HPSC Election Results – Announcing the new Board of Directors

On Wednesday April 27th we held a very successful hybrid election event, with members both in person at the National Yacht Club and on a live Zoom meeting.

All nomination forms were received as required by 7 pm EDT, while quorum was achieved by 7:15 pm (including those in the room, via Zoom, and a number of proxies received).  At that time, Election Chair Chris Bell called the meeting to order. 

All positions on the Board were up for election. All positions had just one candidate who were in turn voted in, as per our Bylaws, by a show of hands (those online use the raised hand icon).   Incumbent directors could choose to run for a 1 or 2-year term.  

A strong board is essential in the smooth running of the club, especially during the challenging times we find ourselves in.  While we hope that next season will be closer to normal as we have learned there is no guarantee.

Thank you to the following members who have chosen to continue to serve our membership as Board members and to those who have stepped up and joined the Board for the coming year.  Without these dedicated volunteers the club could not function. 

POSITIONNAMETERM
PresidentJustin Graham2 years
Director of AdministrationKaren Snow1 year
Director of Alpine Skiing and SnowboardingDavid Manning1 year
Director of CommunicationsSuzanne de Grandpre2 years
Director of Cross-country Skiing and SnowshoeingHeather Steel2 years
Director of Downhill DaytripsAmy Lam2 years
Director of FinanceClark Seadon1 year
Director of ITAlex Radulescu1 year
Director of Long TripsKim Wiebe2 years
Director of MarketingRocco Romeo2 years
Director of Membership and VolunteersJack Ran2 years
Director of SocialJennifer Beatty2 years

A big thank you to Ruth Schefter who has been Director of Membership and Volunteers for the last four years, and to Erika Clark, Director of Downhill Daytrips for the last two years, for all of their hard work and dedication to the club.   Ruth and Erika both decided to step away from the board at the conclusion of their current terms but will be available to their successors to ensure a smooth transition.

A sincere thanks to long time HPSC member, Chris Bell, for being this year’s election Chair, and to our Director of IT, Alex Radulescu, for the fantastic set up allowing us to run a very smooth hybrid event with members both live at the National Yacht Club, as well as on Zoom.  We would also like to thank all the members who attended the event, either live, on Zoom, or who sent in a proxy vote.  All combined allowed us to reach the required quorum and therefore proceed with the election.  

2022 HPSC Election Candidates

Candidate for President – Justin Graham

I have been very proud to be your President the last two years – years that have likely been the most challenging the club has ever faced.  Leading our very strong Board of Directors I believe that we have made the tough but correct decisions for the club, and that we have been transparent and fair in our decisions. 

I am very proud that despite the challenges we have faced we have been able to provide our members the opportunity to get out to enjoy the winter and to connect with fellow HPSC members, while following the public health guidelines. 

Last December after very short notice by our previous bus company (Pacific Western) that they were shutting down their Ontario operations, as President I was able to quickly locate and negotiate an agreement with a new bus partner (Attridge Coach Lines) in time for our 2022 season. 

Before becoming President in 2020 I participate in most of the activities of the club (most weekends on alpine daytrips; a couple of snowshoe trips per season; a couple of long trips per season; SkiFit in the fall; Climb the Mountain each year; and many social activities) which allowed me to develop a good sense of the various subgroups of members that make up our fantastic club. 

We really are only as strong as a club as the connections we make with each other!  My desire when first elected as President was to ensure that our members continued to develop these friendships and as a result strengthen our club.  However, during my term it has not been as conducive to achieving this goal as I would have liked, which is one of the reasons I would like to continue to be your President.   

HPSC Volunteer Experience

  • President (2020-22)
  • SkiFit group leader (Fall 2018-21)
  • Alpine Bus Captain (2017-2022)
  • Alpine Daytrips team lead as Assistant Director of Alpine Daytrips (2019/20 season)
  • W6 Killington trip – Trip Leader (February 2020)
  • HPSC Volunteer of the Year – Gold (2019/20); Silver (2018/19); Bronze (2017/18)
  • Alpine Daytrips – Bus Captain co-oridnator (2018/19)
  • Re-wrote Alpine Bus Captain Training Manual (2018/19; 2020/21)
  • Assisted Communications and Marketing teams by creating and editing a lot of the website content (2018/19)
  • Assisted Social Director in planning and organizing social events (Fall 2018)
  • Continuous member since 2007; pervious member 1987-1993

Profession and Education

  • Professional public opinion/market researcher for more than 25 years
  • MA, Public Policy and Administration
  • Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing major  

Candidate for Director of Administration – Karen Snow

I grew up in Barrie and first learned to ski at Horseshoe. I used to go night skiing occasionally, but I didn’t really take up skiing until I moved to Toronto.

