|What is Bergfreunde? -- The Bergfreunde is a year-round, all volunteer, non-profit club for active adults. It is for people who love recreation and fun in the company of interesting friends. We have over 700 activities a year all organized and run by volunteer members and we are the largest ski club in the Pacific Northwest. Top
How do I pronounce Bergfreunde, and what does it mean? -- It's properly pronounced, 'beoug-froind'-ah'. It's German, meaning 'mountain friends.' Our name is the only part of our club that is German. Thus, much to the irritation of those who speak German, it is commonly mispronounced as 'burg-frund'-ee,' in the media, within the club, and even by seasoned members. We call ourselves 'Bergies.' We don't really care how you pronounce it, as long as you come have fun with us! Top
Are you just a ski club or do you do other things? -- Back in the '60s we incorporated as a ski club, but we're much more today. Over the years the club has expanded it's scope to include numerous sport and social activities. Top
What do you mean by 'all-volunteer' and 'non-profit'? -- All-volunteer means that, except for paying one part time office manager, we do not pay our members to lead events, coordinate programs, or serve on the board of directors. Our members put in hundreds of hours, all unpaid, to make the club and its events run.
Non-profit means the club and its activities are not to make a profit. Costs for each event are based on the actual cost of running the event, with NO MARKUP! We must meet the guidelines set down by the IRS for non-profit organizations. We are not in the business of making money, but we are in the business of making fun! Top
How did Bergfreunde start? -- In 1966 a group of Bonneville Power employees decided to start a small ski club. Soon they expanded it outside of Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), and it became an independent non-profit organization. Top
Who can join Bergfreunde? -- Anyone 21 years and older. We welcome you! Our members vary widely in age, occupation, interests, and opinions. About 85% of our members live in Oregon, with a 49/51% ratio of men to women. We do care that BSC is a fun and safe place for all its members, and therefore reserve the right to expel a member for improper or abusive behavior. Members can bring guests to most activities and events, usually for an additional fee. Due to OLCC regulations, minors are not allowed at our Bergie Social. Top
How much does it cost? -- Membership is $75 or $95 to get our monthly publication mailed to your door. We also have a Full Time Student membership for $35. The annual renewal fee is $75. The membership year starts the day you join and is valid for 1 year. Top
Are there monthly fees? -- No. The only costs are your annual dues and the sign-up cost for whatever events and activities in which you participate. Top
What do members get for the membership? -- Your annual dues pay for numerous expenses of running an organization; our office, office supplies, one employee (our part-time office manager), our web site and electronic newsletter, our annual picnic, and rental of our monthly meeting hall. Our administrative expenses are extremely moderate, as we are a non-profit organization. The BSC board of directors closely monitors all expenses, and records are open for review. We run a tight ship so you can be assured your money is well spent. It also provides for meeting people in a safe environment, organized activities that are fun and interesting, and lots more benefits from our affiliates! Top
Is this like Events & Adventures? -- [NOTE: Bergfreunde and E&A are not affiliated in any way.] On the surface, there are similarities: both have lots of activities each month, and a membership of mostly single adults. However Bergfreunde and E&A differ fundamentally in how they are run. Bergie is a non-profit organization run by volunteers, whereas E&A is a for-profit business run by employees. Our club does not have a monthly dues. Bergfreunde has a minimal advertising budget, which means a much lower overhead. That’s why our membership fee is surprisingly low for what we offer. And because the events are conceived out of enthusiasm and run with conviction, there is a lot of excitement and camaraderie. Top
Why don't I see many Bergfreunde advertisements? -- To have a big advertising budget would mean that we would have to increase our membership dues with no measurable benefit to members. We advertise occasionally in Willamette Week and the Oregonian's A&E. We also have booths and participate in trade shows and Portland-area volunteer organizations and festivities (e.g., SkiFever, The Bite, Special Olympics). Top
If I join, can I invite my friends to the meetings and the events? -- We encourage members to bring friends to the monthly socials so that they can see what we’re all about. Non-members pay a $5 admission fee at the door. Some of our events and activities are free to members (e.g., TGIFs), and are also free to non-members. Fee-based events cost a little more for non-members. And if a trip fills up, non-members may be bumped off the list in favor of members. Top
Is this a singles/dating/religious/political/pyramid scheme/etc. club?Um... not quite: Though the majority of our membership is single (about 80-85%), we are not a 'single’s' club.
Though some of our members have gone on to deeper relationships with one another, we are not a dating service.
We do not have any agenda or motive, other than getting people together to do fun things. We do not discriminate based on marital status, lifestyle, religion, sex, age or political affiliation.
We are not a pyramid scheme. However, we do have meetings and try to get lots of people involved. It's more fun that way.
