President’s Message – The Renewal of Autumn

SkiFit is even for the President – September 2019

Dear Friends

Things are finally restarting!!  After a very long winter, spring, and summer, we have finally reached the point where things for the club are starting up again. 

The charter and long trip lists are posted; SkiFit has begun; the first trip signup is next week (for the Serre Chevalier Club Med, France trip); and the Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Thursday September 30th (official notification will be sent shortly). 

As President, it has been fantastic to meet up in person with members of the HPSC community over the last couple of weeks at SkiFit (including a number of new members) and at our various in-person vaccination poof events. 

Just a reminder to members who had their membership deferred from last year, you do not have to pay for this season, BUT we still require all to log into their website account and acknowledge the club Code of Conduct, Waiver, and your vaccination status.  To do this click on your name in the upper right of the main page after logging in, and then click on EDIT PROFILE.  It is on this page that you can read and acknowledge the various documents. 

For members under 26 years of age we also require you to read and acknowledge the Concussion Code of Conduct, as required by the provincial government (Rowan’s Law).  Although not required for other members, I would highly recommend reviewing it anyway just to understand concussions and what you should do if you suspect having a concussion. 

Once you have updated your profile, and for all new and returning members, we then require you to send in your vaccination proof to vac@hpsc.ca (or stop by one of the in-person events – please see below for locations). 

While some things are returning to normal there are other things that we still cannot do.  We would normally be holding a special volunteer event thanking our fantastic volunteers and handing volunteer awards for the previous season.  We would also have scheduled a number of information nights for the fall for new and prospective members to learn more about the club (and current members to reconnect).  And I was personally hoping to have a President’s pub crawl this fall.  So while things are improving somewhat they are still not back to normal.

As always, I hope that you will read all of the articles in this edition of SnoBiz to find out what is going on with the club!

Sincerely,

Justin Graham, President, High Park Ski Club

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

Harassment and bullying will not be tolerated in HPSC

The High Park Ski Club has a long history of, and is dedicated to, bringing people together to enjoy the winter. It is important that the Club provides an environment that allows everyone to enjoy the activities we offer. As such, we want to remind everyone that the Club absolutely does not tolerate any sort of bullying or harassment.

It is important to understand that according to the Ontario Human Rights Code:

  • Sexual harassment is conduct that is generally considered or might reasonably be known to be unwelcome. Some examples of sexual harassment include unwelcome comments on people’s appearance or unnecessary physical contact.
  • Sexual harassment is not necessarily focused on the intention of the person committing the action, but rather on the impact of their behaviour on the other party.

Each year we require that all members read and acknowledge our Code of Conduct which includes the following in the very first paragraph:

“Club members are responsible for respecting the integrity and dignity of each and every club member, as well as our suppliers including tour operators, resort personnel, and bus drivers. Members maintain a companionable environment that is free of profane, sexist or sexually explicit language, threats, violence, or hurtful actions.”   

HPSC encourages any member with complaints regarding Code of Conduct issues to contact the Club Ombudsperson, Kerry Kupecz, at ombudsperson@hpsc.ca. The Club takes all complaints seriously and fully investigates them.

We’re looking forward to having a wonderful ski season this year.

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.

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

In-person Vaccination verification locations for September 16-28

Since our last SnoBiz the provincial government has finally announced that they will be creating a vaccination passport of some kind and will be requiring Ontarians to show their proof of vaccination starting September 22.  Just to confirm that when the provincial document is available we will also accept that as vaccination proof. 

I would like to thank those who have taken advantage of our in-person events to show us their documentation. 

For those who are uncomfortable emailing their proof to vac@hpsc.ca the membership team will be available for in-person vaccination verification at various locations throughout the fall, including almost every Saturday in High Park after SkiFit. 

Between September 16 and September 28, you can stop by to show your vaccination proof at:

Thursday September 16 Berczy Park by the Dog Fountain 5-6pm

Saturday September 18 (Post SkiFit) High Park – on one of the benches on the west side of the main Bloor St entrance 11:30am-1pm

Wednesday September 22 NW corner of Bloor St. and Church St. 5:15-6:15pm

Saturday September 25 (Post SkiFit) High Park – on one of the benches on the west side of the main 1 Bloor St. entrance 1:30am-1pm

Tuesday September 28 Yonge/Eglinton in front of the Skiis and Bikes 6-7pm

SkiFit Returns on Saturday September 11th

Typical HPSC SkiFit warm up

This year especially, pre-season fitness will be extremely important for HPSC members. 

