President’s Message – Deju Vu All Over Again!

January 5, 2022

Dear HPSC Members

To quote the famous New York Yankee Yogi Berra – “It’s deju vu all over again!” 

Last season we had to make the tough decision to cancel all daytrips and bus trips. This year, we were very optimistic that we would be able run a close to normal season – but then . . . . OMICRON!!!

The biggest difference this season, compared to last, is that the provincial government has not shut down Ontario downhill ski resorts.  This means that we can still provide lessons and run drive-up only trips beginning on January 15th (signup open this coming Saturday).  Cross-country trips are bus dependent and will only run when we start to run buses. 

To make this clear: We have NOT cancelled running buses for the rest of the season.  We will re-evaluate buses on a regular basis and will start bus trips as soon as we can. 

We understand that there has been a bit of information overload regarding the upcoming season – but we are attempting to keep members informed of changes as they happen.  As you can guess, this season has had a lot of changes requiring us to be very flexible.    

I want to wish all of you a very happy New Year!  And hope we can all soon get out on the hills and trails to enjoy the sports that we love!

Please stay safe.

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club

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. 

Announcement regarding Downhill Daytrips

The season is fast approaching, and we are finally able to announce how things will run. 

First off, we thank you all for your patience.  It has been a very challenging year for planning.  All of the resorts have and will be short staffed this coming season (as are many service industries), so we ask that you understand and be patient with our resort partners.  They will be doing the best they can with fewer staff and much more work to do. 

PLEASE READ THROUGH CAREFULLY SINCE THIS INCLUDES A LOT OF IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Saturday trips to Mount St. Louis Moonstone (MSLM)

The good news is that the general procedure for our trips to MSLM will be fairly familiar, with a few alternations. 

First off, due to contact tracing requirements, we need to send MSLM our list of members on the bus 3 days prior to each trip.  We do not need to send the list of drive-up members (instructors excluded.) Therefore, the registration deadline will be changed to TUESDAYS by 6 pm instead of our traditional Thursdays. 

As in past years, drive-ups are responsible for purchasing their own ticket and will need to register for HPSC lessons online (cut off is Tuesday by 6pm.) 

Once we arrive, the Bus Captain will, as in the past, go in and pick-up the tickets and will distribute them at the bus.  This year the tickets are actually RIF readable paper cards.  The Bus Captain will also pick up wrist bands that identify you as being fully vaccinated.  This will allow our members to enter the grounds without having to show vaccination proof at the ‘gates’ that will be set up.  Since we have already verified your vaccination proof, MSLM has agreed to this protocol, so our members will not be required to show their proof.  However, we still recommend that you carry your vaccination proof with you.

The biggest change to our normal procedure is that you will not be able to get dressed, put on your boots etc. within the lodge. The lower level will only available be as a warm-up area during the day.  Therefore, members will need to get prepared on the bus (or at their car if driving up.)  To ensure enough room on the bus to do this safely, we are reducing the number of available bus spots to 35 to start with.  (We will be constantly reviewing processes during the season so we might be able to increase that number if we can do so safely). 

Despite reduced bus capacity the bus fee will remain at $30. 

Once members are on hill, you will scan the lift card at the RIF gate at each lift which will “activate” your ticket. You are then free to ski/snowboard/join lessons.

The cafeteria will be open to purchase lunch during the lunch period (11:30am-2:30pm) but will be limited to just 45 minutes.  No bagged lunches will be allowed into the cafeteria or the lower-level warm-up areas; therefore, the bus will be available during the lunch period (12pm to 2pm) for members to eat their bagged lunch.

After 2:30pm the upstairs bar will be open for après without a time limit.  Currently there is no capacity limit but that may change based on public health guidelines.  When you are finished for the day, you can just stay at the bar in your gear or go to the bus and get changed and stay at the bus or change and head back to the lodge for Après.  We ask that if you stay in your gear, that you give your self enough time to get back to the bus in time for departure.  In all cases, we request that members be on the bus 10 minutes prior to departure time so that we can leave on time.  Departure time is not when you need to get to the bus it is when we need to leave. 

Sunday trips to Blue Mountain South

Much like MSLM, the Blue Mountain South lodge will not be open to get changed during the weekend.  Therefore, you will need to get changed on the bus and make your way over to the lifts.  And as with the Saturday trips we are restricting the number of bus seats to 35 to begin with.

Again despite reduced bus capacity the bus fee will remain at $30. 

The Bullwheel pub on the upper level will be open from 11am to 7pm for lunch and après.  However, as at MSLM you cannot bring bagged lunches into the Bullwheel.  If you pack a lunch you will need to eat it on the bus which will be open from 12pm to 2pm. 

