February 2019 President’s Broadcast

Hello Trakkers!

So far this season we have been blessed with good skiing conditions! It was so cold on the day of our January 20th trip to Hardwood that not a single photograph was taken – we assume this based on the fact that there was a historic non-response to the first of our series of the annual photo contest!  Since then, we also visited a club favourite, Kawartha Nordic, during white-out conditions.  A bit of cold and lots of snow is what it’s all about when skiing with Trakkers.  Love winter!

The first of our weekend trips to Woolner House in Duntroon took place over the weekend of January 26 – 27 weekend.  A great time was had by all! The next weekend trip to Blue Spruce (Algonquin Park) will take place on February 9 & 10.

Photo Contest

Trakkers have proven their great sense of humour with their literal interpretation and submissions to the latest photo contest with the theme of “forest bathing”. The winner of this theme was Florence with “I don’t take baths; I take showers!”

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Upcoming themes include:

Winter sculpture — closes noon, Saturday, February 23

In movement: a video — closes noon, Saturday, March 2

The last theme is our rule-breaker. The photo contest has opened to video for this very special theme: capture a movement in 4 to 6 seconds. Have fun and stay safe!

Check out the Photo Contest page on our website for full details and watch our Facebook page for further updates on winners!

 

Upcoming Wine & Cheese

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Mark your calendars for February 24th , our Wine & Cheese social at Scenic Caves.

This is a great mid-season opportunity to socialize with other members in the club and we will have the very cozy log cabin at Scenic Caves booked for our exclusive use again this year.  Remember to sign up for the trip early, since seats on the bus fill up quickly for this trip!

Festivities will begin at approximately 3:00 p.m., giving us lots of time to socialize before we board the bus back to the city at 4:30.

Update on Board Positions and Volunteer Recruitment for 2019-2020 Season

Although there is still a lot of skiing ahead, we are beginning to work toward ensuring that all of our volunteer board positions are filled for the next skiing season.  We have formed a Recruitment Committee for Trakkers Board of Directors Positions which will become vacant at the end of this season.  The Committee consists of: Florence de Lannoy, Jen Liptrott, Barb Williams and myself .  We have been steadily recruiting on weekend trips.  Board positions which will become vacant are:

Director Responsible for Ski School.  This is the position which coordinates lessons and supports our fabulous instructors in both their own training and certification, as well as in the lessons they provide for the club.  This role involves scheduling of lessons for Sunday trips.

Director Responsible for Bus Captains.  This is the position which coordinates our wonderful bus captain volunteers .  It involves training of bus captains, scheduling for Sunday trips, preparing the bus captain check-in kits for trips, and working with the Treasurer to reconcile the finances after trips.

Director Responsible for Communications. This is the position responsible for managing the club’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, posting updates and promoting the various activities of the club throughout the week and supporting the club’s blog (not responsible for generating content for blog). If you have some social media savvy (or would like to challenge yourself to become more so) this is the position for you.

Treasurer: This position speaks for itself.  Outside of managing and reporting to the board on club financials, this position is responsible for regular banking tasks.

All board members participate in 2-hour monthly board meetings (Sept through May). Average time commitment through fall, summer and spring is 6-8 hours per month (including the board meeting).

All portfolios are in tip-top shape due to the super contribution of the existing directors, Anita, Sam, Laure, Gleb and their contributing volunteers.  New directors will be fully oriented to the role by previous directors and supported by the rest of the board.

Please consider volunteering, since this is at the heart of what makes Trakkers tick.  If you are interested in any of the above positions please contact Florence, Jen, or myself for further details.  Our contact information is found at this link.

Non-Board Member Volunteer Needed:

Website Copy Editor and Assistant is a new volunteer position that is designed to help the current webmaster in his day-to-day and week-to-week responsibilities.  Do you have some understanding of HTML and the basic concepts behind websites and the formatting of web content? Do you have experience editing a website’s content on a Content Management System (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc)? Do you have experience with more in depth CMS operations (template editing, CSS formatting)? If yes, this might be the position for you.  Training on the specific flavour of our CMS system would be provided.

With training from and working with our webmaster, this volunteer would perform timely edits and updates to the website content using our CMS system and a Richtext Editor; occasionally edit content in HTML; respond to requests for copy changes from other board members; make appropriate copy edits to fit our website format when necessary; perform occasional other tasks such as resetting a member’s password and responding to email enquiries from the general membership; post images and other file updates (such as the winners of the photo contest or the minutes of the AGM); and provide suggestions on how to improve the experience of our members when using our website

Most of the work will be required during the main part of the ski season and take no more than 3 hours per week.  A huge bonus for Trakkers would be your interest in eventually taking over the Webmaster position.

Save the Date for our AGM and Year End Event

This year’s combined AGM and Year End Event will take place on Thursday, April 11th.  This will be your opportunity to hear the annual report of the club’s operations and finances,  vote on any key issues, as well as your board of directors for the 2019-2020 season.  There will be food, fun and drinks at very reasonable pricing.  It’s our chance to celebrate a great season and connect one more time before we sally on into the off season. Particulars on location and ticket pricing to follow.  Information will be posted on our website.

