Anticipation in Autumn!

President’s Message

I like to say that I survive the summer in anticipation of the fall and the joy of winter.  And this year is no different.

Autumn has always been one of my favourite times of the year – the crisp air, the colours of the trees, and of course preparing for the upcoming ski season, including the weekly HPSC SkiFit in High Park. This year, SkiFit has provided the opportunity for me to reconnect with members, as well as meeting a number of new members who have come out.  

I know that many of you have been anxious to hear what our exact plans are for the year. In a normal season all of these things would have been announced by now.  However, as we all know this is not a normal year.  We are still working out details (and prices) with the various resorts because they are still working things out on their side.  We will be communication plans as soon as we can. 

HPSC members are different than many Canadians – we actually look forward to the coming of winter.  And this year even more so than usual!  A good omen for me was the arrival a couple of weeks ago (on my birthday) of a surprise package – my Ikon pass for the coming season!!  And the news this past weekend that Mount Norquay in Banff has just opened, it’s earliest first day in it’s 95-year history.  

I know this season will be much different than usual, but I can tell you that I am still looking forward to having a fantastic year. 

Cheers!

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club

Overnight Registration Is This Week

Trip Sign-Up Night #3 (TSUN) will occur this week on Thursday, October 29 starting at exactly 8:00 PM. All 6 overnight trips go on sale for the first time. We have four Downhill trips, one X-country trip and the weeklong trip to Mt Tremblant is a combo DH & XC. Login, go to the webpage for the trip you want, and scroll down to the “Register” button. Don’t look for the button now; the “Register” button will appear only after 8:00 PM. Registration will continue 24 hours a day until each trip is sold out.

Getting on a Trip

Only members who have paid the membership fee for 2020-2021 are allowed to register. If you haven’t renewed your membership yet, do it right away because it will take 24-48 hours to be approved. The procedures for registering on TSUN are on the webpage, TRIP SIGN UP 2021.

What’s Different Now

The pandemic caused us to make big changes to overnight procedures. Firstly these are now self-driving trips. We reviewed bussing for overnight trips and rejected it as being very unsafe at this time considering the duration, confinement, masking, social distancing and sanitation that members would experience on a charter bus for the lengthy time it takes to get to distant Quebec ski resorts. Since we could not guarantee safety despite Covid protocols that might be in place, we organized trips for those who can arrange their own transportation.

Secondly, HPSC will not be assigning roommates this year. If you do not have a pre-arranged roommate, you will be required to pay the single room supplement. Therefore when you register, you are booking a room and can specify the name of your roommate (or a SINGLE).

Thirdly, because you are booking a room and not one seat, the non-refundable deposit this year is $200. Your roommate doesn’t have to pay a deposit because you have already secured the room. When you each have to pay the balance of the overnight trip cost, we will assume your roommate has given you half the cost of the room deposit.

Trip Supervisors

A supervisor is assigned to plan and manage all aspects of each trip. The supervisor may or may not travel on the trip itself, but they are very knowledgeable and experienced in HPSC group travel. If there is a question that the detailed description on the website doesn’t answer, please email the supervisor. The supervisor webpage is open to members-only, so you must login to get the email address.

Registered Attendees

“Anonymous”

When you register for a trip you can decide if you want your name added to the list of attendees. The list is not public and can only be seen by members after they login. If you don’t want your name shown, click on the flag and you will show up as “Anonymous”.  If you are already registered and want a change, contact the supervisor.

Classic vs. Skate: What’s the difference and what do I choose?

If you’re new to cross-country skiing, you may not know that there are two different styles of skiing – classic skiing and skate skiing.

Classic skiing is the original form of cross-country skiing. Skiers ski in preset tracks made by groomers using a technique we call diagonal stride to propel themselves forward. With the skis in the track, the skier puts their weight on one ski, pushes off, and glides on the other ski. Then repeat! (This is a super simplified technique explanation). Most people will start their cross-country ski careers in classic. While classic technique is actually difficult to master and perform efficiently, it is relatively easy to get moving on the trails and takes perhaps a little less fitness to do so.

Instructor Regina works on her diagonal stride during an instructor training session.
HPSC member Natalie gave skate skiing a try last winter!

Skate skiing emerged as a newer technique. Done outside of the classic tracks, it resembles an ice skating motion (hence the name) with the skier pushing off the skis laterally to propel themselves forward. When done well, it’s fun and fast! There is, however, arguably a steeper learning curve to skating; while it varies between individuals, generally it takes people longer to get functionally moving with skate skis. And it can be exhausting at first. But if you stick with it, it becomes lots of fun, and less tiring as your technique improves.

The skis, boots, and poles are different for each. Classic skis are longer than skate skis, and classic poles are shorter than skate poles. Skate boots have more ankle support than classic boots. Skate gear tends to be more expensive to rent.

