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BREAKING THE ICE SKI CLUB CAMARADERIE SOMETIMES TURNS TO LOVE, MARRIAGE.

Byline: Eric Leach Staff Writer

SIMI VALLEY - With a chill again in the air, Conejo Ski and Sports Club activities are heating up, with trips planned to the mountains of California, the Rockies and even the Alps.

Any sparks that fly won't be confined to ski lodge fireplaces - the club for active adults has seen scores of marriages among members over the years.

``We had three couples engaged this summer,'' said John Perkins, past club president. ``One announced their engagement on a trip to the Colorado River and one on the Sacramento Delta houseboat trip.''

Beverly and Jeff Paige of Oxnard met through the ski club three years ago and married last year.

``It attracts athletic people who can travel,'' said Beverly Paige, an active skiier and tennis player who has has been on trips with the club to New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland.

``My sister died in 1994, and she was my best friend in the world,'' she said. ``I joined the ski club to meet other women, and all my best friends now are in the ski club. My husband was a ski club member and we met through friends. It just seems like everybody's been getting married.''

Since 1982, the club has evolved from a small winter ski group to more than 500 members from throughout Ventura County and parts of the San Fernando Valley. The activities extend well beyond skiing.

``We've got people all the way from San Diego, Santa Barbara, Valencia and the San Fernando Valley,'' said Rene Rodriguez, who's been a member of the club for about 20 years. ``We do snow skiing, water skiing, we go on cruises, we have volleyball, tennis, we play bridge, go to the Hollywood Bowl and have dinner dances. We also go river rafting, sailing and fishing.''

Rodriguez estimated about 60 ski club members have met at club events and married over the past 20 years.

Joan Adams-Jonsson of Simi Valley said getting married is not something that happens to everybody in the club, but it did to her.

``I've actually been married twice to men I met in the ski club,'' said Adams-Jonsson, who lives near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with her husband Rich, who has been a member of the volunteer ski patrol at Mammoth Lakes for 30 years.

``I joined the ski club in 1989, and met a man the first night who I married eight years later. We were married only a year and a half. He had brain cancer and died.

``I knew Rich Jonsson from the ski club, and after my husband died, we went out and played tennis. We started seeing each other, and married three years ago. ... A lot of ski club members have found people to share their lives with.''

Elena and Tony Samojen of Camarillo met in May 1998 at a ski club party at Tony's home and got married two years later in the South Pacific.

``I went to a ski club party at Tony's house in May of 1998, and we became friends,'' Elena Samojen said. ``We were married two years later on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, on a beach at sunset. It was very romantic. I didn't go to the ski club to meet someone to marry. But Tony and I just got along. We had something in common, and we're very happy.''

Perkins, a Newbury Park resident who joined in 1997, said the people who formed the club have grown old with it.

``Nobody is getting any younger, and there is also a movement away from skiing and to more social activities like monthly parties and traveling. We have a barefoot cruise to the Caribbean next June that sold out in one day.''

``The club started with 10 to 20 people, and in the late 1980s it grew to 1,100 or 1,200 members, with four buses going to Mammoth for each trip. Now we go on one bus.''

The group holds meetings twice a month to socialize and plan outings.The meetings are at the Clarion Palm Garden Hotel at 495 N. Ventu Park Road in Newbury Park from 8 to 9 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month. There is a social hour from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. before each meeting.

Annual dues are $45 for individuals and $65 for married couples. For more, check online at www.conejoski.org.

Eric Leach, (805) 583-7602

eric.leach(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

(color) Ruch and Joan Jonsson are now married after meeting in the Conejo Ski and Sport Club. Many singles have found mates by joining the club.

Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 7, 2004
Words:781
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