Important Trakkers Trips and Events Update

Dear Trakkers – in recognition of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the club’s executive has decided to cancel this week’s proposed Sunday trip, and thus our skiing season comes to an end. There will be no further Sunday trips planned. Our planned Annual General Meeting and Year-End Party, scheduled to take place on April 8, is also being cancelled.

We have made this decision after careful consideration of Public Health Canada’s guidelines about risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings during the COVID-19 global outbreak. While our Sunday trips may not traditionally be considered as a “mass gathering”, we are extremely mindful of the close proximity of our members while on the bus, and the club’s inability to assess potential high-risk factors such as individuals’ travel histories or those who may have occupational exposure. Additionally, the demographic in our club is diverse — including older adults and/or people potentially with immune vulnerabilities — and we feel that getting out for “one last ski” simply doesn’t off-set the potential risk.

We trust that our members respect this decision. Any members who may have signed up and paid for this Sunday’s trip will have their accounts credited in full. An additional update re: AGM rescheduling / alternate approach will be communicated once more information is available.

Best wishes,
Your Trakkers Executive

March 2020 President’s Broadcast

Hello Trakkers!

We have had a fantastic end-of-season with one trip yet on the horizon. Even though spring is in the air the snow base further north is still decent. Keep your eye on our website and social media platforms for updates on our next trip!

Annual General Meeting

We have recently provided you with Notice of AGM.  Relevant materials, including nomination and proxy forms can be found on the Operations page of our website.  Log into your Trakkers account to access this. The AGM takes place at 6:30 p.m. at the Burdock Brewery, 1184 Bloor St. W. (between Dufferin and Lansdowne). The meeting will be short (we are aiming for 30 min’s) after which we will have our…

Year-End Party!!!!!

Come on out and join us for an evening of yummy food, friends, freshly-brewed beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages and some music! The venue is really lovely and we have a private space all to ourselves. Tickets are $25 per person, food included, cash bar. For more information and to register and purchase tickets go to our website and log into your account, like you would for a Sunday trip. Bring a friend & let’s celebrate the end of a fantastic season!

Weekend Trips

Woolner House (Highlands Nordic) will no longer be available to us for the season of 2020-2021. We are now searching for a new destination and need your help! If you know of a fabulous Nordic skiing destination within southern or central Ontario please contact us to share your idea with Henry Furlott, our Weekend Trips Director. Henry can be reached at: weekendtrips@trakkers.ca

Payment Reminder

Something to remember for the remainder of  this season (and to file in your memory bank for next season): It really helps us if you pay your fare as early as possible versus waiting until hours before a Sunday trip departure to pay online. This ensures that data on the check in tablets the bus captains use is as up-to-date as possible. Do please try to pay before noon on the Saturday before the trip. Our bus captains do an amazing job but are occasionally stretched with distractions that could easily be avoided and make for a more smooth check-in for everyone. Thanking you all in advance!

Let’s hope for one more trip this Sunday and see you at the AGM and Year End Party!

Katja Lutte

President, Trakkers XC Ski Club

February 2020 President’s Broadcast

Hello Trakkers!

We have been blessed with good conditions, most recently for our trip to beautiful, spectacular Arrowhead Provincial Park.

Since we do pre-announce trips farther away destinations, you may want to know that we will go back to Arrowhead again on March 1st. Again, there will be an early departure at 8:00 a.m.

Wine & Cheese

A great Wine & Cheese Event was held this year at Scenic Caves.  Thanks to Gina Ang for putting on a great spread.  Below, Gina’s salad bar – one of several tables of treats.

Annual General Meeting and Year-End Event

This year’s AGM and Year-End Event will take place on April 8th. The AGM will take place at 6:30 p.m. Our party will start at 7 p.m. we will be at:

This year’s AGM and Year-End Event will take place on April 8th. The AGM will take place at 6:30 p.m. Our party will start at 7 p.m. we will be at:

Burdock Brewery

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The brewery is located on Bloor St. Between Dufferin and Lansdowne.

1184 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1N2

Food at the Burdock is delicious. Plentiful and delicious appetizers will be served. Ticket price is $25 per person. This includes food. There is a cash bar serving both wine and beer.

