President’s Report – Optimistic news regarding the upcoming season!!

October 27th, 2021

Dear HPSC Friends!

Since the last SnoBiz there have been some major positive public announcements that impact our upcoming season!!

The American government has finally announced the re-opening of the land board for non-essential travel as of November 8th for those fully vaccinated (including mixed vaccinations).  This means we will be able to run our bus trips to Holiday Valley (NY), Killington (VT), and Jay Peak (VT)!!! And on a personal note, I will finally be able to visit my best friend Tricia and her family in Pittsburgh for American Thanksgiving next month! 

Long trip sign up is this coming Thursday October 28th at 8pm sharp and I am hoping to get on the Holiday Valley trip! (I have already used my one Front of the Line privilege as President for the St. Mortiz trip in March).   There are a lot of great trips to consider. 

The vaccination passport system is now in place with the Ontario QR code document now available for download; please do so ASAP.

The Ontario government has announced plans for further opening up, with the aim to have all COVID restrictions lifted by the end of March 2022.  This week, capacity limits are being lifted for restaurants and bars, which means that we can finally start planning for some indoor social events hopefully in November and December.  Please stay tuned!

With this announcement, our local resorts have a much better sense of how they will need to operate this season.  This means that we will also be able to provide you with a better sense of how we will be running daytrips shortly. 

Given these announcements and the high level of vaccination rates in Ontario, finally, there appears to be a light at the end of this extremely long tunnel. I am very optimistic that this will be a great season for HPSC!!   

Cheers!

Justin Graham, President

President’s Message – It’s already the end of September!!

September 29, 2021

I can’t believe we are almost at the end of September already!! It seems like just yesterday that I was looking forward to our first SkiFit of the year.  And now we are coming up to our fourth session this coming Saturday!  (FYI Registration opens each Tuesday.)

The most important item on the upcoming HPSC schedule is the Annual General Meeting on Thursday September 30th.  I had sincerely hoped that by the time this year’s AGM rolled around we would be able to return to an in-person event.  However, we will once again be restricted to a Zoom call.

If you haven’t already registered for the AGM please do so (https://hpsc.ca/event-4489401).  We are restricted to just 100 participants, so if the event is full, please put your name on the waitlist.  If you have registered but cannot attend, please cancel yourself out by clicking on the registration button and then on “more details” where there is a cancel button.  This will allow other members to join the meeting. If you cannot attend but would like to send a proxy, the form is available on the website (https://hpsc.ca/club-documents).

The zoom link will be sent to all registrants on Thursday September 30th. And the club Annual Report will be posted to the website on Thursday as well. 

As of last Wednesday September 22nd, all Ontarians are being asked to provide proof of vaccination at almost all non-essential businesses and organizations.  As I have written before, we are not set up to just “show us at the door”.  I would personally like to thank the approximately 40% of members who have already emailed their document (vac@hpsc.ca) or shown up at an in-person location (or caught me at a TBC bike ride 😊.) To confirm, only the membership team is accessing the emails and we are not saving your documents.  Once it is reviewed and confirmed, the email and document is deleted.  

Justin Graham

President

So you are vaccinated . . . now what?

As announced earlier in the summer, the HPSC Board made the decision that to protect the health of other club members and volunteers, in order to participate in most in-person club events this season you will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID.  

The first step will be to attest to your vaccination status on your member profile page, at the same time you acknowledge the Code of Conduct, Waiver, and Rowan’s law declaration after September 1st when membership renewal occurs.  Any falsification of vaccination status will be considered as a breach of the HPSC Code of Conduct and will be subject to disciplinary review

However, without confirmation of vaccination status the Long Trips Committee will not be able to arrange roommates or run close to full buses, that allow us to control the costs of trips. Or allow other portfolios to ensure only those fully vaccinated are participating in events. 

Therefore, as a second step at some point during the fall, we are asking that members provide our membership team with proof of your vaccination status (i.e. 2nd shot vaccination certificate or federal vaccination passport announced last week) by emailing it to vac@hpsc.ca.  Only those on the membership team will have access to these emails and once they confirm your status by reviewing your document, all of your documents and emails will be deletedThe club will not be storing your private vaccination record.

PLEASE HOLD OFF SENDING YOUR DOCUMENTATION UNTIL AFTER SEPTEMBER 1 WHEN RENEWALS OPEN. 

