compiled and written by Bruce Larson 02/02/14)
The pre-history of the Prime Time Ski Club begins at the Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Snowshoe, West Virginia during the winter of 1981/1982. Jim McIlroy and his wife, Hamako, working at Snowshoe, designed a program wherein skiers over 50 would gather on the weekends, ski in groups, cut lines and gather at the end of the day for beers and chat.
In 1986/87 Jim and Hamako relocated to Sunday River Ski Resort where they assumed the duties of Director of Skiing Services and Director of the Women’s Turn Program respectively. Sunday River developed several ski programs under the guise of the Perfect Turn Program – an overall program which included: Black Diamond, Prime Time, Women’s Turn, etc;. These programs had nothing to do with the development of a ‘social’ unit and were clearly run under the auspices of Sunday River Resort. Several Sunday River ski instructors – Mac Gray and Pete Edwards in particular – were ‘dedicated’ to teaching the Prime Time Group, attended some Pot Luck dinners and affiliating themselves socially with the Prime Time Ski Lesson group
Enter Bob and Pricilla (Cil) Rice. Bob retired in 1993 and both he and Cil began skiing Sunday River. At that time the Perfect Turn ski school offered lessons particularly designed for older skiers, calling it “Prime Time” and coached by Hamako McIlroy who was joined shortly thereafter by ski instructor – Pete Edwards. Pete brought a new style to the lessons by asking “what do you want to do today” instead of “this is what we are going to do today”. Both he and his wife, Joan, took an active part as we developed. It was available for those who held a “Gold Card”, which was available for season ticket holders at slight additional cost. Cil Ricel, Marion Carlyle and Anne Doherty joined Perfect Turn while Bob Rice skied with Norm Cyr and Dave Carlyle. Soon Bob, Dave and Norm converted to Prime Time under the instruction of Mac Gray. Somewhere around 1996/97, the group met tried to meet every Tuesday and Thursday at North Peak Lodge, a commitment to lessons was major. Soon more skiers joined – Ted Toomey, Doris Adams, Elize Noordsij, Art and Kathie Duggan, Jeanie MacKay, Jan Stowell, Art and Carol Wells and a few others. These “regulars” liked skiing and liked each other. Social Activities started – most notably Pot Lucks. An interest in an even larger group developed and the idea of a ‘club’ was born. Cil assumed the Presidency with Anne Doherty as Vice President/Treasurer. Cil continued her concern about the older people on the mountain who were skiing alone. Always having a smile on her face, and being very outgoing, Cil approached many appearing to be over 50 and skiing alone and suggested they may want to consider enrolling in the Prime Time Ski lesson program which would enable them to ski with someone. Bob soon came up with the great idea that the ultimate answer lay, not in ski lessons, but in developing a social ski group. Before long some of those in the Prime Time lesson program began meeting periodically for Pot Luck dinners.
Thus began the confusion of who did what. The Mountain sponsored the Prime Time Ski Lessons whereas Bob and Cil began formulating a group for social reasons; many who were already taking Prime Time ski lessons.
As relations with individuals and ski instructors evolved, an affiliation began with members of TGIF (Thank God I’m Fifty, a ski club at Attitash). Cil and Bob would often ski Attitash, often with the TGIF group and were quite impressed with the club. Attitash shortly thereafter became part of the American Ski Company in 1997, at which time those who had Sunday River passes could now ski Attitash and vice-versa.
Bob and Cil were so impressed with the TGIF concept of organization that they approached Sunday River management to determine whether the mountain had any interest in developing a ski group which would be all about Sunday River. Unfortunately Sunday River management advised that they were not set up to become involved with the concept of a social club at that time.
In the words of Bob – “In the absence of mountain ‘personnel’ support Cil developed paper ‘business cards’ that she would carry around with her and passed them out to anyone she saw who was ‘older’ and might benefit from having someone to ski with.” “We all carried these paper ‘business cards’ around with us.” Furthermore, Bob thought it would be nice to have a way of identifying each other on the mountain and that is where the idea for the Gold ‘PRIME TIME’ Name Tags originated. These GOLD badges replaced the original badges issued by the Mountain to identify ‘Perfect Turn’ skiers. Going back to the TGIF group, interest in the group began to wane due to the competitive nature of TGIF. “Our group decided not to be so competitive, we wanted to make this a welcoming group of skiers because people at our age needed each other and so that’s what we did. We really worked at NOT being a ski race club.”