This is a really nice little micro brewery with a private party space at the back of the brewery, reserved just for Trakkers.

Board Position Recruitment

Thanks to an active Nomination Committee we have made some progress with recruitment for participation on our Board of Directors. We have a couple of key positions for which we still need volunteers. These are:

Director Responsible for Sunday Trips: This involves setting up a tentative trips schedule toward reserving coaches early in the season, keeping an eye on conditions to confirm those trips or choose a different destination based on conditions and communicating with our webmaster and communications director to make sure our membership knows where we are going. Much of the initial planning and confirming if rates and coaches happens early in the season. Weekly tasks become quite routine once the season starts. The person who takes this on does not need to be an experienced skier or attend every trip. Good communication and the ability to organize and schedule are the main requirements for this position. The Board is always happy to supports this person in decision-making, if needed.Any questions, contact: sundaytrips@trakkers.ca

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Director Responsible for Ski School: This image may have sparked your curiosity about becoming an instructor.  We are recruiting for next season. We need someone to share this portfolio with someone who has already offered to do this part-time. By part time we mean carry half of the load. The person who has already volunteered is an instructor, so the other director would not need to have instructor experience. It is a very rewarding experience and opportunity to meet and help fellow Trakkers.
Contact: lessons@trakkers.ca for details.  

Director Responsible for Weekend Trips: This position requires requires regular follow-up to the two resorts the club books. First the deposit, then the final payment. It might also require a new venue if one becomes unavailable. This director follows up with members who apply to secure payment and to assign rooms and cottages.  Some adjustment in cottages might be necessary if numbers are too low.  Any questions about this position ca be directed to: weekendtrips@trakkers.ca

The Trakkers board are is a committed and fun bunch. We meet once a month at Swansea Town Hall. Remote participation is possible. Please submit expressions of interest to: president@trakkers.ca

Membership Fee Drop

If your friends have joined you as guests and had a great time, Or membership fees go down to $50 after February 15th.

That’s all and, until next time, be among those who still say LET IT SNOW!!!

Katja Lutte,

President, Trakkers XC Ski Club

January 2020 President’s Broadcast

Hello Trakkers!

I would like to to start this broadcast by welcoming our many new and returning members!

Sunday Trip Logistics

We would like to review, again, our system for weekly Sunday trips communication.

With the exceptions of trips farther away, as well as our wine & cheese event, we have decided not to post a seasonal schedule, as we frequently change destination due to very changeable weather conditions.

The home page of our website will have the most recent information about the next Sunday trip. This is posted on the Monday before the Sunday trip. Our social media platforms will also broadcast the next destination starting on Mondays. Critical updates relating to weather and cancellations will also be posted.

Information about farther-away trips and our annual wine and cheese trip is posted on the Sunday Trips page of  our website. There, you will also find other helpful information about trips, followed by a list of our destinations, amenities at the resorts, trail fees and rentals rates.

We would also like to remind you to please do your best to bring cash in the exact amount for bus fare and  trail fees for you and your guests. This will make the lives of your volunteer bus captains much easier. We thank you in advance for this!

Recent Trips

We have had a couple of trips to Scenic Caves in December, which was a pretty good start to the season. On January 5th we took two buses to Highlands Nordic, where conditions were surprisingly good, given rain at lower altitude and somewhat warmer temps.

We arrived to freshly baked goods – always a huge draw at Highlands, where home-cooked foods are always prepared for us!

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We met quite a few new members, which is always great.  Many enjoyed the benefits of our various types of lessons.  See our instructor Laurel stretching with her students before heading out on the trails.

… and we never get tired of this beautiful view of beautiful Georgian Bay!

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Unfortunately weather was not kind to us last weekend.  Still, we wait for snow and here’s hoping …

In the meantime, if you are new to skiing and want to know how to dress for the occasion, or if you just want to read a fun little article, read the blog Dress for Success, written by our volunteer blogger Gillian Kranias. Thanks Gillian!

