Next season planning

As summer swings into high gear, I wanted to take this opportunity to assure our XC ski and snowshoe members that we are planning the best we can for next season.

The situation with COVID-19 is very fluid, and we are exploring a number of different possibilities for running trips in a COVID-19 environment. We may not have answers soon, but rest assured we are doing our best to make a ski season – in some form – happen if at all possible.

We will keep our members informed of developments the best we can. In the meantime, enjoy the summer!


Heather Steel

Director, Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Cross-country volunteer opportunity!

The HPSC cross-country team met recently to debrief last season and start planning for next season.

Clearly, next season will depend on how the COVID-19 pandemic progresses through the summer. However, as of now, we are planning for a full 2020-2021 season. The club as a whole will discuss contingency plans as the summer progresses.

In the meantime, we are recruiting volunteers! We have a new opportunity perfect for those looking for a way to give back, but who are able to commit only a bit of time.

Next year, we’d like to offer 3-4 group ski opportunities for beginner new members. These would be held on select trips in January and early February in the afternoon. We are looking for members who would be willing to lead these group skis. The time commitment is approximately 2 hours in the afternoon on one ski day (or however many you want to lead). You would be leading a group of beginners on some of the easier trails at the resort. The goal is socializing and fun! No need to be a long time member, or a high level skier. The only requirement is a friendly attitude!

We hope these group skis will allow new members the opportunity to meet more skiers at their level outside of the lessons and feel more comfortable from the get go in the club.

If you’re interested, please email Heather at

Have a great summer!

We want friendly faces like these!

An awesome XC season comes to an end…

While winter took a while to arrive, and the season ended sooner than we would have liked, 2019-20 ended up being a great season! We ran 17 day trips and a very successful long weekend trip to Sault Ste. Marie. We got to all of our favourite resorts – Hardwood, Horseshoe, Highlands, Scenic Caves, Wasaga, Kawartha, Arrowhead, and Georgian Nordic (and a few lucky members even got to go to Mansfield on a Wednesday!). We managed to get in four of our five races, our backcountry trip to Kolapore, and we offered lots of guided snowshoeing and lessons. Registration was amazing – we had 6 two bus trips this year! I look forward to more of the same for next year.

It takes a great team to make our season happen. Thank you to the following members in particular for all their invaluable contributions and leadership:

  • Weekend day trip coordinators: Monica Sauer, Theo Kempe, David Cloutier, Jean-Emile Paraiso, and Gayatari Bharadwaj
  • Finance coordinator: Paul Moser
  • Ambassador coordinator: Linda Lavalee
  • Snowshoe coordinator: Cynthia Wheatley
  • Bus captain coordinator/tour coordinator: Howard Gibson
  • Ski School director: Elaine Rennet
  • Ski School operations director: Jeff Stainsby
  • Ski School director of instructor training: Janine Jorgensen

And thank you to all of our bus captains, snowshoe guides, ski tour leaders, and instructors! I know our members appreciate everything you do for the club.

Our last trips of the season ended up being Mar. 7 and Mar. 8, although we didn’t know it at the time. These were great trips for different reasons. Mar. 7 at Georgian Nordic was on the cool side, and conditions a bit icy, but we had lots of fun making s’mores around the fire! Mar. 8 was 12 degrees and sunny at Horseshoe! Members shed the clothes and had a great day in the sun. We can always look back on those memories and look forward to next year. Check out pics below from this last weekend.

Everyone take care of yourselves and your loved ones! We’ll be back skiing before you know it.


Heather Steel, Director, Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Spring skiing awaits!

Our March 1 trip to Wasaga. Snow and sun!

March brings spring skiing…some of our favourite skiing. Yes, conditions aren’t always great, but throw in warm temperatures and sunny days, and it feels so good to be outside in the trees.

There are plenty of opportunities to ski this March. As long as there is snow on the ground, and people willing to ski on it, we’ll send buses! Our trips up to March 15 are presently sold out, but the wait lists are generally small, so if you get yourself on the list, you probably will get on the trip.

Mar. 14 – Kawartha Nordic (guided snowshoeing). If Kawartha doesn’t have the conditions, we will find somewhere that does (likely Highlands or Scenic Caves…or maybe Arrowhead)

Mar. 15 – Hardwood Hills (Race #5)

Mar. 21 – Mystery Destination (module will open soon; destination confirmed closer to date). LAST CHANCE TO TAKE LESSONS!

