Joe Saliba I joined HPSC many years ago as a step 3. After a few years of amazing lessons, I made it all the way to step 9. I left the club when I got married and had kids. I got my Level 1 and taught at Glen Eden for many years. I later got my Level 2 and eventually my Level 3. I am now a returning member.
I really love skiing and as such, would like to share my passion with others and help them improve their skiing. I’ve done many amazing ski trips with the club and have been able to ski in some exciting destinations around the world. I met many people in the club whom I’m still friends with after all these years.
Ephraim Fernandez My life changed during my first Frosh week – I discovered the U of T Ski Club, joined it and got hooked forever. I learned to ski with minimal instruction but skied with a patroller friend and picked up what I could. Over the years, I refined my style and perfected my bad habits. Kids and work made skiing a minor part of winter for many years, but youthful strong abs and quads allowed for lots of fun, mostly with family. About 15 years ago when my kids left the nest, I joined HPSC and started over. I unlearned my ski style and High Park’s wonderful instructors taught me how to use my new shaped skis from Step 3 up. It’s now time to give back by teaching those who want to learn how to have fun in Winter. From Breckenridge to Mt. Ste. Anne and Killington, Chamonix and Zermatt to Innsbruck – so many memories, for so many years skiing bareheaded except for the coldest days. Now always helmeted. I look forward to skiing with many of you this winter and those following. Thinking snow!
Herbert Hoff I joined the Club in 1984 and participated in several social committees up until I took Instructor Training on skis in 1987. I successfully passed my first CSIA level 1 course in March of 1988 and achieved my Level 2 two years later.
I have the honor of being the first person to have ever put a snowboard into a bus bin for a HPSC trip on the way up to Mount St. Louis. If looks could kill, then I was a dead man several times over.
It all worked out in the end as Ron Dean and I became the first Certified Snowboard Instructors in the winter season of 1994-1995, the first year that CASI officially organized. I was the first Snowboard Instructor to reach a Level 2 and 3 and Level 1 Course Conductor status as a HPSC member. I stayed on as a member for 17 years then became a Dad which kiboshed opportunities to continue teaching with the Club.
I had the pleasure of serving on the Executive for several years including a couple of seasons as the Director of Skiing for the club. I also organized and ran the High Park Inline Skate Club with as many as 130 members who enjoyed the summer season riding local trails and destinations such as Niagara Falls and the Kingston/Gananoque area.
For the interim years, when not with HPSC, I taught skiing and snowboarding at Earl Bales Ski Centre primarily focusing on the adaptive and integrated program for challenged children.
My favourite ski/snowboard destinations are surprisingly not the big mega resorts; rather, I rank Sutton and Stoneham as great spots for all around good times – the glades, night skiing, the food, accommodations and ambiance. Looking forward to “Good Times” on the snow with HPSC again this coming season!
February Day Trips All February trips are now open for registration. Please register early to avoid disappointment. February day trips are popular, since winter conditions will be amazing during the height of the winter season. If a day trip is full, please register for the waitlist. If there is enough interest, there will be a second bus added.
Bring-a-friend policy You are allowed to bring up to 3 friends on any downhill bus trip this season. However, to prioritize registration for members, guest registration will open 48 hours before the closing of trip registration. Space for guests will depend on the remaining availability of the trip.Guests may only come on ONE trip per season (even if they know multiple club members). If they like skiing with the club, encourage them to join. Our club can only run because we have a membership based structure. Guests must be 21 years of age or older, and the member must accompany their guest on the day trip. Guests are only allowed on the bus. If drive ups bring guests, they cannot participate in any lessons. Guests on the bus are allowed to participate in a lesson. The sponsoring member must help your guests register for a lesson or assessment. There is a $25 fee per guest plus the standard costs of a day trip (bus fare, lift ticket, rentals).
A Note About Bus Vouchers If you receive a bus voucher and want to use it for a trip, please remember to bring the physical voucher on the bus and hand it in to the bus captain. If you don’t, your account will be invoiced for the bus trip (but you can use the voucher for another trip). We need the physical vouchers – no exceptions!If you have signed up for a trip using a voucher, and do not show up for the trip, your account will be invoiced for your bus seat. The voucher can be used for another trip. In order to provide buses for all our trips, the club needs to ensure that the bus cost is adequately covered.The above applies to both downhill and cross-country day trips.
It has finally happened – we are back to our regular schedule!!
This past Saturday we held our traditional Double Double day with lessons both in the morning and afternoon at Mount St. Louis. And we were finally, after a number of weeks of disappointment, able to run cross-country trips due to the recent snowfall in resort country. Thank you to Heather for all her work in juggling the cross-country schedule to get the first trips run. This coming weekend our initial charter trips of the season leave for Jackson Hole and for France. I hope everyone has a fantastic time!