Technically, we are a 501(c)(7) non-profit organization registered and operating in the state of Oregon. Top
I'm a wild and crazy guy. Is this my second home? -- Only if you behave. Top
I don't want to be hit-on by wild and crazy guys. Is this the right place for me? -- We ask our wilder and crazier members to behave, so this should be a good experience for you also. As with any social meeting ground, there might be a percentage of people whose behavior and/or motives might not be agreeable to you. It's best that you continue to be aware of those personality types and meeting situations, and take your own course of action. Top
I have children. Is this the right place for us? -- You'll find that we cater to adults, but from time-to-time, we have 'family oriented' events. Among these are: the summer picnic, some camping and rafting events, and day- and evening ski outings. Due to OLCC regulations, minors are not allowed at our Monthly Socials. Always check with the event leader to see if children are welcome on a given trip. Top
I moved here recently and don't know anyone. Is this the right place for me? -- Absolutely! This is probably the best organization anywhere for meeting people and doing fun things together. And we have plenty of reasons to prove it. Of course, our opinions could be biased. But that's unlikely. Come see for yourself. Top
I'm helping my company plan for social events. Is this the right place for me? -- Probably not... unless what you seek is to assist new employees who move here from out of town. Businesses are encouraged to promote our club as a social resource in the Portland area. Top
My company provides social activities/services for a fee (like a dance club or travel agency). Can we do business? -- Contact our office manager for details. We occasionally work with businesses to offer events, activities and other benefits at a low cost. Top
I'm on a *really* low budget. Is this the right place for me? -- Beyond the annual membership fee, most of our events and activities are low-cost. Some are free (see next question). Generally speaking, we do not believe that cost will be an obstacle in having a fun time with us. However we do expect our members to be responsible for their own transportation, equipment (if applicable), practical personal safety and personal expenses. Top
Do members get free stuff? -- Yes! For each guest and/or new member...Free 'For Your Information' meeting (once you pay the standard guest fee at our Bergie Social).
Free Cross-country skiing at most local trails.
Free admission to our summer picnic, with food, games, ample parking, and live music.
Free leadership party for those members who volunteer in a leadership capacity.
Monthly Mogul Notes newsletter delivered electronically to your email address.
Full access to event information and the ability to sign-up on our website.
No administrative or organizational fees for any of our events or activities!
Here are some things that are almost free:
Hiking, biking, volleyball, tennis (small donation to offset usage fee)
New Member House Party ($2 donation)
TGIF socials, Pub Night socials, Movie nights, etc. You pay for your own expenses!
Carpooling (figure about 10-15cents per mile to cover gas) Top
I'm not in very good physical shape. Would I fit in? -- You’ll find that our membership comes in all shapes and sizes. But the one thing we share is a desire to get out and be more active... with others. We have activities geared for just about every level of difficulty. Top
I am totally buff. Would I fit in? -- With our sports activities, we tend to cater to the beginning and intermediate experience levels. If you're looking for an athletic-oriented group, you might want to look elsewhere. But please check us out for the social aspect of the club. Top
Does the Club require attendance at the Monthly Social? -- No, but we do have a lot of fun at our Socials! Plus, some events are so popular that sometimes the one and only time to sign up for the event before it's filled up is at the Social. Top
I'm over the hill, but I like hanging around with the younger crowd. Would I fit in? -- Absolutely! If you're 'young at heart,' you'll fit right in. Top
Can I attend a Bergie Social to find out what it's like? -- Yes. However we charge $5 to help offset the rent of the space. Top
I'm shy and I don't do well in large groups. How can you help? -- Many people who get started in Bergfreunde don’t know where to start. That’s why we have a For Your Information (FYI) meeting just for new members. This is how we get our new people 'warmed up' and help them find their niche. Top
This sounds really exciting, but I want to talk to someone before making a decision. Who do I call? -- If you want to know about general membership information, you can call our office: 503-245-8543. All other contacts are Bergie volunteers, who are private people and would rather share their names and phone numbers within the club. But once you join, you'll be able to access that information. Also, come to our Bergie Social and feel free to talk to anyone there. Top
I want to join now! How do I get stared? Where do I go? -- Click on the Join Now! button and follow the directions. Top
What kind of events and activities are there? -- We have many dozens of activities every month. Some are seasonal, others occur regularly and are year-round. To see what's going on this month, see our calendar. Top
Do the events cost extra? -- Most of our events do cost extra, but it is usually as cheap as (or cheaper than) what you could get on your own. Our no-cost activities – such as TGIF and pub nights – cost nothing except your own consumables. Hikes, biking, volleyball, tennis, etc., usually require a small donation to cover 'usage fees'. Our dances and weekend camping events are very reasonably priced. The club attempts to 'break-even' on all events. Top
How much do the events cost and how do I sign up for them? -- Each event’s pricing is based on the cost it takes to put it on, divided by the number of participants. Many events have no cost at all. For example, at the TGIF or Pub Night socials there is no event fee, you only pay for what you eat or drink at the restaurant. There is no markup on events, and even the event leaders pay their own way. This makes our events extremely inexpensive!