Mar. 22 – Highlands Nordic (module will open soon)

After Mar. 22, we will take the weather and conditions as they come. Many members often ski until the last day of March, so if conditions warrant it and you want to go, we’ll do our best to send buses!

Please note that March skiing can bring changeable conditions – it can be icy, slushy, sunny, snowy, and everything in between. As usual, we will try and find the best conditions if our scheduled destinations don’t work out. Let’s get outside and enjoy the last bits of winter!

When it’s 3 degrees you can have a marshmallow roast! Wasaga, Mar. 1, 2020

Race weekend had a bit of everything – bonus points, a costume preview and marshmallows

Race #3 participants at Horsehose!

Race weekend – races on both days – was a huge success! Thanks to all our participants for their enthusiasm. You all make our club awesome! We had awesome conditions thanks to a 40-60cm dump of snow a few days earlier. Bring on Snowmageddon!

Feb. 29 we held our annual “Choose Your Own Adventure Freestyle Race” at Horseshoe Valley. We start and end from the same place, and there are two courses to choose from – a beginner course and a more advanced course that sends racers up Geunther’s Grind! If racers did both, they got bonus points!

Beginner Winner Jennifer!

Congrats to Graham, Sonia, and Janine, who did both courses. Graham lead the day with the fastest time. And congrats to Jennifer, our “beginner winner”, and to her three friends who did Patrolller’s Hill THREE times. Were they supposed to? Nope!

Mar. 1 at Wasaga we held our annual Pine Trail Classic, a classic only race that winds through the lovely Pine Trail. We started and ended at the fire shelter, where racers were treated to a marshmallow roast courtesy of Linda. Graham and Sonia practiced skiing in costume to prepare for the final official costume race. What a great end to an amazing day of skiing.

Congrats to Graham for his second win of the weekend, and to everyone for finishing in under 25 minutes and getting bonus points!

The podium finish – first to third (left to right)

Racers have one more chance to rack up points for the overall standings on Mar. 15 at Hardwood. It’s our Spring Fling Costume Race! Graham and Sonia are only two points apart at the top of the overall leader board and we can’t wait to see what costumes they have in store for us!

We finished off with a marshmallow roast. Fun fact: sloths like marshmallows

Congratulations to our XC instructors

That’s Ron skate skiing in front!

This year we had three members successfully pass CANSI certification courses!

First, we welcomed Ron Duffy to the instructor ranks when he passed the CANSI Level 1 course in January. Congratulations!

Second, Charles Ma and Heather Steel successfully passed the CANSI Level 2 course in February. Congratulations!

The L2/3 course – Heather is second from the left and Charles is last on the right. Thanks to Wendy Grater and Francoise Chatenoud for the excellent instruction!

Furthermore, a few of our instructors are in the process of completing their Level 3 certifications. Hopefully we will bring news of more successes in the coming seasons!

Our instructors are dedicated to improving their skiing and teaching skills to serve our members better. Thanks to all of them for their enthusiasm and dedication to our sport and our club.

Race weekend – with bonus points – is coming!!

Race Results

Our first race of the season, Frisbee Biathlon, was a big success! Held on the new flat open area at Highlands (Teal’s Tango), members of all levels were able to participate in the fun. While our races are all about fun, there are results. And here they are:

Race #1 – Frisbee Biathlon
David Zoratto & Trevor Leech
John Kane & Frances Zeng
Sonia Dyett & Rob Dyett
Patty McVitty & Jaques Belik
Rubina Khan & Amanda Hollingsworth
Carine Wood & Ludmilla Chubey
Jennifer Beatty & Andrew Kerr
Maria Bridgemohan & Charlene Phillips

Our second race of the season was held at Scenic Caves – You Can’t Get Lost on the Northwest Passage Freestyle! It was warm and sunny and 10 skiers, including some newbies, put their skills to the test on a 1.5km course. No one got lost! And the results…


  1. Jeff Stainsby
  2. Andrew Mahoney
  3. Jiurong Li


  1. Andrew Osmond (who serenaded us in Italian as he crossed the finish line, meaning bonus points for all!)
  2. Andreas Gierke
  3. Andrew Patterson

Race Weekend!

Race weekend returns after a few year’s hiatus. What is race weekend? Races on BOTH daytrips with some serious bonus points! Check it out…

Feb. 29: Our annual Choose Your Own Adventure Challenge at Horseshoe Valley. Choose between two courses – a shorter easier one that uses Patroller’s hill (suitable for more beginner skiers) and a longer, hillier route that uses Geunther’s Grind. If you do both, you get bonus points!

