Pourquoi devrais-je me joindre à un club de ski?

Why Should I Join a Ski Club?
(Pourquoi devrais-je me joindre à un club de ski?
(en anglais seulement) par Frank Roscoe, entraîneur Ski+)

I don't believe that I have ever been asked the question, "Why should I join a ski club?". However, I have often been asked about the programs and services my own club offers and find that the answer to the first question is contained in my response to the second.

Club membership is all about access and belonging. Access has many components; first and foremost, access to the skill development programs. Youth members, the main focus of our attentions, can begin a program of skill enhancement at the Bunnyrabbit, Jackrabbit or Track Attack level and could end up wearing Canadian colours in international competition. This skill development is provided in a loosely structured environment where the emphasis is on learning enjoyment and instruction is provided by trained and increasingly qualified instructors. Skiers who are poorly self taught seldom get all that they can out of the sport.

Even if the young skier never aspires to competition level skiing, he or she learns a skill set that is life long.

For those clubs with trails and facilities, membership means access. A day of cross country skiing is far more enjoyable when you start off in a properly equipped wax room, ski on marked and groomed trails, and have access to washrooms and canteens.  More and more clubs also have lit trails for night-time skiing and training.

In this age of communication, club membership also means ready access to publications and information about skiing distributed via clubs. Within the club structure, there will be someone with the information and registrations forms for events such as races and loppets. The pamphlet rack at the local multi-sports store is a poor substitute.

Clubs are the focal point for clinics and courses. Whether it is to improve your own skiing or your teaching skills, the conduit for what you need is most often a club. In addition, in most divisions, access to these clinics is restricted to those who are club members.

Club membership is required to race and coach at competitive levels that lead to provincial or national team membership. Licensing of racers is contingent upon club membership.

The second major reason for joining a club, "belonging", is less concrete than facilities, instruction and trails but is no less important. Joining a club fulfils a basic human need of belonging. Belonging, being identified as part of something, is important to the youth who are the prime targets of the skill development programs. If your club has a recognizable symbol and a way of displaying it, a T-shirt, jacket or toque, all the better. It is heartening to see people sharing skiing experiences in the middle of summer after, having recognized the t-shirt, they use it as an ice breaker. For adults, membership means contacts. Most adults want basic technique instruction or, in rarer instances, more intensive training. What those in each circumstance wants most is someone to ski with. When these people have someone to share the activity with, they tend to go skiing more often and enjoy the experience more.

And finally, belonging also implies a commitment. If you join something, you have added impetus to participate regularly. How many times have you spoken with someone who, knowing that you are a skier, laments the fact that they only got out once or twice in the past season or, was that once in the past two seasons? They meant to go more often but other things keep coming up. . . . but it will be different this year.

No, it won't.

Join a club; access the programs and services, make that commitment and belong.