It’s time to start planning your cross-country ski & snowshoe winter vacations

Beach destinations in winter? No thanks. We’re all about finding awesome places to play in the snow!

Every year, HPSC offers cross-country skiers and snowshoers opportunities to take overnight trips at some of the best cross-country ski and snowshoe resorts.

Charter Trip

Silver Star, BC is one of the premier cross-country ski destinations in North America. Between Silver Star and Sovereign Lake (a Nordic centre that you can ski to), there are over 100km of daily groomed trails. At Silver Star, you can take the gondola to the top of the mountain and ski with glorious mountain views. Trust us, this is unlike any ski experience you would get in Ontario. There is also extensive snowshoeing at both resorts. Silver Star is a smaller, quieter resort, if that’s what you like. Find out more details here.

This is how much snow there was the first week of December. Imagine prime ski season! Photo cred: Heather Steel.

Overnight Bus Trips

Another favourite resort, a little closer to home, is Mont-Tremblant. You can ski or snowshoe the trails at the resort, or you can take the bus (or ski 6km) over to Domaine Saint-Bernard where 80km of ski trails and 27km of snowshoe trails await. Mont-Tremblant is a lively resort if that’s what you’re looking for. Find out more details here.

View from the trails at Mont Tremblant. Photo cred: Heather Steel.

If a trip with just your fellow cross-country crew is more your speed, we are offering our family day long weekend trip to Stokley Creek, Sault Ste. Marie! This is a new destination for us. Stokely Creek features 100km of beautiful trails for skiers and snowshoers, more than enough to keep you happily skiing for the weekend. Find out more details here.

Northern Ontario’s beautiful trails! Photo cred: Paul Moser.

Our trips are popular and sell out quickly! We recommend registering on the date and time that they open. If they sell out, put yourself on the waiting list. There are often cancellations.

Happy vacation planning!

SkiFit is back!

The temperatures are falling and the leaves are turning…this means it’s time for SkiFit, HPSC’s popular pre-ski season fitness program.

Every Saturday, join ski instructors John McHutchion and Karen Evans and their amazing crew of volunteers in High Park for a variety of fitness activities. There’s a level for everyone – for those who want a tough workout to those who just want to get out and move around.

The best part is the post workout brunch at the Grenadier Café!

Having fun & getting fit.

If you’re new the club, it’s a great opportunity to meet new people before the snow flies. Returning members can reconnect with old friends.

SkiFit will end with our participation in the popular annual event, Climb the Mountain, the first weekend in November in Blue Mountain.

Below are the dates. All sessions begin at 9am in High Park, meeting at The Grenadier Café parking lot.

September 7, 14, 21, 28

October 5, 19, 26 (note there is no SkiFit on Thanksgiving weekend)

Nov. 2: Climb the Mountain

Click here for the event schedule on the website:

Heads up – new Saturday pick up/drop off schedule for cross-country daytrips

Your cross-country executive committee gets lots of feedback regarding pick up/drop off schedules. West-enders point out that they spend twice the amount of time on the bus as everyone else. Drivers want a 400/Hwy 7 drop off on Saturdays (currently only the case with two bus trips).

We’ve decided to tackle both of these issues with a change to the Saturday pick up/drop off schedule. Starting this season, Saturday will feature a REVERSE drop off on the way home, with the addition of a stop at 400/Hwy 7 to accommodate those who drive. If you don’t want to wait to get off at York Mills, please drive to Hwy 7. If you take the subway, you can hop on the subway at Keele, Davenport, Eglington, or York Mills.

 This is what the standard schedule will look like going forward for Saturday:

Pick ups:

  • 750am: Bloor/Indian Rd.
  • 810am: Davenport
  • 820am: Eglinton
  • 830am: York Mills
  • 845am: 400/Hwy 7

Drop offs:

  • 400/Hwy 7
  • Bloor/Indian Rd.
  • Davenport
  • Eglinton
  • York Mills

Two bus trips will operate on our normal two bus schedule, with the regular drop off schedule (Bus 1 – Queen’s Quay/Indian Rd/Hwy 7; Bus 2 – Yonge stops). Sunday will remain on the normal drop off schedule. All pick up and drop off times will be communicated via email and on the status page for every day trip. Be sure to check it before you go.