For those concerned about privacy, on the vaccination certificate, we only need to see the following information: Name; Date of 2nd vaccination; Agent (COVID-19); Dose – 2 of 2.  All of the rest of the information can be blacked out. 

If you feel uncomfortable in emailing your documentation, we will also be arranging for numerous in-person events (i.e. after each week’s SkiFit; other nights during the week at locations around the city) when you can show the membership team your proof, and they will note your status.  If you cannot meet in person and are concerned about emailing your documents, we can arrange for a personal Zoom call where you can show your document.  We will NOT be recording or taking screen shots.

Please note that to register for charter or long trips at our signup nights in September and October you will need to have at least attested on your member profile that you are fully vaccinated. As with all members you will also need to provide your vaccination document at some point prior during the fall. If you are not fully vaccinated by trip signup night, you will not be able to register for trips until you are (if spots are still available).  If you have not had your second shot yet and want to sign up for charter or long trips, please arrange for your second shot so as soon as possible. At that point you can update your member profile page and send in/arrange to show us your vaccination proof document.

As mentioned earlier, you do not have to send in your vaccination proof right away.  If you feel more comfortable doing so when the Federal vaccination passport becomes available that is fine.  We just need to review your document prior to your first in-person event (please allow at least 5 days for our team to review and confirm your status – we are all volunteers so it might take time to get to).  If you are signing up for a long or charter trip it should be before full payment.

For charter trips, you will likely be required to provide the newly announced federal vaccination passport to our tour company partners. As well, last week the Federal government also announced that proof of vaccination will be required for travel, including domestically, by plane, train, etc. And it makes sense to assume that long distance bus trips should also be included. 

If you CANNOT be vaccinated due to a medical condition, and can provide a doctors note to our membership team simply stating this (without any medical diagnosis information) you will be able to have limited participation in club events this year, (i.e. drive up for a day trip and participate in lessons).  However, as announced earlier you will not be able to register for any long or charter trips, or to go on the bus for daytrips.

We acknowledge that members have the free choice to not be vaccinated; however, we as the directors of the club have the duty to protect the health and safety of our club members and volunteers to the best of our ability.  Until the pandemic is declared over in Canada, the best option for protection and moving to a more ‘normal’ environment is vaccination.  If you are dissatisfied with this policy, we are truly sorry.  We can, upon request, if you choose, to defer your membership for another year or refund your membership fee (however, your club seniority would be maintained), and we will welcome you back once pandemic measure are lifted.     

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club

Membership fee goes up November 1st

For those who did not renew last year due to concerns over COVID we understand and your seniority in the club was maintained. However, for it to continue you will need to rejoin this season. 

For returning members the current early bird fee is $150 (+HST) until October 31st.  As of November 1st the rate increases to $170 (+HST).  For new members the rate remains at $150 (+HST) for the enter season.

As of October 22nd, Ontarians have been required to provide the new QR code vaccination document for most non-essential locations.  If you haven’t done so, please download yours ASAP. 

This new document includes only the information we need to see, we are hoping to have all members vaccination status verified by November 6th.  If you haven’t provided your vaccination proof yet to the club please send it in to vac@hpsc.ca . 

If you have already sent in or shown your proof, we do not require to see your new QR document. 

See you on the snow!

Ruth Schefter, Director of Membership

Long Trip Sign-up Night on October 28th

After the success of our charter trip signup nights (there are still a limited number of spots available), our long trips sign up is this Thursday, October 28 at 8pm sharp. 

Only those fully vaccinated are qualified to register for any trip.  If you register and cannot provide your vaccination proof to our Membership team by November 6th, you will be removed from the trip and will lose your $100 non-refundable deposit.

If you still need to renew your membership, or send in your vaccination proof, and want to sign up for one of the long trips, please do so by Tuesday October 26th.  This allows the time for our membership team to process your materials prior to the trip signup on Thursday night.

PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING CHANGE:  The first weekend trip in December to Tremblant, that is the instructor training weekend, has been changed from a bus trip to a U-Drive trip, with a corresponding decrease in cost.  Regular members are still welcome to register, however, please note you will need to arrange your own transportation to the resort.  Also note that there will be no reception on this trip as originally planned. 

We have arranged eight bus trips for the upcoming season, including three mid-week trips, and a specific weekend cross-country/snowshoe trip (and a cross-country option for the mid-week Tremblant trip).  Three of the trips are cross-border, including the return of our very popular weekend trip to Holiday Valley, just outside of Buffalo. 

