President’s Message – Happy Holidays!!

Home Smith Park, December 25, 2020 Photo by JK Graham

December 22, 2021

HPSC Friends,

I would like to wish all of you the very best of the holidays! 

As you know we have been planning very hard, as best we can, for what we had hoped to be a close facsimile of a normal season.  But the one thing we have all learned over the last two years is the need to stay flexible.  During the last three weeks we have gone from being fairly optimistic of starting the season, weather dependent, on time, to having to make the following announcement. 

As we have stated repeatedly, the safety of our members is our top priority.  Therefore, due to the rapid increase of COVID cases due to the Omicron variant we have made the decision to pause the beginning of the season.  And to start, unfortunately, we will not be able to run any buses.

Downhill daytrips will begin on Saturday January 15th and continue as scheduled as drive-up only events.  This means that we will offer lessons by our Snow School.  To participate you will need to register via HPSC for lessons, but you will need to purchase your lift ticket directly from the resort. For the Wednesday trips we are still discussing with the clubs how tickets will be handled.   

Due to the changing situation, registration for each week’s trip will also open one week prior to the first trip and continue on a weekly basis.  Registration will close for the weekend and Monday trips as usual on Thursday at 6pm.  Due to new requirements at the private clubs, we have had to move up the registration deadline as well to Thursday at 6pm. So all downhill trips will now close at the same time.  Registration for the first week will open on January 8th.

On the cross-country side, all trips at this point are postponed until at least January 22nd, and will only run if we are able to run bus trips. 

Our plan is to continuously monitor the situation and to start running buses when it is feasible, so please read all communications carefully from the club to stay informed. 

Further, due to the revised regulations announced last week regarding the need for a PCR test for any trip outside of the country, even for less than 72 hours, the Long Trips Committee has made the decision to cancel our yearly trip to Holiday Valley for this season.

Never a dull moment!

Happy Holidays! Enjoy the season and please stay safe.  And if you are able to, get your booster shot when you can. 

Cheers!

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club

What happens if you test positive after being on a HPSC trip?

As you may be aware, last year the Board of Directors prepared a detailed COVID Protocol document.  The document has been updated for the 2021/22 season and is posted on our website.

One area that members should be aware of is what to do if they test positive for COVID after being on a HPSC trip/event.

If a member tests positive within 14 days of being on a trip/event, they MUST contact the appropriate Director (Downhill Day Trips, Director of Cross-Country and Snowshoeing, Long Trips, Social) ASAP. You should inform the Director if you were in a lesson and the name of their instructor if possible. The club will then contact all possible close contacts in a lesson or on the bus.  You should contact any people you were with outside of the bus or lesson.    

All impacted members are encouraged to get a PCR COVID test and to self-isolate as recommended by public health guidelines. All affected members are put on 14-day suspension (from the date of possible exposure) from all club activities. The suspension will be lifted earlier if they are able to provide the club with a negative PCR test result. If a member on the contact list subsequently tests positive during the 14-day period, they must inform the club.  The original COVID positive member is suspended from all trips/club activities until official clearance is provided to the Director of Membership.

If the club experiences two or more cases of COVID-19 on a trip/event that are not from the same household, this is considered an outbreak. All trips/events in that portfolio of the club (Alpine or Cross-country, Social) will be immediately cancelled for 2 weeks.

If a second outbreak occurs, all trips for that portfolio of the club (Alpine or Cross-Country, Social) will be cancelled for the rest of the season. 

President’s Message – Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

November 24, 2021

The Cowbell of Office – HPSC Information Night and Social, Liberty Common, Liberty Village, November 17, 2021 Photo by Amy Lam

HPSC Friends,

This week it is really finally feeling like winter is about to arrive.   And with it a new HPSC season. 

