Cazenovia Ski Club: Sign Me Up

Lift lines are all the rage these days, or maybe the cause of all the rage. I suppose that’s to be expected when the largest pass product is sold at a heavily discounted price. Still there are plenty of alternatives.

Cazenovia base lodge

New York is home to six Indy Pass mountains along with the plethora of other great independent resorts. There are also a handful of private ski clubs around the state and last weekend I managed to ride one.

The idea of no crowds on a Sunday was too good to pass up, so when Jeff invited me to Cazenovia Ski Club I jumped.

Hall T-bar
The fastest T-bar in NY

Farah and I pulled into the small parking lot adjacent to the lodge a little after 9:30. Jeff assured us there was no rush to make the first chair, it would be all ours. We booted up inside the classic A-frame and got our guest passes.

As promised, we rode right on to the classic Hall T-Bar and made our way up the mountain. On my way up “The Fastest T-Bar in NY” I noticed the some steep terrain surrounding me.

Telephone Booth
Phone Booth

Up top we soaked in the view, as Jeff explained a little about the club. Cazenovia Ski Club was formed in 1941 and has around 70 members today. The members are proud of the family and community atmosphere.

Folks brought crafts and dishes to pass at the Olympic-themed deck party. A gang of kids pushed past us, the group would soon grow as more families showed up.

Claude's Caper
Claude’s Caper

Caz has 500 feet of vert on a good day, but the steep undulating terrain of the off the top means the Caz kids learn to handle the terrain at bigger hills.

We followed the group down the steep headwall of Buckhorns and back to the base area. The groomers were crispy due to the recent thaw-freeze, but the volunteer staff had done a good job grooming it up. In fact all the upkeep is done by volunteer members, including snowmaking.

Race Shack

We lapped the T-bar and toured all the groomed terrain. The club really does have some great pitch but the steepest runs were too icy to ride during our visit. Looking up at runs like Tiger Hunt and Phone Booth, I daydreamed of a powder day.

We were feeling the hot laps on the T-bar so we stopped by the deck. By now crock pots were plugged in, the grill was heating up and so was the party.

lodge interior

We spent the rest of the day alternating runs with the snack table. The members have a good system, take 3 or 4 laps and stop for a break. We take chair lifts for granted: by the early afternoon our legs were done. We hung out on the porch a bit before thanking Jeff and heading out.

Talk of big resorts and mega-passes floated through the air, but everyone knew they had their own little slice of paradise. A private T-Bar and lodge, in a favored lake effect location, with access for your family and friends. Where do I sign?

15 comments on “Cazenovia Ski Club: Sign Me Up

  1. Really awesome write-up of a place most of us haven’t been to. This one is definitely on my list, and I’m surprised to see the variety of terrain there. Hopefully I can hit it one day. Keep up the explorations!

  2. Great piece. Ten years ago, I skied a similar area on the western side of Onondaga County, Skaneateles Ski Club (it’s actually closer to Otisco Lake than Skaneateles Lake), and had a similar experience.

  3. Sounds great, and wish I were closer. I’m trying to ski every mountain in NY, so might have to get a social membership one of these years to check it out.

  4. Excellent job, Robert. That looks like a special place. Somebody should do a study of the various private clubs’ business models as a reference for other folks that would like to do the same thing but don’t know how.

  5. I grew up skiing weeknights at Skaneateles Ski Club. Back then there was night skiing Tuesday – Saturday. After a couple of snowless winters (anything less than 100 inches was considered a snow drought in the 1970s) they installed a pond, water pipes and a couple of fan based snowmaking machines. The lodge had a gravel floor and a fireplace, a deck and a gas grill for food. The hill is kind of flat topped so we used to hop off the T bar early. Suicide was the steepest trail, but Chute was lots of fun. There is only about 350 feet of vertical but the woods were a blast.

  6. Dude… you gotta hit it up on a powder day, it really shines then. Tons of steep trees and hidden chutes that’s have been cleaned out of potential snow snakes and stump stoppers. Fresh lines for dsys.

  7. Speaking of signing, what does a membership there cost? I’m curious to compare that to average pass costs.

  8. Glad you guys wrote about CSC!
    It’s such a cool place and is a ton of fun on pow days.
    The T-Bar is awesome…I wish more resorts would run them (no wind holds on a powder day).
    Most importantly the soul of skiing/boarding is alive and well there.

  9. As a 25 year member and 59 years skiing, who ski worldwide, I can vouch that this can be unsurpassed in a normal winter with lake effect pow of Utah quality. T-bar to your own private powder bowl and trees in a totally laid back setting minutes from home doesn’t hurt. Hard to believe but yep awesome in so many ways.
    Cheers, Save Our Winters

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