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Let's Embrace Winter Together!

Explore a world of snowy trails and serene landscapes on skis. With our free lessons you'll be gliding along trails in tranquil forests in no time.

Cross-Country Ski School

Why learn to cross-country ski with HPSC?

Our certified instructors offer cross-country ski lessons on most bus trips (except the very start and very end of the season).

  1. Lessons are free with your membership.
  2. No limits: you can take a lesson every time you come on a day trip.
  3. Instructors are all certified by the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors (CANSI) and participate in professional development opportunities every winter.
  4. Lessons are in small groups with individualized attention (we aim for no more than 6 people in a lesson).
  5. It’s social! You meet fellow skiers at your level to ski with in the afternoon, and on future day trips.
Note that cross-country does not allow driving up to lessons. All members must take the bus.
HPSC Cross Country Instructors

Cross-Country Ski Lesson Levels

Classic and Skate Ski Levels

There are 5 levels for classic and skate. Below you will find explanations of each level to help you decide which level you should be in. Don't worry too much about it; when we see you ski, we can place you in the right group. All members who sign up in advance will receive lessons; we may not be able to accommodate those who do not register in advance.

For more information on lessons, see the FAQ page first. If your question is not answered, you can email

Classic 1/Skate 1

  • I am brand new to skiing or have only been on skis once or twice a long time ago.
  • I feel uncomfortable on skis – my balance is very unsteady. I fall often.
  • I don’t even want to think about hills!
  • Usually people only spend one or two lessons at this level. It is meant as a very introductory lesson.

Classic 2/Skate 2

  • I feel uncomfortable or unsteady at times, but don't usually fall on flat terrain.
  • I don’t think I understand the basic techniques.
  • I feel like I am shuffling or walking on skis. In classic, my skis don't leave the ground, and in skate, I am always on the inside edges. 
  • I get very little glide when I ski.
  • I am still hesitant on gentle hills.

Classic 3/Skate 3

  • I understand the basic techniques.
  • I feel comfortable moving on skis, but my skiing still feels choppy.
  • I get some glide (rather than shuffling or walking on skis). On classic, my skis sometimes leave the snow, but I hear my skis slapping behind me when they return to the snow. On skate, I can land on a flat ski occasionally. 
  • I can get myself up and down gentle to moderate hills.

Classic 4/Skate 4

  • My skiing feels more fluid.
  • I can glide with all my weight on one ski some of the time. On classic, I don't hear my ski slapping behind me as much (although it still happens occasionally). On skate, I can land on a flat ski more consistently with better glide.
  • I feel comfortable on intermediate trails.
  • I can get myself up and down most hills, although still hesitant on the steep ones.

Classic 5/Skate 5

  • My skiing feels fluid.
  • I can glide with all my weight on one ski most of the time for both classic and skate. My classic skiing is quiet (i.e., I don't hear my skis slapping behind me) and I can glide with good balance in skate skiing.
  • I am comfortable on all the trails and most hills.
  • I think I’m ready to spend time refining the more advanced techniques and learning transitions between techniques to be more efficient on the trail.

Special Programming

In addition to regular lessons, we offer special clinics or programs through the season: 

Tips & tricks: These are for L3+ students. These are 15 minute sessions one on one with an instructor to work on a particular skill. You can tell the instructor what you want to work on, or you can ask to be assessed and the instructor can pick one thing for you to work on. You will register online when you sign up for the trip and on the day you will be told what time and where to meet for your 15 minute lesson. If you want a bit of instruction, but don't want to spend all morning in a lesson, this is for you! You register when you sign up for trips online.

Hill clinics: Getting up and down hills can be scary, but it's an essential skill! To help you develop your skills and confidence, we offer special clinics that focus only on hills (usually at Highlands, where there is a good hill to do this). You register when you sign up for trips online.

Ski Better, Faster: This special clinic is for L3 students + who have familiarity with all the major techniques in either skate or classic (whichever one is offered). Skiing to the trail and your abilities is key to skiing more efficiently (and thus faster), so this clinic works on how to transition between techniques to get the most of out of your skiing. You register when you sign up for trips online.

Classic Beginners' Series: This is a series for very beginner skiers (those of who have never skied before, or perhaps have only skied once or twice a long time ago). You stay with the same instructor for three weeks of lessons (dates will be in the schedule). You must be able to make all three dates; if not, that's ok - we offer beginner lessons on every single trip (outside of the series). You must register by email (email will be updated closer to the season).

There is no additional cost for these programs. If we offer them, you can find the dates in our schedule. There is no guarantee that we will offer special programs every the season; it depends on the number of instructors available.

We also offer opportunities to train to become an instructor with the club. This is a great way to give back to the club and share your love of skiing and it is a great way to improve your own skiing. Email us at to find out more!

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