A friend of mine told me about High Park Ski Club in 2002 and I have been a member ever since.  When I joined, I was still snowplowing my way down the hill. Participating in the lessons has greatly improved my skiing and my confidence.  The HPSC instructors are well trained and really care about your progress. I still remember my first ski trip with the club to Quebec, what an experience! I look forward to many more trips. Not only does this club improve your skiing but it also enriches your social life.

Over the years I have volunteered on the Social Committee and as an Ambassador. In 2020, I decided to take on a larger role as Director of Administration to give back to a club that has given me so much.

Over the last two years, I guided the transition from a physical club house to our current virtual club house setup.  As well, in my role of Director of Administration last fall I conducted the successful search for a new liability insurance policy after we (and all other ski industry clients) were dropped by our previous insurance broker. 

[Incumbent Director of Administration 2020-22]

Candidate for Director of Communications – Suzanne de Grandpré

Having grown up in Alberta, I started skiing in Banff and Whistler during university. After a hiatus of a number of years, I moved to Toronto and wished to get back into skiing. I didn’t even know people skied in Ontario until I joined High Park Ski Club, of which I have been a continuous member since 1998.

My time in the club has consisted of everything from day trips, overnight bus trips and, of course, the charter trips which I eagerly anticipate every year! The club has given me the opportunity to ski in Europe and destinations in the U.S., both west and east. I have made many friends and gained many fond skiing memories over the years. The excellent instruction I received from our amazing instructors has taken my skiing to new levels.

As a volunteer, I have been Volunteer Coordinator, Social Director, co-trip leader and bus captain for many seasons.

When asked by the President to take over the position of Director of Communications, I was most honoured to join an extremely hardworking Board. My goal in continuing in this role is to provide members with clear and concise dissemination of information and to use our various platforms to enhance the club experience. I would like to thank my predecessor, Nemanja Davidovic, for his assistance as I transitioned into this role.

I look forward to continuing to serve the club as Director of Communications and working with this great team.

[Acting Director of Communication 2021-22]

Director of Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing – Heather Steel

I discovered the club in 2011 and haven’t looked back! I live outdoors in the summer and was looking for something to keep me active and having fun in the winter. I found the club online, and, having never cross country skied before, I took the plunge and joined.

The 2011 Scenic Caves New Year’s Eve trip was my first experience; I remember tons of snow and a very friendly welcome…and I was hooked! Since then, cross country skiing has become my primary winter activity, a sport I could not imagine living without, and the reason why winter is my favourite season.

In 2013, I became race director and in 2018, I passed my CANSI Level 1 and became an instructor. I also  became the Director of Cross-Country in 2018.  Joining the club has been an amazing experience in more ways than I could have imagined, with wonderful friendships formed and new skills developed (I can finally skate ski!). With everything the club has given me in the past 11 years, it’s important to me to give back and help us continue the amazing work we do.

I am particularly proud of the cross country side for developing a fun and supportive community of skiers. It’s my goal as Director to continue developing that community, working with the Board to introduce new people to cross country skiing and growing the volunteer ranks of our community. A project manager in my day job, I bring the leadership and organizational skills necessary for this type of role, combined with a tireless love (or, some might say, obsession) with cross country skiing. See you on the trails!

[Incumbent Director of Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing 2018-22]

Candidate for Director of Downhill Day Trips – Amy Lam

I love being active and being outdoors. In past winters, I casually went skiing with friends, but never took any lessons or joined a club. In 2018, I wanted to improve my skiing skills and meet other skiers. I googled “ski club” and found High Park Ski Club’s website.

Since being a member, I have been blown away with the quality of lessons and trips the club offers. My skiing has greatly improved since taking lessons with the awesome HPSC instructors. In my second year I started to volunteer as bus captain for Saturday alpine trips, which I also did this season. I have such a blast meeting members, and being part of such a positive, active and winter-loving community.  In 2020 I decided to stand for the Director of Social Activities, since I love seeing the joy that social gatherings bring to members. While that has not been possible during the pandemic, I have learned a lot being part of the Board of Directors in how decisions are made and how the club runs. 

