Shawnee trip brings friends together for winter fun

Shawnee trip brings friends together for winter fun

Peter Warren

Photo Courtesy of Sam Colao
During January and early February, the Scotch Plains Recreation Department sponsors a weekly ski and snowboard trip to Shawnee Mountain for students between the ages of 13 and 18. The trip has become a popular event for high school students.
120 students from Scotch Plains-Fanwood enrolled to attend the activity this year. The trip occurred on Fridays for five weeks.
“This trip allows kids with a pocket of friends to go enjoy a sport that everyone can do on every level. As the weeks continue the pocket of friends grows to include more kids that they met on the mountain, in the lodge, or even on the bus. It becomes the Scotch Plains Ski Club,” said Chris Dill, Coordinator of the Ski Trip.
While on the trip, participants can ski or snowboard on one of Shawnee Mountain’s many trails with their friends for hours. “The atmosphere is great and it’s just a good time to hang with friends,” said sophomore and two-time attendee Andrew Most.
A regular schedule for a trip begins less than an hour after the end of school with students arriving in the parking lot of St. Barts by 3:15 and leaving by 3:30. The ride to Shawnee Mountain takes about an hour and a half and usually the kids get at least four hours to ride the mountain before they have to leave at approximately 9:45. Usually at around 11:30, the buses arrive back at St. Barts and the trip is complete.
“This program gives all of us the opportunity to spend more time with our friends and do what they like to do like, skiing or snowboarding,” said junior and three-time attendee Justin Cerritto.
Shawnee Mountain is located in the Pocono Mountains and features 23 trails, with levels from beginner to expert, and two terrain parks, areas where riders can perform tricks. “The conditions [at Shawnee Mountain] are almost always good and it’s really fun having the wind in your face while slicing through the snow, and knowing you get to do it again when you get to the bottom,” said freshman and two-time attendee Sam Colao.
The buses take the journey to Pennsylvania not only because of the great trails and activities, but also because of the quality of staff at the mountain. “No one takes better care of us than Shawnee Mountain. Shawnee Mountain goes above and beyond to take care of our kids and our chaperones on the mountain,” said Dill.
The Shawnee Trip has grown a lot since the first ever Scotch Plains Ski Club in 1983, especially in the last few years, and looks to grow even more in the next few years. “It would be wonderful if the Ski Club keeps growing,” said Dill, “How great would it be if we had four to six buses and took over the whole mountain once we got there?”