“Test drive” HPSC XC in January

Skiing with friends at Scenic Caves! Photo cred: Michael Connor

Interested in cross-country skiing or snowshoeing but don’t know where to start? Heard of our club but not sure it’s right for you? Just in time, we’ve got two opportunities for you to try us out!

Cross-country has two “test drive” trips coming up Jan. 5 (Scenic Caves) and Jan. 11 (Horseshoe Valley). For these trips, non-members can register for the website and give our club a try before they commit to becoming a member.

We might be biased, but we think our club is pretty awesome. We have more cross-country day trips than any other club based in the GTA (every Saturday and Sunday). We’ve got five pickup locations throughout the city (High Park, Davenport/Yonge, Eglington/Yonge, York Mills/Yonge, and Hwys 400/7). Our ski school has 22 certified instructors, meaning you can get quality lessons on every day trip. And we’ve got a busload of friendly people to travel and ski with every weekend. What’s not to love?

Guided snowshoeing at Scenic Caves last year. Photo cred: Michael Connor.

Jan. 5 we’re headed to Scenic Caves. This is one of the best ski and snowshoe destinations in Southern Ontario. There’s a variety of ski and snowshoe trails at varying levels of difficulty and beautiful views of Georgian Bay! We also have a lovely log cabin to hang out in when we’re not skiing or snowshoeing. There is guided snowshoeing offered on this trip.

Jan. 11 we’re headed somewhere a bit closer, Horseshoe Valley. Horseshoe has a lovely chalet and an extensive ski and snowshoe system through the Copeland Forest. It has a great teaching area if you’re taking lessons with us. There is guided snowshoeing offered on this trip.

You can choose to mope around for months complaining about the cold, or you can join us and learn to love winter! There’s nothing better than skiing or snowshoeing through quiet forests with all the trees covered in snow. If you try us out, we’re sure you’ll love it too.

To join us Jan. 5 at Scenic Caves, register here. To join us Jan. 11 at Horseshoe Valley, register here. You will pay for the bus ($30), group rate on rentals if necessary (prices vary by resort), and the group rate on the trail pass (prices vary by resort). Indicate if you would like to take lessons, as well as your preferred pick up location. Then show up at a pick up location on the day! (Note: it doesn’t have to be the one you indicated during registration). If the trip is full by the time you register, join the waitlist. There are always cancellations and we may add a second bus if there is enough interest.

Club members practicing on the teaching grid at Horseshoe Valley. Photo cred: Michael Connor.

Please visit hpsc.ca to learn about the club. If you have questions, please see the XC FAQ page. This blog has a lot of great information for new members – like what to expect on a daytrip, what to wear, and lessons, If you still have questions, email crosscountry@hpsc.ca.

We hope to see you out on the trails with us!

Train to be a cross-country ski instructor

Instructor Jean-Emile teaches offset during his Level 2 course at Hardwood. Photo cred: Michael Connor.

Our cross-country ski school is looking for enthusiastic skiers who want to become an instructor. Becoming an instructor involves passing a two-day CANSI Level 1 certification course. Our ski school can help you prepare for the course.

CANSI Level 1 tests skiers on diagonal stride, double poling, freeskate, one-skate, and wedge turns, as well as the ability to teach these techniques. Don’t be intimidated – it’s a Level 1 course, which means you do not have to be an Olympic level skier! You simply need to meet the “standard” and be able to teach the techniques to beginners. Our instructors can evaluate you to see if you meet the standard and what to work on to meet the standard. We can also arrange for you to shadow experienced instructors to get teaching experience. You can pass the course in classic only, or both classic and skate.

There is a Level 1 course scheduled for Southern Ontario on Jan. 18 and 19. If you aren’t ready for that, you can spend the season preparing and do the course the following year (or, when you are ready!).

Become an instructor, and you too can make your students pull each other with ropes. Photo cred: Michael Li.

Becoming an instructor is a wonderful way to pass on your love of skiing to new skiers and members, and there is nothing like teaching others to improve your own ski skills. One of our newer instructors, Yiuyin, says “…when I told the High Park ski school that I would like to improve my skills and be an instructor, the instructors not only helped me improve my sills, but also invited me for different training [events] in Ontario and BC. I finally got my Level 1 certification last season and have enjoyed teaching.”

Heather, our cross-country director, became an instructor in 2018 and says “the process of becoming an instructor really improved my own skiing, especially skate skiing. I had support from the more experienced instructors in the club and I spent a lot of time practicing (especially one-skate!). The course itself was a lot of fun and I enjoy helping beginners become a little more efficient on the trails, which hopefully helps them have more fun.”

We aim to help our members become instructors at minimal personal cost. Certification courses are fully covered over a period of three years (provided you teach with us over those three years). Instructors are reimbursed a certain amount for each lesson, and they get complimentary day trip fees on the trips they teach.

If interested, please contact xcskischool@hpsc.ca and we’ll connect you with our instructor development director.

