The Plan for the Season

President’s Report

Planning this season has been like playing a game of three-dimensional chess; for every decision we have to make we have had to consider multiple layers of influences and impacts. 

We have honestly done all we can to try to plan a season as normal as possibly – however, this year is obviously not a normal year.

In a regular season at this point we would be talking about the success of our first trips or a fantastic and fun holiday party.  This year however, as with many our things in our lives, we have had to adjust to the reality of the current situation. 

As you may be aware, the club has already been required to make some hard decisions regarding a number of trips due to the evolving situation from both our resort partners and the overall health situation.  

And this week your Board of Directors has had to make one of the most difficult decision . . .

We have made the determination that High Park Ski Club will not be arranging for any day trips, including drive-ups, while Toronto is in the GREY or RED zone categories. 

Throughout all of our planning and decision making, we have had the following guiding principles in mind:

  • We will follow the latest public health guidelines as outlined by the federal, provincial, municipal governments, as well our industry governing bodies;
  • We will attempt to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 within HPSC;
  • We will arrange for skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing when safety and guidelines allows; and
  • As a club we are all in this together.  To the best of our abilities, we will not create policies that favour one group of members over others.

As a volunteer-run non-profit club, we must act in good faith to abide by all guidelines and policies and procedures that we have put in place. As well, all members and volunteers are required to adhere to these standards in order to enable our club to continue to offer winter activities this season when we are able. As a club we do not have the same luxury in making choices as we have as individuals.  

Your Board has been working on a detailed COVID Protocol document that outlines the procedures and policies that we hope will allow us to move forward with this season. This document allows us to make decisions based on a set of principles and guidelines that have been thoroughly thought out.  It must be noted that this is a living document that will be updated as new knowledge, guidelines, and situations occur. 

The full document is available on our website at COVID Risk Management Framework_2020 12 10.pdf (hpsc.ca)

Following are some of the key highlights:

General

  • The club will act in good faith to abide by the COVID-19 mitigation guidelines established by the federal, provincial, municipal governments, resorts, public health agencies, and CSIA, CSCF, CASI, CANSI.
  • Decision to run trips will be based on the provincial guidelines.  Since HPSC is Toronto based and registered, we need to follow the guidelines as outlined for Toronto, no matter where our members live.
  • As such we will NOT be running/organizing trips if Toronto is in a GREY or RED zone.
  • There will be a mandatory COVID screener prior to all HPSC activities.  Those who are sick or have any symptoms are asked to still complete the screener but to not show up for the trip or event.  A full refund will be processed for these members.
  • All trips will be for HPSC members only.  There will be no Test Drive or Bring a Guest trips.

Lessons

  • Lessons will be limited to a ratio of four members to one instructor.
  • Limit downhhill/snowboard lessons to STEP 3/NOVICE and up.
  • To avoid crowded lesson lineups, lesson start/end times will be staggered.
  • Members will need to wear a non-perforated face covering whenever 6 feet distance cannot consistently be maintained (e.g. lift lines, lesson lineup) and in instances where the resort has mandated wearing a face covering.

Bus trips

  • When we are able to run buses (based on provincial public health guidelines), there will be a maximum of 30 members per bus, with most sitting by themselves in the window seat.  Members can sit with others in their households or whom they are bubbled with.
  • While on the bus, all members must wear an appropriate mask at all times.
  • On the bus, members will need to remain seated throughout the trip (with the exception of going to the washroom.)
  • Food, drink, and talking will be kept to a minimum on the bus. Please eat and drink prior to boarding the bus. No alcohol consumption will be allowed on the bus.
  • The bus will be fully cleaned by the bus company prior to the trip, and high touch areas will be cleaned after arrival and after lunch.

Long Trips/Charter trips

  • There will be no long bus trips this season.  Trips organized to Quebec destinations will be “self-drive” only.  HPSC will not be involved in arranging carpooling. 
  • On trips including Charter trips, there will be no trip leader on the trip.  A trip supervisor will be assigned to create an itinerary and general information which will be provided to trip participants prior to the trip.
  • HPSC will not be involved in assigning roommates this season. 

Consequences

  • Members who are found to not be following the outlined procedures and policies of the club, or those of our resort partners, will be open to escalating consequences from warnings, being asked to leave an event or lesson, suspension from further trips, to being barred from membership.

If a member tests Positive 

  • Members who participate in any club activities and subsequently test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days must inform the club of their test result and are suspended from participating in any club activity until medically cleared.  Close contacts are suspended for 14 days following possible exposure and encouraged to get tested. All close contacts (including all on a bus if that is the case) will be contacted by the club.

We realize that some of you will be disappointed by the processes, policies, and decisions we have had to make.  To be honest we also are disappointed, but these are the difficult decisions that, in the best interests of the club, we have had to make under the circumstances as they currently stand. 

As I have written before we will need to be very flexible in the coming months.  But given the good news this week regarding vaccinations, there is great optimism that next year at this time we will be celebrating together on a trip or at a fantastic holiday party! 

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club 

A Successful 2020 SkiFit Season!

Photo by member David Flowers. Last SkiFit on Saturday November 14, 2020

Since the beginning of this pandemic, High Park Ski Club has said it will follow the stated public health guidelines. Due to the change in public health guidelines for Toronto, we had to cancel the final two SkiFit sessions.

On the positive side, we had 10 very productive and enjoyable SkiFit sessions since September on beautiful fall Saturday mornings in High Park. I don’t recall one bad weather Saturday.

Thank you to all who made it out to the sessions. A number of new members came out, as well as a core of longer-term members. Hope that you had a good time preparing for the upcoming season.

I would also like to sincerely thank George, Cynthia, Theo, and Sandra for assisting in running our weekly hiking sessions.

I hope we are able to get back to our normal fitness program next year and look forward to seeing all of you at SkiFit starting in September 2021. Hopefully we will be able to reinstate our traditional post-workout brunch.

For your own personal mental and physical health, I would encourage all of you still get outside for some exercise before the beginning of the season. I know that I will.

Please stay safe and healthy!

Justin

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

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

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

A Hint of Fall in the Air!

Fellow HPSC members

Labour Day has come and gone, which means our fall activities have begun!

This past weekend we had our first SkiFit of the season in High Park, with a good mix of old faces and a few new ones participating.  I look forward to meeting and catching up with a lot of you at SkiFit over the next 12 weeks.  Registration opens each Tuesday.

With the fall also comes anticipation of the unveiling of our overnight and charter trips for the season. Read up in this week’s SnoBiz regarding the trips and the different approach to trips we are taking to ensure our member’s safety. Take a look and decide what trip or trips you want to go on this season and note when sign up opens. 

September also means the club’s Annual General Meeting.  Which this year will be held virtually via Zoom next week.  In addition to hearing about last season – which was very successful despite the abrupt end – you will have a chance to ask questions of the Board about the club.  Please register online – the event is listed on the home page.     

Finally, I want to sincerely thank all of you who have already renewed your HPSC membership!  It is extremely satisfying to know how many have confidence and faith in the approach we have taken to ensure a great season despite the challenges we are facing.   

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club

Fall is just around the corner!

Dear fellow High Parkers!

Labour Day is just around the corner, and it is starting to feel a little like fall. And with autumn comes time to renew membership in our club. 

In this week’s SnoBiz you can read about the special renewal rate for this season, as well as the plans the Board has been working on this summer for the upcoming season.  While somethings may be different this year, as many things as we can, will remain as close to normal as possible.  Including the ability to get out on the hills and trails with HPSC.

If you haven’t already, check out the HPSC website to read up on our overall approach for this coming season.    

Hope to see you all soon!

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.   

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