We Came from the Sea

Miramar Ski Club began as the Miramar Yacht Club, in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, so quite literally we came from the sea.

In 1948 Miramar Yacht Club member Arthur Berger began getting a group of people together to go skiing and “fill the void in the winter,” as fellow yacht club member Ralph Alpert put it. In time Berger became interested in starting a ski club, and the following year he became the founding member and president of the new club, borrowing its name from his beloved yacht club.

While Berger was dubbed “the George Washington of Miramar Ski Club,” fellow pioneers included Jerry Klein, Mel Ehrlich, and Howard Baker, and by the end of its first year, Miramar had over 100 members paying $5 in dues.  According to member Olli Alpert, they were,“A crazy bunch of people.”

Those first few years attracted the hale and hearty (you had to be both in those days­—most ski areas only had rope tows). The day before a trip, the trip leader frantically phoned around, trying to find hotel accommodation. By the late 1950s, as skiing’s popularity grew, it became more difficult to get reservations. So Miramar formed a committee to find a suitable property in Vermont to develop into a permanent lodge.

They found a suitable building for sale in Waitsfield – the R .S. Joslin Feed Store, itself built on the foundation of the original 1839 grist mill that burned in 1944 – that seemed perfect for the task.  Miramar has always been a volunteer-based club, and in the early days, they had a work weekend every other week to get the lodge into shape. “At that time there was about 30-35 people on a work weekend,” said member Cynthia Berman. “It was hard work but fun.”

In the 66 years of the club’s existence, the goals have remained the same: to ski hard, play hard, eat, drink, and be merry. Whether it was costume parties on the slopes, dance parties in the lodge, or performing in carnivals, club members liked to have fun on skis and off. And along the way, make some great lifelong friends.

“Miramar’s not just a ski club, it’s about the camaraderie, the friends you make,” is a refrain heard over again from members.  “We always said we’d grow old together, and we did,” said Berman. “It’s much more than just a ski club, it’s like a big family,” said Walter Mieirhof, who joined the club in 1951.

In 1999 we collected our home movies, interviewed some of the club’s founders, and made this video to commemorate our first half-century. It may be a little blurry or shaky, but they didn’t have hi-definition GoPro’s and digital stabilization when we began!

Miramar is an all-season’s club. Miramartians are just as active during the spring, summer and fall, both in New York City and in Vermont, as in the winter. We organize bike rides, hikes, tennis, golf, kayaking, sightseeing, enjoy the fall foliage, and much more. There are several three and four-day weekend trips up to the lodge over the holidays. And members can used the club any other time during the week and on weekends. As current member Brenda Murphy put it: “Miramar is a place to have a really good time and do some really great skiing.”

Though years have passed since the club’s beginning and we carve on fatty skis and double-rocker boards now, from these photos on the bus to Vermont — then and now — it’s evident the spirit hasn’t changed! Visit our photo gallery and YouTube channel for more.

miramar-50s-bus madsplus busgang