 

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Review on Beginner Hill Lessons

Trakkers offers free lessons to members and guests. Lessons range from absolute beginners to advanced skiers, for classic skiing and skating. CANSI (Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors) certified instructors provide lessons on Sunday Trips. Sylvia has been an instructor for many year and tell about her latest Beginner Hill Lesson.

Sunday, January 20 was a cold day for Trakkers who headed to Hardwood Hills Ski and Bike. I was happy to have five keen students for my Beginner Hill Lesson despite the -34° wind chill!

Because everyone was at different levels, we started on a very small hill. Getting the right body stance was important to practise to build confidence. We gradually moved to snowplows. We didn’t move to higher hill until everyone was comfortable.

The benefit of having a lesson dedicated to hills is there is plenty of time to practise.

Some highlights were:

  • learning herring bone technique to get up the hill
  • body position and straight run
  • snowplow
  • snowplow turns to manage turns on trails

In addition to the many skills learned, we all managed to stay warm for the 75-minute lesson!

The special moment came when everyone skied snow plow and snowplow turn on a higher hill.  Applause and cheers rang out for an absolute beginner who clearly made the most progress.

If you’re hesitant on hills, sign up for the Beginner Hill lesson. With the guidance of your instructor, working at your comfort level and having lots of time to practise you will feel the difference!

Learn more about the ski lessons and tips to ski at trakkers.ca/lessons.

Niki’s Chocolate Date Balls

Niki has been a Trakkers member for a number of years and is a first-time bus captain volunteer!

After years of participating in events and Sunday ski trips, I decided to try my hand at contributing to Trakkers Ski Club through bus captaining duties. The January 6th Sunday ski trip was my first go at the role so I decided to make a post-ski treat for everyone on my bus pre-post-ski-nap. I ended up making a nice healthy no-bake energy ball recipe. I can’t take credit for the recipe though, that entirely goes to Dinner Mom. For all those who asked, here is the recipe below:

energy ball recipe for cross country ski snack

Chocolate Date Balls are sweetened with medjool date paste so they’re free from refined sugar. Easy, no-bake, vegan recipe with just 6 ingredients!
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 224 balls 
Calories: 74kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 medjool dates pits removed
  • 1 cup uncooked old fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond butter or your favorite nut butter

Instructions

  • Fill a glass container with very hot water. (I heat about 2 cups in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes.)
  • Add dates to water, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 5-10 minutes. This softens the dates and makes them easier to puree. It’s not necessary if the dates are very soft.
  • Remove dates from water and place in a small food processor along with 1 Tablespoon of water that the dates soaked in.
  • Pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add additional water to thin the consistency of the paste, if desired.
  • Set date “paste” aside.
  • Combine oatmeal, cocoa powder and coconut flakes in a medium sized bowl.
  • Add date paste, vanilla extract and almond butter to the dry mixture.
  • Stir to combine all of the ingredients.
  • Form dough into Tablespoon-size balls.
  • Refrigerate balls in an air tight container.

Nutrition

Calories: 74kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 117mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 0.2% | Calcium: 2.5% | Iron: 2.5%

cross country skier Niki on cross country ski track around Toronto
Niki on the ski trails

January 2019 President’s Broadcast

Hello Trakkers!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Well, we’re off to a good start having already been blessed with two fantastic trips in December.  Our first trip of the year has solid sign-up and is going to Highlands Nordic.

Room for More People on our Fabulous Weekend Trips!
January 25-27 (Friday/Saturday nights):
Woolner House, Highlands Nordic (about 22 km south of Collingwood)
This is a newly-renovated building (no winter pics, sorry!)
There are several spaces in a dorm-style room (sleeps 3-4) at $75 pp.
There is also still one space in a loft (sleeps 3) at $60.
The house has large common rooms, two kitchens, a fireplace and a wood stove.
There is skiing or snowshoe right outside the door, connecting to the Highlands Nordic trail system.
The Trakkers group rate for trail fees applies.
Bring your own food (good kitchen facilities for cooking).  The Country House restaurant is nearby for dinner on Saturday night.  Henry, the weekend trip organizer, will make reservations.
GUESTS ARE WELCOME!

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February 8-10 (Friday/Saturday nights):
Blue Spruce Cottages, near West Gate, Algonquin Park
Price, $150pp
There are still spaces in rooms, max 2 per room.  These rooms are in two and 3 bedroom cottages.
There is a fully equipped kitchen in each cottage. Larger cottages have 2 bathrooms.
All have a nice living room area and wood fireplace.  There is a BBQ outside.The resort has its own well-groomed and track-set trail system.  There is ice skating on the lake in an area that is been cleared, flooded, and lit.  There is also a toboggan run.  The resort has a games room for indoor fun.
Participants are able to purchase a special day pass for the Algonquin park trails for only $10/carload.  There is an excellent trail system within the park, also groomed and track set, which is never too busy.  Part way around the trails there is a heated cabin for your lunch.

