Planning for a ‘New Normal’ Ski Season

Dear fellow High Parkers,

As we suffer through a summer of record heat, your Executive has had their minds on snow and skiing and boarding and snowshoeing and making plans and decisions for the coming season.  

In addition to our regular board meetings we also held an lengthy Strategy session (via Zoom) on Saturday July 25th that included both the Directors and volunteers from each of the various teams, to focus in on the specific challenges we face this coming year.

I want to thank all members who participated in the recent survey.  We received completed questionnaires from 477 members, for a very good response rate of 41%.   The responses have provided very helpful guidance for our planning of the upcoming season.  We plan on conducting another survey in the fall, closer to the season, to further refine our plans. 

While we do not have a crystal ball to fully know exactly what we will be facing in 5 months time when the season starts, the main thing is that, short of the government and public health officials ordering another shutdown, there will be a HPSC season as close to normal as we can make it. Or let me rephrase that, as close to normal as the ‘new normal’ permits.  We will be providing more detailed information on our plans in the next month or so, but I want to assure you that we have all been working on plans, and contingency plans, and more contingency plans, to ensure a fun season. 

Hope to see you all soon.  Enjoy the summer and stay safe! 

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club

98% of Members Report Satisfaction with the Club

First off, I want to thank all members who participated in the recent membership survey.  We received completed questionnaires from 477 members (41% response rate).   The responses have provided very helpful guidance for our planning of the upcoming season. 

Some of the highlights:

  • Almost all members (98%) report being very (80%) or somewhat satisfied (18%) with High Park Ski Club.
  • Six-in-ten (58%) members have gone on both long trips and daytrips during the last 2 years; 28% have only been on day trips (Alpine and/or Nordic); while 11% only went on long trips; 3% did not go on any type of trip for various reasons. 
  • In the last two years, two-thirds of members went on an Alpine day trip, while just over one-in-three participated in a Nordic daytrip.
  • The wearing of masks, and reduced numbers on the bus, are the most cited requirements for members to go on a day trip this season with HPSC for both Alpine and Nordic daytrippers.  However, one-in-ten report they will not be going on any daytrip bus this coming season.
  • Last season approximately one-third (32%) of Alpine members had an Ikon (16%) or Blue Mountain 5×7 (16%) pass.  Looking ahead at this season, the numbers are not far off, with about one-quarter having already purchased or planning on purchasing an Ikon (14%) or 5X7 (12%). 
  • Six-in-ten members indicate they plan on renewing their HPSC membership (FYI we usually have a renewal rate of approximately two-thirds).  However, not unexpectedly in this pandemic time, about one-in-five indicate they are uncertain.  Of those who were uncertain or report being unlikely to renew, the main reason appears to be the uncertainty of the pandemic situation.   

Long Trips vs COVID19

Day Dreaming about Winter 2021

The Long Trips team has been working on potential charter and overnight trips for 2021. We will follow all safety protocols to make sure our members stay as safe as possible from catching COVID19 on one of our trips. We know that travel will not be the same because of social distancing, face masks and hygiene principles. With safety as top of mind, we will make some critical decisions about the best way to offer trips.

The responses from the recent HPSC survey told us that there is little appetite for US or European trips. COVID19 has been rampant in US; who knows whether the situation this winter will be better… or worse. Thus we will plan only Canadian trips in 2021.  Fortunately there are lots of great western and eastern ski resorts to select from and as usual we will try to get the best possible deal for our members. For those with Club Med credits from the cancelled 2020 trip, we will slide the next Club Med Europe trips into 2022. For those who were on cancelled Taos, NM, this trip will be run again in 2022.

Travel Insurance

Please reread the blog item below from April on travel insurance. We never plan on using our insurance but when we need it, it comes in very handy. By not buying insurance for your trip, you are “self insuring” and just hoping that nothing will go wrong. In March 2020 members found out that things don’t always go as planned. Through no fault of their own, two charter trips got cancelled and they had to rely on insurance to recover their losses.

HPSC has always strongly recommended trip insurance on our website and in our other documentation.  For 2021 we may insist that every participant have it, ie, both medical and cancellation insurance. So when you sign up your next ski trip, keep a few dollars in reserve for insurance.

Next season planning

As summer swings into high gear, I wanted to take this opportunity to assure our XC ski and snowshoe members that we are planning the best we can for next season.

The situation with COVID-19 is very fluid, and we are exploring a number of different possibilities for running trips in a COVID-19 environment. We may not have answers soon, but rest assured we are doing our best to make a ski season – in some form – happen if at all possible.

We will keep our members informed of developments the best we can. In the meantime, enjoy the summer!

Sincerely,

Heather Steel

Director, Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Establishment of HPSC Diversity and Inclusiveness committee

Many of us in the High Park Ski Club have been moved by the George Floyd protests against police brutality and racial discrimination unfolding around the world, as well as here in our local communities.

The High Park Ski Club Board of Directors stands in support of the Black community and all minority groups. As a community-based organization, it is of paramount importance that we create an environment that is inclusive of people from all backgrounds.

