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

President’s Report – Moving Ahead!

“Towards the Future”, High Park, August 2020 Photo by JK Graham

Dear HPSC Friends

This past weekend I was lucky enough to sit in the sunshine at a Blue Jays game, and I am really looking forward to later this month when my beloved Argos again play at BMO Field.  The point I am trying to make is that the province is slowing starting to re-open (figures crossed).  And the more people who are fully vaccinated the quicker the province will be able to move forward. 

With reopening and returning to a more ‘normal’ environment, the work of your HPSC Directors and volunteers continues on to plan for the upcoming season.

The Long Trips Committee is hard at work finalizing the details for our schedule of long and charter trips. Details of the trips should be posted by early September.  By the way, we are also looking for a new east end long trips pick up location since the one at U of T Scarborough will not be available to us.  If you have any suggestions, please contact Director of Long Trips, Bill Bates, at longtrips@hpsc.ca .

Both the Cross-Country and Downhill teams are busy working with their resort partners in planning for the upcoming year.  And we are very hopeful we will be able to host some in-person information events and different social events throughout the season.  And the return of our traditional year-end Last Tracks dinner-dance in April 2022 to celebrate our 70th+2 Anniversary. 

As well, with a more normal season, we also anticipate once again returning to providing you with a regular schedule of SnoBiz starting with this edition.  Please read through the articles in this edition and click on the links to the longer articles in the club Blog.

Cheers!

Justin Graham, President, HPSC

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

Most Memorable HPSC Experience – “It happened in Sun Valley not so very long ago . . .”

Vintage poster of Sun Valley – Roundhouse

I have always loved the history of skiing.  And Sun Valley has more history than most in North America.

It was the first destination ski resort built in the US (established 1936), long before Vail or Aspen were even thought of.  It had the first chair lift in the world and was the playground of Hollywood stars and celebrities from the Golden Age.   Gary Cooper and Ernest Hemingway used to eat (and carouse) at the Trail Creek Cabin. In fact, Ernest Hemingway wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls in Suite 206 of the Sun Valley Lodge hotel. And his grave is located in the area. The hallways of the Sun Valley Lodge are lined with photos of the celebrities who have stayed or performed there (they also host skating shows in the summer).

Poster for the 1941 film Sun Valley Serenade on the wall of the restaurant where we had a group dinner.

And it is the setting for two of my favourite movies “Sun Valley Serenade” from 1941 staring among others The Glenn Miller Orchestra (and is shown 24/7 on one of the TV channels at the resort and is shown daily in the Village Opera House), and “Ski Party” (1965) – the last of the “Beach Party” series of movies, with special 1960s musical guests including James Brown and the Flames (dressed up in a ski sweaters and those old stretch ski pants.) 

View towards Bald Mountain past the Sun Valley Lodge hotel where we stayed.

During the season of my 50th birthday, Sun Valley was included as one of the HPSC trips.  It was a little more than I would normally spend, but it was well worth it. 

Sun Valley, Idaho is not easy to get to, so therefore is not part of our tour operator’s standard roster of trips.  This excursion was put together specifically for HPSC.  We arrived late on a Sunday night after a very long travel day (Toronto-Denver; Denver-Boise; and then a 3 hour bus ride).  The first thing we noticed is that the Sun Valley Lodge doesn’t just have a doorman, it has both an outdoor door man, and also an indoor doorman.  And they had staff to take all of our skis to the ski room. 

Lodge at the top of the Seattle Ridge area of Bald Mountain is just an example of the day lodges at Sun Valley.

The hotel is not just the only luxury feature.  Arriving at Bald Mountain on the free and frequent local buses (the hotel and resort complex is across the town of Ketchum from the main hill, Bald Mountain) you encounter one of the most luxurious base lodges you will likely encounter.  (Sun Basin in Utah, owned by the same company, has a similar vibe).  All carpeted, comfy chairs, stone topped tables, two-story stone fireplace.  Free cubbies with doors on them.  You can also leave your ski boots at the day lodge over night or have them dried out over night at the pro shop.  Skis/boards can also be stored overnight at the hill.  And the food!!!  I have never seen a salad bar like it!

