High Park Ski Club

Where do we ski and snowshoe?

We go to nearly a dozen different resorts in Southern Ontario, most of which are within a two hour drive from the city. Some resorts offer groomed ski trails, marked snowshoe trails, a pro shop and a cafeteria for lunch. Other destinations (such as Provincial Parks) offer a more rustic environments, set amongst rivers and lakes.

The great thing is that you don't even have to buy your own equipment (especially if you're just starting out). Rental equipment (classic skis, skate skis and snowshoes) are available at most of the resorts we visit. We will even have a volunteer on each trip, to help you get organized with your rentals at the resort. If a particular destination doesn't offer rentals, we will post that in our trip bulletins but fear not - you can still arrange your own rentals at outdoor shops in the city (such as MEC).

Can I take lessons?

One of the best parts of joining the club is that it allows you to take as many lessons as you wish during the season - FOR FREE. HPSC has one of the most respected ski schools in the country and lessons are offered on almost every trip (December lessons may be limited, while our ski school prepares for the season). These are offered in small groups and make a great way to make new friends.

Our lesson levels range from "INTRO" (for complete newbies to the sport) to “GOLD” (for high level skiers that want to fine tune their skills). Early in the season, we offer "BEGINNER DAYS" and a 3-week "BEGINNER SERIES", entirely focused on helping to get you started (whether a complete beginner or a  returnee wanting to get back up to the bronze level). Mid season, we'll hold a 2-week Bronze "SKATE SERIES" followed by a 3-week Silver “SKATE SERIES”.

Don't want a full lesson? Look on our schedule for something called "TIPS & TRICKS". These are shorter, 15 minutes, one-on-one reviews of a specific ski skill of your choice with personalized tips just for you, so that you can get out on the trails as soon as possible.

How to book a lesson if you drive to the resort?

As a member of High Park Ski Club, you are eligible to take as many free ski lessons as you like. If you wish to drive up to the XC resort and take a ski lesson, here is what you need to know and do. Do not register online for the day trip. Instead, send an email to xcskischool@hpsc.ca by Thursday at 6 pm before the day trip to let us know you plan to take a lesson (specifying classic or skate and your level: Intro, Bronze, Silver or Gold) so we have enough instructors. 

At the resort just identify yourself to any of the High Park Nordic instructors once the bus arrives to be directed to the correct time and place for lessons. Note that lessons aim to start 30 min after the bus arrives so the exact start time will vary depending on the trip location, driving conditions, etc, though typically lessons tend to start between 10:30 - 11:00am.

Check the X-Country Day Trip Status Page the night before the day trip in case of a last-minute change of destination or cancellation. Plan to arrive at the resort in plenty of time to get ready for the lesson. You are responsible for purchasing your own trail pass and arranging for any rental equipment you need, and will have to pay the full retail price. You will not be eligible for any group discount.

If you have a change of plans and are no longer able to attend, please send another email to the above email address to let us know.

More information on our ski school can be seen under the "LESSONS " tab, at the top of the page.

Can I snowshoe?

Snowshoeing is a terrific Winter activity, that many of us have never tried but always wanted to. The good news is that most of the resorts we visit have marked snowshoe trails and offer rentals showshoes, so that you get either give this sport a try (if you're new to it) or so you can design an entire season of just snowshoeing (if you're an enthusiast).

Like skiing, snowshoeing can be done at a resort (with cafeteria for lunch) or at a Provincial Park (for a more rustic experience). We offer "GUIDED SNOWSHOEING" on some trips, including an "INTRO TO SNOWSHOE DAY" in January. Check out our schedule for these days.

What other XC/SS activities can I look forward to?

SKI TOURING:  Are you craving to get off groomed trails and embark on an adventure somewhere off the main path? Well, pack a lunch and your camera, and join one of our ski touring trips. Our trip leaders will guide small groups (often organised according to the speed and distance people want to cover) along rivers and lakes, keeping an eye out for wildlife and interesting footprints int he snow. Sometimes, we'll be on basic groomed trails, sometimes the trails have only been skied and, if you're lucky, we might even break trail to explore somewhere fun.

RACING: Have you ever wondered what your time would be during a race? Are you interested to see if you can ski faster than your best friend? Or are you a curious beginner, that has never experienced a race before? Look out for our race schedule. There is need to be timid about this. All our races are fun events, meant for skiers of all levels (as long as you think you can complete the posted distance). Check out our race schedule and talk to our race volunteers.

DINNER TRIPS: Are you so hungry after a day skiing, that you can't wait to get home? Or, have you made a few new friends that you would like to get to know a bit better? What better way to end a day out skiing and snowshoeing, then to enjoy dinner at a nearby restaurant with a busload of your closest friends.

POT-LUCK DINNERS: Some of our trips can be a bit further (we go up to Arrowhead Provincial Park near Huntsville and Georgian Nordic near Parry Sound). What better way to enjoy the bus ride home, then to bring along a savoury or sweet dish to share with everyone on the bus. Our pot-luck trips are legendary, with some closet chefs whipping up home made treats to share.