To access the Bullwheel you will need to provide your vaccination proof and government ID. 

For those who question why we don’t just go to the Inn lodge instead on Sundays, that lodge will be packed with the Snowhawks and other youth groups on Sundays. 

Just as on Saturdays, when you are finished for the day you can head to the Bullwheel to après in your gear, or head to the bus to get changed, and if you want head back to the Bullwheel.  Again, we ask that you allow enough time to get back and be on the bus 10 minutes prior to departure time.  Departure time is not when you need to get to the bus it is when we need to leave. 

Mondays to Blue Mountain Inn

On Mondays, we will be heading to the Inn as usual.  Members will be allowed to get changed in the Lodge.  However, you will need to go downstairs to get changed and prepare.  As well, you will also need to use the lockers available. Any bags lefts upstairs will be removed. 

Since you will not be required to get prepared on the bus, we will be running full buses on Mondays. 

Midweek trips to the private clubs

Midweek trips will run pretty much as they have in the past.  We will be able to change in the lodge and we will have designated rooms in most of the resorts.   

Just a couple of things regarding the buses:

  • Members must wear a mask while on the bus.
  • Members must remain seated during the bus trip, except to go to the washroom. With the exception of the Bus Captain who will move around to check members in.
  • Members will keep socializing to a minimum, and restricted to those seated beside them
  • When using the washrooms members must wear a mask and use hand sanitizer before and after using the washroom.
  • Members will limit food and drink intake to necessities – quick drinks of water and quick consumption of snacks while the bus is travelling.
  • There will be no passing of food around the bus.

To read the full COVID Protocol document please click here.

As always, members will receive a trip status email a few days before the trip.

PLEASE read these emails carefully as they will include bus pick up times and locations, lesson start times and locations and other relevant information. These may change week over week, so members need to review every email they receive. 

We want to reinforce that our resort partners are under extreme stress and pressure due to new (and changing) regulations, as well as severe staff shortages. We ask that you remain patient with line-ups, staff, or any hiccups that occur along the way.  We also ask that you remember that all of these processes are also new to our Bus Captains, who are fellow members, and who have volunteered their time to make sure that you are able to get to the hill and enjoy your day.  Please be kind.  

Erika Clark

Director of Downhill Daytrips

Wednesdays to private hills are back!

We are returning to Alpine, Osler, Craigleith, Devil’s Glen and Mansfield this year. Bus and drive-up options will be available to members.

Wednesdays to Alpine, Osler, Craigleith and Devil’s Glen will include lessons for members in ski steps 4-9. Friday to Mansfield will be a beginner/back to basics trip with ski steps 1-6 offered. Snowboarders are welcome on all Wednesday downhill day trips but lessons are not available.

All bus members must be registered online for the bus and lift ticket options.

Anyone driving up and taking a lesson with HPSC must register online before the trip.Online trip registration will open approximately 2 weeks before the trip. Once the bus or drive-up spots or sold out, there will be no additional spots added.

We will have full outdoor and indoor access to get ready, store baggage, eat lunch and relax at the end of the day. All private hills have mandated anyone on property (inside or outside) must be fully vaccinated.

Lift tickets per trip are ranging between $50-$70 depending on the hill. Bus prices will remain at $30 for members. We are unfortunately not returning to Georgian Peaks this year as they are not open on Wednesdays.

An update on Mount St.Louis Moonstone and Blue Mountain will be posted in the next weeks, as we’re finalizing a few details about their operations.

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

Downhill Day Trips Schedule is Now Available!

The 2021/2022 downhill day trips schedule is now posted! Head over to https://www.hpsc.ca/Downhill-Day-Trips-Schedule to view the schedule.

We have a full season of skiing and snowboarding planned for our members to get back on the hill in a fun and safe way. We are still working through some details on bus pick-up/drop-off locations and times, lift ticket costs and other details. Remember to submit your vaccination proof well before January, as non-vaccinated members will not be permitted on downhill day trips (bus or drive-up). Stay tuned for full season details! 

Looking for a volunteer!

Downhill day trips is looking for a volunteer coordinator for Monday day trips. This role includes closing the registration page on Thursday evenings at 6pm, downloading appropriate registration lists from the website and emailing Blue Mountain and Pacific Western Transportation (our bus company). This position requires the coordinator to be available Thursday evenings for about 30 minutes to complete necessary work. 
Helpful skills include familiarity with basic Microsoft Excel and computer skills. The volunteer will receive training and assistance at the beginning of the season. 
If you are interested, please email Erika, Director of Downhill Daytrips at daytrips.director@hpsc.ca

So you are vaccinated . . . now what?