Conditions will dictate which technique will be more fun on any given day. I love classic skiing when there’s lots of fresh snow, or it’s a perfect blue wax day with fresh track. If you only skate ski, you’ll miss out on the beautiful classic-only trails Ontario has to offer. On a harder packed, or icy, day, give me skate skiing! That’s when you can really fly. Temperature can also play a critical role; if it’s really cold, skate skiing is going to be a slog.

HPSC offers lessons in both techniques! Learning both will open up a whole new world of skiing.

If you only skate ski, you miss out on fun adventures like this! (Orford, QC 2019)

Cross-country ski/snowshoe 2020-21 season update

We are currently planning the best we can for our season given COVID-19. To make the experience as safe as we can for members, the following policies will be in place:

We are committed to running buses provided we can do so in accordance with public health guidelines. If they run, we will have reduced bus capacity (approximately 30 people) and one bus/trip (meaning trips are limited to 30 bus spots). Mandatory masks (worn properly, covering both the mouth and nose) in all indoor spaces (bus and resort). NO EXCEPTIONS. We have confirmed that almost all of our resorts will accept bus groups this year (except Wasaga).

Friends at Georgian Nordic! Let’s repeat, just 6ft apart.

We will ask our members to commit to spending as little time inside resorts as possible. The bus will be our indoor lunch spot. We recommend bringing a pack to ski with that has food and extra clothing. It will definitely be a different experience this year! Think of yourself as a backcountry explorer.

We will leave the resorts a bit earlier, at 4pm, to reduce the amount of waiting time at the end of the day.

Ski school is committed to providing lessons, although we may have to scale down our offerings in the interest of adhering to public health guidelines to keep everyone safe as well as based on our instructor availability. Luckily our classes are usually small and physical distancing when teaching isn’t a problem.

Drive up members will have to register online for lessons, and will be responsible for purchasing their own trail passes and rentals.

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available. We ask for your patience as the situation is very fluid.

We are excited to get out skiing! Keep healthy and safe in the meantime.

Best,

Heather Steel, Director, Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

HPSC at Horseshoe Resort 2020

Enjoy a XC ski/snowshoe stay-cation with HPSC

The XC team is pleased to announce that our Family Day long weekend adventure is booked! Trip W6 will be heading up to Hunstville for three days with options to ski and snowshoe in three different places: Arrowhead (one of our favourites!), the trails near the West Gate of Algonquin Park (Fen Lake for groomed trails and Minnesing Trail for backcountry skiing), and the Frost Centre in the Algonquin Highlands. This will be a self-drive trip, car-pooling with those in your bubble.

The cost for this trip is $310 for three nights, double occupancy; the single supplement is $305. We will be staying at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Huntsville – Muskoka. The rooms come with a fridge and microwave, so you can bring much of your own food if you want. We are hoping to offer instruction for beginners and perhaps guided snowshoeing, but this is not yet confirmed. Trip sign ups start on Thursday, October 29th at 8:00 pm.

A little about the ski and snowshoe locations! The Frost Centre has 22 km of trails at all levels, plus backcountry trails. Facilities include two on-trail, self-serve warm-up cabins (equipped with wood stoves), washrooms, outdoor toilets and parking; we are confirming that these facilities will be available in 2021. Arrowhead Provincial Park we know and love, but may not get to this year as a day trip. Arrowhead has an extensive set of classic and skate trails as well as snowshoe trails, some lovely classic-only ungroomed trails, and warm up buildings (note, these may not be available this year). The Fen Lake Ski Trail is located at the West Gate of Algonquin Park. It offers four loops from 1 to 18km with both easy and more challenging sections. All trails are groomed and trackset. A shelter and toilets are located at the beginning of the trail and at Fen Lake. Alternatively, the Minnesing Trail (23 km from the West Gate) has four loops ranging from 6 to 32 kilometres. The trail is maintained for backcountry wilderness skiing and is not groomed. Snowshoes are permitted on this trail.

Last year’s Family Day trip in Sault Ste. Marie was a blast. Let’s make it a great one this year!

Happy Thanksgiving HPSC

President’s Message

Killarney Provincial Park – October 1, 2020. Photograph by JK Graham

At this time of year, we usually turn to our family and friends and give thanks for what we have and who we have in our lives.  I personally want to thank all of you for making the community of High Park Ski Club members and friends one that I truly value and am very proud to be a member of.   As I have said before, you may have joined HPSC to ski or board or snowshoe, but what keeps people coming back year after year are the friends that you make.   

I also want to thank all of you who have shown your faith in the club and have already renewed your membership in this very different year.  