Members have been asking questions about what the rules will be on the bus.  At this point, since all members on the trip will be verified as fully vaccinated, we plan on running the buses at almost full capacity. Similar to when flying, members will be required to wear masks while on the bus and remain in their seat as much as possible. Eating and drinking should be limited, and food should not be passed around. For this year, there will be no ‘party’ table seats at the back    

We understand that this is much different than our normal bus trips, but please recall that last season we were not even entertaining running long bus trips at all.  Our greatest hope is that by this time next year we will again be back to worrying about trips selling out too quickly!

What we currently know about the rules for cross-border and international trips

As of November 8th, we will be able to cross over the U.S. land border.  This is fantastic news for the club since we have planned three bus trips to U.S. resorts. 

What we know at this point is that crossing into the U.S. will require both your passport and your proof of full vaccination.  On October 15th the U.S. also announced that they will accept mixed vaccination of WHO approved vaccines. 

When flying (including domestically) you will require your QR code vaccination document (and a photo ID/Passport). 

However, currently, when returning to Canada, all travellers need to provide the results from an accepted COVID Test result taken within 72 hours of arrival at the Canadian border.  (Rapid tests are not accepted.) If your trip is less than 72 hours (i.e. our Holiday Valley weekend trip) you can get a test done at home prior to leaving and use it on your way back home. 

For longer trips, if the same rules still apply, you will need to have a test done while out of the country. Please remember that most of our international trips are not running for another 4 to 5 months, in late February or March 2022, so the requirements when returning to Canada may have changed by that point.    Just think back to the quarantine requirements that were in place five months ago last May.  

Club Med has indicated to us that they will be able to arrange these tests for our members (at a separate cost to members.) For our U.S. trips we have not been able to confirm exactly how the process will work.  With the border closed last season, the resorts did not have to deal with this issue, so this is something new for them, and therefore still in flux.

The Long Trips Committee and those who have stepped up to be Trip Leaders already have a lot of responsibilities and things to keep track of even in a normal year for trips. While the club tries to provide as much information as possible, ultimately, it is up to the individual to understand what the travel rules and requirements are for their personal situation. 

If there is anyone who would like to volunteer to help out the club by researching and tracking this topic it would be greatly appreciated.  Please contact longtrips@hpsc.ca.

2022 Front-of-the-Line (FOTL)

If you click on a charter or overnight trip, you will see that the “SPACES LEFT” field will show declining numbers in the days before registration has even opened. Members wonder how can this happen? Are people able to jump the queue? The reason is that some members were issued a FOTL pass. FOTL gets a jump on the rest of the membership to register before trips go on sale.  

In a normal year, very few FOTL passes are given out. Generally these are restricted to the Board of Directors and the Long Trips volunteers who planned those trips. But FOTL passes can only be used for one trip. To go on other trips, these dedicated volunteers must still compete for a seat on Trip Sign Up Night like the rest of us.

This season additional FOTL passes were issued to members whose trips were cancelled in March 2020 when the pandemic first hit us. Coronavirus cancelled France 2020 (34 members) and Taos 2020 (50 members). Many of these members received hotel and airline credits instead of an insurance refund payment. The FOTL pass ensures that they are able to get onto a 2022 trip and use their credits. It’s a small bit of good news for these members who lost out on their 2020 charter trip.

Bill Bates, Director

Where to buy cross-country ski and snowshoe gear

The winter will be here before we know it! If you want to buy gear rather than rent, you may want to think about it sooner rather than later. Last year, cross-country ski gear flew off the shelves as people sought safe ways to enjoy winter outside. While demand may not be at the same level (especially if downhill is open and some indoor fun returns), I still expect it to be high. October is usually when new stock arrives. So, where can you buy gear?

Retailers

Velotique – a bike and ski shop in the east end. They are probably the most knowledgeable about skis in the city. My top recommendation for a city retailer.

MEC – we all know MEC. I don’t find the staff is as knowledgeable anymore, but if you know what you want, it’s a great option.

Skiis and Bikes – I think they sell cross-country equipment? It’s been a while since I’ve been in the store. But you can give them a try too.

Ski resorts

If you can get out to Hardwood or Highlands Nordic, both have top notch pro shops with excellent staff who can fit you right. My top choice because I trust them.

Call the resorts to find out their shopping policies. You may still have to book appointments this year.

Ski swaps

Hardwood, Highlands and sometimes Velotique host ski swaps where you buy used equipment (or take your equipment to be sold). If we receive information about ski swaps, we will share on the blog and on the Facebook group. These generally happen in October and November.