When Erika Clark decided to not seek re-election as Director of Downhill Day Trips, I was very honoured to be asked by both the President and by Erika to consider running for Director of Day Trips. 

I look forward to moving the club back to a more normal downhill season next year. 

[Director of Social 2020-22]

Candidate for Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding Director (Snow School) – David Manning

When I joined HPSC in 2006 as a first-time skier, I thought I’d learn to ski and have a better winter. Little did I know that the club would change my life! High Park gave me the gift of skiing and snowboarding, training as an instructor, and an amazing circle of friends to share this gift with. My commitment to the club is to give an exceptional experience to the next generation of downhill skiers and riders. Backed by our talented snow school director and executive, I empower our snow school to successfully meet the needs of our learners. My qualifications include attaining CSIA level 3 partial (teaching), CSCF Entry Level, CASI-2 partial, ICP-2, and a master of education from Athabasca University.

[Incumbent Director of Snow School – 2020-22]

Candidate for Director of Finance – Clark Seadon

Skiing continues to be a huge source of adventure and excitement in my life. I started as a downhill skier, ski raced for my local club in Edmonton, then while living in Vancouver I threw in a little back-country skiing, and after that lots of family ski trips from Toronto.  Now I get the most enjoyment and challenge out of XC skiing which is why I joined the Club three years ago.  I have been absolutely delighted to find so many people who enjoy winter.

In terms of Finance, I am currently the Club’s Finance Director and am running for another year.  Over the last two years we’ve implemented faster payment processes and I’m looking forward to refining and improving these.  I find my career as a banker and being a CPA/CA has stood me in good stead.  Overall, I continue to look forward to helping members enjoy skiing while ensuring the Club remains financially sound.

[Incumbent Director of Finance – 2020-22]

Candidate for Director of Information Technology Alex Radulescu

My first time on the slopes was when I was around age 11, learning to ski at Glen Eden. By the time I was able to ski comfortably down blues, I decided to try snowboarding. Maybe I was overconfident, but I was going down greens on my first day! Although by the time I was in high school, I stopped all winter sports until after I finished my post secondary education. I now want to perfect both my snowboarding and skiing, so you’ll be seeing me switching every week.

I have been the Director of IT since 2018 and still excited to give back to the club.  I’m volunteering to help maintain our platforms and try to provide easy to use solutions for both the volunteers and members to make it a more enjoyable experience! If you have any suggestions or want to help out please reach out.  

[Incumbent Director of IT – 2018-2022]

Candidate for Director of Long Trips – Kim Wiebe

Long trips are my passion and after working as your acting Long Trips Director since last fall, I’m delighted to confirm my dedication to this position in an election.  Being nominated by the prior Long Trips Director to take on his role, is a great show of confidence.

It’s a big portfolio but I have a solid record of achievement planning bus and charter trips for the past 15 years and have been the leader of the small team who plan and execute charters within the Long Trips Committee (LTC). 

I have the support of the Long Trips Committee (LTC) to continue as their leader and have the support of the current HPSC Board and President to continue as Long Trips Director. 

Being involved in negotiating charter and bus contracts is exciting but this role comes with a lot of detailed administration, people management, decision making and a major commitment of time.  Although previous Director, Bill Bates, had been hoping to pass on the torch earlier, he waited until I retired from my full-time job (as an accountant) to start fully transitioning the role.

Planning successful trips for the club means evolving with change and keeping your finger on the pulse of where members want to go.  Having personally skied at most of the destinations is a key factor in knowing what can work.  Providing a variety of trips that will appeal to our long-term members, new members, Ikon pass holders, retirees and working members means planning for weekend, mid-week and week-long trips across a spectrum of price points.

Establishing relationships based on honesty, trust and integrity is critical in obtaining the best deals from our ski industry suppliers.  Members deserve fairness and the knowledge that policies and pricing is being fairly applied to all members without special exceptions.

My pledge is to continue to offer the best trips, to the best destinations and best overall value for our members.