Just below The Roundhouse at mid-station looking towards the towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley

If you have ever skied at westen resorts and suffered from altitude sickness, not to worry about Sun Valley.  Bald Mountain tops out at just 9,100 feet (so no altitude sickness), but one of the great things is that the slope is a consistent pitch from top to bottom. 

Ready to hit the Warm Springs Run
Averall’s Bar on lower level of The Roundhouse for fondue

While the skiing is fantastic and varied, it is the extra experiences that made this trip so memorable.  It was the horse drawn sleigh ride at twilight to the Trail Creek Cabin for dinner.  It was having lunch at the famous mid station restaurant “The Round House” and having fondue in Averall’s Bar (named after the founder of Sun Valley and President of the Union Pacific Railroad, Averall Harriman) located on the lower level of The Round House and looking out towards the town of Ketchum.  It was listening to live jazz in Duchins Lounge in the hotel.  It was seeing “Sun Valley Serenade” on the large screen at the Opera House in the village, and meeting some of the locals.  It was sitting in the huge outdoor heated pool – more like a hot tub 55 feet in diameter. 

Hot pool at Sun Valley Lodge with Bald Mountain in the background.

While there are many celebrities who live in the area, the town is very unpretentious.  And you will never know who you will meet.  While we were there, Tony Robbins was holding one of his higher end events. On the bus back to the hotel one afternoon, while a couple of us were talking about meeting some of the people who were part of Tony Robbins event, a blond women about my age, who piped up and said that they were also part of the event.  She mentioned that Tony Robbins events had helped her daughter recover from an injury and get back to dancing with the New York City Ballet.  She mentioned that as a former Olympian it had been helpful as well.  We asked “What sport?”

“Figure skating” “Pairs?” “No singles” she replied just as we were stepping off the bus. Later that night, one of our group reported that when walking along the hallway in the hotel, she noticed a photo of our Olympian.  Looking her up it turned out to be Rosalyn Sumners, the US Silver medalist at the 1984 Winter Olympics – who narrowly lost to Katarina Witt.

Looking across the village green towards the other hotel – The Sun Valley Inn

At Sun Valley you never know who you are going to meet.  It is not about your fashions, or what bar you are drinking at, it is really about the skiing and an authentic (while admittedly comfortable) experience.   While there might be a bar to drink champagne at, most places are much more low key. 

Every year, I always check off Sun Valley on our Long Trips survey.  But it is not just me – Sun Valley was voted as the Number 1 Western Ski Resort by the readers of Ski Magazine for the 2021 season, moving ahead of Aspen Snowmass. And in my view well deserved.

SkiFit starting on September 12th in High Park

SkiFit is on for this season!  Starting as usual on the first Saturday after Labour Day, September 12th at 9am.

However, due to the ongoing pandemic we have had to make a few slight adjustments.  For this season, we are requiring that members register online to participate in the weekly SkiFit session.  It is still free but just need you to register.  The sessions will be listed under the Social tab on the website. 

Weekly registration will open on the Tuesday prior to the session and will stay open until the start of that week’s SkiFit on the Saturday morning.    

To ensure we are able to organize and maintain the required physical distancing, we are restricting the number of weekly participants to just 25. 

The Grenadier Café is not currently open on the weekends, so we will not be brunching after SkiFit this year.

Justin Graham

President, High Park Ski Club

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!

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!

New Date for Double Double – February 8 2020

Double Double is our annual tradition with lessons in the morning and in the afternoon

After the extreme weather conditions, and day trips cancellations last weekend with safety of our members being the top priority for the club, we are announcing a new date for our Annual Tradition: Double Double with lessons in the morning and in the afternoon. New date is Saturday February 8 at MSLM. Register early, we will have double double buses and drive up spots available based on your interest.

Downhill Snow School Continuous Training

Our Downhill and Snowboard Instructors traveled to Tremblant Dec 13-15 for their annual Outdoor training clinic. They spent 2 days training with the Level 4 Instructors from Tremblant to get ready and motivated for teaching this season. Conditions this year were variable with fog, rain and then ice, however great fun and learning was had by all. About 20 keen instructors drove to Tremblant ahead of time to get ready and a few other continued on to Mont-Ste-Anne after for more training! Can’t get enough on snow adventures!!

Your instructors are continuously updating their skills with ongoing training from our Level 4 Sandy Gartner throughout the season.