Mar. 1: The annual Pine Trail Classic at Wasaga is back! This is our race director’s favourite race for two reasons: 1. It’s a beautiful course that winds through the pine trees. 2. Someone ALWAYS gets lost. It’s been years and this never fails! There will be bonus points for those who finish the course in under a certain amount of time.

Our races are all about fun! Participants accumulate points through the season and we crown our overall winners at our fun year end party in April. Join us!

HPSC discovers Sault Ste. Marie

On the family day long weekend, a full bus headed up to Sault Ste. Marie to experience some of the best cross-country skiing Northern Ontario – and indeed Canada – has to offer! We stayed in Sault Ste. Marie and skied two days at Stokely Creek and the final morning at Hiawatha Highlands. Both places delivered amazing skiing.

Konstatin is pretty tired after all that climbing!

Stokely Creek is not for the faint of heart. With over 100km of trails and some serious climbing, you are sure to get a workout! But, there are some lovely easier trails too if that’s more your style. And the snowshoeing looked lovely!

There was a huge base of snow, so no worries about bad conditions on this trip! It also snowed all day on Saturday, creating a lovely winter wonderland. Then the network was freshly groomed entirely for Sunday.

Snow all day = happy skiers!

Members had all kinds of fun. There’s 6 huts to explore throughout the network and we hit all of them at some point! Norm’s cabin even offers full tea and cookie service! The sun peaked out on Sunday and gave us views of Lake Superior. Lots of members challenged themselves to climb King Mountain. Others explored the snowshoe trails.

Four of our members – Heather, Paul, Ian, and Jean-Emile – took on the 6 Hut Challenge on Sunday. That’s all 6 huts in one day. And what a day it was. In the end, this foursome skied 40km and climbed about 1000m! You don’t get that kind of climbing in Southern Ontario. They’re waiting for their t-shirts to be mailed.

The last hut!!! Then the death march home commenced.
The Sugar Shack at Hiawatha!

The final day took us just outside Sault Ste. Marie to Hiawatha Highlands, the local nordic ski club. A smaller trail network and not nearly as challenging (thank goodness!), but also beautiful. The sun came out and everyone wished we had time to stay the whole day.

All in all, this trip was a massive success and we’ll add it to our roster of long weekend destinations! Special thanks to trip leader Monica, who always does a fantastic job.

Norm’s Cabin offers tea and cookies to weary skiers! Our members got a little comfortable…

Race season is finally underway!

Race Director Heather and her racers at Horseshoe.

We were a little delayed in getting our race season launched this year, but Race Director Heather has scheduled five fun races for February and March.

Our “races” (if one can call them that!) are simply fun group activities. We have fun cheering each other on, there’s usually some kind of fun twist, and lots of bonus points handed out for random reasons. We do prizes by draw (not by finishing time) and if you come to one race, you get an invite to our year end party in the spring. We’ve been told that Linda’s cheering squad has new loud toys!

Trevor takes off from the start line!

You certainly don’t have to be fast, but you should have enough ski skills to ski a few kilometers comfortably.

Here’s the new schedule:

Feb. 8 – Frisbee Biathlon Relay Kick Off! This race is always a chaotic mess of fun.

Feb. 23 – The It’s Impossible to Get Lost on the Northwest Passage (but someone will still manage to) Freestyle at Scenic Caves.

Feb. 29 – Race Weekend! Choose Your Own Adventure Freestyle Bonus Points Extravaganza at Horseshoe. Choose Patrollers or Geunther’s…or both!

Mar. 1 – Race Weekend! Pine Trail Classic at Wasaga. A fun swing through the forest on classic skis only.

Mar. 15 – Please Let There Still Be Snow Spring Fling Freestyle Costume Race at Hardwood. We’ll wear costumes and have a fun skills challenge integrated into the course. Brush up those ski skills!

No point in participating unless you give it your all!

New resort – Kawartha Nordic

We’re back!

HPSC used to visit Kawartha Nordic years ago, be we probably haven’t been in over 10 years. That changes this year!

We’re got two trips on the schedule, and our first one is Jan. 26. Forecast looks promising!

Kawartha is a lovely ski area. The terrain is rolling hills, so it’s a great place for beginners. There’s combo trails for both skate and classic and some nice narrower classic only trails. The trails are all two-way, which is different than most of the resorts we visit.

They have a big chalet with places to store bags and there are warming cabins with wood stoves through the trail network – perfect for grabbing a snack. Just be careful of the chickadees!

Check out the photos below to see what to expect!