There are some 300 New Yorkers who have discovered that belonging to the three-decade-old Ski & Snowboard Club of New York can be a hassle-free way of getting to some of the region's most popular ski resorts for weekend getaways.

"Our club is a great way to enjoy well-organized weekend trips while meeting new friends with common interests," David Cresci, assistant trip leader, told OnTheSnow. "The real value add is you have everything organized for you as soon as you step on the bus, but you still have the freedom to make your own schedule once you get to the mountain."

Cresci notes that since so many New York City residents don't own cars, those organizing weekend trips on their own face the additional costs of rental cars. Going on club run trips makes it easy.

"This will be my third season with the club," he says. "I joined after a couple of failed attempts to organize my friends for a ski weekend. I went on my first trip not knowing anybody and ended up meeting a fun group of people with whom I have become great friends." All of the club leaders are volunteers.

Three trips are scheduled for this winter, starting Jan. 14-17, 2011 on Martin Luther King Weekend to Killington, Vt. Another is set for Feb. 18-21 over Presidents' Weekend to Stowe, Vt. The third is March 4-6 to Lake Placid/Whiteface, N.Y. Each trip generally heads out from the club's headquarters at 891 Amsterdam Ave., (the New York Hostel) with a full busload of 40 people. Closest subway stop to the departure spot is the 1 train at Broadway and 103rd St., a block away. The trips are generally for adults only.

Trip costs range from $345-$485 and Cresci says participants save from 10-20 percent by travelling with the club. Lift tickets, lessons, and equipment rentals are not included, but members can take advantage of discounted group rates arranged by club leaders. Lodges picked offer comfortable rooms (double occupancy) with dependable service and either slopeside or nearby. Bus transportation to and from the hotels to ski areas is provided.

Breakfasts are included on all trips, and dinner is offered on some. Many members enjoy heading out to the ski towns for dinner and nightlife.

"Another benefit of our club, and one that sets us apart from other clubs in the City, is we go to resort areas where members can go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in addition to, or instead of, downhill skiing. Some like to go downhill skiing one day and cross-country the next," Cresci said.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing near Killington is at Woodstock, Mountain Top, and Mountain Meadows; Mt. Mansfield Touring Center and the Trapp Family Touring Center at Stowe; and the Olympic trails of Mount Van Hoevenberg and the more classic trails of Cascade Touring Center at Lake Placid.

More Information: Ski & Snowboard Club of New York Club volunteers respond to e-mail, as well.