Over the last week, we held a very successful Club Information and Social Event in Liberty Village (thank you Amy), the last SkiFit of the season (thank you to John, George and Cynthia), and a successful on-line event, Cross-Country Skiing 101: Sliding on Skinny Skis (thank you Heather).  The cross-fit series continues until the end of the month (registration is open for the remaining session)(thank you to Michaela). 

We also found out this week that the federal government, as of November 30th is lifting the testing requirement for vaccinated Canadians returning to Canada from trips of less than 72 hours.  For the club this means that there will be no testing requirement for our weekend trip to Holiday Valley at the end of January. And on a higher level, the approval of vaccinations for children means that we are one step closer to the end of this pandemic and getting back to a much more normal season.  

Thank you as well to the almost 70% of current members who have provided their vaccination proof to the club.  A reminder that as of November 6th, members cannot register for any in-person events including socials, daytrips, or long trips if they have not had their vaccination status verified.  Please do so as soon as possible instead of waiting until you want to register for an event. 

As well, a reminder for those who did not join last season due to COVID, last year still counts towards you club seniority, but to retain it you need to rejoin this year.

I have said in the past, people may come to the club for a specific sport, but they return year after year because of the friends they make and the community that is HPSC.  This past year has challenged our ability to make those connections.  We sincerely hope that this coming season we are able to get back to providing opportunities for members to meet their new lifelong friends!

Cheers!

Justin Graham, President, HPSC

Harassment and bullying is not tolerated in HPSC

The High Park Ski Club has a long history of, and is dedicated to, bringing people together to enjoy the winter. It is important that the Club provides an environment that allows everyone to enjoy the activities we offer. As such, we want to remind everyone that the Club absolutely does not tolerate any sort of bullying or harassment.

It is important to understand that according to the Ontario Human Rights Code:

  • Sexual harassment is conduct that is generally considered or might reasonably be known to be unwelcome. Some examples of sexual harassment include unwelcome comments on people’s appearance or unnecessary physical contact.
  • Sexual harassment is not necessarily focused on the intention of the person committing the action, but rather on the impact of their behaviour on the other party.

Each year we require that all members read and acknowledge our Code of Conduct which includes the following in the very first paragraph:

“Club members are responsible for respecting the integrity and dignity of each and every club member, as well as our suppliers including tour operators, resort personnel, and bus drivers. Members maintain a companionable environment that is free of profane, sexist or sexually explicit language, threats, violence, or hurtful actions.”   

HPSC encourages any member with complaints regarding Code of Conduct issues to contact the Club Ombudsperson, Kerry Kupecz, at ombudsperson@hpsc.ca. The Club takes all complaints seriously and fully investigates them.

We’re looking forward to having a wonderful ski season this year.

Ask not what your ski club can do for you . . . but what you can do for your ski club

High Park Ski Club is fully run by dedicated volunteers. Everything you enjoy about the club is based on the volunteering by your fellow members. The current term for all directors and the president ends in April 2022. All directors and the president can stand for re-election. 

However, our current Director of Membership and Volunteers, Ruth Schefter, has let us know that after two terms, she will be stepping down and will not be running for a third term. 

As such we are looking for someone who would be interested in shadowing Ruth for the reminder of the year and then standing for Director of Membership and Volunteering.  The person should be organized, tech savvy, a good communicator, and accountable. 

Time commitment: ~6 hours per week, mostly in the fall. Attending monthly board meetings.

Team:  Work along with the Membership and Volunteer Assistant, the Volunteer Coordinator, and the Ambassador Program Coordinator.

Duties:  Monitoring membership registration and membership statistics. Communicating with members.  Answering member and non-member questions regarding the club. Maintaining the list of Bus Vouchers distributed, and the list of club volunteers.  Coordinating the Annual Membership Awards and planning, along with the Social Director and the Volunteer Coordinator, the annual Volunteer Appreciation event.  Attend New Member and Information events, the Club Strategy Session in the summer, and the Annual General Meeting in September.

