Register now for our early December XC trips!

Beautiful conditions in mid-November at Scenic Caves! Photo cred: Heather Steel

A couple of your HPSC instructors were treated to a wonderful day of skiing Nov. 16 at Scenic Caves…earliest start date ever, and it was like mid-January conditions! We hope this bodes well for a very snowy winter.

If you want to ski before Christmas, we’ve got four chances for you to get out on the trails!

We’re running our early December trips with our downhill friends. We’ve got trips on Dec. 14/15 and Dec. 21/22. Dec. 14/15 will be run on the XC pick up schedule, and Dec. 21/22 will be run on the downhill schedule (so earlier than normal but worth it to ski!). 

We have XC modules up for informational purposes, but you will register for the trips on the downhill modules. Read the XC module information so you know how to register properly. Once you get over to the downhill module, check “none” under lift ticket and “XC ski $30” under bus options.


Special Family Day Weekend Day Trip To Holiday Valley Now Open for Registration

Holiday Valley resort, just outside of Buffalo, has been a very popular destination for the High Park Ski Club for a long time.  The weekend trip sells our very quickly each season.  This year you too can experience the magic of Holiday Valley for yourself . . . if just for a day

On the Family Day weekend, we will be running just this one day trip – Saturday February 15.   Much like the weekend trips, we expect the day trip will sell out quickly so please register as soon as possible.  The day also includes a pizza après at the resort. 

Since we are heading west instead of north, the last pickup location for this special daytrip will be in Oakville at the commuter lot at Winston Churchill and the QEW, in place of 400/7. All of the other regular pickup locations will be used.  

This is a Member Only event.  No “Bring a Friend” nor drive-ups allowed. 

Registration is now open.  To find the trip, go to the Downhill daytrips registration page and go to the calendar at the bottom.  Forward the calendar to February and the trip will be there on February 15.

Member Appreciation / Double Double Day Trip Now Open for Registration

One of the highlights of the HPSC season is the annual Member Appreciation Day trip to Mount St. Louis Moonstone on Saturday January 11th.  This is also our annual Double Double trip with lessons in both the morning and afternoon.  This is a fantastic way to get motivated for the rest of the ski season. 

At the end of the day we will be staying a little later than normal allowing for more Après time to mix and mingle.  This is a fantastic way for new members to get to know their fellow HPSC members.  In addition, there will be free pizza during the après.  The bus will depart at 6:15pm. 

This is a Members ONLY event. 

Long Trips – November

Second Holiday Valley

For the exceptionally long wait list for Holiday Valley-1, a new trip W9 Holiday Valley-2 , Jan 31-Feb 2, 2020 was added to the schedule. Members who were able to adjust their holiday plan to go the weekend after Holiday Valley-1 were added to Holiday Valley-2. Now this trip is beginning to fill up. For both Holiday Valley trips, you will leave the city after work on Friday and return early Sunday night. On Saturday night after a great day of skiing you will enjoy the pretty town of Ellicottville, NY.

Banff in March

Those looking for a second Banff trip will be disappointed. While the Long Trips Committee spent a good deal of effort setting up a 2nd Banff trip, the response was underwhelming. Thus we decided to cancel very early to give members a chance to arrange for something else such as may have been offered at the Toronto Ski Show. Our trips are based on a minimum number of participants and priced accordingly. The underfunding on a 2nd Banff trip would have been substantial if had failed to meet the minimum so cancelling was deemed the best alternative. We apologize to those who may have been interested.

Open Trips

Always check the homepage for the “On Sale” label which indicates that a seat is open. Sometimes the seat has to be filled by a specific gender in order to match roommates. If you are not that gender, email the trip leader anyway to get added to the waitlist. Cancellations happen from time to time and members on the waitlist are the first to get called. Also periodically check the webpage for the trip you are interested in – there may have been a cancellation. A note will be added when a seat is available.

As of this date:

C6 Silver Star BC – 1 seat

C7 Les Arcs France – 2 seats

W4 Mt Ste Anne on Family Day weekend – 12 seats

W7 Lake Placid – 24 seats

W9 Holiday Valley-2 – 24 seats

Ski Pole Flags

On every long trip, you will be given a flag for your ski pole. This flag is very bright and identifies you as a HPSC member. The idea behind it is to help you meet and ski with other HPSC members. If you have ever been at a big resort and lost your ski buddy on the mountain, you’ll immediately recognize the benefit of both of you having a ski pole flag. On an overnight trip if your class has skied off in the distance, you’ll be able to find them again. These flags are visible from a mile away. And they’ll help you locate your skis in the racks outside the lunch chalet.

HPSC Pole Flag

Bill Bates, Director

Happy Hours

Happy Hours events were held to warm up for the season, to practice Apres Ski in the city, to welcome new members, to give the opportunity to the potential members to meet up and ask questions about the club. These events are always warm gatherings of friends sharing the memories or dreams about the snow adventures.

DRIVING UP to the hill? A few reminders to help us provide you with the best experience!

#1- If you drive-up, you need to register on-line before the deadline in order to take a lesson !

Before each day trip, your instructors diligently review the numbers of on-line registrations in order to best organize the different STEP classes. . 

This is why if you drive-up, and want to take a lesson, you need to register on the HPSC site before the deadline. We want to ensure we arrange enough instructors to allow for manageable class sizes. On some Saturdays we can have between 20 and 40 members driving up, and consequently, we need to add an additional 4 to 8 instructors to ensure a valuable learning experience for all of our members.

With increasing numbers of members both on the bus and driving up, we can only provide instruction if you register before the deadline. If you do not register before the deadline, you will not be counted in during lesson planning, and consequently we may not have enough instructors to provide a safe, fun, and challenging experience for our members.  Drive-ups who do not register before the deadline cannot join a class. 

