President’s Report – Optimistic news regarding the upcoming season!!

October 27th, 2021

Dear HPSC Friends!

Since the last SnoBiz there have been some major positive public announcements that impact our upcoming season!!

The American government has finally announced the re-opening of the land board for non-essential travel as of November 8th for those fully vaccinated (including mixed vaccinations).  This means we will be able to run our bus trips to Holiday Valley (NY), Killington (VT), and Jay Peak (VT)!!! And on a personal note, I will finally be able to visit my best friend Tricia and her family in Pittsburgh for American Thanksgiving next month! 

Long trip sign up is this coming Thursday October 28th at 8pm sharp and I am hoping to get on the Holiday Valley trip! (I have already used my one Front of the Line privilege as President for the St. Mortiz trip in March).   There are a lot of great trips to consider. 

The vaccination passport system is now in place with the Ontario QR code document now available for download; please do so ASAP.

The Ontario government has announced plans for further opening up, with the aim to have all COVID restrictions lifted by the end of March 2022.  This week, capacity limits are being lifted for restaurants and bars, which means that we can finally start planning for some indoor social events hopefully in November and December.  Please stay tuned!

With this announcement, our local resorts have a much better sense of how they will need to operate this season.  This means that we will also be able to provide you with a better sense of how we will be running daytrips shortly. 

Given these announcements and the high level of vaccination rates in Ontario, finally, there appears to be a light at the end of this extremely long tunnel. I am very optimistic that this will be a great season for HPSC!!   

Cheers!

Justin Graham, President

Long Trip Sign-up Night on October 28th

After the success of our charter trip signup nights (there are still a limited number of spots available), our long trips sign up is this Thursday, October 28 at 8pm sharp. 

Only those fully vaccinated are qualified to register for any trip.  If you register and cannot provide your vaccination proof to our Membership team by November 6th, you will be removed from the trip and will lose your $100 non-refundable deposit.

If you still need to renew your membership, or send in your vaccination proof, and want to sign up for one of the long trips, please do so by Tuesday October 26th.  This allows the time for our membership team to process your materials prior to the trip signup on Thursday night.

PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING CHANGE:  The first weekend trip in December to Tremblant, that is the instructor training weekend, has been changed from a bus trip to a U-Drive trip, with a corresponding decrease in cost.  Regular members are still welcome to register, however, please note you will need to arrange your own transportation to the resort.  Also note that there will be no reception on this trip as originally planned. 

We have arranged eight bus trips for the upcoming season, including three mid-week trips, and a specific weekend cross-country/snowshoe trip (and a cross-country option for the mid-week Tremblant trip).  Three of the trips are cross-border, including the return of our very popular weekend trip to Holiday Valley, just outside of Buffalo. 

Members have been asking questions about what the rules will be on the bus.  At this point, since all members on the trip will be verified as fully vaccinated, we plan on running the buses at almost full capacity. Similar to when flying, members will be required to wear masks while on the bus and remain in their seat as much as possible. Eating and drinking should be limited, and food should not be passed around. For this year, there will be no ‘party’ table seats at the back    

We understand that this is much different than our normal bus trips, but please recall that last season we were not even entertaining running long bus trips at all.  Our greatest hope is that by this time next year we will again be back to worrying about trips selling out too quickly!

What we currently know about the rules for cross-border and international trips

As of November 8th, we will be able to cross over the U.S. land border.  This is fantastic news for the club since we have planned three bus trips to U.S. resorts. 

What we know at this point is that crossing into the U.S. will require both your passport and your proof of full vaccination.  On October 15th the U.S. also announced that they will accept mixed vaccination of WHO approved vaccines. 

When flying (including domestically) you will require your QR code vaccination document (and a photo ID/Passport). 

However, currently, when returning to Canada, all travellers need to provide the results from an accepted COVID Test result taken within 72 hours of arrival at the Canadian border.  (Rapid tests are not accepted.) If your trip is less than 72 hours (i.e. our Holiday Valley weekend trip) you can get a test done at home prior to leaving and use it on your way back home. 

For longer trips, if the same rules still apply, you will need to have a test done while out of the country. Please remember that most of our international trips are not running for another 4 to 5 months, in late February or March 2022, so the requirements when returning to Canada may have changed by that point.    Just think back to the quarantine requirements that were in place five months ago last May.  

Club Med has indicated to us that they will be able to arrange these tests for our members (at a separate cost to members.) For our U.S. trips we have not been able to confirm exactly how the process will work.  With the border closed last season, the resorts did not have to deal with this issue, so this is something new for them, and therefore still in flux.

