More than 300 members of the Black Ski Club of Washington are heading to Park City, Utah, this month for the biennial gathering of the national Brotherhood of Skiers. Local club spokesman Len Randolph said the convention draws 4,000 to 5,000 black skiers from 64 clubs across the country.

The Washington club, largest in the Brotherhood, is now 18 years old and has more than 500 members, Randolph said. It runs day, weekend and longer trips all ski season. For information, call the club hotline at (202) 331-3900.


In the unlikely event you should kick up a ruffed grouse while wandering around the woods in southern Maryland, don't shoot!

The National Capital Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society has been transplanting the prized gamebirds, trapped in the wild in western Maryland and Pennsylvania, into Charles County in a five-year bid to start a naturally reproducing population there. The hardwood forests around Waldorf are considered prime grouse habitat.

To protect the new arrivals, the state Department of Natural Resources has invoked a ban on grouse shooting in Charles County.


Consider the Audubon Naturalist Society's upcoming "extended forays" -- five days in the Everglades studying ecology Jan. 17-22; a week and a half in Trinidad and Tobago Feb. 1-11. We could live with that. . . .

For information, call (301) 652-5964.


Perry Kennedy of Centreville, Md., hit 48 of 50 targets to win the recent Winter League trapshooting tournament at the National Capital Skeet and Trap Club off Route 28 in Darnestown.

The club is open to the public for recreational shooting from 4-6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends and holidays. Call (301) 948-2266.


The 30th annual Washington Boat Show runs Jan. 16-21 at the Washington Convention Center, with hundreds of sail and power boats on display. Call (703) 569-7141 for information.

Meantime, well over 100 top racing boats will convene in the Florida Keys Jan. 13-18 for Audi-Yachting Key West Race Week, which has developed in recent years into the top ocean-racing regatta in the East.

Among local Chesapeake Bay entries making the trip: Jack King's Merrythought, Dave Dodge's Privateer, Ben Michaelson's Quintessence, Don Zinn's Goldfish, Darryl Greb's Midnight Express and Pen Alexander's Once Upon a Time.


We enjoyed a trek on the Capital Crescent Trail near MacArthur Boulevard on New Year's Day. The future looks good for this ribbon of woods from the District to Silver Spring along the old Chessie railroad tracks. Congress has appropriated $7 million to acquire remaining District sections and Maryland is warming to the notion of a quiet place for hikers and bikers to wander.

One problem remains -- the tracks, which turn walking into misery after a half-mile or so. Plans are afoot to take up the rails and ties, sell them for salvage and use the money for trail development. The sooner the better, from this footsore user's perspective.

ROCKFISH: Everyone's favorite local fish should be showing up fresh at the markets again now that Maryland's commercial season has reopened after a five-year closure.

Net fishing resumed Wednesday in the Chesapeake Bay as watermen checked in 3,150 pounds of rock at check stations. The catch dropped to 2,689 pounds Thursday. The price was a big disappointment, ranging from $1.60 to $1.90 a pound, according to the state's tidewater fisheries chief, Pete Jensen.

Jensen said rockfish caught and frozen during Virginia's five-day November commercial season are still on the market, depressing the price for Maryland's catch. He said watermen were hoping for $3 a pound.