Just a reminder, for those who haven’t been on our day trips in a few seasons: Last year we had to adjust our registration deadlines due to our change in bus company. For weekend trips (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) the deadline is now on the Tuesday prior at 6 pm. The deadline for Wednesday trips is the previous Thursday at 6 pm. To avoid disappointment please sign up early. If the trip is full, please sign up on the waitlist. If there is enough interest, we will add a second bus (which also means using our two additional pick-up locations of Queen’s Quay and Liberty Village).
Regarding cross-country day trips, please make sure to read the trip descriptions carefully and follow updated posts on our Facebook group, regarding when trips open for registration. Due to the uncertainty of conditions, at least so far this season, registration is being opened when we are sure the resort conditions will allow us to run trips. This is to avoid having to process a large number of refunds which costs the club in credit cards fees.
Also as a reminder, if you need to cancel a day trip you have registered for, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To end on a personal note, I am very disappointed that I will once again miss skiing and snowshoeing this season. According to an MRI I had just before Christmas, I have re-ruptured my quad tendon and I needed to have surgery repeated on January 11. I am currently in a full leg cast for the next 5 weeks and will then start physio once again. However, I will try to be at as many club events as possible while I recover.
I hope everyone had a fantastic and restful holiday season and is looking forward to a great HPSC season.
This week marks the return to a more normal season – including the recent weather. While we would all love to have full snow cover and consistent lower temperatures, historically, especially here in Toronto, that has not always been the case. A thaw in January is actually very common. This is why ski resorts start as early as possible making snow to build up a base (and pack it down) to help withstand warmer temperatures and rain.
This brings me to an important point – we do not cancel downhill day trips due to weather unless it severely impacts member safety. (Cross-country is a different case, because rain and especially rain followed by lower temperatures can result in icy trails and be very dangerous for our cross-country members.) We also do not cancel trips based on long-range forecasts – since these can be notoriously unreliable.
The other thing to keep in mind is that the weather/conditions in Toronto rarely reflect the conditions at the resorts. A couple of degrees discrepancy can make a huge difference between rain and snow – just look back to pre-Christmas when Toronto received mostly rain with a little bit of snow, while fairly close, just south of Lake Ontario in the Niagara region was under severe blizzard conditions.
We would all love perfect bluebird ski days every time we go out, however that is not probable, which is why such days are so special. I hope that everyone who is going on this weekend’s trips has a fantastic time!
Unfortunately, COVID and other respiratory illnesses are clearly still with us. While this will not deter our plans for a more normal ski season, it still must be acknowledged.
The bus is the one indoor area that the club has full control over. As such, we made the decision and communicated numerous times during the fall, that we are leaving the mask mandate on the bus in place for this year. This requirement is also stated on all trip descriptions.
Given the unpredictability of case counts, we did not want to have to reimpose masks if public health rules reverted back.
Many of you have received every COVID shot available to you; however, there are others who have not. While it was extremely important last season, requiring proof of vaccination was a huge undertaking for a volunteer club. Given that there is currently no recognized number of what is considered as the effective vaccination level and the proportion with booster shots is not as high as the initial shots, retaining masks on the bus is the most basic level of protection we could insist on.
We apologize for any inconvenience, but this is the club policy for the current season. Those who contravene the policy may face club disciplinary action.
We join clubs because we want to be around other people but have learned over the past couple of years that we have to work together to keep each other healthy! As announced last summer, masks will be required on the bus portion of all long trips. While no one really likes wearing masks, we’ve gotten used to it. A number of respiratory viruses have already made their appearance this winter. Let’s continue to work together and adhere to our club’s mask wearing policy and keep each other healthy.
Don’t forget that cancellations do occur, so don’t hesitate to add your name to the waitlist for a trip. Once a spot opens up, that matches your needs, the trip leader will contact you. You can then make a Go/No Go decision. The $100 HPSC deposit will be needed to secure your spot. On most trips, the balance will also be due within the next 24 hours.
The Downhill Snow School would like to welcome 7 New Instructors to the team this season! Check out who they are and what their favourite things to do are. Keep your eyes out as we introduce you over the next several weeks. Today we introduce Jackson Huang, Ski Instructor and Carmen Lopez, Snowboard Instructor.
Why I became an instructor – My drug of choice is white powder. Ski instructing provides the goods and those to share it with.
Why I love the club – It’s full of addicts like me.
Ski memory: The final run of sensational week of backcountry skiing at Fairy Meadow, before the helicopter flight back to reality in Golden…a perfect run in pristine white.
Hi everyone, my name is Carmen, and I am back with High Park Snow Club as a member and a snowboard instructor for the much anticipated 2022-2023 snow season! My first-time setting foot on a board was in 2000 in Ottawa; shortly after, I gave up my skis to surf the solid slopes. My two most memorable snowboard experiences were with Selkirk Powder outback guided tours at Schweitzer Mountain, Idaho, and split-boarding at Bridger Bowl, Montana.
