Cathy Shiflett and her son Josh moved here from Virginia six years ago. Like many adventurers, the call of the mountains drew them west -- make that the call of the snow covered mountains and their beautiful slopes on which to ski. So it's no surprise that Cathy, who has been a skier for 13 years, is now a vital part of Colorado Springs' largest and longest-running ski club, the SnoJets. As publicist and historian of the club, Shiflett gets out the word on the club and its trips, then records the history. When she's not slope side, she's in the gym, on her bike or at her Peyton homestead with son Josh, a horse named Shorty, a dog named Cope and two cats.
For those of us who lead sheltered lives, what and who are the SnoJets? Many people have no idea because of the name, but the SnoJets are really more of an athletic club, with a social aspect. We actually have activities year round. In the summer, we do hikes, bike rides, rafting trips, weekly dinners, that sort of thing. And in the winter, of course, the main activities are skiing and snowboarding. But our main objective, summer or winter, is to get out. And I should add that you have to be over 21 to be a member.
As club historian, can you give a brief rundown of the history of the club? It was originally founded in 1952 by a group of guys out at the Air Force Academy. They just wanted to get together regularly to do something fun. And they loved skiing. So we've been around for almost 50 years.
How many members? Currently 350.
How did you become involved with the SnoJets? I first heard about the club a little over four years ago. But I had a young child at that time, so I didn't give it (joining the club) much thought. Then about two years ago I decided I really wanted -- and needed -- to get out more. Out of the house and do more things outdoors. So I asked a friend what he did, and he told me about skiing with the SnoJets. I went to a Wednesday night dinner to check it out, and it was a lot of fun. I've been a member ever since.
Do you have to be a super-duper skier or avid outdoor enthusiast to join? Absolutely not. There are people who are out every weekend, skiing or boarding. And then there are those who just do the big trips, to like Steamboat or Tahoe. We're going to Wolf Creek in a few weeks. That trip is already full. But again, it's just a fantastic way to meet people. There's also great networking opportunity. There are so many different people -- carpenters, carpet layers, chiropractors, people that work at MCI, realtors -- just fantastic people. Good people to know.
Do you guys ever branch out and do events or outings in conjunction with other clubs in the area? We don't really do trips with other groups, but sometimes our trips benefit other organizations. We've done benefit trips for Care and Share, Make A Wish Foundation and VIBeS (visually impaired and blind skiers). We're a non-profit group, so we either cycle any extra back into the club or donate it. We actually do quite a bit with VIBeS, because some of their guides are also member of the SnoJets.