The Winter of Our Discontent – Special announcement regarding the 2020/21 daytrip season

Colbourne Lodge-Boxing Day 2020

Moving into 2021, on a positive note, there appears to be a light at the end of this pandemic with the planned schedule of having all Canadians vaccinated by September. (Let’s all hope!) However, as the saying goes, it is always darkest just before dawn. And over the last few weeks we have been facing the darkest times of this pandemic so far.

Truly this has been the winter of our discontent. While we had hoped, at some point, to be able to organize daytrips this season, we did not want to drag out the decision and raise false hope that we would be able to operate this season when realistically we will not.

Given the current province wide lockdown, and the expectation that even if we move into the Red zone by mid-February for a month, followed hopefully into Orange, we would not be able to run any daytrips until mid-March at the earliest (if at all), your Board of Directors has made the difficult decision that we will be unable to run any daytrips this season. Therefore, both the Downhill and Cross-Country and Snowshoeing daytrip seasons have been cancelled.

The pandemic has also impacted our planned long trips. All of the u-drive trips to Quebec resorts have been cancelled, while the remaining charter trips to Alberta and BC are constantly under review based on the latest restrictions. The Club Med trip to St. Moritz was also recently cancelled.

Due to these changes to our plans, we have also made a decision on deferring membership to next season. Please see the next post for more on membership deferral.

I would sincerely and personally like to thank and acknowledge all of the hard work done by our Directors and their volunteers in trying to plan for a season that unfortunately we will not be able to enjoy. The club cannot operate without the numerous hours and extensive efforts by our volunteers. This pandemic season has been especially hard, tripling or quadrupling planning time for no reward. It is the volunteers who make HPSC the fantastic club that it is, so a big THANK YOU to all of you.

While we can’t organize any HPSC trips or events, we still encourage members to get outside and to enjoy local parks, ravines, and trails. It has been great to see the social media posts of members who have been making the best of the current situation and continuing to get outside and enjoying the winter through skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, and skating in our local parks. (I took the above photo of Colborne Lodge on Boxing Day as I circumnavigated High Park on my snowshoes).Although this has been a tough year so far, we will come through this and thrive as a community.

As the current saying goes “Stay Positive, Test Negative!”

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club

December Downhill Day Trips Cancelled

Given the recent announcement regarding Toronto’s lockdown, we will be cancelling both downhill day trips scheduled in December. This was not the way we wanted to start our season, but in addition to Mother Nature not cooperating, this is the course we have to take. We are hopeful trips scheduled in January will go ahead. Stay tuned and stay home!

The Downhill Day Trip Schedule Is Here!

We have worked all summer to ensure that our members will have the best of Ontario skiing and snowboarding available. We continue our strong partnerships with our local hills, and have heard time and time again how happy hills are to have us return. 

At this time, we are unsure if we will be running buses. While we hope we can provide bus transportation, in the event that we cannot due to health regulations, all trips will be available in a drive-up format. 

For both bus and drive-up members, you will be required to register for your day trip through hpsc.ca
Members will be required to register for a lift ticket and lesson if they choose to take a lesson. Walk-up lift ticket purchases at the hills will not be available this year. HPSC will have a limited number of guaranteed lift tickets for registered day trip members. For this reason, we suggest registering early for a trip you are interested in. 

For all downhill day trips, members will be required to follow HPSC and resort COVID-19 policies. Failure to follow these policies will result in disciplinary actions. 

We look forward to sharing the best of winter with all of our members this season!

To view the 2020/2021 schedule, click here

Update on Downhill Day Trips

The weather is hot and summer is in full swing, but the downhill day trips committee has been planning for snow and winter! Thinking ahead to next season, Erika and David (Director of Snowschool) met virtually with all of our downhill resorts. Hills are fully committed to being open and offering skiing and snowboarding, and are excited to welcome back HPSC skiers and snowboarders. As expected, hills will have COVID policies in place for next season. Masks will be mandatory inside, social distancing protocols will be in place and capacity will be limited. As HPSC reserves our dates well before the winter, we will have reserved lift tickets to all hills. This will include our bus and drive-up members. We are also planning for protocols on the bus, organization to drive-up registrations, and lessons. We will be releasing more details in the fall and closer to the winter, but for now, rest assured that we are doing everything we can to ensure we can get on the hills and enjoy our ski days as much as any other year.