February 2nd – Trakkers Wine & Cheese

Our annual wine and cheese event is set to take place on our February 2nd trip to Scenic Caves. Make sure you join us for a fun time skiing and socializing in a cozy log cabin. Finger foods and wine, as well as non-alcoholic drinks will be provided. This is a great time to bring a friend to introduce them to the club. Do register early, as the trip sells out quickly. If you are interested in volunteering with set up and clean up of the event please contact Gina Ang at social@trakkers.ca.

March 1st Trip to Arrowhead Provincial Park

We will be going to Arrowhead Provincial Park on March 1st.  The park now has  a large new visitors’ centre which also contains the rentals service. Arrowhead also has superior grooming equipment. You can also bring your skates and skate on their beautiful ice trails which wind through the forest. The location is in the hilly terrain of our Canadian Shield which is truly  beautiful.

This is most definitely a trip well worth putting on your list.  More information will be provided on our website and through our social media platforms.

Planning for Year End Event

We’re starting to plan our year end party and need your help! Please take a few minutes to complete a survey at this link. This will help us make it an event we will all enjoy!

Weekend Trip To Blue Spruce – Algonquin Park

The Blue Spruce weekend trip from February 7 – 9 still has places available. For more information, please contact weekendtrips@trakkers.ca.

Giving Back to the Club – Are You a Future Member of the Trakkers Board of Directors?

We are looking for new people to join our fabulous Board of Directors. As you probably know, every single aspect of our club is driven by volunteers.

With many of our board members having held various portfolios for a number of years and with two departures due to job relocation, we find ourselves in the concerning situation of key board positions becoming vacant at the end of this season. Not being able to fill key positions would cause significant challenges to the club, including possibly affecting our historically good membership rates.

Aside from being in real need of help, we can also say with solid reassurance that being on our board is a good experience. Here is what some board members have to say about their experience:

“Firstly, I like working with fun, like-minded members who are passionate about Trakkers. I also like being a part of the decision-making part of the club. I thrive on systems and order so I feel fulfilled with my work-making the ski school run as smoothly as possible.”

“It provides a platform to spread the word about the club to anyone you encounter. It  feels great to contribute to an organization that you know is entirely volunteer-run and introduces you to a great winter activity.”

Board members receive free membership as a small token of appreciation for their time.  Board meetings are once a month and are productive, fun and usually involve pizza. Board members are a friendly group that support one another. The average time commitment for board members is 6-8 hours per month. We are also broadening opportunities for participating in board meetings remotely (i.e. via Skype) for the 2020-2021 season. To become a board member, it is not necessary to participate in every ski trip.

Below are a couple of portfolios open and the skills we are looking for:

Director of Ski School

  • Good organizer and communicator
  • Comfortable with managing 9 Ski School Instructors
  • Willing to become familiar with CANSI (Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors) training
  • Familiar with google sheets for scheduling instructors
  • Familiar with apps such as Doodle to schedule Instructor meetings and an Instructor workshops
  • Comfortable with creating a seasonal Ski School budget and anticipating costs for the season.
  • Maintaining Ski School Dropbox with relevant templates and schedules pertinent to Ski School
  • Liaison with:
    • Communication director for social media postings related to ski school
    • Web master for weekly updates to website or changes to Lessons page
    • Bus captain coordinator
    • Members and instructors in recruitment of new instructors

Director of Bus Captains

  • Problem solver
  • Works well in Excel
  • Has the patience and positive demeanor to teach and encourage new bus captains

Treasurer

  • Experience in finance/banking/accounting/bookkeeping/budgeting
  • Experience managing low-risk investments

Weekend Trips

  • Good communication skills
  • Organizational skills toward finding and booking resort destinations

Please contact me if you are interested in becoming a Trakkers board member at: president@trakkers.ca

We would like to thank those of you who have come forward to express interest or have confirmed that you would stand for other portfolios.  Please know that we are beyond grateful and thrilled!

Is Your Membership Profile Updated?

Last but not least, when was the last time you looked at your membership profile to see whether it is still up to date? We are asking returning members to please log in to your account and select “Edit Profile” to ensure your profile is updated.

Wishing you all well as the days get longer!