HPSC’s 2018 Level 1 grad class! Photo cred: Heather Steel

Tremblant 1 – Rain, fog, snow and a great time had by all!

Excellent first overnight downhill bus trip of the season to Tremblant. Instructors and enthusiasts had the opportunity to break the ice of the season on a high note. Rain, fog, snow and a great time had by all! Tremblant – blizzard of activities, always inspiring… Join Tremblant 3 to end the season strong with the best Apres ski and spring riding.

Fantastic Kick Off to the HPSC Downhill Season!!

HPSC Kick Off and Test Drive MSLM December 7 2019

Hurrah!!! The ski season has begun!!!!!

It was a superb first day for our two buses to travel to Mount St Louis Moonstone on Saturday December 7! Sunny day, hero snow, lots of friends from High Park and many guests, skiers, snowboarders, beginners, experts. December 7th was also our first Test Drive trip of the season with over 25 guests checking out the club.  

On the following Monday, December 9th, a group of dedicated skiers and boarders also initiated the Blue Mountain season for HPSC.  Despite the light rain, it was a fantastic day!  And a little après at the Irish Pub in the village to top off the day, as well as some seasonal music on the bus ride home.  

There are still a number of trips scheduled before the New Year, including this coming weekend to Mount St Louis Moonstone on Saturday and Blue Mountain on Sunday.  Our instructors will be back from their training weekend in Tremblant. So get your shopping done early and avoid the crazy crowds at the mall . . . come skiing instead!  

After Christmas and Boxing Day if you want to test out your new equipment sign up for MSLM on December 28th or come on a special trip to Mansfield Ski Club on Monday December 30th.  

All of the January alpine daytrips are open for registration!


Silver white winters…

Silver white winters that melt into springs…These are a few of our favourite things…

Happy winter and holiday season!

We had a blast at the season opening and test drive with the record number of beginners – downhill skiers and snowboarders. Few cross country members and instructors have opened the season at SilverStar’s XC Supercamps. Silver Star is a unique place with champaign powder quality of snow and stunning mountain views for both downhill and cross country skiers. There used to be a lift that would take cross country skiers to the top of the mountain. Our XC Director Heather has reported on Facebook that now XC skiers have to take gondola: DH & XC together for the unforgettable experience! Joint DH & XC trip in March will be fabulous!

Mark your calendars for January 25th and make it your New Years resolution to attend Cross over Day with Wine & Cheese party , when all downhill skiers and snowboarder are invited to join cross country skiers and snowshoers. Join me for the snowshoeing tour, I’ll be guiding the group of Downhill guests.

LAST CHANCE to join waitlist for Tremblant 3 trip, so we can add 2nd bus. We need at least 30 members on the waitlist to add second bus. This is a great chance for new members to finish the first season strong and with the best spring skiing and Apres ski. Cross country skiers and snowshoers are welcome to join the party! Snowshoeing and hiking options are fantastic, you’ll have a chance to have the views from the top of Tremblant mountain. 

Enjoy holidays season and join the day trips we have scheduled for you.

Best wishes,


HPSC Volunteer President

XC members take on SilverStar’s XC Supercamp

First day on skis for many of the group! Here we are at the top of the mountain all smiles in the snow. Photo cred: Heather Steel

Amazing early season snow, a huge trail system, mountain views, and top level coaches makes SilverStar’s XC Supercamps an unforgettable experience.

Break time after skiing to the sun at the top of the mountain! Photo cred: Heather Steel

This year, a group of HPSC members – including a number of instructors – got a kick start to their season from Nov. 30-Dec. 8. We participated in the week-long camp, from all-classic beginner to intermediate and advanced combo and advanced all-skate. A couple members even tried their hand at biathlon (the real deal…guns not frisbees!). There is something for everyone here.

Getting pointers from our coach on the trail. Photo cred: Heather Steel

Supercamp places you in small groups depending on your skill level, fitness, and goals. You are led by an experienced instructor (lots of level 4 instructors out in these parts!). Generally instruction takes place in the morning, followed by a hearty lunch, and then ski time with your group in the afternoon. The combo groups do two days classic, two days skate, and one day the choice of the group. They shuttle participants on two days to Sovereign Lake Nordic Club, which has a teaching stadium and beautiful trails. On the final day, we did a fun photo scavenger hunt to close out the week!

The video doesn’t lie! Photo cred: Heather Steel

Being with the same instructor for five days does wonders to improve your technique in a short time, and gives you lots to work on when you go back home and ski through the season. We highly recommend the camps if you want to become a more efficient skier and have a lot of fun doing it.

One of the best parts about SilverStar is taking the gondola up to the top of the mountain! It’s a rare treat for XC skiers to get a ride up! Photo cred: Heather Steel

XC season officially launches Dec. 28 at Scenic Caves!