– Erika Clark, Director of Downhill Day Trips

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!

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!

Downhill Bus Etiquette 101

So you finally got on a trip – yes our trips this season have been selling out regularly – FANTASTIC!  Now there are a few things we would like you to know about HPSC downhill bus etiquette to ensure that all members have a fantastic time as well. 

  1. Be at the pick-up location about 10 minutes prior to the listed departure time.  Load your gear and get on the bus as quickly as possible.  Every minute we are behind schedule is a minute we are not at the hill. 
  2. Bin 4 under the bus is for Instructors equipment.  All other members can place their equipment in any of the other bins
  3. When getting on the bus please take off your backback and carry it in front of you.  You don’t want to hit another member in the head with your bag or even worse your ski boots. 
  4. No boots in the overhead bin.  This is to make sure that when a bin is opened a boot doesn’t come crashing down and hitting a member.  You can tuck your boots under your seat. 
  5. At 400/7 all members need to be seated and bins closed before the driver can leave.  So please find a seat and stow your bags. You can get up and socialize with your friends later. 
  6. Introduce your self to your seat mate.  But remember that some members just want to sleep on the trip up.  Please respect that. 
  7. Like on an airplane, unless you have to, do not throw back your seat as far as it goes, especially if there is someone sitting behind you.  Be considerate of other members comfort as well. 
  8. If there are any issues on the bus (heating etc.) please talk to the HPSC Bus Captain.  They are the only one who should be communicating with the driver. 
  9. When we get to the resort please listen to the Bus Captain who will announce where you will be able to pick up your lift ticket.  In most cases it will be in or around the bus.  It is your responsibility to pick up your lift ticket from YOUR Bus Captain.  They will not track you down. 
  10. At the resort please let the Instructors off the bus first. They need to get ready and meet to finalize assignments for the day.
  11. In general, it is accepted that the seat you have going to the resort is the seat you have on the return trip.  If there are empty seats you can move around. However, remember that if you are in someone else’s seat, they will need to move to someone else’s seat, and so on and so on . . .
  12. Departure time is the time the bus leaves the resort, not the time to show up at the bus.  Please be in your seat with everything stored 5 minutes prior to the departure time. This allows the Bus Captain time do a final count and tell the driver if they can go or not. 
  13. On the trip home there are some accepted zones on the bus.  In general, the back is more talkative (but not on all trips) and playing music is not unheard of.  A conga line has sometimes broken out as well.  The front of the bus is usually quieter.
  14. We are an inclusive club – remember that not all members have the same sense of humor or taste in music as you and your friends.  Please be considerate. 
  15. Ask not what your ski club can do for you . . . Remember the Bus Captain is a fellow HPSC member and a volunteer.  If you think you can do a better job please volunteer – we are always looking for help.   

Find out why Holiday Valley is different . . .

If you have only skied locally in Ontario at Blue Mountain or Mount St. Louis, going to Holiday Valley in Western New York for the day is a much different experience.

It is not just that you ski on actual hills (vs. the Niagara Escarpment) where you can go down multiple sides into different runs and areas. Conquer ‘The Wall’, enjoy Happy Glades, cruise down Morning Star, or take in the tranquility of Mistletoe (see above photo).

But it is also the aroma’s that make Holiday Valley special – The hint of fresh waffles from The Waffle House at the foot of Cindy’s Chair. Or the smell of the meat smoker at the top of Mardi Gras or of roasting hot dogs outside the Mountain Top Warming Hut. Or the pine forest off the Tannenbaum Express.

Come experience Holiday Valley on our one-day trip during Family Day weekend on February 15th. We will have guided skiing (Step 4 and above) and boarding (intermediate and advanced). This is the only day trip for that weekend.

All the regular pick up locations (except 400/7) will be used. The last pick up is at QEW/Winston Churchill at ~7:30am.

From 5-7pm we are having a special pizza après (or you can continue skiing). The bus will leave at 7pm SHARP.

As with all cross-border trips you must have a valid passport. 

Spots are filling quickly!  Don’t miss out.