Compensation:  Directors build an understanding of the inter workings of the club, get to know a lot of the club members, work with a fantastic team, and have a say in the direction of the club.  All directors receive an annual honorarium, as well as two bus vouchers.  For younger members it is also a great experience to have on your resume. 

If you are interested or would like to learn more about the opportunity, please contact Ruth at  membership@hpsc.ca . 

The day we never thought would ever happen!

At the end of October, Bill Bates, our long-time Director of Long Trips announced his desire to step down as Director. 

Bill has been on the Long Trips Committee (LTC) for over 25 years, and as Director for many of those years.   Long trips is one of the core parts of what makes HPSC such a great club, and without Bill’s guiding hand the club would be much different. The stability of the LTC over the last 10 years says a lot about Bill’s approach and his leadership style. 

Do not worry, Bill is not disappearing from the club or from Long Trips.  He has offered to remain on the LTC to support the new Director and be a member of the LTC. 

Bill has recommended to the Board that long-time member of the LTC and of the club, Kim Wiebe, be appointed as the new Director of Long Trips to finish out the remaining 6 months of his current term. Kim also has the support of the other members of the Long Trips Committee.  At the November Board meeting held this week, Kim was approved as the new Director.  Welcome to the board Kim, and I look forward to working with you!

On a personal note, Bill’s calm presence on the Board over the last year and a half has been a tremendous help as we worked through the aftermath of the COVID trip cancellations, as well as planning for trips in this new environment.  His institutional knowledge of the club has also been a valuable resource. 

Thank you so much Bill for all that you have done for the club!  And I hope you enjoy all of your new free time!

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club

President’s Message – A nip in the air!

November 10, 2021

Dear HPSC friends!

One of the great things about being a member of the club is that we are all lovers of winter.  You are not viewed as strange for actually looking forward to colder weather and the winter.  This was brought home to me when I was on a zoom call last week with a number of other ski clubs and ski schools from across the country (regarding insurance) when someone out west mentioned that it was getting colder, and we all agree that was fantastic news. 

With the nip in the air and the return to Standard Time, we are coming closer to an actual ski season.  Over the past weekend, the downhill daytrips schedule was posted.  Our charter and long trips are available for registration if there are still spots available, but only for those who have provided their vaccination proof. 

At SkiFit this past weekend we had the largest turnout all fall. It is interesting that the cooler it gets, and the closer we get to the season, the more people start to come out for SkiFit.  As a reminder there are just two more weeks left for SkiFit.   Registration opens each Tuesday.  I would personally like to thank Karen Evans, who is now out west for the season, and John McHutchion, for their excellent help in leading the program this season.

I would also like to thank the two-thirds of our current members who have provided their vaccination proof. For the rest, please do so as soon as possible.  As a further reminder, only those who have provided their proof for verification will be able to register for any in-person event (including drive-up for daytrips) or charter/long trips with the club this season. 

SnoBiz is a one of the key ways to keep up with what is going on in the club, so I encourage all members to read all of the articles in the current edition.  There are some important announcements.

Looking forward to the coming season and meeting up with as many members as possible!

Cheers!

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club

Charter and Long Trip Update

Mont Tremblant, February 2021 Photo by JK Graham

It has been a very busy time for your Long Trips Committee and trip leaders! 

Although the first charter trip, to Club Med in France, does not depart until the end of January, the deadline for new registrants has passed and the trip is now closed.  If you are still interested in a charter this season, there are still spots available on our last trip of the season, to Taos, New Mexico in March.  But the rest of the charter trips are full.

If you are interested in one of the full trips, spots do open due to various reasons, so be sure to put your name on the wait list. Please check the website and our social media posts for updates.

In late October we started signups for our long bus trips.  The mid-week trip to Tremblant in February sold out! But don’t despair, there are still spots available on all of the other long trips.

