We’re going to run buses! Now what?

We finally have some good news – we feel ready to offer bus trips, but the plan looks a bit different than normal years.

The plan

On Feb. 12 (Highlands), Feb. 19 (TBC), and Feb. 20 (Horseshoe Valley), we will run with 25 members on the bus, including our instructors, guides and the bus captain (so the spots open for registration will be less than 25).

After Feb. 21, provided the provincial reopening plan remains the same, we will return to our regular schedule and increase capacity.

The schedule and important registration information can be found here.

Below find the highlights of our most important changes, and keep reading for details of how the bus trips will operate.

Highlights of important changes:

  • You must show proof of vaccination before you can register for trips. Email your proof to vac@hpsc.ca if you haven’t already.
  • You must wear a mask on the bus except if eating lunch (and we expect you to eat quickly). We VERY strongly recommend wearing an N/KN95, which are proven to protect you and others better than alternatives.
  • There are no warmup options at the resorts. At some places you can go inside to use the washroom. At others, there are portable washrooms. We will have the bus available, but it won’t be very warm as it cannot idle all day. This is the reality of skiing this year. If you do not think you will be comfortable under these circumstances, we advise that you do not come with the bus. See below for tips on coming prepared to ski under these conditions.
  • We have fewer instructors available this year due to COVID. We may not be able to accommodate all requests for lessons, especially if there are a lot of people who want to drive up for lessons. We plan to offer three classic lessons and skate lesson, if we have the instructor available. With four instructors on a trip, we can accommodate about 24-30 students.
  • There are new registration (Wednesday 6pm) and cancellation (Tuesday 8pm) deadlines.

COVID-19 policies and procedures:

  • All HPSC members must show proof of full vaccination before registering for a club trip. Please see here for the full club vaccination policy.
  • All day trip participants must be members. There will be no test drive or guest days this year.
  • Members must comply with mask policies on the bus and at the resorts. Proper cloth or medical masks must be worn and cover the nose and mouth. Buffs and improper wearing of masks will not be tolerated. We very strongly recommend wearing an N/KN95.
  • Please do not come on a trip if you are experiencing symptoms of illness, have tested positive for COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. In these instances, we have a more flexible cancellation policy this year.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, please inform us so that we can contact trace.
  • All members will have to fill out screening apps the morning of the trip and show it to the bus captain. The link will be in the day trip registration module. If you do not own a smart phone, do it at home and bring a printout on the bus with you.
  • Failure to adhere to club or public health rules will be considered a breach of conduct and addressed accordingly.

Registration procedures

  • All the trips will appear on the online event calendar once the modules are created. Weekend trips are open for registration on the Monday two weeks prior to the trip (except for the first trip, which will have less registration time). For example, the Feb. 20 trip will open Feb. 7 at 9am. The date a trip opens for registration will be stated on the event description. While in the past we have opened trips up further in advance, this approach will give us maximum flexibility given the uncertainty, while still allowing people to plan.
  • You can find the trips that are open for booking and the schedule here. It is subject to change. If a trip is not on the calendar, it is not yet ready. Please do not email about it.
  • Registration is done online. There are two modules for each trip that offers lessons – a bus module and a drive up module for those wanting to drive up and take lessons. If there are no lessons on a trip, only a bus module will be created.
  • If you want to take the bus, register on the bus module. Generally, you pay for the bus, trail pass, and rentals (if necessary). Please note that resorts are operating differently this year. For example, at Horseshoe you have to reserve and pay for your rentals online through the resort. All this will be detailed on the registration module – please pay close attention. You will receive email confirmation of your registration. If you do not complete payment, your registration will be deleted automatically after 15 minutes.
  • Members who wish to drive up AND take a lesson must register for the lesson on the drive up registration module. You must, however, buy your own trail pass and rentals at the resort.
  • Registration deadline is Wednesday 6pm for Saturday and Sunday trips. After this date, the trip is closed, and registration disappears from the website. All members must register in advance. There will be no walk-ons allowed this year.
  • If a trip is close to selling out, we will activate the waitlist. There are always cancellations. If you are on the waitlist and are offered a spot, you will be notified and must pay within 24 hours. Waitlist spots are held until Wednesday morning. At that point, the waitlist is cleared, and it is first come first served for any remaining spots. We find this policy is fair, while not putting undue burden on our volunteers.
  • You may at some point get a bus voucher (a voucher entitles the holder to a bus ride). You must bring the physical voucher with you on the bus, or you will be invoiced for the bus fee. No exceptions.
  • If you have any questions about your registration, contact crosscountry@hpsc.ca. Do not respond to the registration confirmation email.  

Cancellation procedures

  • The cancellation deadline is Tuesday at 8pm for Saturday and Sunday day trips.
  • You must email cancellations@hpsc.ca with the trip number (NXXXX) and the cancellation request. The cancellations team will email you a confirmation of receipt.
  • If you do not follow this procedure before the deadline, you will be considered a “no show” and will be charged for the bus ($30).
  • If you do not come because you are sick or have been in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you may email crosscountry@hpsc.ca within 72 hours after the trip to get a full refund. Please do not come on the trip if you are sick! If we find our no-show rate is too high (costing us too much money and depriving others of seats on the bus), we will have to re-evaluate this policy. Please do not abuse it and use it only when you are genuinely not feeling well.

Is the trip running?

  • An email will be sent to all registered participants by Friday at 12pm. Please do not email for information prior to this time. If you do not receive an email by Friday at 12pm, check your junk mail. Then check the status page on the website. You must log in to see the status page.
  • This email/the status page will contain all the information you need for the day trip, plus a link to the COVID-19 screening form that will be used for that day.
  • If we must cancel a trip, we will refund you in full. A bit of inclement weather doesn’t deter us (even rain), but if we deem it unsafe to be on the trails or roads, we may cancel. We appreciate your understanding; cancelling/changing trips is a very difficult decision for our team, and we do whatever possible to get you out skiing. In the past couple of years, we have only cancelled trips when there were extreme weather warnings for high amounts of rain/freezing rain and damaging winds.
  • Trips can also be cancelled due to insufficient registration numbers. Pre-COVID, this didn’t happen, but if not enough people are comfortable enough taking the bus, we won’t run it.
  • Sometimes resorts will have varying conditions depending on local weather. In the past we’ve been able to be flexible and find an alternate resort if conditions at the scheduled resort are poor. We may not be able to operate this way this year. Some resorts are limiting access to one group/day. Thus, we may have no option but to cancel if a resort is not available or deemed safe.

 Lessons & other programming

  • We will be offering lessons on day trips, however, due to less instructor availability (due to COVID and other factors), the amount and nature of the lessons will be scaled back. We will try to ensure all beginners get lessons. We cannot guarantee lessons to everyone who wants them.
  • We are offering guided snowshoeing on many trips. Please sign up for it in the registration modules.
  • There will be no race program.
  • There will be no social events.

Tips for a successful COVID season

  • Please seriously consider wearing N95 masks. They are proven to help protect you and others better. We need to protect ourselves if we are going to run successful trips.
  • There will be capacity limits in the chalets as the resorts, meaning we must use our bus as “home base”. We will store our bags there, get ready, eat lunch etc. Be prepared to spend more time outside than normal. It is up to you to determine if you can handle this given the temperatures.
  • Come prepared with enough warm clothing considering the lack of indoor space. More is better than less.
  • We recommend that you ski with a small backpack that contains extra warm clothing (a dry base layer, warmer mitts, dry socks etc.), snacks, and water.
  • Patience. Everything is going to take longer. Our volunteers are learning new procedures. Please have patience!