It’s the end of an era in Colorado skiing. The Eskimo Ski Club in Winter Park (established in 1939) will not be returning this season. The club was founded by Frank Bulkley before WWII (same guy who started the Ski Train) and has been kept in the family ever since.
The Denver Post reports Frank passed at 97 years old in 2012 and after 6 additional years of operation his daughter Annie Bulkley was faced with a tough decision:
“I felt it was my father’s legacy forever. I had a choice between two bad choices, running it poorly or not doing it.”
It all came down to Annie’s request for additional space from Winter Park for club employees lockers. According to her the club had outgrown existing headquarters in the 63-year-old Balcony House and Winter Park tried but failed to meet Annie Bulkley requests:
“They kept saying they were trying to work with us and we could figure something out, but I didn’t feel what we figured out was satisfactory. They’re not trying to kick me out, at least they’re not trying to be credited with that. They were trying to find something that would work, and I didn’t see anything that would really work.”
Winter Park is owned by the City of Denver but is operated by Denver-based Alterra Mountain Company. Winter Park spokesman Steve Hurlbert says the dispute has nothing to do with Alterra and is in between the Eskimos and Winter Park:
“It’s a matter between the Eskimos and Winter Park Resort. The issues arose because we were severely strapped for space in the aging Balcony House, a problem that has been growing over the last few winters due to the steady growth of our own programs.
We presented them with a series of alternatives, including moving to the Mary Jane base. The locker room at issue was used for their storage and for their instructors to stash gear, meanwhile our own employees were sharing lockers three apiece. We thought we were close to a solution, and had even started to talk internally about places at the Jane where they could park their buses, when we caught wind of Annie’s email Sunday. Until that point we were planning on having them back this winter.”
Not taking a side here but its really sad to see an institution like The Eskimo Ski Club shut its doors forever. Its almost like a plot from a corny 80’s ski movie but this real life and I’m bummed out about it. Let us know your thoughts.
HERE IS “Annie’s Email” AKA THE FINAL Closure ANNOUNCEMENT POSTED TO THE ESKIMO’S WEBSITE:
To: All former and potential Eskimo Club Members
It is with great sadness that I am writing this. Winter Park needs the Eskimo Headquarters room for their employee lockers as they are presently stacked 3 to a locker and there is no more available space that will work for the Club’s needs.
We have given it much consideration and Winter Park has been helpful in trying to make it work but I have come to the extremely difficult decision that we would no longer be able to give our Eskimo Club members the safe, quality, affordable program that we have been known for.
It’s been a really great run (since 1939) and Winter Park has supported us in many ways and for many, many years and for that we are very thankful.
Am also truly grateful to all of our members, past and present, who have supported the Eskimo Club for generations and for our dedicated, skilled instructors who have made the Club what it was.
Thank you ever so much!
Eskimo Club Director
images from eskimoskiclub Facebook