The Long Trips Committee and those who have stepped up to be Trip Leaders already have a lot of responsibilities and things to keep track of even in a normal year for trips. While the club tries to provide as much information as possible, ultimately, it is up to the individual to understand what the travel rules and requirements are for their personal situation. 

If there is anyone who would like to volunteer to help out the club by researching and tracking this topic it would be greatly appreciated.  Please contact longtrips@hpsc.ca.

2022 Front-of-the-Line (FOTL)

If you click on a charter or overnight trip, you will see that the “SPACES LEFT” field will show declining numbers in the days before registration has even opened. Members wonder how can this happen? Are people able to jump the queue? The reason is that some members were issued a FOTL pass. FOTL gets a jump on the rest of the membership to register before trips go on sale.  

In a normal year, very few FOTL passes are given out. Generally these are restricted to the Board of Directors and the Long Trips volunteers who planned those trips. But FOTL passes can only be used for one trip. To go on other trips, these dedicated volunteers must still compete for a seat on Trip Sign Up Night like the rest of us.

This season additional FOTL passes were issued to members whose trips were cancelled in March 2020 when the pandemic first hit us. Coronavirus cancelled France 2020 (34 members) and Taos 2020 (50 members). Many of these members received hotel and airline credits instead of an insurance refund payment. The FOTL pass ensures that they are able to get onto a 2022 trip and use their credits. It’s a small bit of good news for these members who lost out on their 2020 charter trip.

Bill Bates, Director

President’s Message – The Renewal of Autumn

SkiFit is even for the President – September 2019

Dear Friends

Things are finally restarting!!  After a very long winter, spring, and summer, we have finally reached the point where things for the club are starting up again. 

The charter and long trip lists are posted; SkiFit has begun; the first trip signup is next week (for the Serre Chevalier Club Med, France trip); and the Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Thursday September 30th (official notification will be sent shortly). 

As President, it has been fantastic to meet up in person with members of the HPSC community over the last couple of weeks at SkiFit (including a number of new members) and at our various in-person vaccination poof events. 

Just a reminder to members who had their membership deferred from last year, you do not have to pay for this season, BUT we still require all to log into their website account and acknowledge the club Code of Conduct, Waiver, and your vaccination status.  To do this click on your name in the upper right of the main page after logging in, and then click on EDIT PROFILE.  It is on this page that you can read and acknowledge the various documents. 

For members under 26 years of age we also require you to read and acknowledge the Concussion Code of Conduct, as required by the provincial government (Rowan’s Law).  Although not required for other members, I would highly recommend reviewing it anyway just to understand concussions and what you should do if you suspect having a concussion. 

Once you have updated your profile, and for all new and returning members, we then require you to send in your vaccination proof to vac@hpsc.ca (or stop by one of the in-person events – please see below for locations). 

While some things are returning to normal there are other things that we still cannot do.  We would normally be holding a special volunteer event thanking our fantastic volunteers and handing volunteer awards for the previous season.  We would also have scheduled a number of information nights for the fall for new and prospective members to learn more about the club (and current members to reconnect).  And I was personally hoping to have a President’s pub crawl this fall.  So while things are improving somewhat they are still not back to normal.

As always, I hope that you will read all of the articles in this edition of SnoBiz to find out what is going on with the club!

Sincerely,

Justin Graham, President, High Park Ski Club

Prepare for 2021 Trip Sign Up Nights (TSUN)

TSUNs for 2022 trips will take place on three Thursdays, September 23, October 7 and October 28, 2021. Take a few minutes to read over how to register for a long trip on the website because the instructions have changed from last year. TRIP SIGN UP 2022.

Get ready for the early sign up in mid-September for the first charter trip of the season.  We are going to the Club Med Serre Chevalier in France.  Serre Chevalier is a new destination for HPSC and is a true ski-in/ski-out resort located in a vast larch forest close to the medieval walled town of Briancon.  If you have never been to a Club Med, you find it is a truly all inclusive experience and the food in France never disappoints!

The rest of our charter line up will go on sale on October 7. Panorama is a popular and affordable trip on the Powder Highway in BC.  We’ve again booked some 1 bedroom as well as 2 bedroom condominiums with access to the expansive hot tubs facing the mountains.

A club favourite, the Banff Aspen Lodge has been newly renovated in 2021.  Located in town on the bus route to Sunshine, Lake Louise and Mt Norquay with a hot breakfast, two outdoor hot tubs, this trip is always popular.  This year we are going in peak season in the 3rd week of February.

