February 1 Newsletter: The Latest from FOLJMS

Thank you for your membership and commitment to skiing at Leo J. Martin. Hopefully you’ve been enjoying some good skiing over the past couple weeks! We’d like to provide you with a few updates on the status of LJM skiing and on your new organization – Friends of Leo J. Martin Skiing. You are one of over 600 members of FOLJMS! Your membership and support are essential to the maintenance and improvement of cross country skiing at the DCR’s Leo J. Martin facility.

We have several updates for you in this newsletter.

1. Fundraising – Thank you!
THANK YOU for your participation at our welcome event on Sunday December 14! It was a big success with about 200 members attending. Through the auction and other donations, we have raised about $7,000 toward our winter goal of $10,000. Your donations support:
A. Trail Design work with John Morton to improve skiable terrain.
B. Ski programs for Boston youth without skiing opportunities
C. Start up costs for FOLJMS as a 501(c)3 corporation.

We still need to raise $3,000 to reach our goal! Please support us with a donation by sending a check made out to FOLJMS to our Treasurer, Tom Simon, 16 Sterling Rd, Wellesley, MA 02482 (email: tsimon@babson.edu). (We are not yet set-up to accept on-line donations.)

2. Skiing Terrain Wins and Losses
Over the summer and fall, FOLJMS worked with the DCR to increase the skiing terrain on the area with snow-making (holes 1 – 6) compared to last year. Although the original DCR plan was to close the driving range to skiing, repeated meetings and discussions led by FOLJMS led to the netting being opened up in two spots, which has resulted in gaining access to the driving range and its hill.

On the negative side, the DCR completely closed access to Mt. Weston. FOLJMS is seeking further improvements in available terrain in the snowmaking area, especially in the area near the corner of Park Road and Recreation Road. The FOLJMS position is that we accept that tees, greens, a limited area of the approach to the greens are prime areas for playing the ball and are off limits, and (temporarily) areas that have been newly planted for restoration should not be available for skiing; that these areas should be individually fenced off, with the fencing restricted only to the relevant playing areas; and that the rest of the golf course should be available to skiing. Unfortunately, most of the large fenced-off area near the Park & Recreation roads intersection is desirable ski terrain but is not where golfers would play a ball. The DCR has not moved those fences, nor did it move the pile of dirt at the base of the hill near the clubhouse.

Outside of the snowmaking area, the DCR has closed to skiing: holes 12 and 13 (area bordered by Intervale Road and Park Drive) and the bridge linking holes 12 and 13 to holes 11 and 12 over the Charles River. FOLJMS is seeking to restore skiing on these holes for winter 2015-16.

Despite the access improvements in the snowmaking terrain compared with last winter, the overall LJM skiable terrain is about 30% reduced over prior years. FOLJMS is very concerned about terrain loss and the restoration of skiable terrain is a high priority of FOLJMS.

FOLJMS has engaged the ski terrain designer John Morton to assist us in developing terrain plans for the non-snowmaking portions of LJM (i.e. Hole 7 – 18) that consider the needs of both skiers and golf.

3. New Ski Programs for City Youth
FOLJMS has initiated two new programs this winter to create opportunities for kids from communities that have traditionally not had access to cross country skiing. One program coordinates with the Boston Boys and Girls Club and brings kids ages 11-15 to LJM for lessons with Weston Ski Track teachers. A second new program coordinates with YES (Youth Enrichment Services) and brings kids ages 8-13 to LJM for lessons with high school and adult volunteers from CSU and EMBK. FOLJMS has underwritten these new programs with generous grants from an individual sponsor and the National Winter Sports Education Foundation. Weston Ski Track is providing discounted trail passes and rental equipment. Bikeway Source has provided discounted clothing.

FOLJMS will evaluate these programs at winter’s end. If successful, FOLJMS will continue and hopefully expand the programs, depending on funding.

4. FOLJMS Fall Cleanup of LJM
FOLJMS organized a fall cleanup of the LJM and about 80 members attended in November and spent 2-3 hours cleaning various areas of the golf course. Most of these volunteers were our high school members!! The golfers continued playing as we cleaned and the DCR employees were very impressed with our turn out. Thanks for this show of support and the hard work!

5. Thank You Thank You!
FOLJMS would like to thank many people and organizations that have supported us and provided critical assistance as we launched! It is great to see the ski community pulling together to address the challenges at LJM. As the list of wins and losses above indicates, it has taken a lot of work simply to be where we are this winter, and more work is ahead of us.

Some thank you’s of note:
• Philip Weiss, EMBK parent, for organizing our auction.
• Joan Mankoff, Regina Sohn, and Susan Kelleher Wellesley, Brookline, and Wayland high school parents, for organizing our December 14 event
• Colleen Neutra, EMBK parent, for developing our logo and visual material.
• Mark Dougherty, EMBK parent, for connecting Noah Hoffman, US Olympian, with FOLJMS and for providing his company’s website development team.
• Noah Hoffman, US Ski Team, for support.
• Sara Cobb for arranging for our FOLJMS t-shirts.
• Wayland High School girls Nordic team for making buffs to sell at our fundraising event.
• Charles River Watershed Association for permitting FOLJMS to use its conference room on several occasions.
• Donors to our auction: Zach Caldwell, Silvana Saway, Stratton Mountain School, Wachusett Mountain, Marathon Sports, Melissa MacDonald, Bikeway Source, Trapp Family Lodge, Harvard Ski Team, Jenex, Kikkan Randall, Noah Hoffman, John Morton, Saucony, Skigo, Swix, Toko, USST, Thoughtforms, and Woodski

Thank you for all the support you have already given us in working to ensure that the Leo J Martin remains a vibrant cross-country center now and into the future.

The Friends of Leo J Martin Management Committee

Rob Bradlee, Chris City, George Cole, Jamie Doucette, Chris Doyle, Andrew Hall, Barry Kitch, Chris Li, Fred Sears, Tom Simon, Amie Smith, Lucian Snow, Jim Stock, Elizabeth Wilcox