[Acting Director of Long Trips – 2021-22]

Candidate for Director of Marketing – Rocco Romeo

My first skiing experience happened when I was 21 years old. A college friend convinced myself and another friend that he could teach us to ski. That weekend we drove up to Horseshoe Valley. With rented skies standing on top of the top of the hill we waited for our first lesson from our experienced skier. He said “watch me” and began to ski down the hill. We watched him slowly disappear from sight and then we both turned to face each other. Dumb faced and after some deliberation we decide to give it a try. Sliding and purposely falling down to control our speed we managed to complete the run. Surprisingly that day didn’t make me stop going but helped me find the joy of skiing.

I joined HPSC in 2010 and was immediately impressed with the lessons I was getting from the ski instructors. I looked forward to the morning lessons and eating lunch together made it possible to develop friendships and ski together in the afternoon.

In 2012 I became a HPSC instructor. I find teaching and passing on knowledge to our members to help them achieve their goals very rewarding. Not only has the club enriched my life I have made many lifelong friends along the way.

Previously I have volunteered on the Social Committee. Now I feel it’s time to give back in a larger capacity that will allow me to use my skill set. I am a Digital Marketing Designer. A creative thinker with experience building brand awareness and launching new products. My goal as the new Marketing Director will be to ensure the club is visible and the target audience is engaged.

Candidate for Director of Membership and Volunteers – Jack Ran

I grew up in downtown Toronto and got to ski about once a year as a child. Our family didn’t have a car, so accessing ski resorts became a much-anticipated event for me to enjoy around Christmas time. Then, as life got busy and the demands of school, sport, and other activities got in the way, I didn’t get to go again for many years. Once I graduated university, I started looking for ways to access ski resorts as a non-driver – another consequence of growing up downtown. This was the moment I discovered HPSC.

Since joining, I’ve participated in many day trips, from skiing to snowshoeing, and have had the most incredible time learning from great instructors and making new friends. I have profound appreciation for all the HPSC volunteers who make these incredible winter experiences possible for those like me and hope to pay it forward through volunteering for the club.

I hope I can make new members feel as welcomed as I did when I first joined!

[Jack has been shadowing our current Membership Director Ruth Schefter since January]

Candidate for Director of Social – Jennifer Beatty

I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, and learned to downhill ski in Banff. I have skied several hills in Banff, as well as in Golden and Whistler, BC.

I moved to Toronto in October 2018 for a job in marketing and was looking for something to keep me active in the winter. That’s when I discovered the High Park Ski Club and it’s been the best thing I’ve done since moving to Toronto! Having never cross-country skied before joining the club, I advanced from Classic 1 to Classic 3. This past season, I went on a number of downhill trips with the club.  I made some great friends and had tons of laughs along the way!

As a marketer in my day job, I was excited to use my skill set as Director of Marketing for the last two years.  However, I’ve viewed social events as a critical strategy for attracting and retaining members and enhancing the overall value proposition of the club, keeping our club strong for years to come! As part of the Board, over the last two years, I have provided many ideas and suggestions on possible social events for the club (which unfortunately due to the pandemic we were not able to do).

When asked by the President to consider taking on the Director of Social role I was excited to put my name forward.  I look forward to continuing to serve our members as part of the Board of Directors in this new role. 

[Director of Marketing 2020-22]

We’re back!

This past weekend HPSC’s cross-country crew returned with our first bus trip in almost two years! We were limited to 25 people on the bus (that will increase after Feb. 21), but that didn’t damper our fun.

Highlands Nordic had excellent conditions and welcomed us back with open arms. Thanks to them! We offered four lessons – three classic and one skate. Our classes were a bit larger than normal, but everyone was a good sport, which allowed us to accommodate as many members as possible.

There were big smiles all around, happy new members, and returning members seeing each other for the first time in a long while. Thanks to all our members for following all the COVID protocols to make sure that we can continue to run buses. We’ve got two trips on the long weekend (both sold out, but there is a waitlist) and we’ve opened Feb. 26/27 trips for registration. Feb. 26 is going to Highlands Nordic and Feb. 27 is going to a club favourite, Georgian Nordic. With increased capacity, there’s still room on both trips.

We’re going to run buses! Now what?

We finally have some good news – we feel ready to offer bus trips, but the plan looks a bit different than normal years.

