We used to do a mid-season activity program when we were at Wilmot. The sheer size of the club today, and the lack of available space at Alpine precludes us from doing any kind of special activities, but we are going to change up our lessons a bit this week.

START TIMES for Sunday, February 6th - some changes this week

Lincoln Park
- 7 AM. There are three buses leaving from Lincoln Park at 7AM. 

River Forest -  7 AM. There are two buses leaving from River Forest.

Hyde Park - 7 AM, Hyde Park needs to leave on time at 7 AM as it is picking up at Winnemac Park

Winnemac Park - 7:30 AM. Bus leaving from Winnemac 

Old Orchard/Skokie - 7:30 AM. Bus is coming from Lincoln Park.

Schaumburg - 7:45 AM. Bus is coming from River Forest

Park Ridge/Des Plaines - 7:30 AM. Bus is coming from Oak Brook (NEW TIME)

Half Day Rd/Bannockburn - 8:00 AM. Bus is coming from River Forest

Oak Brook - 7:00 AM. Bus starting in Oak Brook (Time change reflects that the bus is starting in Oak Brook)

This schedule is specific to the Week 8 trip. Times may be adjusted over the season as the routes may vary. The routes change each week depending on the membership. 

Please ensure your child(ren) have not been exposed to Covid prior to the trip and remain in a 5-day quarantine as directed by the CDC and CDPH (Chicago Department of Public Health). Face Masks are required on the bus and in communal indoor areas. This will be strictly enforced.

All equipment should be labeled.  All kids need helmets, skiers must have poles, and snowboarders need a safety leash. Kids should have enough money for lunch, or bring a lunch. No large bags - just what they need for the day like gloves, pants, jacket, gaiter or balaclava, Covid face masks, and goggles. Wear the clothing you are going to ski or board in. 

As I alluded to, we typically have a mid-season event or two. Our idea this year is to aid in the learning process. To get from one level to the next, not only involves employing what you learn in your lesson, but also practicing. That means adding to the mileage you have on the slopes. Some of our classes have been way too large owing to the size of the club and the shortage of instructors from Alpine. We are going to allow our B and C ski students the opportunity to focus on their wedge turns and stopping to better prepare them to move to the next level. Using our top level Es and Fs and the fabulous instructor Bunny (and a few others) we are going to do a series of fun exercises to propel them into a higher level.

We will still have regular classes for our As, A+s, and our snowboarders, but the remaining D and E skiers get to use their time this week to put more mileage on the slopes. Next week will be their turn for more concentrated lessons on parallel.

Practicing what you are learning is extremely important in skiing. Lessons are guidelines, but you need to feel the changes that are occurring as you begin to use edges and rotation in your turns. I refer to this as muscle memory, and we all need to develop it to become better skiers. So this is our opportunity to focus on our future abilities and have fun while doing it.

If you are driving up, you must check in at the Blizzard Desk to receive your lift ticket and your Blizzard Membership card (if you don’t already have it.) The Blizzard desk is in the FairView bldg to the far right of all the buildings as you face the slopes. If your child needs to be classified (first time with Blizzard and not a rank beginner) you must be there around 9 AM. Lessons are mandatory. For Never Evers and very beginning skiers and boarders lessons will start around 9:30. Other lessons will go out as soon as the buses arrive. Our general meeting place is by the Blizzard flags in front of that same FairView building.

"Can I pick up my kid and their friends from Wilmot or Alpine?" (Taken from the FAQ section on the website)
If you are picking up your child or anyone else's child from Wilmot or Alpine, we need two things. One, is a note that is given to the Bus Captain of the originating bus, from each parent on the morning of the trip. Second, you need to be at the area prior to our departure at 2:45 PM so we can ensure that you have coordinated with your child and whomever is leaving with you. Please arrange to meet your kid(s) at the Blizzard area prior to 2:30 PM, share your ID with us, and sign out the departing members. This is a liability issue for us and we will hold up the departure of the entire club if someone is missing, delayed, or has been taken without our knowledge. If you do not sign out your child(ren), it holds up the entire club from departing.

I shouldn't have to put this is an email, you should all have heard it on the webinar or read it in one of the emails or webpages. We are first and foremost the Blizzard Ski & Snowboard School the operative word being "School." Lessons are mandatory. To be in the appropriate lesson level you need to be classified if you are not a returning Blizzard member. If you have never participated in your sport of choice - skiing or boarding- then you are an "A" level and do not need to be classified. If you are a beginner and have not ridden a chairlift or skied/boarded in the past 3 years - you do not need to be classified - you are an A+. After this trip anyone who has not been classified and has been at Blizzard more than twice, will not be allowed to participate until they are classified. 

The Lost & Found generally travels with the club up to Alpine each week. We are working on pictures of items we have. While we have gloves and hats and accessories, we know that kids have swapped ski poles and are missing poles. These are the more critical items as ski poles are mandatory for lessons. Please share with me any missing poles or swapped poles so I can investigate.

