JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. –
When the weather outside is frightful, and a fire might be quite delightful. There is one place to go; Andrews Outdoor Recreation.
With each passing week of the winter season the temperatures begin to drop and the hibernation season begins for many, including Airmen.
The 11th Force Support Squadron's Outdoor Recreation does its best to give the Joint Base Andrews community the ability to stay active even when snow is on the ground.
Outdoor Recreation offers Airmen and anyone with a valid military ID the opportunity to rent winter sporting goods, buy lift tickets and get transportation to the mountains for a fraction of the cost at a ski resort.
"Going on a trip you'll pay $25 with us," said Shelley N. Smoot, an 11th FSS recreation specialist. "That includes your equipment, ski lift ticket, and transportation. If you were to go by yourself it's going to cost you upwards of $115 to about $140, and that's not including transportation costs."
Smoot negotiates with ski resorts for the group pricing of 30 to 55 people and then organizes bus trips from JBA to allow low prices for those who look to the winter months as a time to shred the slopes.
"The price is the best part of the ski trips," said Senior Airman Marquees Schell, a 459th Air Refueling Wing crew chief. "The price affords me the opportunity to complete things that are on my bucket list and now I take family and friends to share those experiences."
Schell has become a regular with Smoot and Outdoor Recreation, and has already signed up for the upcoming one-day ski trip.
The day trip signups are first open to E-1 through E-4 dorm residents for four week. Afterwards, anyone with a valid military ID may signup.
At an affordable price for many Airmen, ski trips held by Outdoor Recreation give the military community a way of enjoying the winter season.
Liberty Mountain Resort will also host Andrews Day, March 7, where anyone that shows up with a flyer from Andrews Outdoor Recreation gets 50% off their equipment and lift tickets.
Smoot said, the first Andrews Day last year was a great success.
"Last year, we had 250 people before they stopped counting," said Smoot.
The second annual Andrews Day hopes to have even more people come out to enjoy the fresh mountain powder, with some already looking ahead to the first trip on Jan. 17.
"Now I have something to look forward to every winter," said Jamal Partman, an 11th FSS ski technician.
With each passing season Partman and Smoot have enjoyed each trip for the past two years.
The winter trips and equipment rentals available through Outdoor Recreation give military members an outlet to fly down local mountains and carve through fresh powder without breaking the bank.
For more information on the 11th Force Support Squadron, their winter trips and their winter rentals you can visit http://www.andrewsfss.com/odr.html or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AndrewsODR