Once you become a member you sign up for events in several ways. First, each event has a table at our monthly social, held the first Monday at the Gateway Elks Lodge, 711 NE 100th St., Portland. There, you will receive a flyer with all the details regarding the event and sign up with the event leader that evening. Second, look for an event on our website calendar, click on it for the details and then sign up through the on-line registration process. Third, peruse the online Mogul Notes newsletter where each event is listed with the leaders name and phone number. You can call up the leader and sign up over the phone. Top
Who organizes and runs these events? -- All of our events are conceived, planned and run by member volunteers. These are the people who are the most excited about having the event, and have a vested interest in their success. This is because, whether it’s fun or a bore, everyone will know or find out eventually. Top
Am I required to help out on the events? -- Not necessarily. Most events require you to only show up and act responsibly. Occasionally, campouts and other similar events require you to help out for 2-3 hours for such things as meal preparation or setting up for the planned activities. But there’s a hidden benefit to being on a work crew – which is meeting and getting to know a few other club members. It makes the event all the more worthwhile. Top
Where do most of the activities take place? -- Most of our activities take place in and around the Portland/Vancouver area. Overnight or weekend activities can extend to the greater Pacific Northwest region or beyond. Top
What kind of ski activities do you do? -- We have a variety of events for downhill and cross-country skiers, snowboarding and snow shoeing. Top
Does Bergfreunde get group discounts at ski resorts? -- Because of our size, we often get group discounts, which is a substantial savings off of individual rates. Our favorite 'local' resorts are Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Hood Meadows, Timberline Lodge, and Ski Bowl. Top
I don't know how to ski/snowboard/cross-country/snow shoe, but I might try. Do you offer lessons? -- Virtually all winter long! Downhill ski and snowboarding lessons are usually offered through Mt. Hood Meadows ski school at reduced group rates. Workshops for cross-country and snow shoeing are usually arranged through the event leader. Top
I'm not interested in/can't do snow sports. What else do you do in the winter? -- Even though we are a 'ski club,' there is a growing percentage of members who are not interested or can no longer ski. For those people, we have a wide variety of non-snow activities during the winter season: dancing and dance lessons, hiking, TGIF, movie nights, theatre, indoor volleyball, indoor tennis, bowling, card games, Laser Tag, our New Year's Eve party, and of course, our Bergie Social/dance. Top
I don't like crowds. What activities are best for me? -- Since we're a pretty large organization, it may be difficult to 'fit in' if you're not comfortable in large groups of people. However, you'll probably like our hiking, biking, or even camping events. We also have a few social activities which typically attract fewer people. Check with our Welcome committee for suggestions. Top
I love to dance. What activities are best for me? -- We have lots of dancing activities at Bergfreunde! If you're just looking for a place to go, or are interested in group lessons, check our calendar first, to see when the next class or get together is scheduled. Then click on the link to go to our social activities page to find out what it's about. And don't forget the DJ dance after our Bergie Social! Top
I paid for an event but changed my mind. How do I get a refund? -- According to the membership guidelines, the only way you can get a refund is to get someone on the waiting list to take your spot. Your payment is already on the books, so the replacement person would write a check to the club and the club would reimburse your cost. If the trip doesn't have a waiting list yet, then you should be pro-active at any Bergie activity and solicit others to buy your spot. It helps to ask the event leader if they would offer their assistance in signing up someone to take your spot. Top
Where do I get recreational equipment/clothing at a really good price? -- There are a number of places in the Portland/Vancouver area. Among the sports retail chains: Big-5, REI, [more to come] Top
How do I find out about those 'other' events that don't make it in the newsletter? -- Those 'other' events - which are not listed on the calendar or in Mogul Notes - are unofficial, and therefore not an approved Bergfreunde event. However, you may find that once in a while, a group of people at a social event will regroup toward the end of the evening at a pub, dance hall, laser tag arcade, or other impromptu activity. There's no 'key' to getting involved, other than being sociable, and being in the right place at the right time. Top
What's the best way to get on an event that's already full? -- Boy, who asks all these tough questions?? Ok, this is one of the trickiest things to do in Bergfreunde. That's because when an event becomes full, everyone else finally figures out that it was the 'in' thing to be a part of. Start by getting on the waiting list. Then contact the event leader and see if any volunteers (e.g., cooks, clean-up, hauling) are still needed. Other times, the event leader will open a few additional spots just to make sure everything comes together. Occasionally a spot opens up on an event when someone who has signed up cancels for some reason. In a nutshell, stay in contact with the event leader and try not to be a pest. Top