The plan

On Feb. 12 (Highlands), Feb. 19 (TBC), and Feb. 20 (Horseshoe Valley), we will run with 25 members on the bus, including our instructors, guides and the bus captain (so the spots open for registration will be less than 25).

After Feb. 21, provided the provincial reopening plan remains the same, we will return to our regular schedule and increase capacity.

The schedule and important registration information can be found here.

Below find the highlights of our most important changes, and keep reading for details of how the bus trips will operate.

Highlights of important changes:

  • You must show proof of vaccination before you can register for trips. Email your proof to vac@hpsc.ca if you haven’t already.
  • You must wear a mask on the bus except if eating lunch (and we expect you to eat quickly). We VERY strongly recommend wearing an N/KN95, which are proven to protect you and others better than alternatives.
  • There are no warmup options at the resorts. At some places you can go inside to use the washroom. At others, there are portable washrooms. We will have the bus available, but it won’t be very warm as it cannot idle all day. This is the reality of skiing this year. If you do not think you will be comfortable under these circumstances, we advise that you do not come with the bus. See below for tips on coming prepared to ski under these conditions.
  • We have fewer instructors available this year due to COVID. We may not be able to accommodate all requests for lessons, especially if there are a lot of people who want to drive up for lessons. We plan to offer three classic lessons and skate lesson, if we have the instructor available. With four instructors on a trip, we can accommodate about 24-30 students.
  • There are new registration (Wednesday 6pm) and cancellation (Tuesday 8pm) deadlines.

COVID-19 policies and procedures:

  • All HPSC members must show proof of full vaccination before registering for a club trip. Please see here for the full club vaccination policy.
  • All day trip participants must be members. There will be no test drive or guest days this year.
  • Members must comply with mask policies on the bus and at the resorts. Proper cloth or medical masks must be worn and cover the nose and mouth. Buffs and improper wearing of masks will not be tolerated. We very strongly recommend wearing an N/KN95.
  • Please do not come on a trip if you are experiencing symptoms of illness, have tested positive for COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. In these instances, we have a more flexible cancellation policy this year.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, please inform us so that we can contact trace.
  • All members will have to fill out screening apps the morning of the trip and show it to the bus captain. The link will be in the day trip registration module. If you do not own a smart phone, do it at home and bring a printout on the bus with you.
  • Failure to adhere to club or public health rules will be considered a breach of conduct and addressed accordingly.

Registration procedures

  • All the trips will appear on the online event calendar once the modules are created. Weekend trips are open for registration on the Monday two weeks prior to the trip (except for the first trip, which will have less registration time). For example, the Feb. 20 trip will open Feb. 7 at 9am. The date a trip opens for registration will be stated on the event description. While in the past we have opened trips up further in advance, this approach will give us maximum flexibility given the uncertainty, while still allowing people to plan.
  • You can find the trips that are open for booking and the schedule here. It is subject to change. If a trip is not on the calendar, it is not yet ready. Please do not email about it.
  • Registration is done online. There are two modules for each trip that offers lessons – a bus module and a drive up module for those wanting to drive up and take lessons. If there are no lessons on a trip, only a bus module will be created.
  • If you want to take the bus, register on the bus module. Generally, you pay for the bus, trail pass, and rentals (if necessary). Please note that resorts are operating differently this year. For example, at Horseshoe you have to reserve and pay for your rentals online through the resort. All this will be detailed on the registration module – please pay close attention. You will receive email confirmation of your registration. If you do not complete payment, your registration will be deleted automatically after 15 minutes.
  • Members who wish to drive up AND take a lesson must register for the lesson on the drive up registration module. You must, however, buy your own trail pass and rentals at the resort.
  • Registration deadline is Wednesday 6pm for Saturday and Sunday trips. After this date, the trip is closed, and registration disappears from the website. All members must register in advance. There will be no walk-ons allowed this year.
  • If a trip is close to selling out, we will activate the waitlist. There are always cancellations. If you are on the waitlist and are offered a spot, you will be notified and must pay within 24 hours. Waitlist spots are held until Wednesday morning. At that point, the waitlist is cleared, and it is first come first served for any remaining spots. We find this policy is fair, while not putting undue burden on our volunteers.
  • You may at some point get a bus voucher (a voucher entitles the holder to a bus ride). You must bring the physical voucher with you on the bus, or you will be invoiced for the bus fee. No exceptions.
  • If you have any questions about your registration, contact crosscountry@hpsc.ca. Do not respond to the registration confirmation email.  