Received word that Hardwood’s Ski Swap is Oct. 16-17 by reservation. Book early! https://www.hardwoodskiandbike.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Ski-Swap-Guide-2021.pdf

Received word that Highland’s Ski Swap is Oct. 30-31. Double vaccination required. Highlands Trailblazer Dust Em’ Off Ski Swap – 2021 – Highlands Nordic

If you have questions about gear, there is lots of information on the blog about just that!

A primer on buying skis, boots, and poles

A bit on waxing

A primer on buying snowshoes

Clothing considerations

What to expect for cross-country skiing & snowshoeing, 2021-2022 edition

Hello cross-country skiers and snowshoers!

I hope everyone was able to have a great summer under the circumstances. Great weather to spend lots of time outdoors.

The HPSC board is planning for the winter. We hope to be able to ski and snowshoe with you all this year! I missed everyone last winter. I know that everyone must have lots of questions about what the year will look like. Trust me…so do I! Given the public health situation changes constantly, it’s tough to plan. We will be implementing policies that are in line public health guidelines, but it is not clear what those guidelines will be yet. But here are a few things that you can probably expect on the cross-country side this winter.

Keeping the fun on the snow

We’ve got a big contingent of snowshoers!

While HPSC is known for our fun day trip social events (bus potlucks, socials at the resort etc.), we will be keeping our fun strictly outside on the snow this year. This year isn’t the time to start sharing food. But, we will have lessons and guided snowshoeing, as usual. We are also introducing a new afternoon guided ski option for beginners on select day trips (especially in January). Volunteers will lead a group ski for beginners, allowing new skiers to learn the trails better and meet more people at their ski level.

Improve your ski skills

I made my class climb a big hill. Trust me, it was a pedagogically sound decision 😉

For those wanting to hone their skills – or learn some! – we will be offering lessons with our great group of certified instructors. Normally our lessons are small groups (about 6/class) and it is easy to distance on cross-country skis. We hope to be able to run normal lesson programming this year. Only the indoor components will likely change – probably no eating lunch with your class and no video analysis (at least indoors). We also will likely stagger the lesson start and end times so as to alleviate congestion on the bus at lunch.

Get comfortable outside

You may want to wear more than this with limited indoor space…!

While we don’t know what the indoor distancing guidelines will be this winter, the resorts have said that there likely will not be much indoor access again. Plan to spend more time outside than usual (you may want to travel with a small pack with snacks and extra clothing, as I suggested last year). We will work with the bus company to have the bus as our home base. What that looks like exactly is still being worked out.

Speaking of the bus…

With our mandatory vaccination policy, we are comfortable running buses this year. What the experience on the bus looks like, however, is still being worked out. Masking is likely to be required, and we would likely ask members to refrain from eating and drinking and walking around the bus to socialize. We all will also need a healthy dose of patience, as we all will likely need to get ready on the bus.

Once our policies are worked out, we will be communicating them to the membership through the website, this blog, and SnoBiz. We appreciate your patience as we work hard to plan a great season. We will update members as soon as new information becomes available.

Hoping for winter wonderlands this year!

Looking for a volunteer!

Downhill day trips is looking for a volunteer coordinator for Monday day trips. This role includes closing the registration page on Thursday evenings at 6pm, downloading appropriate registration lists from the website and emailing Blue Mountain and Pacific Western Transportation (our bus company). This position requires the coordinator to be available Thursday evenings for about 30 minutes to complete necessary work. 
Helpful skills include familiarity with basic Microsoft Excel and computer skills. The volunteer will receive training and assistance at the beginning of the season. 
If you are interested, please email Erika, Director of Downhill Daytrips at daytrips.director@hpsc.ca

2020/21 HPSC Annual General Meeting – September 30

As per our official club by-laws, we will be holding our Annual General Meeting on the evening of September 30th.  An official notification will be sent to all members shortly. 

This is your chance to hear directly from the Board of Directors about the past year including our financial status, to participate in official changes to the club by-laws, and to ask questions of the board. 

While earlier in the summer I had hoped we would be able to hold the AGM in person this year, the current case counts and regulations make that very difficult.  Therefore, the meeting will be held virtually via Zoom for the second year in a row.  We will require you to register for the event on our website.  After registration and prior to the meeting a meeting link will be sent to you. 

https://www.hpsc.ca/event-4489401