As always, we will be running our fun fall SkiFit program in High Park on Saturday mornings.  Come enjoy the outdoors and make new friends. This is a free, fun and social event with athletic activities to suit a variety of fitness levels. We have something for everyone who wants to start getting ready for winter.

And good news, Karen Evans and John McHutchion, have agreed to return to lead the sessions this year.  They, however, will not be available for the first session September 11th or on September 25th

New HPSC members are very welcome to register. However, as was the case last year, we will continue SkiFit as an HPSC members only event. 

We will also continue to require members to register each week for the session and will initially limit the number to 30 participants.  Registration will open each Tuesday for the following Saturday’s session.  The sessions are listed on the club Social page calendar. 

If you cannot make the session, please email president@hpsc.ca and I will remove your name and open it up to the next person on the waitlist. 

Unfortunately, the Grenadier Restaurant continues to be close on the weekends, so we will not be able to stay for brunch.  Hopefully by the end of the fall, this will change, or we might be able to find another nearby location to have brunch.   

Weekly Schedule

8:55 am Meet in High Park, under the trees on the north side of the Grenadier Restaurant parking lot. See map below.

9:00 am A fun warm up with introductions.  Includes agility and balance exercises.

9:15 am We head off to enjoy a variety of activities. Walk, run, Nordic pole walking…  We have groups for every fitness level.  Nordic pole walking guidance offered.  Bring your own walking poles.

10:45 am A stretching session led by our volunteers, and announcements of upcoming events.

11:00 am This year, we will not be arranging for brunch as a group at the Cafe. 

Ski Fit is a free program for all club members. Register and come check us out. We meet rain or shine. Wet weather can be even more fun as we benefit from the leafy tree canopy and park shelters.

Location: 180 Colborne Lodge Dr., Toronto. In the centre of High Park. Meet on the North side of the Grenadier parking lot, under the trees.

NOTE:  According the High Park website the park is closed to vehicles on the weekend, so if you are driving you will need to find a parking spot outside of the park. 

In-person Vaccination verification locations for September 2-16

Get the Jab – Graffiti Alley Photo by JK Graham

As announced in the last SnoBiz, the HPSC board has decided that we will need proof of full vaccination at some point during the fall to allow members to participate in almost all in-person HPSC events this coming season. 

While many other organizations can ask for proof “at the door” we are not able to do that.  However, for those who are uncomfortable emailing their proof to the special email address (vac@hpsc.ca) the membership team will be available for in-person vaccination verification at various locations throughout the fall, including almost every Saturday in High Park after SkiFit. 

If you cannot make it to any of the in-person events and are uncomfortable emailing your document please send a message to vac@hpsc.ca requesting a personal Zoom call to show us your document. 

In each SnoBiz we will announce where and when we will be available during the following two weeks for in person verification.  Between September 2 and September 16, you can stop by to show your vaccination proof at:

Saturday September 4

High Park – Look for us at one of the benches on the west side of the park near the main Bloor Street entrance

1-2pm

Thursday September 9

Bloor Islington Place (3280 Bloor Street West) – Bottom of the stairs below GoodLife Fitness

6-7pm

Saturday September 11 (Post SkiFit)

High Park – Look for us at one of the benches on the west side of the park near the main Bloor Street entrance

11:30am-1pm

Thursday September 16

Berczy Park – by the Dog Fountain (Front St. E and Scott St.)

5-6pm

President’s Report – The Unofficial Start of the HPSC Year

Dear Friends

It is finally September!!  As it did when we were growing up, September signifies somewhat of an unofficial new year.  I hope that everyone has been able to stay safe and healthy through the off season and are looking forward as much as I am to this new year!

As I mentioned in the last SnoBiz, September is the time to start to renew your connection to High Park Ski Club.  For those who chose not to join last year for COVID related reasons, we understand, and sincerely hope that based on the actions and policies put into place by the club you will seriously consider rejoining us this season. 

For members who had their membership deferred last season, you do not have to pay for this season . . . but we do need you to acknowledge the HPSC Code of Conduct, waiver, concussion protocol, and your vaccination status.  You do this by logging into HPSC.ca, clicking on your name in the upper right corner, and then to Edit profile.  This will allow you to checkmark the appropriate documents.

For those who graciously invested your 2020/21 membership to the club, we again thank you, and hope you will rejoin this year.   

If you are fully vaccinated, you can then send in your vaccination proof to vac@hpsc.ca or meet up with a member of the membership team to show your proof.  Please see the article below for locations the membership team (including myself) will be available for you to show your document. 

This is also the time of year that we start to make announcements regarding the upcoming season – so PLEASE do read all of the articles in each of edition of SnoBiz to stay informed!

Cheers!

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club