Cancellation procedures

  • The cancellation deadline is Tuesday at 8pm for Saturday and Sunday day trips.
  • You must email cancellations@hpsc.ca with the trip number (NXXXX) and the cancellation request. The cancellations team will email you a confirmation of receipt.
  • If you do not follow this procedure before the deadline, you will be considered a “no show” and will be charged for the bus ($30).
  • If you do not come because you are sick or have been in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you may email crosscountry@hpsc.ca within 72 hours after the trip to get a full refund. Please do not come on the trip if you are sick! If we find our no-show rate is too high (costing us too much money and depriving others of seats on the bus), we will have to re-evaluate this policy. Please do not abuse it and use it only when you are genuinely not feeling well.

Is the trip running?

  • An email will be sent to all registered participants by Friday at 12pm. Please do not email for information prior to this time. If you do not receive an email by Friday at 12pm, check your junk mail. Then check the status page on the website. You must log in to see the status page.
  • This email/the status page will contain all the information you need for the day trip, plus a link to the COVID-19 screening form that will be used for that day.
  • If we must cancel a trip, we will refund you in full. A bit of inclement weather doesn’t deter us (even rain), but if we deem it unsafe to be on the trails or roads, we may cancel. We appreciate your understanding; cancelling/changing trips is a very difficult decision for our team, and we do whatever possible to get you out skiing. In the past couple of years, we have only cancelled trips when there were extreme weather warnings for high amounts of rain/freezing rain and damaging winds.
  • Trips can also be cancelled due to insufficient registration numbers. Pre-COVID, this didn’t happen, but if not enough people are comfortable enough taking the bus, we won’t run it.
  • Sometimes resorts will have varying conditions depending on local weather. In the past we’ve been able to be flexible and find an alternate resort if conditions at the scheduled resort are poor. We may not be able to operate this way this year. Some resorts are limiting access to one group/day. Thus, we may have no option but to cancel if a resort is not available or deemed safe.

 Lessons & other programming

  • We will be offering lessons on day trips, however, due to less instructor availability (due to COVID and other factors), the amount and nature of the lessons will be scaled back. We will try to ensure all beginners get lessons. We cannot guarantee lessons to everyone who wants them.
  • We are offering guided snowshoeing on many trips. Please sign up for it in the registration modules.
  • There will be no race program.
  • There will be no social events.

Tips for a successful COVID season

  • Please seriously consider wearing N95 masks. They are proven to help protect you and others better. We need to protect ourselves if we are going to run successful trips.
  • There will be capacity limits in the chalets as the resorts, meaning we must use our bus as “home base”. We will store our bags there, get ready, eat lunch etc. Be prepared to spend more time outside than normal. It is up to you to determine if you can handle this given the temperatures.
  • Come prepared with enough warm clothing considering the lack of indoor space. More is better than less.
  • We recommend that you ski with a small backpack that contains extra warm clothing (a dry base layer, warmer mitts, dry socks etc.), snacks, and water.
  • Patience. Everything is going to take longer. Our volunteers are learning new procedures. Please have patience!

Cross-country day trips, COVID style (December update)

As we get closer to the season, I am sure that everyone has questions about what the experience on the bus and at the resorts is going to be…here are some answers! We encourage new members to read this carefully. The experience will not be what we are used to, but with some patience and good humour, we can have fun.

What can I expect on the bus?

As of now, the buses will run at almost full capacity. Masks (cloth or medical masks) are mandatory. A buff is not a mask. Proper masks must cover the nose and the mouth. Not wearing masks properly will not be tolerated. Please note that studies show that medical masks (especially N95s, which are more widely available now) are more effective than cloth masks with no filter. While we will not dictate what kind of masks members should wear, we strongly encourage members to choose the most effective masks they can. This keeps all of us safe.

While the bus is in motion, we expect members to stay in their seats (except for quick washroom trips). We ask that members don’t eat or drink (except quick sips if medically necessary). No sharing of food and no consuming alcohol.

At most places, we will have to eat lunch on the bus or on the trail. When on the bus for lunch, please ensure you eat lunch quickly to limit the amount of time that you are not wearing a mask.

