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

Membership fee goes up November 1st

For those who did not renew last year due to concerns over COVID we understand and your seniority in the club was maintained. However, for it to continue you will need to rejoin this season. 

For returning members the current early bird fee is $150 (+HST) until October 31st.  As of November 1st the rate increases to $170 (+HST).  For new members the rate remains at $150 (+HST) for the enter season.

As of October 22nd, Ontarians have been required to provide the new QR code vaccination document for most non-essential locations.  If you haven’t done so, please download yours ASAP. 

This new document includes only the information we need to see, we are hoping to have all members vaccination status verified by November 6th.  If you haven’t provided your vaccination proof yet to the club please send it in to vac@hpsc.ca . 

If you have already sent in or shown your proof, we do not require to see your new QR document. 

See you on the snow!

Ruth Schefter, Director of Membership

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!

In-person Vaccination verification locations for September 16-28

Since our last SnoBiz the provincial government has finally announced that they will be creating a vaccination passport of some kind and will be requiring Ontarians to show their proof of vaccination starting September 22.  Just to confirm that when the provincial document is available we will also accept that as vaccination proof. 

I would like to thank those who have taken advantage of our in-person events to show us their documentation. 

For those who are uncomfortable emailing their proof to vac@hpsc.ca the membership team will be available for in-person vaccination verification at various locations throughout the fall, including almost every Saturday in High Park after SkiFit. 

Between September 16 and September 28, you can stop by to show your vaccination proof at:

Thursday September 16 Berczy Park by the Dog Fountain 5-6pm

Saturday September 18 (Post SkiFit) High Park – on one of the benches on the west side of the main Bloor St entrance 11:30am-1pm

Wednesday September 22 NW corner of Bloor St. and Church St. 5:15-6:15pm

Saturday September 25 (Post SkiFit) High Park – on one of the benches on the west side of the main 1 Bloor St. entrance 1:30am-1pm

Tuesday September 28 Yonge/Eglinton in front of the Skiis and Bikes 6-7pm

In-person Vaccination verification locations for September 2-16

Get the Jab – Graffiti Alley Photo by JK Graham

As announced in the last SnoBiz, the HPSC board has decided that we will need proof of full vaccination at some point during the fall to allow members to participate in almost all in-person HPSC events this coming season. 

While many other organizations can ask for proof “at the door” we are not able to do that.  However, for those who are uncomfortable emailing their proof to the special email address (vac@hpsc.ca) the membership team will be available for in-person vaccination verification at various locations throughout the fall, including almost every Saturday in High Park after SkiFit. 

If you cannot make it to any of the in-person events and are uncomfortable emailing your document please send a message to vac@hpsc.ca requesting a personal Zoom call to show us your document. 

In each SnoBiz we will announce where and when we will be available during the following two weeks for in person verification.  Between September 2 and September 16, you can stop by to show your vaccination proof at:

Saturday September 4

High Park – Look for us at one of the benches on the west side of the park near the main Bloor Street entrance

1-2pm

Thursday September 9

Bloor Islington Place (3280 Bloor Street West) – Bottom of the stairs below GoodLife Fitness

6-7pm

Saturday September 11 (Post SkiFit)

High Park – Look for us at one of the benches on the west side of the park near the main Bloor Street entrance

11:30am-1pm

Thursday September 16

Berczy Park – by the Dog Fountain (Front St. E and Scott St.)

5-6pm

Appointment of HPSC Ombudsperson

I am pleased to announce that long time member Kerry Kupecz has agreed to take on the role of HPSC Ombudsperson.  The role of the Ombudsperson is to be the first point of contact for members who wish to report a breach of the club Code of Conduct.  The Ombudsperson role is separate from the Board of Directors to ensure independence and when required confidentiality. 

Each year all members are required to read and acknowledge the Club Code of Conduct.  If you notice a member whose behavior does not meet our club code of conduct, please contact the HPSC Ombudsperson by email at Ombudsperson@hpsc.ca with the person’s name and a brief note on his or her behavior. Your concern will be handled with discretion.

As a reminder, the main points of the HPSC Code of Conduct are:

1. Club members are responsible for respecting the integrity and dignity of each and every club member, as well as our suppliers including tour operators, resort personnel, and bus drivers.

Members maintain a companionable environment that is free of profane, sexist or sexually explicit language, threats, violence, or hurtful actions.

Members are committed to making HPSC an inclusive organization. We do not promote or perpetuate discrimination based on race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability. We are accepting of all, within the limits of our skills, abilities, and resources. We are open to learning from others.

2. A member’s behavior at club events and on club-related social media reflects upon our club. Members are required to abide by local laws; our club code of conduct, policies and by-laws; and the policies of our venues, resorts, transportation providers and other partners.

3. Members are responsible for providing accurate and honest information. A member shall not share his or her login information or disclose any personal information about HPSC members to others, outside of the tasks necessary to run the club.

4. Members are responsible for paying any fees associated with trips or events they have committed to, regardless of whether they attend the event. Each member assumes full responsibility for any damages he or she may cause while participating in a club event. Each member is responsible for the safety and security of his or her own health and belongings.

FAILING TO UPHOLD OUR CODE OF CONDUCT WILL RESULT IN DISCIPLINARY ACTION UP TO TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP WITHOUT REIMBURSEMENT. IF A VIOLATION OF THIS CODE OCCURS WHILE TRAVELLING, A MEMBER MAY BE ASKED TO LEAVE AN EVENT IMMEDIATELY AND AT HIS OR HER OWN EXPENSE. THEY WILL NOT BE ENTITLED TO A REFUND OF ANY MONIES PAID.

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

Position Open for Job Shadowing

As my directorship will end at the end of the 2021-22 season, I would like to ask for applications to be the next Membership and Volunteer Director.

I would like to ask this person to job shadow me for this coming year (mostly online).

Duties include:

-Monthly and AGM board meetings and reports,

-Monitoring the membership stats and as people join etc. and answering queries. almost daily mid-season,

-Organizing with the team for some events and attending,

-Monitoring the volunteers with a team.

Qualifications- people-friendly, tech-savvy, organized and accountable.

This is one of the lighter portfolios of the board. Thanks for considering.

Contact membership@hpsc.ca if you are interested.

Ruth Schefter

Reminder about Membership Deferral

As we announced in January, due to the unusual nature of this season, the Board made the decision to deferral all memberships over to next season.  No action is required on your part. 

Some members have informed us that they would like to invest their current 2020/21 membership back into the club to help with our finances.  We sincerely thank those members who have made this choice.  If you would like to do so as well, please email membership@hpsc.ca by March 31st

The club is financially stable and can withstand this unexpected year. However, for this fiscal year (ending April 30th) we will be showing a hopefully “once in a lifetime” sized deficit.  This is mostly due to having to delay recognizing the revenue from all of the deferred memberships until next fiscal year.  In addition, even without running any programs, the club has a number of hard costs such credit card charges, insurance premiums, costs associated with the club house (which will be reduced as of April 1st when move to a virtual setup), costs associated with IT, and the required financial review by our accountant, etc..

On the upside, the club will start the 2021/22 fiscal year with a significant balance of membership revenue already on the books and are very optimistic that membership will boom next fall with many of those who sat out this season, lapsed members, and new members all joining the best adult travelling ski club in the GTA (if not the country!!).

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