For all you people who like to complain that we don’t help solve problems, let me entertain you with a scenario from earlier this week. Ski poles are the single most “lost” item of our members’ equipment (gloves are single most lost item overall). We had a member with one of their own poles and another one marked with initials. We had two poles left at the bus in our possession, one with no name and one with a name. In essence we knew three out of five of the perpetrators in the pole swap (after deciphering who the pole with initials might belong to).

I sent an email to all of the known families along with my intrepid Bus Captain, Justyna (who is also a fellow genealogist). We quickly uncovered another name – mis-transcribed, but that is where the genealogy talents came in. Justyna and I quickly discerned who that pole belonged to and added that family to the email thread. At this point I bowed out and within the span of a couple of hours all 5 families now had identified who had their other pole, and the family that was going to Park City on Wednesday, had their own poles and a matched set at that, to travel with.

This is not something I want to repeat on a regular basis. MARK EVERYTHING. Use a sharpie on duct tape or labels like Mabels Labels (see the “Clothing and What to Bring” entry under the “More Info tab on the website). Do not rely on Viking or other shop stickers as identifiers.

In addition to email, I am using if we have any bus problems. You have to subscribe to this service by your departing stop. For those of you already subscribed, you most likely received a text message from us a few weeks ago when the River Forest, Schaumburg, and Winnemac Park were delayed by 45 minutes. Only members who signed up based on their bus stop received that message. So no one from Lincoln Park received a message for example. 

DON'T CALL ME (although the Blizzard phone is at the Blizzard desk for emergencies on trip days)
As most of you have noticed, I don't answer the phone during the week, unless I for some reason have free time on my hands. The phone rings incessantly and mostly they are questions you can answer yourself on the website or SPAM. I work full time and am usually on a conference call or a Zoom session during working hours. The website has answers to any question you might have. The drop down under the "More Info" tab has 20 or so pages of information that answers all the questions I have received over the past 30 years of doing this (the club has been around for more than 60 years). If you need a response - email is the best way to reach me. You might get a response at 2 AM, but you'll get a response. 

I spent the better part of everyday this week managing the waitlist and requests for stop changes. I really prefer that you DO NOT sign up for a stop you don't want. If you are shut out of a stop due to "no stock" in seats for a stop, send me an email. There were more than 25 cancellations - people calling to cancel reservations they had made, in some instances, just minutes before. Each change costs us money through PayPal (and I won't tell you about the disaster with PayPal this week). From those 25 cancellations I was able to accommodate 46 members with the stop of their request by shifting buses around. I killed trees making this happen, as our computer application is not made to handle these kinds of changes and it must all be captured in spreadsheets to ensure the bus rosters are correct. I felt like I was programming the scrimmage plays for a football game.

When you cancel a trip, if it is before Thursday at 5 PM, you are refunded in full for the trip. After that time you are refunded with a "No Show" fee of $25 when I reconcile the bus lists after the trip. If you need more information regarding this, check out the FAQ section under the "More Info" tab on the website. I will NOT rollover anyone's payment from week to the next. 

The only time I ever issued a credit was the first trip of this season when WE cancelled the trip. The PayPal fees to reimburse everyone would have been egregious. I learned my lesson. I will never to do that again. Tracking the errant credits has been a manual nightmare - there was no way to automate it. As of the reconciliation of this week's trip (trip #7), no one will have a credit balance.

It has been a real challenge to get all the Blizzard Tags printed. Another challenge to get them into the hands of the kids. And, yet another one to get them punched at Lessons. The tags are necessary. Their loss comes with a $10 replacement fee - and we will notice their loss as we use the tags to check everyone in at the bus in the AM. No tag gets noticed. Tags are held at the Blizzard Desk at Alpine and need to be picked up there before class (if possible) on a trip day. Tags can be punched after class at the Blizzard Desk as well.

If you have a lanyard from a previous year - help us out by recycling it and reusing it for this year.

I don't use it if we are within a half hour of our original arrival time as Supervisors have been instructed to have kids call home 20-30 minutes before the expected arrival time. If you are not getting these calls, please say something to your youngster and ask them to call or borrow a phone to call. Supervisors are more than happy to loan phones for this purpose. The main reason we get delayed is a late-arriving member, bad weather, traffic or accident, bus breakdown. is an SMS messaging system that allows us to reach the smallest segment of our club or the entire club to share information on the fly. This helps if we encounter traffic, or are delayed for any reason. I can reach out to those who have subscribed to the system with a brief SMS telling them at the granularity of a bus stop. Here's the link to sign up and learn more. All of the currently used Bus Stops are listed by their name. Skokie is no longer separate from Old Orchard, so if you signed up before for Old Orchard, you'll have to re-subscribe for Skokie/Old Orchard.

See you tomorrow.

Really, pray harder for SNOW!

Suzanne Hoffman
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