While we are clearly in the expected second wave of the pandemic, the thing to remember is that the situation we face right now is not likely what we will be facing in two or three months time  when the season kicks off.  Or in four or five months when many of our charter and long trips occur.   Remember you don’t decide on what you are going to wear in January based on today’s weather. 

We are a resilient community who will find a way to thrive this coming season through being willing to adapt and change as the situation requires.  In many ways we need to approach this season like you would a double diamond run, especially here in Ontario . . .  you may have a plan on what you want to do, but in almost all cases  you need to adapt to the changing snow conditions, the patch of ice you didn’t expect, or the build up of heavy snow at the bottom.   

Stay healthy and safe!

Cheers

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club

Charter Registration is This Week

The date for registering for our charter trips is this Thursday, Oct 15 at 8:00 PM. Synchronize your watch to CP24 and wait for the clock to tick over to 8:00 PM. Be sure to login first.

Registration is already open for Whistler and St Moritz-Switzerland. Whistler has an early bird price that has been extended to Nov 15. St Moritz is an all-inclusive trip to a 4-Trident Club Med resort where all meals, all refreshments and all ski guiding are included.

Remember that you must have paid your membership fee for 2020-21 to be able to register.

Overnight Trip Registration

Registering for overnight trips will occur in two weeks on Thursday, Oct 29 at 8:00 PM. This Covid year, we had to make significant changes to our overnight trips with the emphasis on safety. Enjoying a ski trip to Quebec while being as safe as possible has caused us to arrange u-drive trips instead of our usual practice of bus transportation.

The difficulties of social distancing on a long distance bus ride, for many hours, with all hygiene considerations, and the reliance on everybody onboard to maintain Covid protocol, did not allow us to run our buses safely. Thus we have 5 u-drive trips with 5 excellent opportunities to “Ski-Quebec” including two weeklong trips. So plan your transportation, with a roommate, free up some cash, mark the signup date on your calendar, and get ready to register. Oh… we have single rooms available if that is your choice.

Quarantine for Covid

A few members have asked about the federal government requirement to quarantine following your return back to Toronto from a charter trip. This requirement now only applies to a trip leaving Canada; our BC and Alberta trips are not affected. The tour operator for the St Moritz trip has told us that by the time this trip runs next March, quarantining will no longer be required. But there have been many surprises during this pandemic so nothing can be ruled out for sure.

Ski swap season is almost here

A couple of our favourite resorts are holding their annual ski swaps this year, but have modified procedures to comply with physical distancing rules. Plan early if you want to attend.

If you need equipment, look at Hardwood Hills and Highlands Nordic. While the equipment is second hand, they know their stuff and can help fit you.

(We do not have any affiliation with these swaps; if you have questions, please contact the resorts directly).

The pre-season is heating up!

President’s Message

As September turns to October, the HPSC pre-season is starting to heat up. 

SkiFit has been running for a few weeks now (with registration filling up early each week), the AGM was held on September 23rd to review last year and vote on a few changes to the By-laws, charter and long trip sign up is open or will be in the next few week, a special shopping event with Skiis and Bikes has been arranged (and for those uncomfortable about coming in person or those out of town a special discount code will be available for online shopping) for Wednesday October 28.  People in general are starting to prepare for the cooler weather.

I personally want to thank all of you who have show your faith in the club by already renewing your 2020/21 membership.   Our members are the reason we on the board are doing all the work to make sure we are ready to run a season under whatever guidelines we face.

This coming winter it is anticipated people will need and want to find ways to get outside, and snow sports will be a prime activity.  Much like many who got back on bicycles this summer after long layoffs, we anticipate a lot of former skiers will once again turn to our sports for winter fun. One of the best ways to find new HPSC members is by your word of mouth, so if you have family, friends, or colleagues who are former skiers or boarders, tell them about the club, show them the website, or have them to email info@hpsc.ca for more information.

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club

Our first and hopefully only pandemic era AGM

2020 HPSC AGM via Zoom – September 23, 2020

Our first and hopefully only pandemic era Annual General Meeting was held viz Zoom on Wednesday September 23rd

We want to thank all of those who registered and who logged into the AGM.  While the meeting went off without a hitch, we sincerely hope that next year we will be able to get together in person to raise a glass to our fantastic club.  

A special thank you to long time member, snow school instructor, and former board member, Laura Shephard for acting as this year’s AGM Chairperson.

Thank you to past president Stella Rossovskaia and the rest of last year’s board for leading us through the review of a very successful year.  A year that helps set us up to better deal with the coming season.  The 2019/20 AGM Report is available for review on our website under About Us/Club Documents.  You need to be logged in to access the documents. 

We also want to thank the attendees for all of the questions submitted and asked during the meeting regarding last year and this year. A list of all questions and answers will be posted in the next few weeks on the blog. 

And finally, congratulations to Karen Snow for being approved as our new Director of Administration.

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club