SOCIAL: During the season, we'll often find a reason to add some social fun to our trips. It could be as simple as offering juice and donuts on the first bus trips of the year or sharing sweet treats on the ride home during our DEATH-BY-CHOCOLATE trips (near Valentine's Day). Or maybe, you want to wear a goofy green hat on St. Patrick's Day, while trying to answer Nicole's obscure Irish trivia questions? 

Look for these - and other activities - on our schedule.

How do I register for a Cross Country or Snowshoe trip?

Booking a trip is easy. When you join the club, you will be given a username and password, so that you can log-in as a member.

Then, simply look at the calender at the bottom of this page (or in the EVENTS window at the top) and look for a trip that interest you. Select that trip and follow the instructions to register. You will be asked to answer a few questions (to help us plan the activities you want to choose) and to select (and pay for) the bus, trail and rentals (if needed) fees, using your credit card.

Remember that registration closes at 6:00 pm on the Thursday before each trip. Also note that it is possible for a trip to sell out, so we suggest that you avoid waiting to the last minute, if you want to ensure getting on a trip. If a trip is sold out, you may want to keep checking in, in case a spot opens up (if someone cancels their booking).

You will receive an email confirmation, which you can print and bring with you on the trip (as proof of payment).

Can I cancel a booking?

If you decide that you cannot attend the trip you booked (or want to switch to another day instead), you can easily cancel your registration. Just remember that the cancellation deadline is at 8:00 pm on the WEDNESDAY evening before your trip. After that time, all registrations are locked and your bus fee is non-refundable.

If an entire trip has to be cancelled at our end (usually due to poor weather/conditions for skiing), everyone's full registration will be refunded and an e-mail will be sent to you, confirming the trip cancellation.

Where are trip details posted?

On Thursday evening, our volunteers close the registration module and begin preparing the trips for that weekend. Once organised (usually on Thursday night or Friday morning), we will post final trip details and the bus pick-up schedule in two places:

a) DAY TRIP STATUS:  There is a "DAY TRIP STATUS" window at the top-right of this page. This is your central spot for final trip news/info.

b) SNOW PHONE: Don't have internet access at the moment? No worries. You can also call the Snow Phone Line, to get the final trip details. Simply call 416-537-7669 and follow the instructions to get the Cross Country and Snowshoeing Day Trip details message.

Where are the bus pickup points (and departure times)?

For cross country and snowshoeing trips, we use four main pick-up stops: Bloor & Indian Road, Yonge & Davenport, Yonge & Eglinton, Yonge & York Mills. On Sundays and for 2-bus trips, we will also pick up at Hwy 7 & 400 (and sometimes at Bay & Queen's Quay).

Note that our stops and pick-up times are different from what our downhill friends use and can vary on different days, so we always ask that you always check the "DAY TRIP STATUS" the night before your trip. You can check HERE for directions to each stop. Parking is available at most stops. Aim to arrive at your pickup point 10 minutes (allowing extra time to find parking) before the bus is scheduled to leave. In order to keep on schedule, the bus will not wait past the departure time.

What if I am a no-show on a trip?

Occasionally, something comes up at the last minute. Maybe you feel a head cold coming on or maybe your in-laws suddenly decided to pop over for a visit or maybe you just forgot to check the correct bus schedule and missed the bus. If that happens, the cost of your bus seat is non-refundable (the club depends on bus bookings to run each trip). The good news is that your unused trail fee and rentals will be refunded to your credit card though.

What to wear on the trail:

  • X-country skiers dress a lot like runners. Wear warm and breathable layers that you can take on and off to adjust to the weather. Also helpful are a hat, gloves/mitts, light scarf, and sunglasses. A light windproof outer layer (jacket/wind pants) is a blessing on windy days, and if it is cold, don’t forget that long underwear!
  • Snowshoers can generally wear the same type of layered, breathable clothing as x-country skiers, although you may need an extra layer for added warmth.
  • Everyone should bring sunscreen and lip balm to protect all exposed skin.

What to bring with you:

  • Your ski equipment (unless you are renting.) Make sure your ski bag and all other bags are labelled with your name – you’d be surprised how many people forget this!
  • Wear your winter boots and pack your ski boots. Your ski boots will stay warmer if you bring them on the bus.
  • Your trip confirmation email
  • Snacks and lunch, or money to buy them. Some resorts and parks do not have lunch facilities. Check the website for the day’s location.
  • A fanny pack with water bottle, lip balm, sunscreen and other small items while you’re out on the trails, and a day pack or gym bag to leave with any spare clothing in the lodge.
  • Many x-country skiers wear a warmer jacket to get to and from the resort and change to a lighter jacket on arrival.

A few bus trip courtesy tips:

  • Ensure that your ski bags have luggage tags. Skis and snowshoes are stowed under the bus. For the return trip to Toronto, the bins are labelled by drop-off location, so that you can place your equipment in the correct bin. Always double check, to make sure you are taking YOUR ski bag (they all look the same and if you happen to take someone else's bag, it may belong to a member or instructor that is scheduled to ski the next day).
  • It is just fine to bring refreshments on the bus. Sharing a snack on the way home is a wonderful tradition and sure to make you a favoured seat partner.
  • Keep the same seat for the trip home and enjoy socializing with your neighbours.

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