I have been a certified instructor since 2005, and have enjoyed instructing children, adolescents, and adults, when I have had the time between work, school and travel. This year I have made the commitment to HPSC because they are the friendliest and longest running organized snow club in Toronto, who encourage and expect only the highest standards from their instructors, and who also know how to have a great time! I’m looking forward to meeting the new and returning snowboard enthusiasts, and working alongside the amazing HPSC ski, snowboard and cross-country instructors to make this post-pandemic winter season epic!
December 21 is the Winter Solstice – the official beginning of winter. Beginning tomorrow, each day starts to get longer. This time of year most religions and cultures have some sort of holiday or festival that celebrates new life or a rebirth. This year our club is also celebrating a rebirth. Over the last three seasons, we have tried to do what we could to keep our club going, to provide an experience which is at the core of High Park Ski Club. While we still need to be careful, things are feeling much closer to normal than they have been in a long time.
This time of the year also represents the beginning of the most crucial 90 days in the annual HPSC calendar. We work all year long for what happens in the next three months. In the last couple of weeks, we have held our First Tracks Holiday event, our first downhill day trip, our first overnight trip, and day trips have opened for registration.
Our membership numbers continue to grow each day! Over the holidays, please talk to your family and friends about the club and encourage them to join us!
Things are moving forward for what I hope will be one of the best HPSC seasons ever!
Hello, I am a returning instructor at HPSC. I initially joined HPSC in 2001 as my ski buddies were raising families and were not available to do the week long ski trip with the ‘boys’. I started taking lessons to meet fellow skiers and realized that I was not a good technical skier. Over the first few seasons I became friends with many fellow skiers and continued my skill development. With encouragement from the trainers, I took my Level 1. My goal was to have more exposure to improve on my skiing, but initially I did not have the desire to teach. However, once I started teaching, I found that I enjoyed the satisfaction of helping improve one’s ability and the enjoyment of skiing on more challenging terrain regardless of their ability.
I taught for 3 seasons with HPSC, getting my Level 2. An opportunity arose and I was hired to teach at Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna BC. Skiing on a mountain the size of Big White and the expanse of terrain available and the “Okanagan Champagne Powder ” challenged you, especially the daily training sessions helped develop your skill and the number of lessons taught helped fine tune your teaching/skiing.
During my first season, a fellow instructor commented that ‘You should go to Australia’ to which I replied, ‘They have snow there?’. It was often noted that if you want to teach, go to Australia, if you want to ski, go to New Zealand. Wanting to continue working on my teaching, I spent the next 4 seasons at Mt. Hotham in Australia. It is an inverted ski resort with the village at the top of the mountain. The last 2 seasons, I taught 1448 and 1500 students and over 220 lessons per season.
I continued to be involved with various programs at Big White for the next few years. After my 4th season, Josh Foster, the Ski & Board School Director asked me to be his Assistant Director to the Adult side of the Ski & Board School which I continued for the next 11 seasons, before I retired. After 15 seasons, the transient life made my decision to return to Ontario. I had the opportunity to work for one of the best instructors in Canada and my staff made working a joy. With Covid during my last season, I was able to teach more than a handful of lessons a season and it reinforced my enjoyment of teaching.
I look forward to renewing friendships and teaching again to see the smile on their face when they take the next step.
I have been snowboarding for more than 20 years (I can’t believe it has been that long!) and an instructor for about 3 years. I love snowboarding because it makes me fully focused and forget everything else in life while snowboarding. What I like about HPSC is how it has allowed me to meet great people with different backgrounds from the city I live in. By meeting and interacting with other HPSC instructors and members, I feel I have matured as a person and learned how to be respectful to others. 🙂 My favourite ski memory is riding down a slope covered with a lot of powder at Revelstoke Mountain, which felt like riding on silk.
As you read this, I will be on my way in Pittsburgh to celebrate American Thanksgiving with my close friend Tricia, her husband and their two girls. Which is why I see this as another time to give thanks.
It is not a stretch to say that the first two years of being President were not exactly what I had envisioned for the club. So a big thank you to all of you who have kept the faith in our club by renewing your membership and to all the new members who have joined this year. And of course, a thank you to those who have talked up our club to your friends and family. Word of mouth is one of our most effective ways of gaining new members!
I also want to thank the returning members, new members, and potential members who came out this fall to our weekly SkiFit. Our final session was this past Saturday. On average we had about 35 to 40 participants each Saturday, which is about the same as pre-pandemic. A thank you also goes out to John McHutchion and Karen Evans for once again leading the sessions, and to all the weekly volunteers for leading the various hiking groups.
As we get closer to the start of the season, there will be a number of announcements from our Downhill and Cross-country teams on Facebook and in SnoBiz regarding their portfolios. Please pay attention and read all the information that is published.
One area we are trying to re-establish as a club are social events, so I am happy to mention that we will be having our First Tracks Holiday Party on December 8th. Please see the article below for more details. I hope to meet as many of you as possible at the party.
On a personal note, as many of you may know I am a huge Toronto Argonaut fan, so I also want to give thanks for our big win in the Grey Cup game this past Sunday. As a point of interest, the Argos now have more championships than all of the other major Toronto sports teams combined!