Katja Lutte,

President, Trakkers XC Ski Club

Dress for Success on the Trails

By Gillian Kranias (aka Trakkers’ investigative fashion journalist)

When skiing as part of a community, and one that involves collective bus rides, it’s fun to explore our diversity, as it intersects with our common love for winter. For this blog post, I interviewed several Trakkers skiers about “what is essential in how you dress for the trails?”

Besides being a fun collection of human-interest snapshots, I hope this post will provide helpful guidance to new skiers, and a new idea or two for any of us still refining our personal ski fashion.

Add a layer to your hiking gear

In the bus on the way up, I chatted with Trakker’s social events coordinator Gina Ang. She had a simple rule: wear hiking gear, plus a water-resistant layer. Now, that keeps a wardrobe simple!

Invest in the base and the extremities

In the cabin at lunch I talked with Pascal. He shared more specific details, such as wear a synthetic base layer that fits close to your skin, for “wicking” (this brings the sweat out, keeps you dry). Care for your extremities with an athletic wear (or wool) hat and gloves (switch to mittens when it is cold). Pascal wears no scarf. He says it gets in the way. Learning this, I inquired about the collar on his base layer – which raises slightly over the neck.

Pascal gracefully agreed to pose for you all, so you can see the very particular zippered neck on his synthetic base layer. (I realized my outfit benefits from a similar-shaped neck which is both fashionable and “snug”, but unlike Pascal, I add a scarf on top.)

The good ol’ (or new) balaclava

While we were speaking about extremities, another Trakkers member chimed in about the multiple benefits of a balaclava for protecting her from the wind. We took a series of pictures as she demonstrated how versatile this one piece of gear can be.

There are essentially three ways to wear it. Apparently MEC has several styles to choose from, all black. Looking online just now, I also find cheaper and more colourful varieties for those who prefer.

Wear what you’ve got

So far, the people I have talked to are wearing newer, high-tech ski fashions. So, in the interests of being a balanced journalist (or perhaps to highlight some of my own tendencies) I started to seek out some less conventional ski fashion models.

Lindsay, our bus captain coordinator, was snacking outside in her oversize downhill pants. When I asked about them, she explained that she is originally from Vancouver, and started cross-country skiing in Ontario because our hills are too small. She has been skiing in these old downhill pants for 4 years:

Lindsay said she still hasn’t gotten around to “getting something more appropriate”. In response, I asked : “When has it been a problem…?” and she laughed, “It’s never been a problem!”

The hoodie takes [care of] all

The Trakkers teen contingent was straight forward. You need the hoodie. Like the balaclava, it can be worn many ways and, when needed, block the wind (it was a windy day).

Unlike Lindsay, who encountered no problems with her unconventional gear, these boys did: “The only problem is … it obstructs your view.”

The best advice from a beginner, for beginners

None of the folks I interviewed have a PhD in winter dressing. And I remind you, reader, that “the opinions expressed in this blogpost are only the views of those interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the views of this writer, nor Trakkers Ski Club.”

I asked myself if there was something to learn from the people new to skiing, so I went to chat with the group of women who had just come in from Trakkers’ Absolute Beginners Class. They were eating their packed lunches, speaking a language other than English, and laughing a lot. Their table exuded that energy of refueling, warming up and bonding after the delights of fun in the snow. I wondered how they felt about their clothing choices and options, so I inquired.

There was a strong consensus that having padding on your pants would be the most critical advice for a beginner – to protect from all those hard falls! And the more waterproof, the better.

Everyone has cost-saving tips

As I chatted more with one of the women in the beginners’ group, Yvonne, other Trakkers members around the cabin started chipping in with shopping recommendations. A problem, noted Yvonne, is the high costs of new gear – it adds up.

To economize on costs, the following suggestions were shared:

  • “Look for fleece pants plus a [waterproof] shell.”
  • “You are small [mentioned another small woman]. I buy in the children’s section at MEC, it’s much cheaper.”
  • I recommended that Yvonne take a look at Lindsay’s lovely downhill ski pants (see pic above) and noted that larger second-hand shops tend to have these, for only a few dollars.