Another perennial favourite, the next trip is to Sun Peaks staying at Sun Peaks Lodge. A full hot breakfast and central location make this resort a sell out time and again.

It’s been a few years, but we are going back to Club Med St Moritz Switzerland and this time on MARCH BREAK!  Great skiing, sunny days, glamour and history are all part of the experience at this iconic resort.

The final trip of the year will be to the Snakedance Condos in Taos, New Mexico.  Both bedrooms in the unit have a split King bed (= two twins). This high altitude section of the Rockies is a unique blend of Native North American and Spanish charm and includes a BBQ dinner evening at the home of the owner.

Charter trips for 2022:

C1 CM Serre Chevalier, Jan 29-Feb 6, 2022         $3,220

C2 Panorama, Feb 5-12, 2022                             $1,710

C3 Banff, Feb 12-19, 2022                                 $1,750

C4 Sun Peaks, Feb 28-Mar 7, 2022                  $2,010

C5 CM St Moritz, March 12-20, 2022              $3,160

C6 Taos, March 19-26, 2022                               $2,385

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

Become a 2022 Trip Leader

Trip Leaders are very important volunteers for the club. This season we’ll need 15 TLs to lead our 6 charter and 9 overnight bus trips. If you have been on a long trip, you’ve seen a TL in action. If you want to contribute to the club in this way, now is the time to consider it. If you feel it might be too much work for you alone, you can team up with a friend and share the task. Despite the work involved, it is a very rewarding experience and you’ll have fun doing it. You’ll get training, lots of support and a generous honorarium for your time and effort.

Here is what you need to do. Send an email to: Ephraim Fernandez, ephraim.fernandez@gmail.com requesting an application form.  Complete the form and submit it by the deadline of Friday, Sep 3, 2021.

Selection is based on the following criteria:

  • Duration and extent of recent contributions as a volunteer to the club
  • Leadership skills
  • Previous trip experience
  • People skills
  • Business skills
  • Computer skills – Excel & Word
  • Special emphasis on Excel skills
  • Skiing experience

Every HPSC member is eligible to apply. Don’t delay, request your application now as the time is short.

Bill Bates, Director

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

HPSC President’s Report: Please get the jab!

Dear HPSC friends

I sincerely hope that you and everyone in the HPSC community has had a safe and healthy spring!

There really appears to be a light at the end of this crazy year that we have all experienced.  Over the last few months, individual Ontarians have done a fantastic job of moving quickly to get vaccinated when eligible, including many HPSC members. It appears that whoever wants to be vaccinated will be able to get both shots by the beginning of the fall in September (if not sooner). 

Your HPSC board are moving forward with planning for the coming year based on the assumption that we will be able to have a much more normal season.  However, not everything will be exactly as it was in previous years. Like most organizations will have to, we have had to make a decision regarding who will be able to participate in club events for at least the upcoming 2021/22 season.

After consultation with our lawyer, the HPSC Board, in order to do our best to protect the safety of ALL HPSC members, have come to the decision that for the upcoming season in order to participate in any event involving enclosed spaces such as buses, planes, trains, hotels, restaurants etc. we will ONLY ALLOW THOSE WHO ARE FULLY VACCINATED TO PARTICIPATE.

We will be asking members to attest to their vaccination status and anyone who falsifies their status will be considered in breach of the HPSC Code of Conduct and will be subject to disciplinary action. 

The bottom line is that only those who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to book ANY of the Long or Charter trips, take the bus for daytrips, or attend any social events held indoors etc. 

Our lawyer has advised us that we need to provide some form of accommodation for members who CANNOT be vaccinated due to a health or religious reason.  Since transmission of COVID is much lower in outdoor settings (especially when masked) these members will still be able to participate in events held outside.  So, for example, they will be allowed to drive up for a daytrip, and take a lesson, but will not be able to take the bus. We will require these members to provide some form of proof from their doctor simply stating that for a health reason they cannot be vaccinated. 

Our specific policies on how day trips will be run will be worked out with our resort partners as they become clearer later in the summer and fall and will be communicated as soon as we can prior to the season.   As has been the case since the start of the pandemic HPSC will also monitor and follow the public health guidelines for Toronto and the location of any destination we are going to. 

While the future does seems brighter, what we have learned over the last year is that nothing is guaranteed. But getting vaccinated appears to be the best option for our society and for HPSC to get back closer to the normal we were accustomed to prior to the pandemic.   I urge all members to get both their shots as soon as they can! 

I am really looking forward to talking with as many HPSC members as possible in person during the coming season.

Cheers!

Justin Graham, President, High Park Ski Club