As announced earlier in the summer, the HPSC Board made the decision that to protect the health of other club members and volunteers, in order to participate in most in-person club events this season you will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID.  

The first step will be to attest to your vaccination status on your member profile page, at the same time you acknowledge the Code of Conduct, Waiver, and Rowan’s law declaration after September 1st when membership renewal occurs.  Any falsification of vaccination status will be considered as a breach of the HPSC Code of Conduct and will be subject to disciplinary review

However, without confirmation of vaccination status the Long Trips Committee will not be able to arrange roommates or run close to full buses, that allow us to control the costs of trips. Or allow other portfolios to ensure only those fully vaccinated are participating in events. 

Therefore, as a second step at some point during the fall, we are asking that members provide our membership team with proof of your vaccination status (i.e. 2nd shot vaccination certificate or federal vaccination passport announced last week) by emailing it to vac@hpsc.ca.  Only those on the membership team will have access to these emails and once they confirm your status by reviewing your document, all of your documents and emails will be deletedThe club will not be storing your private vaccination record.

PLEASE HOLD OFF SENDING YOUR DOCUMENTATION UNTIL AFTER SEPTEMBER 1 WHEN RENEWALS OPEN. 

For those concerned about privacy, on the vaccination certificate, we only need to see the following information: Name; Date of 2nd vaccination; Agent (COVID-19); Dose – 2 of 2.  All of the rest of the information can be blacked out. 

If you feel uncomfortable in emailing your documentation, we will also be arranging for numerous in-person events (i.e. after each week’s SkiFit; other nights during the week at locations around the city) when you can show the membership team your proof, and they will note your status.  If you cannot meet in person and are concerned about emailing your documents, we can arrange for a personal Zoom call where you can show your document.  We will NOT be recording or taking screen shots.

Please note that to register for charter or long trips at our signup nights in September and October you will need to have at least attested on your member profile that you are fully vaccinated. As with all members you will also need to provide your vaccination document at some point prior during the fall. If you are not fully vaccinated by trip signup night, you will not be able to register for trips until you are (if spots are still available).  If you have not had your second shot yet and want to sign up for charter or long trips, please arrange for your second shot so as soon as possible. At that point you can update your member profile page and send in/arrange to show us your vaccination proof document.

As mentioned earlier, you do not have to send in your vaccination proof right away.  If you feel more comfortable doing so when the Federal vaccination passport becomes available that is fine.  We just need to review your document prior to your first in-person event (please allow at least 5 days for our team to review and confirm your status – we are all volunteers so it might take time to get to).  If you are signing up for a long or charter trip it should be before full payment.

For charter trips, you will likely be required to provide the newly announced federal vaccination passport to our tour company partners. As well, last week the Federal government also announced that proof of vaccination will be required for travel, including domestically, by plane, train, etc. And it makes sense to assume that long distance bus trips should also be included. 

If you CANNOT be vaccinated due to a medical condition, and can provide a doctors note to our membership team simply stating this (without any medical diagnosis information) you will be able to have limited participation in club events this year, (i.e. drive up for a day trip and participate in lessons).  However, as announced earlier you will not be able to register for any long or charter trips, or to go on the bus for daytrips.

We acknowledge that members have the free choice to not be vaccinated; however, we as the directors of the club have the duty to protect the health and safety of our club members and volunteers to the best of our ability.  Until the pandemic is declared over in Canada, the best option for protection and moving to a more ‘normal’ environment is vaccination.  If you are dissatisfied with this policy, we are truly sorry.  We can, upon request, if you choose, to defer your membership for another year or refund your membership fee (however, your club seniority would be maintained), and we will welcome you back once pandemic measure are lifted.     

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club

Update on the 2021/2022 downhill day trips season

We are excited to announce that we are planning a full downhill day trips season. Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday trips will return to your favourite Ontario hills including Blue Mountain, Mount St.Louis Moonstone and private clubs which we have held close partnerships with for many years, with some new additions.

We are also hoping with continued vaccination rates increasing and relaxing of restriction, buses will run for every day trip.

We have decided not to run our day trip to Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, New York for this season as we are focusing our trips on more local destinations to help the Ontario ski industry regain momentum after a challenging 2020/2021 season.

In anticipation for this season, the downhill day trips team is encouraging all members to get vaccinated. Only fully vaccinated members will be permitted to participate in enclosed/indoor spaces such as taking the bus, eating with other HPSC members indoors, etc. A detailed policy will be released closer to the season once updated provincial guidelines and specific ski hill policies are announced.

A schedule will be released in the fall including details on lessons for skiers and snowboarders. Until then, the best way to prepare for this season is to get vaccinated and stay active! We’ll be back on the hill together soon.