New this year is a mid-week Mont Ste Anne trip.  Also available is the traditional HPSC end of season weekend at Tremblant, and the popular Family Day Eastern Townships Orford trip, which includes two dinners.  If you have never dined in the Eastern Townships you are in for a treat! For our cross-country and snowshoe members we are also offering a Family Day weekend to Huntsville including trips to Algonquin Park, Arrowhead, and the Frost Centre.

Unfortunately, we had to postpone the trips to Killington and Jay Peak to a future year.  Although it may seem early to postpone, as these trips are months away, there are tight deadlines to avoid penalties with our suppliers for cancelling space, and the initial registration was small.  Early sign up by members is important when we have to make these types of decisions.

We are still in uncertain times, but are very optimistic about the 2022 ski season.  If you really want to go on a trip this season, we encourage you to sign up now to guarantee your spot.

President’s Report – Optimistic news regarding the upcoming season!!

October 27th, 2021

Dear HPSC Friends!

Since the last SnoBiz there have been some major positive public announcements that impact our upcoming season!!

The American government has finally announced the re-opening of the land border for non-essential travel as of November 8th for those fully vaccinated (including mixed vaccinations).  This means we will be able to run our bus trips to Holiday Valley (NY), Killington (VT), and Jay Peak (VT)!!! And on a personal note, I will finally be able to visit my best friend Tricia and her family in Pittsburgh for American Thanksgiving next month! 

Long trip sign up is this coming Thursday October 28th at 8pm sharp and I am hoping to get on the Holiday Valley trip! (I have already used my one Front of the Line privilege as President for the St. Mortiz trip in March).   There are a lot of great trips to consider. 

The vaccination passport system is now in place with the Ontario QR code document now available for download; please do so ASAP.

The Ontario government has announced plans for further opening up, with the aim to have all COVID restrictions lifted by the end of March 2022.  This week, capacity limits are being lifted for restaurants and bars, which means that we can finally start planning for some indoor social events hopefully in November and December.  Please stay tuned!

With this announcement, our local resorts have a much better sense of how they will need to operate this season.  This means that we will also be able to provide you with a better sense of how we will be running daytrips shortly. 

Given these announcements and the high level of vaccination rates in Ontario, finally, there appears to be a light at the end of this extremely long tunnel. I am very optimistic that this will be a great season for HPSC!!   

Cheers!

Justin Graham, President

What we currently know about the rules for cross-border and international trips

As of November 8th, we will be able to cross over the U.S. land border.  This is fantastic news for the club since we have planned three bus trips to U.S. resorts. 

What we know at this point is that crossing into the U.S. will require both your passport and your proof of full vaccination.  On October 15th the U.S. also announced that they will accept mixed vaccination of WHO approved vaccines. 

When flying (including domestically) you will require your QR code vaccination document (and a photo ID/Passport). 

However, currently, when returning to Canada, all travellers need to provide the results from an accepted COVID Test result taken within 72 hours of arrival at the Canadian border.  (Rapid tests are not accepted.) If your trip is less than 72 hours (i.e. our Holiday Valley weekend trip) you can get a test done at home prior to leaving and use it on your way back home. 

For longer trips, if the same rules still apply, you will need to have a test done while out of the country. Please remember that most of our international trips are not running for another 4 to 5 months, in late February or March 2022, so the requirements when returning to Canada may have changed by that point.    Just think back to the quarantine requirements that were in place five months ago last May.  

Club Med has indicated to us that they will be able to arrange these tests for our members (at a separate cost to members.) For our U.S. trips we have not been able to confirm exactly how the process will work.  With the border closed last season, the resorts did not have to deal with this issue, so this is something new for them, and therefore still in flux.

The Long Trips Committee and those who have stepped up to be Trip Leaders already have a lot of responsibilities and things to keep track of even in a normal year for trips. While the club tries to provide as much information as possible, ultimately, it is up to the individual to understand what the travel rules and requirements are for their personal situation. 

If there is anyone who would like to volunteer to help out the club by researching and tracking this topic it would be greatly appreciated.  Please contact longtrips@hpsc.ca.