By Amelia Santaniello

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With all the breaking news surrounding the cold snap last week, ironically we weren’t able to bring a story about who WCCO viewers voted as the best ski club in Minnesota. But now that we’re in the middle of a string of snow events, it feels like the perfect time to share the winner of last week’s Best of Minnesota poll.

Your choice is one of the oldest ski clubs in the area, starting all the way back in 1971.

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As you recall, last week the temperatures were almost beastly, well into the double digits below zero, and the elements are so brutal that all of the area ski hills closed.

But nothing, it seems, will stop the women of Ski Away Ski Club from getting their runs in.

“Typically, when schools are closed, or we get a big snowfall, we all go skiing,” Lezlie Pinske said.

Pinske is the owner and director of Ski Away and, last Thursday, she led her group to the only alpine experience in the state that didn’t include a case of frostbite.

It’s an indoor skiing experience called the alpine factory where, much like Ski Away, teaching proper technique is paramount.

“This gives them the space and the encouragement, because it is women teaching women, to go at their own pace, to be comfortable, to be stretched just enough so that they live outside of that zone where it is scary,” Pinske said.

(credit: CBS)

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That has pretty much been Ski Away’s mantra since the club was formed almost a half-century ago.

“Back in the ’70s, families were skiing and the kids kind of eclipsed mom and dad, and mom ended up at the bottom of the hill and never put her skis on,” Pinske said. “And in 1970 some moms said, ‘Why don’t we have one of these programs for women?’ And they concocted this crazy idea to do ‘mom’s Thursdays.'”

And each year since then, for six weeks starting the second week of January, “mom’s Thursdays” are still going strong. But it’s not just for moms.

“We have attorneys, financial planners, we have doctors and dentists,” Pinske said. “It’s good that we have doctors and dentists, don’t you think?”

In fact, whether you are new to snow skiing, an advanced skier, or a racer, Ski Away has 30 instructors on hand to help you reach your goals. But prepare to be pampered. This ain’t your kids’ ski school.

“Ski Sway is a very high concierge, we want to take care of every single thing. If you can just get to the bus stop, I will take care of you the rest of the day,” Pinske said.

That way, all you have to worry about is staying upright, and having fun with the girls.

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“We are laughing, talking, celebrating, and once we get out on that hill, everything melts away,” Pinske said.

Amelia Santaniello