To this end, at our June virtual meeting, the HPSC Board of Directors unanimously voted in favor of establishing a Diversity and Inclusiveness committee. This self-governing committee’s mandate will be to review our bylaws, policies, procedures, and practices for inclusiveness; and where opportunities for development are identified, provide recommendations to the Board.

If you are interested in getting involved with the committee please contact our Director of Membership and Volunteers, Ruth Schefter, at membership@hpsc.ca ..

HPSC Board of Directors

Skiing in the time of COVID-19

As we are all adjusting to new rules and realities, the downhill day trips team is monitoring the ongoing public health situation. As our 2020/2021 season is still months away, much of our planning does take place in the summer and fall months. Currently, larger resorts such as Blue Mountain are only beginning to slowly open their summer operations and do not have any updates for the winter season. We are hopeful that our winter will include skiing and snowboarding, however, it may look a little different. We can expect fewer people on chair lifts and few people in the lodges. As new guidelines and policies emerge, the downhill daytrips committee will keep HPSC members in the loop and updated on decisions or revisions to club policies. Suggestions and feedback are always welcome, and we look forward to seeing you on the hills soon!

A Unique Election Night

It really does take a village to run the club.  Everything we do starts with volunteers to plan, negotiate, and run.

Thanks to all the members who logged into a unique electronic election night on April 30.  And thank you to Adrian, Colin, and Stella for ensuring the night ran smoothly. 

Congratulations to our new volunteer Board of Directors for the next two years:

President – Justin Graham

Director of Finance – Clark Seaton

Director of Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding – David Manning

Director of Nordic Skiing and Fitness – Heather Steel

Director of Long Trips – Bill Bates

Director of Downhill Daytrips – Erika Clark

Director of Social Activities – Amy Lam

Director of Communications – Nemanja Davidovic

Director of Marketing    Jennifer Beatty

Director of Administration and Corporate Secretary – Vic Schroter

Director of Membership and Volunteers – Ruth Schefter

Director of Information Technology – Alex Radulescu

At our first meeting of the new Board, as per our club By-Laws, Heather Steel was selected and approved as club Vice President. 

The board would like to thank the fantastic members who have who have chosen to step away as club directors . . .  

Laura Headon – who was able to add a stabilizing influence as Financial Director after a bit of fluctuation in the role. 

Colin Marsh – who did a fantastic job as Marketing Director and Vice President. 

Iuliana Ilie – for stepping in last season in the role of Social Director – unfortunately your work on the 70th Gala was not realized because of COVID-19.

Christine Bellerose – for handling both the snow school, as well as being liaison for the last season between the board and the alpine daytrips team.  Enjoy your new role with ski school. 

We would also like to congratulate and thank Stella Rossovskaia for her long-time dedication to the club as a trip leader, social director, and as President over the last two years. 

Without our volunteers, the club would not be able to operate.  Please consider volunteering some of your time.  If you are interested please contact our Director of Membership and Volunteers at membership@hpsc.ca

Looking forward and planning ahead

Sun Basin, Utah – February 2019

First, I hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy in this unprecedented time. I am looking forward to seeing everyone in person at some point in the future. When that time will be is still up in the air, but your new board of directors is forging ahead putting together preliminary plans for next season.

I am personally honoured to have been elected as your next President of High Park Ski Club and look forward to working with all of the newly elected and returning Directors in order serve you, our fantastic members, over the next two years.

None of us has a crystal ball to see what the conditions we will be operating under in six months or even in two months, but we must move forward with planning for next season.  However, with the understanding that we may need to adjust to the rules and regulations we are faced with.   As we have, we will continue to follow the advice of public health officials and government to ensure that our members remain safe. 

As a club, we will face numerous challenges over the next year to get back to what we have come to expect is normal or what we will come to see as the new normal.  But it is through the community of fantastic members, volunteers, and board members that I believe we can achieve this.  

Over the next couple of months, we will be soliciting members to better understand your feelings, plans, concerns, and suggestions for next season.  Your responses will help to guide plans for the coming year.     

I hope we will all be able to come together again, sooner rather than later,  in person to celebrate our club and catch up with all of our HPSC friends and raise a pint or a glass or two!

Cheers!

Justin Graham

HPSC President

Cross-country volunteer opportunity!

The HPSC cross-country team met recently to debrief last season and start planning for next season.

Clearly, next season will depend on how the COVID-19 pandemic progresses through the summer. However, as of now, we are planning for a full 2020-2021 season. The club as a whole will discuss contingency plans as the summer progresses.

In the meantime, we are recruiting volunteers! We have a new opportunity perfect for those looking for a way to give back, but who are able to commit only a bit of time.

Next year, we’d like to offer 3-4 group ski opportunities for beginner new members. These would be held on select trips in January and early February in the afternoon. We are looking for members who would be willing to lead these group skis. The time commitment is approximately 2 hours in the afternoon on one ski day (or however many you want to lead). You would be leading a group of beginners on some of the easier trails at the resort. The goal is socializing and fun! No need to be a long time member, or a high level skier. The only requirement is a friendly attitude!