There will not be any capacity limits enforced at any point unless we feel it is necessary after the first few trips. We are confident that members will be courteous of each other and work hard to make our trips a success.

What can I expect at the resorts?

Members are expected to follow all resort rules, which will be communicated on the registration modules and in the day trip status email/webpage.

Resorts all have different policies, but in general, we will not be able to store bags/get ready/hang out in the chalet like we normally do. You will be able to use the indoor washrooms (only Wasaga will have portable washrooms). You will be able to pop in for quick spells to warm up (emphasis on quick; Wasaga, Georgian Nordic, Kawartha are exceptions in that we anticipate no indoor space). If you want indoor space to eat, you usually will have to use the bus (Scenic Caves is the only exception). The bus cannot idle all day, so it may not be very warm, but it will be out of the wind.

Because you will be spending significant amounts of time outside this year, we recommend that you bring a small day pack filled with items to help keep you warm should you have to wait outside while not skiing. While everyone is different, this could include extra gloves/mitts (really warm ones!), a dry top base layer (maybe something thicker than what you ski in to keep you warmer), an extra pair of socks, and a down jacket that folds up small (a great investment in the winter). Pack water and extra snacks – a hydrated and fueled body is a warmer body!

At the end of the day, you may not be able to get fully changed like you are used to. Bring a dry top and dry socks and ensure a warm parka is on the bus waiting for you. Departure times are generally (with some exceptions) going to be earlier to account for the increased time spent outside.

The caveat…

Policies and procedures were set before Omicron was identified. We are watching the public health situation closely over the next couple weeks and may alter our policies and procedures in accordance with public health guidelines.

Please note that the Dec. 29th trip has been cancelled (largely due to the slow arrival of winter). We will tentatively start our season on Jan. 2. Keep an eye on the website and our social media channels for updates. That trip would open for registration on Dec. 20.

Where to buy cross-country ski and snowshoe gear

The winter will be here before we know it! If you want to buy gear rather than rent, you may want to think about it sooner rather than later. Last year, cross-country ski gear flew off the shelves as people sought safe ways to enjoy winter outside. While demand may not be at the same level (especially if downhill is open and some indoor fun returns), I still expect it to be high. October is usually when new stock arrives. So, where can you buy gear?

Retailers

Velotique – a bike and ski shop in the east end. They are probably the most knowledgeable about skis in the city. My top recommendation for a city retailer.

MEC – we all know MEC. I don’t find the staff is as knowledgeable anymore, but if you know what you want, it’s a great option.

Skiis and Bikes – I think they sell cross-country equipment? It’s been a while since I’ve been in the store. But you can give them a try too.

Ski resorts

If you can get out to Hardwood or Highlands Nordic, both have top notch pro shops with excellent staff who can fit you right. My top choice because I trust them.

Call the resorts to find out their shopping policies. You may still have to book appointments this year.

Ski swaps

Hardwood, Highlands and sometimes Velotique host ski swaps where you buy used equipment (or take your equipment to be sold). If we receive information about ski swaps, we will share on the blog and on the Facebook group. These generally happen in October and November.

Received word that Hardwood’s Ski Swap is Oct. 16-17 by reservation. Book early! https://www.hardwoodskiandbike.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Ski-Swap-Guide-2021.pdf

Received word that Highland’s Ski Swap is Oct. 30-31. Double vaccination required. Highlands Trailblazer Dust Em’ Off Ski Swap – 2021 – Highlands Nordic

If you have questions about gear, there is lots of information on the blog about just that!

A primer on buying skis, boots, and poles

A bit on waxing

A primer on buying snowshoes

Clothing considerations

What to expect for cross-country skiing & snowshoeing, 2021-2022 edition

Hello cross-country skiers and snowshoers!

I hope everyone was able to have a great summer under the circumstances. Great weather to spend lots of time outdoors.

The HPSC board is planning for the winter. We hope to be able to ski and snowshoe with you all this year! I missed everyone last winter. I know that everyone must have lots of questions about what the year will look like. Trust me…so do I! Given the public health situation changes constantly, it’s tough to plan. We will be implementing policies that are in line public health guidelines, but it is not clear what those guidelines will be yet. But here are a few things that you can probably expect on the cross-country side this winter.

Keeping the fun on the snow

We’ve got a big contingent of snowshoers!

