Central Massachusetts women in their 50s enjoy friendship and fitness on the slopes last winter at Sugarloaf Mountain Resort in Maine. Pictured (l to r) are Cathy Cody, Lenice Miley, Sue Benoit and Holly Hendrickson. (Photo/submitted)
By Lori Berkey, Contributing Writer
Last winter, Holly Hendrickson, 52, found herself with the spare time in the evenings and weekends that she had dreamed of for years. Being divorced with her kids now grown and out of the house, she was surprised that her longed-for freedom left her wondering what she should do. After a 30-year hiatus from the slopes, she decided to start skiing again.
Hendrickson found out that her friend from work, Sue Benoit, 57, also enjoyed skiing and that she belonged to a ski club. Sue introduced her to the Central Mass. Ski Group (CMSG), and it’s been her lift ticket to feeling good ever since.
Membership in (CMSG) is open to everyone, and no particular ski level is needed. The group convenes monthly from October through March for a social hour, food, drinks and to hear a guest speaker from ski locales and ski shops, and to offer a raffle. Plus, they hold a summer barbeque. Members can sign up for group overnight and day trips, and take advantage of the club’s discount ski passes.
Shortly after Hendrickson joined the group, Benoit introduced her to two of her friends from the club, who like them, are central Massachusetts outdoor aficionados in their 50s. Now, all four of them ski together regularly.
One of the foursome is Cathy Cody, whose hectic life pulls her in a hundred directions, but she feels her ski club membership anchors her.
“Each month we make it a point to have a girly night out and have dinner, then go to the ski club meeting,” Cody said, “I love having fun and getting exercise outdoors with friends. It makes me feel alive and keeps me in shape.”
Lenice Miley is another of the four. She’s been skiing for 15 years, but still ranks “new information at the meetings” high among the reason she likes being a club member. She likes having a common passion for skiing with the others, enjoys being outside, and finds the club’s “Appreciation Days,” which offer discounts, a draw.
The monthly meetings often feature updates on various ski resorts as well as information about new ski equipment technology. Raffle participants have the chance to win tickets and ski apparel at each gathering, and a once per year special chance to win a trip for two to Sunday River Ski Resort in Maine. Club members also benefit from a 10-percent discount at a local ski shop.
Hendrickson enjoys being in a club where she can meet new people with similar interests, while getting great exercise. The ticket discounts the club offers make the activity more affordable for her, and she’s had fun being a raffle winner for free passes on multiple occasions. She said she feels very fortunate to have met the group members.
“Not only is it that they have similar interests,” Hendrickson said, “we all are in similar stages in our life where we have the flexibility and time to enjoy getting up and out into the outdoors. I now have new friends to not only ski with but some of us have run 5Ks, hiked, cross-country skied, and so on.”
Cody feels her participation helps her remain youthful.
“It’s just plain fun times when I’m away from the everyday demands in life, and I try to take advantage of any opportunity I can to experience as much fun as I can,” she said. “I try and remind myself each day that ‘You’re as old as you feel,’ so I might as well act like a kid!!”
Hendrickson no longer questions what to do with her free time. She’s found new friends, is keeping in great shape, relishes the fresh air, and is enjoying her view from the top.