We hope these group skis will allow new members the opportunity to meet more skiers at their level outside of the lessons and feel more comfortable from the get go in the club.

If you’re interested, please email Heather at crosscountry@hpsc.ca.

Have a great summer!

We want friendly faces like these!

And The HPSC Oscar Hatashita Award Goes To…

The Academy officially adopted the name “Oscar” for the trophies in 1939. … A frequently mentioned originator is Margaret Herrick, the Academy executive secretary, who, when she first saw the award in 1931, said the statuette reminded her of “Uncle Oscar“, a nickname for her cousin Oscar Pierce.

Did you know that HPSC has it’s own Oscar Award? Oscar Hatashita was one of the founders of the club from 1950. Oscar was the last surviving founder and has attended 60th Anniversary celebration. Oscar’s name was famous among the club members, as he had an “Oscar” ski shop. Everyone would go to “Oscar” at the beginning of the season for the new boots fitting, and the styles and the bindings were changing fast. We’ve established an Award in honour of Oscar Hatashita for 65th Anniversary. Denise Janssen was the first recipient of the Award for her outstanding contribution to the development of the club. This year the glamour of Magic Carpet is virtual due to coronavirus pandemic that has rained on our parade. The pictures of the winners were taken on the snow, Magic Carpet the original.

And The HPSC Oscar Hatashita Award Goes to…

COLIN MARSH – for outstanding accomplishment of the club’s membership growth

Colin is shining like a star in Banff during overnight trip

After a decade of slow although steady decline in club’s membership the trend has changed to the 20% membership growth in the last two years. This is an outstanding result, close to a miracle. Colin is the man behind club’s new website redesign, he took on the design and development side of the project with the IT, Communications and all Directors for the exciting design and content. The launch of the website for the 2018/19 season provided a superior experience for members and prospective members and the Club’s online advertising campaign drove membership growth and a lot of interest for our club from the diverse groups. As a Marketing Director and Vice President Colin has made a lot of positive changes and decisions for the best interest of our club members, New Members nights, referral program have blossomed and resulted in the continuous growth. Congratulations on your outstanding results and recognition of your accomplishments and success from your colleagues at the Board of Directors, Colin!

GEORGE LORENZ – for outstanding leadership and guidance to the Board of Directors

George is sparkling positive energy during his lesson as a passionate Cross Country ski instructor

George is High Park Ski club life timer. After being the President of the club for multiple terms, leading the trips, teaching cross country skiing, participating in all types of activities in the club George has accumulated a big mountain of wisdom, experience, knowledge and… patience. As a Chair of Advisory Board George has probably saved our club from the mini crisis a few times, helping the Boards forming–storming–norming and high performing. It’s a great support to the Board to have access to George’s expertise in governance, risk management, by-laws applicabilities and personal common sense… Thank you George! Congratulations on the Oscar Hatashita Award and Board’s recognition and appreciation of your leadership and guidance.

KAREN EVANS – for authoring club’s “Code of Conduct” and thoughtful leadership

Karen is a Silver Star in Silver Star!

Karen is known to many of us as “Energizer Bunny” for her sparkling positivity and endless energy that she shares with members at SkiFits in High Park in the fall, on the cross country trails or on the mountains teaching skiing. As a world traveler Karen inspires us all to live the life to the fullest. One of the most outstanding contributions of Karen into development of our club is Karen’s authoring of the club’s “Code of conduct” for members and Board of Directors. Safety, well being and positive experience of our members and volunteers are our top priority in the club. How many times we had to navigate the complex situations and find the answers and solutions in the simple positive statements of our “Code of conduct”, which we all acknowledge, when we join the club. Thank you Karen, for sharing with us your wisdom and for applying your outstanding communication skills in documenting the “Code of conduct” that serves our club for many years.

BILL BATES – for enabling our members to travel the the best ski resorts in the world

If you are in front of the line in ski class with Bill (3rd from left) – it means you are an expert! Bill skis fast!

Every year around end of summer and in the fall there is a buzz in the club… What are the overnight trips planned for us? The joy of dreaming and traveling… Behind many of our dreams, behind well planned trips is a great team (everyone stays on the team for many years) and a mindful leader, one and only Bill Bates. Bill dedicates so many hours to our club, his expertise and knowledge, kindness and care, he could be a one man successful tour operator business! Bill’s emails to the team come usually after midnight. Bill’s leadership philosophy is: “We care about our members as concerned relatives, and we treat our members as responsible adults.” Bill is one of Directors who has to apply “Code of Conduct” written by Karen creatively to find the most positive solution for the club and responsible adults members. Bill is always open for new ideas and innovations, and can calculate to the single dollar the cost and risk of the idea. The success of our overnight trips have grown, no wonder most of our trips sell out within one minute. Thank you dear Bill, you’ve enabled and empowered many of us to travel the world, to see the most beautiful mountains, trails and resorts. We want to express our gratitude to you for your outstanding contribution, for the moments of joy our members experienced thanks to you, with this special Award in memory of Oscar Hatashita, one of the founders of the club.


Bill (3rd from left) is always in Front Of The Line…