2017 Ski Club Is Now Full

posted Oct 19, 2016, 7:09 PM by North Bethesda Ski Club   [ updated Oct 20, 2016, 6:31 PM ]
Last night, we had an unprecedented rush to fill the 6 buses of 312 seats.  The system automatically went to a wait list at 7:18 pm so as not to overfill the 'class.'  At that point,every person who registered for the wait list was given a date/time stamp.  We manually enrolled students in order of that date/time stamp this morning until we reached 315 students (3 over our limit, knowing that 2-3 students each year cancel between now and the first trip).  Any person who was officially on the wait list by 7:45pm was enrolled in ski club.

We understand that some people experienced computer issues that may have caused them not to hit the final "submit" button until after 7:45 pm.  However, given that all NBMS parents/students had an equal chance to register on the same system, and we cannot control how the system operates on individual computers, we have to abide by what the system says was the date/time for every student.  This is the most equitable and fair solution.

To give you perspective, last year we planned to fill 5 buses of 265 seats.  However, we had a wait list of 50+ students by 11 am the next morning, so the PTO Leadership made a decision to add a sixth bus for the first time in the Ski Club's decade-plus existence.  In the previous year, we didn't even fill 5 buses, ending at 254 with the last student enrolling sometime in December.  We share this to let you know how unbelievable last night's rush was to us.   

Also, we believe we gave fair warning that not every student who wishes to be in ski club would get to be in ski club - in e-mails, in the instructions, and at the information meeting.  We understand that some individuals interpreted this warning differently than others.  And we also understand that work/family/traffic commitments made it impossible for some parents to be at a computer at exactly 7 pm last night.  However, we know of no other way to be fair than to give advance notice to everyone of the registration date/time as we did.

With all that said, we completely understand the frustration/sadness/anger that you and your student may be feeling.  For that, we are truly sorry.  Ski Club is for everyone, and we have always been able to let pretty much everyone get in.  If there is anything to blame, it's the overcrowding at NBMS.  The school population has exploded the last 2 years, and all resources/opportunities are stretched thin, Ski Club included.

Today, the NBMS PTO Leadership Team discussed the pros/cons of adding a 7th bus to accommodate students currently on the wait list.  We have decided that it is not logistically feasible to do so for these reasons:

(1) Based on our experience last year, we barely fit 6 buses into the tennis court parking lot the school lets us use to load students after school.  A 7th bus would have to be on the street for 20+ minutes blocking traffic at the U turn.  This would negatively impact the NBMS and local community.

(2) Based on our experience last year, the morning equipment/bag drop off for 312 students was, what can we say, a little overwhelming to the traffic flow around the school.  Non ski club participants were negatively impacted by the lines of cars and we did everything we could to keep traffic moving fast (as we will again this year).  Adding another 40+ cars to that mix would further negatively impact the NBMS and local community.

 (3) 312 students and 25 chaperones is already a HUGE number of people to bring on one trip.  Going up to 364 and 29 chaperones (nearly 400 people!) is just too much for a volunteer organization such as ours to manage.  It's not about the money (we can pay for it) and it's not about having enough volunteers (people would step up).  It's just too big.  We're already by far the largest school group at Liberty Mountain.

We know what this is not the news you wanted to hear.  And, unfortunately, regardless of the number of people on the wait list (currently 25), we will not be adding a 7th bus for the reasons stated above.  We closed the wait list earlier tonight. 
So, what can you do?
(1) Any NBMS Student, Parent, or Sibling may purchase a Night Club Card from Liberty Mountain using the N Bethesda club login.  Just follow the instructions provided.  Purchasing the card, however, does NOT include a seat on the bus, nor any assistance/supervision from NBMS PTO Chaperones.  Parents who choose this option will be responsible for transporting their own student to/from Liberty Mountain and remaining at Liberty Mountain for the entire time.  

Again, we are sorry for this situation and wish we had better news.  Thank you for understanding our decision.

John Seabreeze, Key Levy, & Nirmal Babar

NBMS PTO Leadership Team