Follow the drive-up instructions to join a class!!

#2- Get your own lift tickets!

Since you arrive on your own, you will need to buy your own lift tickets, unless of course, you have a pass. You will not be able to take advantage of the HPSC group rate. Make sure you give yourself enough time to do this and be ready for the lesson line-up!

#3- Cancel if you change your plans

If you have registered as a drive-up before the deadline and then cannot make it, we ask that you follow the same cancellation procedures as if you were on the bus:

For Saturday, Sunday and Monday trips, email before 8:00pm the previous Wednesday. For Wednesday trips, email before 8:00pm the previous Sunday.

If you are still registered by the deadline, we assume that you are coming and will include you in our planning and will send enough instructors to teach you and all other registered members. 

#4- Read the Trip Status Email You Receive Prior to the Day Trip

A day or two before the trip, you will receive a Trip Status email which will include important information such as where and when ski assessment will be, where and when classes will meet.  PLEASE READ IT CAREFULLY!! Times might change depending on the bus arrival, so check with an instructor (green and blue stylish jacket) in the chalet or on the hill.

#5- Limited Number of Drive-up Spots – So Sign up early! 

In order to offer safe, fun and challenging classes for all, and to ensure that communications and safety are maintained throughout the process, the number of drive-ups are limited to approximately 1 drive-up spot for every 2 members on the bus . In order words, we will initially limit drive ups to 25 spaces for the first bus. As soon a second bus is added, an additional 25 drive-up spaces will be open. So, sign up early!!

Once again, the bottom line is: If you are driving-up and want to join a class, make sure you register early and before the deadline! If you forget, you can ski on your own or with your friends when others are in class; just make sure you register next time!!

Thank you for following these guidelines which will really help the club volunteers who strive to provide all members with a great day trip experience. See you on the hill!!

From your Day Trip and Snow School Directors

XC schedule is now online!

This could be you flying down a hill at Arrowhead Provincial Park. Check out our schedule to find when we’re going there! Photo cred: Michael Connor.

The snow is flying in Toronto and up north, and you can now view the full cross-country schedule, with all of our fun programming, on the website.

The early December trips are combo trips with downhill and are open for registration. The Dec. 28 and early January trips will be available for registration the first week of December.

Here are some highlights of our season…

  • December 28th – our annual New Year’s Eve Celebration with bubbly and snacks after skiing.
  • Test drives on Jan. 5 & Jan. 11. Get your friends to try out our amazing club! They can register through the website without buying a membership.
  • Test your skills and have some fun in our race series! We open with our annual Frisbee Biathlon on Jan. 4 at Highlands and end with our new Beginner/Advanced Spring Fling Costume Race on Mar. 8 at Horseshoe Valley.
  • Crossover Day is Jan. 25! We welcome our downhill friends and celebrate XC skiing and snowshoeing with a scavenger race and wine and cheese.
  • Explore the backcountry at Kolapore with our experienced guides on Feb. 8.
  • Have a tasty dinner with your friends after a day of skiing with our dinner trip to Amiche on Feb. 29.
  • Two trips to a NEW to us resort – Kawartha! Join us Jan. 26 and Mar. 14.
  • Guided snowshoeing on Dec. 28, Jan. 5, Jan. 11, Jan. 18, Feb. 2, Feb. 8,  Feb. 22, Feb. 29,  Mar. 7, Mar. 14, and Mar. 21.
Lots of guided snowshoeing this year! Photo cred: Michael Connor.

See you on the trails!

Gear talk: clothing edition

We’ve talked about equipment; now it’s time to talk clothing. The right clothing will keep you warm and comfortable whether you’re cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.

Cross-country skiers dress a lot like runners. You create a lot of heat when you ski, so you actually don’t need a ton of clothing. Do not dress like an alpine skier! The key is warm, breathable layers of varying thicknesses that wick away moisture. You can combine these layers depending on the temperature. Merino wool or synthetics are best; do not wear cotton, as it will retain moisture and make you cold.

Suggested items for skiers, from head to toe:

  • Toques. Keep that head warm!
  • Buffs/neck warmers for cold days (buffs can also be transformed into hats).
  • Sunglasses.
  • Top layers of varying thicknesses (it’s good have a thin layer, a mid layer, and a heavy layer that you can mix and match as the temperature dictates).
  • A jacket that can cut the wind. There are cross-country specific jackets of varying weights. It’s good to have one light weight jacket for spring, and a heavier jacket for winter. These are a good investment!  
  • Pants. Winter running tights or cross-country specific pants (both will often have wind resistant front panels) will work just fine. Do not wear jeans! Bulky snow pants will be too warm.
  • Add long underwear for really cold days. Again, wool or synthetics.
  • Wool socks. Thinner socks for warmer days, thicker socks for colder days. I love my knee-length merino wool ski socks!
  • Gloves. A thin pair for warm days, thicker pair for cold days. For really cold days, mitts are more effective.
  • Sunscreen and lip balm.

Rule of thumb: You should be chilly before you start. If you are already warm, you will overheat when you are moving.

The principles are the same for snowshoers, but because you are moving at a less intense pace, you may need thicker layers, a heavier jacket, and you may want to wear snow pants (or layer with long underwear).

Remember that bodies are different, so it will take some experimentation to figure out what works for you in different conditions. Just remember the main principles – technical layers (no cotton!), wind resistant outer layers, and cover those sensitive extremities (face, ears, hands, toes) when the mercury really drops!

(The above demonstrates why layers are key…you can ski in -30 in January or +12 in April!)