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!

Sincerely,

Heather Steel

Director, Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Skiing in the time of COVID-19

As we are all adjusting to new rules and realities, the downhill day trips team is monitoring the ongoing public health situation. As our 2020/2021 season is still months away, much of our planning does take place in the summer and fall months. Currently, larger resorts such as Blue Mountain are only beginning to slowly open their summer operations and do not have any updates for the winter season. We are hopeful that our winter will include skiing and snowboarding, however, it may look a little different. We can expect fewer people on chair lifts and few people in the lodges. As new guidelines and policies emerge, the downhill daytrips committee will keep HPSC members in the loop and updated on decisions or revisions to club policies. Suggestions and feedback are always welcome, and we look forward to seeing you on the hills soon!

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 crosscountry@hpsc.ca.

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.

Sincerely,

Heather Steel, Director, Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

What a fantastic season . . . if a bit shorter than we had planned!

While our 70th season ended a little more abruptly than anticipated . . .  it was memorable all the same! 

Despite weather that was a little unpredictable, HPSC Alpine Daytrips successfully ran 39 trips of which half (18) were sold out.  (Moral is to sign up early and sign up often!)  The season started off with a successful and sold out Kick Off and Test Drive trip on December 7 that resulted in a number of new members.

In February at the height of the season we had for the first time in years a fully sold out weekend starting with the equivalent of three full buses (2 full buses and 50 registered drive-ups) for the rescheduled Double Double day, as well as  sold out trips to Blue Mountain on the Sunday and Monday. 

On Saturday of Family Day weekend, we ran what is becoming an annual daytrip to Holiday Valley – a rare trip that both sold out early and had a 100% attendance rate – that is there were zero no-shows.  And at the end of February was our second successful Test Drive day!

In January and February out of the seven MSLM Saturday trips we ran, five were expended to two buses due to filling up the first bus early.  Another success was the major uptick of those registering for our Sunday trips to Blue Mountain – so a shout out to the Sunday@Blue Crew!   

And finally a big thank you to all of the volunteers who arrange and co-ordinate and run the day trips, and those on the back end who reconcile the trips and process the refunds.  Without all of you the trips would not be able to run! 

If you have any suggestions for daytrips please do not hesitate to send an email to daytrips@hpsc.ca.

Please stay safe over the summer and look forward to seeing you on the slopes next December!   

It has been a great season so far . . . But it isn’t over yet!! Still 3 weeks left in our 70th downhill season!

It has been a great season so far . . . but it isn’t over yet!! 

However, day trips will only run if members sign up.  While buses in January and February were guaranteed to run, in March we need to ensure that trips are economically feasible.  They will be cancelled if there are not enough members registered.  And remember that if the bus doesn’t run, we do not provide lessons for drive up registrants. 

Some highlights in March: 

  • Our only trip to Beaver Valley Ski Club – home of Avalanche, Ontario’s steepest groomed run, on Wednesday March 18th
  • Our one and only ‘Sleep in Saturday’ on March 21st to Caledon Ski Club.  Pick up times are 45 minutes later than the usual Saturday times so you can sleep in.  We will be departing from 400/7 at 8:45. If you usually ski on the weekend, and don’t get a chance to go to the private clubs, this is your opportunity!  
  • There will also be a Skiis and Biikes demo tent at Caledon that day (please see the separate article).
  • Due to the popularity of this year’s Sundays at Blue trips, the board has approved adding in two more Sunday trips (March 15th and 29th) that were not on the original schedule. Way to go to the Sunday@Blue Crew for coming out regularly and making this possible.
  • Due to popular demand, the Davenport and Yonge pickup location has been added to all weekend daytrips in March.   

Come enjoy some spring skiing and before saying goodbye to our 70th HPSC season!

Ski Demo Day at Caledon Ski Club during our one and only Sleep-in Saturday daytrip!

Our partner, Skiis & Biikes, will be hosting a Demo Day for HPSC members during our scheduled sleep-in Saturday daytrip to Caledon Ski Club on March 21st.  They will have a tent outside the Pro Shop, at the West Lodge, with 12-16 pairs of demo skis for guests to try.

This trip to Caledon is our one and only Sleep-In Saturday trip of the season. And is a great opportunity for those of you who usually only ski on the weekend to experience one of the private clubs in Ontario.

All pickup times will be 45 minutes later than usual with the first at 7:45 am at Bloor and Indian Rd., followed by Davenport and Yonge (8:05); Yonge and Eglinton (8:15); Yonge and York Mills (8:25), and finally 400/7 (8:45). If there are two buses we will adjust the times, but will still be leaving 400/7 at 8:45.

Why demo?

Buying new skis can be a major acquisition. All skis are different in their proportion, construction, and other features. It is always advisable to try before you buy. Even if you are not looking to buy new skis, demoing skis can tell you something about your individual style of skiing. Different skis behave differently.  If you have read a rave review of a certain ski does not mean that they would be right for you.

A few considerations on how to make the best out of a ski demo:

  • Think of what do you want in a ski. Do you want something that is good on hardpack snow or powder? Something stable or a bit more playful?
  • Talk to the Skiis & Biikes reps and find out as much as you can about the skis they have to offer. They might suggest one you haven’t thought about.
  • Know your boot sole length in millimeters, and your DIN settings.
  • Use the same terrain to test each ski. It is a good way to compare them. Some skiers prefer starting on an easier slope, and then turning up the volume on a steep run.
  • Pay attention to how the skis feel at short and long turns, tern initiation, grip, edging.
  • Don’t hesitate to try the same model in a variety of lengths. You may hate the ski in one length, and then be wowed by the next size up of the same.
  • Be mindful of the time limit that the ski shop allows you to demo a pair.
  • Don’t demo new skis during the time of your lesson. There will be plenty of time after it – our bus departs at 4:30 pm.
  • You may want to take picture of the model and length of the skis you have just tested, and to take notes if you wish!

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.