More scoop on pants

I later saw that Yvonne and her friends spent the afternoon playing in the snow – a great snowball fight. She told me she had packed extra pants to change into for the bus back. I agree with this advice – I always change into a dry cozy top for my trip home.

At the end of the day, before we boarded the bus home, another Trakkers teen was pleased to pose with his mom in their matching high-tech pants (more satisfied MEC customers!)

Style matches style

From talking to others, I have learned that we all dress for our own style of skiing (or snowshoeing, which I did that day). If you ski hard and sweat a lot, that top layer matters most. If you head out to distant trails (up to cliff-tops or across a farmer’s fields), you need backup options for wind protection. For beginners, who interact more with the snow on the ground, good protection on your bottom layer is key.

In my next blogpost (mid-season), I will report on equipment preferences and advice from within our diverse Trakkers community. All those choices in boots, bindings, skis and poles! Until then, keep warm and happy on the trails.

 

December 2019 President’s Broadcast

 

Hello Trakkers!

Welcome Back to Winter!!!

We are off to an early winter start with our first Sunday Trip to Scenic Caves on December 8th.

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This was our opportunity to welcome back returning Trakkers and also quite a few new members.  Conditions were decent and a good time was had by all! Unfortunately, at the moment conditions reported by Scenic Caves are not good for safe and enjoyable skiing tomorrow. Let’s all do a snow dance for the December 22th trip, Stay tuned for communications on both Facebook and our website, as we will give you updates on destinations and conditions.

Open House

The annual Trakkers Open House took place on Friday, November the 15th. It was great to see so many long time members and make new acquaintances! Thanks to all who volunteered. We very much look forward to seeing all of you out on the trails soon!

Board of Directors Update

Our Vice President, Laure Sabatier, has accepted a position out of province and will not be able to continue in her role on our board. This is great news for Laure and not so great for us. Please join us in wishing her well and giving her huge thanks for her contribution, not only in the VP role, but in her prior role as Director of Communications.

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Some of the Trakkers Board of Directors

In the 2020-2021 season, there will be more board vacancies (more on this in the new year), as others on our board will be moving on, both due to relocation and due to wishing to pass on the torch.

Being a 100% volunteer-run club, we rely heavily on our members to keep things going.  If you have the desire to gain experience on a board of directors, or if you already have those skills and want to give back, do let any member of the board know during an upcoming trip, or by mailing me at president@trakkers.ca with your interest. Our board meets once a month. Meetings are both productive and fun! We have great camaraderie within the group and I can honestly say that we always look forward to our meetings and working together to make it all happen.

Weekend Trips

There has been a lot of interest in our upcoming Weekend trips.

January 24-26 trip to Woolner House (Highlands Nordic, Collingwood) has room for 4-5 more people.

February 7-9 trip to Blue Spruce Cottages (Algonquin Park) has room for 4 more people.

For more information, including how to register, please visit the Weekend Trips link of our website.

Trakkers Doing Their Part

We know many of you already have creative ways of using non-disposable containers and utensils while on our trips.

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We would like to strongly encourage everyone to consider ways of avoiding the use of disposable or single use plastics and paper cups. For great ideas on ways to do this, have a look here.

Happy Holidays

On behalf of the Trakkers Board of Directors, I would like to wish the very best of this holiday season to you and yours!

Katja Lutte,

President, Trakkers XC Ski Club

Mini Vacations All Winter Long

By Gillian Kranias (Trakkers member since Dec 2018)

I keep checking the website, almost every day, in anticipation of seeing this winter’s Sunday trips begin. Summer vacations are over. Yes, fall is a beautiful season. But I am yearning for the mini vacations I can now get any Sunday in winter!

We joined Trakkers last year. It was all that I thought it could be … and more:

More long days outside….

 

More quiet trails to enjoy, at resorts I had never known of….

 

More friends who love the outdoors….

Morning ski lessons, free for members and our guests….

And more time with our feet up after a good day’s skiing – because Trakkers’ leadership always knew where to enjoy the best skiing (even when snow conditions looked poor or non-existent from Toronto).

As November finally arrives, and with Trakkers annual fall open house this evening, I will reminisce and dream with others who may be as hungry for snow and skiing as I am!