing, lifts and area management. From leather toe straps to step in bindings, from seven foot wooden boards to skis made of metal and plastic, from walk-up trails to 100 passenger aerial trams, Norwalk Ski Club members have seen them all.
Today, the Norwalk Ski Club is a member of the Connecticut Ski Council, an organization which it helped found. Over the years, the Club has participated regularly in the Council's many programs and won many racing awards.
Club membership consists of families and singles of all ages. The Norwalk Ski Club is the oldest Ski Club in the State of Connecticut, and very proud of our contributions to, and participation in, the sport of skiing.