While HPSC is known for our fun day trip social events (bus potlucks, socials at the resort etc.), we will be keeping our fun strictly outside on the snow this year. This year isn’t the time to start sharing food. But, we will have lessons and guided snowshoeing, as usual. We are also introducing a new afternoon guided ski option for beginners on select day trips (especially in January). Volunteers will lead a group ski for beginners, allowing new skiers to learn the trails better and meet more people at their ski level.

Improve your ski skills

I made my class climb a big hill. Trust me, it was a pedagogically sound decision 😉

For those wanting to hone their skills – or learn some! – we will be offering lessons with our great group of certified instructors. Normally our lessons are small groups (about 6/class) and it is easy to distance on cross-country skis. We hope to be able to run normal lesson programming this year. Only the indoor components will likely change – probably no eating lunch with your class and no video analysis (at least indoors). We also will likely stagger the lesson start and end times so as to alleviate congestion on the bus at lunch.

Get comfortable outside

You may want to wear more than this with limited indoor space…!

While we don’t know what the indoor distancing guidelines will be this winter, the resorts have said that there likely will not be much indoor access again. Plan to spend more time outside than usual (you may want to travel with a small pack with snacks and extra clothing, as I suggested last year). We will work with the bus company to have the bus as our home base. What that looks like exactly is still being worked out.

Speaking of the bus…

With our mandatory vaccination policy, we are comfortable running buses this year. What the experience on the bus looks like, however, is still being worked out. Masking is likely to be required, and we would likely ask members to refrain from eating and drinking and walking around the bus to socialize. We all will also need a healthy dose of patience, as we all will likely need to get ready on the bus.

Once our policies are worked out, we will be communicating them to the membership through the website, this blog, and SnoBiz. We appreciate your patience as we work hard to plan a great season. We will update members as soon as new information becomes available.

Hoping for winter wonderlands this year!

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

Sliding on Skinny Skis 101

Cross-country skiing has seen a huge uptick in interest this year due to the pandemic shutting down other avenues for winter enjoyment. I’ve long loved cross-country skiing and recently I got to share that love – and some tips – for beginner skiers in our club, pulling out their skis from the basement after a long hiatus.

At the beginning of February, we held a virtual information session for anyone in the club interested in learning more about cross-country skiing. 76 members attended! Thanks to all for taking the time, your enthusiasm for the sport, and for all your questions.

I covered the different types of skiing (classic, skate, back country touring); gear (skis, boots, poles, and clothing); and tried to go over some of the fundamentals from my living room. Not an easy task!

I’ve created a resource for anyone interested with all the main points I presented:

Also, this blog has a number of useful posts about gear, waxing and clothing. Check them out!

I hope these tips help you get out on the snow!

Heather Steel, Director, Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Hopefully next year we can get back to on snow lessons. Photo: Michael Connor.

How does COVID-19 affect my cross-country ski lessons?

Our Cross-Country Ski School is working hard to ensure that we can offer high quality lessons within the guidelines set to keep you safe.

Your instructors will still be all smiles…just from 6ft away!

We will have fewer instructors available this year and we must adhere to a strict 4:1 student instructor ratio. This means that we will be offering 4 lessons every trip – 3 classic and 1 skate – with only 4 students per class. Members will have to sign up for lessons online during trip registration, indicating their class of choice if space permits. Unfortunately, this year we may not be able to fit everyone in who wants a lesson. Priority for lessons spots will go to the members on the bus. We will accommodate drive ups if possible.

COVID-19 guidelines will generally not affect the actual ski lessons. Cross-country skiing is an ideal physically distanced activity and our lessons are normally small groups. To keep everyone in lessons safe…

  1. The instructor will ensure that all participants are physically distanced throughout the lesson.
  2. If physical distancing is not possible at times, the instructor will ask all participants to put on their mask.
  3. The instructors will not be providing video analysis.
Expect the same crazy antics! Just further apart.

All participants must complete the COVID-19 screener on the morning of the trip and prior to the lesson. The instructor will confirm this with you before starting the lesson. If you have not done it, and are not able/willing to do it on your phone, you will be asked to leave the lesson.

If we are unable to run the buses, we will not be running any HPSC lessons.

If you have questions about our lessons and new protocols, please contact crosscountry@hpsc.ca.