Get SkiFit!

Cross-country skiing is one tough sport. We don’t need chairlifts to take us up hills! We’re sure that everyone is keeping active this summer doing all kinds of fun activities, such as running, cycling, hiking, and various water sports. All these are great cross training activities that will keep you in shape as we head towards fall and winter.

You can also add some cross-country skiing  specific dryland training to your repertoire. Enter, ski walking/bounding. Heather, your XC director, has been playing around with this once a week in High Park. You look ridiculous, but it’s also a tough interval workout that will (hopefully) translate to more strength and power in your skiing.

HPSC members getting their ski walking on at SkiFit! Photo cred: Karen Evans.

Ski walking/bounding is moving up hills mimicking the classic ski stride, with or without poles. You want to do it with proper ski form – flexing at the ankles and keeping your hips forward. Walking keeps one foot on the ground at all times, while bounding gets you some air time. There are also plyometric exercises you can do to mimic skate skiing (essentially jumping side to side up the hill) and double poling (essentially bunny hopping uphill). There’s lots of resources online to consult if you’re interested in exploring this further. Proper form is important, so do some research before jumping in, and take it easy to start!

Balance is critical to good cross-country ski technique, for both classic and skate. Like anything, if you want to improve your balance, you need to practice. Try balancing on one leg while doing activities like TV watching. It sounds easy. Then close your eyes!

Balance is best done with your HPSC friends. Photo cred: Karen Evans.

Strength training should also be a part of everyone’s life. Strong core muscles (abdominals, glutes, hips etc.) mean a body less prone to injury. You don’t have to be a weightlifter! There’s lots you can do at home, such as planks/squats/lunges, and single leg strength work is great for both strengthening muscles and improving balance. There are lots of resources online to demonstrate proper form.

If you want to ease your way back into ski training with your ski friends, be sure to join our SkiFit sessions in High Park every Saturday morning starting in September. There’s an intensity level for everyone, followed by brunch at the Grenadier Café. We welcome all members no matter your ski preference. We will also be offering the popular CrossFit series again this year. Check out the events calendar for all the details!

John always comes up with fun activities to test your fitness, agility and balance! Photo cred: Stella Rossovskaia.

(Disclaimer: Before beginning any new exercise activities, you should consult the proper resources to ensure you are doing them safely. This article is merely meant to give you some suggestions for ski specific training).

Now that’s spring skiing!

At the start line in Iceland!

Jean-Émile Paraïso (J-E), a level 2 instructor with HPSC, perhaps broke a club record and cross-country skied in May, a full month after skiing ended in Southern Ontario! He participated in the final WorldLoppet of the season – the Fossavatnsgangan – held in the Westfjords region of Iceland on the first weekend in May. A 25km classic race awaited his arrival…

Unfortunately, warm weather hit the country two weeks before the event, melting part of the race course. Organizers had to slightly shorten the course (to 21km), but they forged ahead. Cross-country skiers are hardy and can handle anything nature throws at them. And that they did on race day.

Conditions, J-E reports, were challenging. A warm +5 degrees Celsius meant soft snow, and the weather just got wilder throughout the race, with hail, freezing rain, sleet, snow, rain and finally brief spot of sunshine. Throw in some strong winds with gusts up to 40km/hr just for fun. No grip going uphill, no glide going downhill….

Despite all this, J-E did fantastic! He completed the 21km course in 1hr 54min and finished 33rd overall (out of 107). He finished 9th in his age category (35-49).

All smiles during the race!

As a reward for finishing such a gruelling race, the event provided a cake buffet in the afternoon and a seafood dinner and dance in the evening.


In addition to the race, J-E said he had a wonderful trip visiting Iceland, meeting other like-minded skiers and is motivated to do it all again at other international events.

A huge congratulations from all of us in the club.

Check out this video if you want a taste of what J-E experienced. You don’t have to go this far to experience some fantastic loppets. A number of club members have completed the Gatineau Loppet (a WorldLopppet event in Gatineau Park), and there are a number of local loppets, such as the Muskoka Loppet (Arrowhead Provincial Park) and the Hardwood Loppet (Hardwood Hills).