Just in case you get lost on the way to champagne, we’ve created this handy map for you! Photo cred: Howard Gibson

While we are running 4 combo trips before Christmas, our first official XC-only trip is Dec. 28 at Scenic Caves. This is our annual New Year’s Eve Celebration, with bubbly in the log cabin at the end of the day.

Look at that view!

Scenic Caves has 27km of trail for classic and skate skiers and 10km of trail for snowshoers. There are trails from beginner to advanced. At the top of the escarpment, you’ll be rewarded with a lovely view of Georgian Bay and Collingwood, and there is a lovely log cabin to enjoy a hot chocolate with friends.

For snowshoers, you can walk to the famous Suspension Bridge, the longest in Ontario! On a clear day, according to Scenic Caves, you can see 10, 000 square kilometers.

This trip offers guided snowshoeing and regular lessons.

Our New Year’s Eve trip last year. Lots of snow!

Join us! Register here.

A note from a long term member

Hello There Just a thank you note for all the fun I had as a member of HPSC. I’m pretty old and my bones are quite full of holes so I’m giving up my membership with some sadness but deep gratitude for the great lessons, kind people and joy that I had skiing with you. I hope to hold onto the pleasure of being out in the snow in a quieter way and will not miss getting up at 5:30 to catch the bus. Ski safe everyone, keep laughing and have fun!

Some Small Changes on Downhill Daytrips

Each year your Downhill Daytrips team attempts to improve the overall process of trips.  This year we have a couple of small tweaks to let you know about.

Liberty Village pick up: As previously announced, on two bus trips we will also have a pick-up location in Liberty Village on the west side of Lamport Stadium.  Please see https://www.hpsc.ca/Day-Trip-Pick-Up-Locations

Cashless Buses: Starting this year, Bus Captains will no longer be responsible for collecting cash on the bus for walk-ons or any other money. Any money owed will be recorded and will be billed onto your HPSC account.  You will need to pay the invoice prior to booking for another trip or paid event. 

Dedicated Bin for Ski School Instructors Equipment:  We have always asked that you allow our Instructors to get off the bus first so that they can get started at arranging for ski assessments and lessons.  However, most times they end up pulling off all of the skis from the bus to get to their own.  We are requesting that all Ski Instructors put their skis in a dedicated marked Instructor bin (usually Bin 4).  Members can put their equipment in any of the other available bins on the way to the resort.  On the way home, all skis/boards etc. (including Instructors) should be in the bin for their desired drop off location as is currently done.   

Rowan’s Law – concussion protocol:– In Ontario there is a new law regarding concussion protocols for young adults that all sports programs and sports clubs (such as HPSC) must follow.  All participants in HPSC (members and guests) 25 and younger must sign a waiver indicating an understanding of what they need to do in case of a possible concussion and ways to prevent concussions.  This is the reason that in registration we are asking if you are 25 or younger – it is especially important when you register any guest on a trip that we know if they are under 26 so that we can get them to sign the additional Rowan’s Law waiver. 

Get some skiing in prior to the New Year!

Can’t wait to get on the hills – Neither can we! After our kick off on December 7, we have scheduled six more trips in December to choose from. 

Midweek Skiing: For those who like to ski mid-week and want to get some extra days in on their 5X7 or Ikon pass, we have a couple of trips to Blue Mountain (Monday December 9; Wednesday December 18). 

Get the Rust Off/Sleep In Days: Do you really want to do a ski assessment on your first run of the year?  For the weekend of December 14 and 15, while our instructors are off on their annual training excursion to Mount Tremblant, we are offering a couple of sleep-in “Get the Rust Off” days to Mount St. Louis and Blue Mountain respectively.  These are combo trips with our Nordic members, and since the entire day will be free skiing we have agreed to use the slightly later Nordic pick-up times (starting at 7:50 from Bloor/Indian Rd.)   Because we are leaving the city off a little later in the morning, we get to stay at the hills a little longer, allowing for more Après time!

Avoid the Crazy Mall Crowds – Go Skiing Instead: Get your shopping done early so you can avoid the crazy crowds at the mall on the last weekend before Christmas and instead enjoy the fairly empty slopes at Mount St Louis and Blue Mountain. December 21 and 22 our instructors will be back, so we are back to our regular trip schedule.

Can’t Wait to Try Out Your New Equipment?: For those who just got new equipment as a gift or on Boxing Day and just can’t wait to try it out, we have scheduled a trip to Mount St Louis on Saturday December 28.   

Avoid the Crowded Holiday Slopes – Ski with Us at Mansfield Ski Club Instead: Our last trip of 2019 is on Monday December 30 when we are off to Mansfield Ski Club for a special treat during the holiday break.  While the other resorts may be crowded with everyone else who just got new equipment, we will be skiing at a private club which prides itself on having fantastic conditions for it’s members and guests. And due to it’s closeness to the GTA we will be starting off a later than normal (first pickup is 8am from Bloor/Indian Rd.), which means of course more Après time in the afternoon.  Celebrate an early New Year with your HPSC friends!