A History of Miramar
Early years: we came from the sea
In 1948, Miramar Yacht Club member Arthur Berger began to organize groups to go skiing and fill the “winter void” with recreation and community. The following year Berger formalized his ski trips by creating Miramar Ski Club, which he named after his beloved yacht club. By the end of its first year, Miramar had over 100 members who each paid $5 in dues.
Those first years attracted the hale and hearty – you had to be both in those days, as ski gear was rudimentary and most ski areas had only rope tows. Each week the trip leader would pick a destination, which often changed at the last minute due to road conditions or hotel availability. Sometimes attendees would board the Miramar bus without knowing where they were headed for the weekend.
By the late 1950s, as skiing’s popularity and the club’s size grew, it became increasingly difficult to obtain hotel reservations. So Miramar formed a committee to find a suitable property in Vermont to buy and develop into a lodge.
A place to call home
In the summer of 1962, the Miramar search committee decided to buy the R.S. Joslin Feed Store, an old barn that was built on the foundation of a 1839 grist mill. The seven acre property was ideal, with 750 feet of riverfront on the Mad River and a short distance across a covered bridge from central Waitsfield, Vermont, but would require substantial structural changes to become a ski lodge.
To pay for the purchase, each Miramar member contributed at least $75, and many voluntarily contributed more.Members quickly got to work to construct three floors and build rooms within the barn’s shell. Members had biweekly work trips to the lodge through the off-season, with 30-35 people attending each trip.
Though it took several years to finish the lodge’s renovations, members began using the lodge for weekly ski trips that winter, with sheets instead of walls to separate the bedrooms and exposed beams throughout.
Decades later, we continue to run a bus to the Miramar lodge every weekend in winter for camaraderie, skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Fun off the slopes
The Miramar lodge is used year round. Members can bring guests and stay at the lodge whenever they like, and there are organized trips over Memorial, Labor, and Columbus Day weekends. And, in the tradition started by Miramar members in the 1960’s, Miramar members volunteer for work trips in the summer to maintain the lodge.
The Miramar family has developed many traditions away from Vermont as well. In the spring, after the ski season, members gather for a formal dinner dance (the “Snowball”). The club organizes hiking, biking, and kayaking trips around New York City throughout the off-season. Guests are welcome to join most of these events.
Miramar isn’t just a ski club; it’s a community. When you board the Miramar bus on a Friday night, you become part of the Miramar family, regardless of whether you’re a long-time member or first-time guest.
For a deeper look at Miramar’s history, follow us on Instagram and check out the documentary below, made to commemorate Miramar’s 50th anniversary in 1999.