Cil had the tremendous ability to find people to volunteer services due to her charisma and cards; Prime Time grew leaps and bounds. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s the membership grew primarily via word of mouth and the aggressive campaigning of Bob and Cil. It appears that about 1996 the group began to really come together. An Annual Report in 1998/99 advises that the group expanded from 18 to 40 members with trips to Sugar Loaf and even a trip over-seas to Cortina, Italy. Also, there were Ski Clinics, a Fund Raiser for Maine Adaptive and social events such as Theater Trips, Restaurant Trips and Pot Lucks. Cil and Bob continued to put out posters and brochures in an effort to ‘spread the word’.
Because of Bob’s “Gold Prime Time” badges, unofficially the Prime Time members became the ‘Ambassadors’ for the mountain. The Membership Roster for the 2002/2003 season now numbered 96 persons (up from 40 in 1998/99). Organization now seemed imminent – not to complicate things – but to keep it simple and spread some of the work-load around. “Cil had acted as ‘President’ in conjunction with Anne Doherty as her Vice President/Treasurer for some time, had been performing the yeoman’s efforts for so long, now the time had come to provide some organizational support.”
So, in September of 2004 an ad-hoc group of individuals got together with the intent of developing a proposed set of By-Laws and, after many heated discussions and a few changes, the proposed bylaws were presented and passed at the 2004 Annual Meeting – not perfect, but a beginning. Remember, we are a ‘social’ club – a group to enjoy skiing and each other. For posterity, the Mission Statement of the By-Laws is as follows:
‘Prime Time is a club of skiers who enjoy skiing with other members. A regular schedule of skiing includes a plan to meet regularly at Sunday River. Additionally, active outdoor events and other social activities take place throughout the year as a result of member interest and leadership’.
The Club Song (written by Bob who admits it is unsingable) is posted on the Web Site – see About Us.
Up to now it has been a Club – Now it is a Club with GUIDE LINES!!!!
Up To The Present and Beyond – a continuing saga………………………
Prime Time Presidents and Their Primary Focus
1998 – 2004 Cil Rice – Without Cil, Bob and Ann Doherty there would be no club. Thank you guys for all your
2004 – 2006 Suzie DuBois – First formal President;
2006 – 2007 Lyn Just – Carried out the purpose of the Club and primarily became associated
with the By-Laws development efforts;
2007 – 2008 MaryJane Shiverick – Carried out the purpose of the Club, growing the club, providing
leadership and opening her (and Dave’s) home to many, many Pot Lucks. Provided
incredible charisma and enthusiasm;
2008 – 2010 George Kaloyanides – More formalized approach, endeavored to limit
membership to a manageable number of members. Organized
many ski trips to off-mountain destinations;
2010 – 2013 Jeff Zucchi – Grows membership to 140+, developed strong mountain
relationships, local press relations and lengthy monthly newsletters.
With the significant contributions of Paula Gross – developed Corporate
Discount Vouchers; Suzie DuBois – contributed to the development of
Retail Store and Restaurant discounts and season and off-season activities;
and, Herb Gross – who developed the ‘initial web site’ in 2010 which Herb
greatly expanded and improved upon in 2013.
2013 – 2014 Carol Larson – Facilitated communication between members for activity groups.
In conclusion, I wish to identify some of the ‘Charter/Founding) Members’ who evolved into the Prime Time Ski Club: From Group Picture (1996) provided by Lyn Just
Others who appear to have been charter members and not pictured are: Ted Toomey, Art & Kathie Duggan, Jeanie MacKay, Jan Stowell, Art & Carol Wells, Joyce & Keith Brown, Wes Mill, Dorothy & Dick Moore, Jan Stovall, Mary-Alice Bancroft, Joyce Brown and Len Chase. Memories have faded in this regard but I would rather include acknowledgement rather than exclude and err on the side of gratitude.
If anyone should have pictures of any of these founding members – please send a jpeg to belarson44 at gmail.com – THX
Top Row: Richard Moore, Dorothy Moore, Bob Rice, Cil Rice, Anne Doherty, Charlie Tebo, Carolyn Mills
Bottom Row: Elize Noordsij, Pete Edwards, Doris Adams, Mac Gray, Barbara Gray
Please note that the Web Site will provide a separate page for the ability of individuals to post their personal reflections and memories. Send them to Bruce Larson for publication at belarson44 at gmail.com