I've always had trouble meeting people/fitting in. What can I do? -- Bergfreunde is not for the faint of heart. If you have trouble meeting people in your own areas of influence, you won't do much better in our club. However, since Bergfreunde provides great opportunity to meet people, it may be just the thing to get you out of your shell. But you have to want it bad enough to try. Top
How can I find out which other people share my same interests? -- Check the members profiles for this. Each person listed has a set of codes which identify the types of activities that they like. Of course, you can always go on an evnnt that interests you and meet the other people who are there. Top
I was a Bergie many years ago. What's changed since then? -- Membership has fluctuated in both directions over the past several years. There are higher percentages of non-skiers. There are more younger people (under 40) who have joined. There are more 'welcome wagon' activities for new members. We have this cool website. Top
I would like to solicit the membership for my own business. Is there a proper way to do this? -- We do not allow our membership database to be used for anything other than official Bergie business. We discourage the use of our membership directory from anything beyond Bergie business. Same goes with any email lists and the website that we run. However, if you feel that the membership in general would benefit, and it aligns with the Bergfreunde charter, you are welcome to bring it up for discussion at one of our monthly board meetings. Top
I don't drink beer. Would people think I was weird if I went to a TGIF and just ordered a soft drink? -- You worry too much! TGIFs are great social gatherings. You are not required to drink beer, and there are plenty of other beverages, if you would rather have something else. All of the places we visit also serve food. Top
I want to suggest an activity but I don't want to be an event leader. What should I do? -- Check with people who have been event leaders on similar outings and see if they're interested in your idea. They may be much more willing to say 'yes' if they could count on you and one or two others to help out. Top
I didn't like the way a trip was run. Who can I talk to about this? -- Start with the trip captain. Please remember that all Bergie trips are run by volunteers, who are usually doing the best they can. Better yet, volunteer to help make the situation better for others. If necessary, you may escalate your dispute with the respective activity director. See the Contact Information for details. Top
Someone annoyed me on an event. Who can I talk to about this? -- Unless there was some harm or harassment committed, don't bother people with it. Better yet, volunteer to help make the situation better for others. However, if it was a serious offense, start with the event leader. They are ultimately in charge of everything that goes on at their trip. If need be, you may escalate the problem to the board of directors. However this is usually reserved for gross misbehavior.But remember: this is a volunteer-run organization where everyone tries to get along. Most of our volunteers and event leaders bust their butts to make things happen as smoothly as they do. (Plus they still have to pay to attend the event!) Top
How can I start my own Bergie trip? -- See our Leadership section. Top
What kind of resources does the club have available for event leaders? -- There are lots of people in the club who have run trips and are eager to share what they know. Start by studying our Leadership section. Next, contact an event leader who is running a similar trip.
Our club also has a ton of equipment which can be used. Check with the office to see what is currently available.
Does Bergfreunde have brochures or business cards that I can give out? -- Yes. We have our yellow business cards, and calendar cards. You can get as many as you need from our office. Top
Is it OK to post these brochures at work/school/church/Safeway/etc.? -- Generally, yes, but get permission from whoever is in charge there. Be prepared to answer some questions about our club. If you're tongue-tied, hit the 'Print' button and hand them this FAQ page. If you're unsure as to what kind of location should receive our promotional material, and what quantity to leave behind, check with our office. Top
What kind of community activities and/or PR exposure is Bergfreunde involved in? -- We are part of the Adopt-A-Highway program. We maintain milepost 23-34 of Highway 26 leading to Mt. Hood. Contact the Vice President if you would like to help organize something new. Top
Is Bergfreunde on the Internet? -- Yes. www.bergfreunde.org or search on google for 'Ski Clubs in Portland, Oregon'. Top
Have you guys thought about franchising Bergfreunde in other cities besides Portland? -- Sure! You pick the city. And oh, by the way, you're in charge. Let us know when you schedule the first meeting! Top
How can I help promote Bergfreunde? -- Word of mouth! Talk about trips you've been on with other Bergies and non-Bergies whom you know. Talk about the benefits of membership you've experienced. Top
I want to complain about something. Who do I yell at first? -- Forget it. This is a volunteer-run organization?everyone tries to get along. Most of our volunteers and trip captains bust their butts to make things happen as smoothly as they do. (Plus they still have to pay to be on their own trip!) We suggest that, unless there was some harm or harassment committed, keep it to yourself. Better yet, volunteer to help make the situation better for others. Yes, we really mean that. See Guidelines, section 8 - 'Conduct'. But if you still feel you must voice a complaint, do it in writing to the Board of Directors, via the club office. Be sure to include your name and contact information. Top