In an email to all members, the director of the Eskimo Club announced the organization would shut down after Winter Park told them their space was needed for employee lockers.
The Eskimo Club, a Colorado institution 79 years old, is closing up shop because Winter Park Resort needs the club’s headquarters space for lockers, according to a Sunday email from the organization’s director.
Annie Bulkley, daughter of founder Frank Bulkley, and the club’s current director sent an email to former and potential Eskimo Club members saying that Winter Park Resort needed the headquarters space of the club for their employee lockers.
Those headquarters are in the basement of the Balcony House at Winter Park Resort.
The Eskimo Club helped teach young Coloradans how to ski. It was founded when skiing was still in its infancy as a sport – 1939 – and first brought school children up to Berthoud Pass to learn the sport. The tradition grew and more and more students joined the program before it shut down in August 2018.
“We have given it much consideration from all angles and have come to the extremely difficult decision that we would no longer be able to give our Eskimo Club members the safe, quality, affordable program that we have been known for,” the email stated.
Annie Bulkley told 9NEWS she and her organization harbor no ill will toward Winter Park and added that the resort has supported the club for many years. She said that her organization was thankful to the resort.
“I am also truly grateful to all of our members,” Annie Bulkley wrote, “past and present, who have supported the Eskimo Club for generations and for our dedicated, skilled instructors who have made the club what it is.”
According to the Eskimo Club’s webpage, Frank Bulkley helped scout the location for what would later become Winter Park Resort in the mid-1930s. He even volunteered on weekends to clear ski areas for what would eventually become the Winter Park Ski Area.
When Winter Park opened in the winter of 1939, Frank Bulkley started bringing Denver children up to the high County by train to the ski area to teach them the sport. The club shut down briefly during World War II while Frank Bulkley served as an officer with the 42nd Infantry Division. When he returned in 1946 to Winter Park, the club started up again.
It would eventually graduate to using buses to get the students to the resort.
Frank Bulkley was inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame in 1978 for introducing thousands of Denver children to skiing. He passed away in 2012.
The Eskimo Club site is still active for the moment and announces to all visitors that the club “has retired into the annals of history.”
On the club’s Facebook page, several customers have left glowing reviews for them; the lowest review was four stars out of five.
One Facebook user called the club the “most awesome ski school” on the Front Range. Another called it a great organization and said they always felt safe while learning to ski. Another user said the club’s program focused on fun, safety and skill to “turn out some wonderful skiers.”
This story will be updated.