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Please sign up for these trips as soon as possible.  This really helps us with planning.  For more information on how to sign up, please visit our website at this link.

This Year’s Photo Contest is ON!

Submit you best photo taken at a Trakkers Sunday Trip or Weekend Trip during the 2018–2019 season on our Facebook page following a specific theme to get the chance of winning a total of $50 in MEC gift cards.

The photo contest showcases members’ creativity while out of the trail, and inspires appreciation of cross-country skiing and winter outdoors. Each week’s winner of the photo contest is selected based on the most number of “likes” which their photo receives on the Trakkers Facebook page.

The first contest starts January 20 with the theme «Winter Sculpture »: take a picture of what you would consider a winter sculpture during your Trakkers trip and share it on the Trakkers Facebook page with a description. Interpret the theme as you wish and let your creativity soar! This contest will close on Saturday, January 26 at noon.

Great examples of previous “Patterns in Nature” theme submissions:
Photo-contest-1Photo-contest-2

Find details about the contest on our Photo Contest page.

XC Ski Lessons

A reminder to everyone wanting to improve their skills, we now have Advanced Classic lessons for skiers who have mastered their intermediate skills and want to up their game, or who are thinking about teaching.

We also now offer Hills Lessons which focus on the skills required to master going up and coming down hills, with the level of instruction depending on the skill level of people who sign up.

Important: Ski lessons will now start 45 minutes post arrival at the resort.  It would be really helpful for our instructors who are always concerned that no person is left behind if you would  let them know if you are delayed for some reason beyond your control, such as being held up in a ski rental line up.

Information on assessing your skills, what you need to know to get started and about all of our lessons can be found at this link.

To everyone who makes all of these activities work, thank you! Happy sliding and snowshoeing one and all!

Katja Lutte
President, Trakkers XC Ski Club

Winter Bliss

Gillian is a long-time cross-country skier. She recently joined Trakkers Cross-country Ski Club with her family for the simplicity offered by the bus ride. Read about their first day with Trakkers.

Do you know that feeling of being so happy in an experience… and somehow in the middle of that bliss, when nothing else matters, just wanting to break out and invite others to experience the same? Having it all is not always enough: sharing it all also matters.

My first trip as a new Trakkers member brought me that feeling, along with the fullness of having joined a community where the sharing of winter bliss is central to the values and workings of a club.

My family are long-time cross-country skiers. My mother converted me (from downhill) to the trails when she discovered cross-country, and I was 12. Since adolescence, I have skied enthusiastically with my family of origin, my (and my siblings’) next-generation families, and many friends. Still, my ski community just expanded so simply and so delightfully with joining Trakkers this past fall.

For decades, living car-free in Toronto meant that ski days depended on that occasional good dump of snow on a weekend (when we are able to enjoy our local ravine) or a weekend trip involving car rental, overnight packing and preparations (that was always worth the energy, but not repeatable at high frequency). I first found Trakkers online when the subway only opened at 9am on Sundays, and the Trakkers bus left at 9am. The subway’s fairly recent change to an 8am start changed everything in principle. This year, I finally got organized in practice. And so with my partner, and our 13 year old, I joined in on the first Trakkers Sunday trip of the 2018-19 season.

That morning bus took us to Scenic Caves resort, on a mountaintop close to Collingwood where all the trails were open and perfect, entirely heedless to the grey monotone we left behind in Toronto. To top it off, we won the lottery when I met a young grade 9 student on the bus who had been skiing with his mom through Trakkers for two years, and we hooked up with them for a full day of skiing – all five of us with similar skills, stamina, and delight!

Meanwhile, I was equally delighted to meet the many members on the bus who were not of my skill level. A total of 17 beginner and absolute beginner skiers signed up for the free lessons that day! Witnessing this showed me a whole other side to the club: how the teaching and learning of new skills is central to Trakkers culture. I also learned that there are opportunities to hone my skills and get certified to share my cross-country ski passion with the many newcomers to this lifelong sport. Trakkers’ commitment to teaching, learning and enjoyment of skiing in the woods, without any competitive focus, is unusual and inspiring.

On the way home, it was hard to contain my excitement amidst a rather quiet bus culture …but that aspect of the club did make for a very restful trip home: in the dark, many of us napping, taking full advantage of our professional driver.

Back in the city, my feelings of vigour and happiness lasted days longer than my muscle aches. I have since invited both seasoned skiers and newcomer winter enthusiasts to join us as guests on a Sunday. …And here is my more public call-out to other families with teens who, when pulled from their screens, might get into the zone: both those who already know the route to a well-earned black-diamond-downhill, and those who would aspire to it after a few lessons and a few fun Sundays in the snow.

Experience this aliveness with us on a coming weekend!

Newbie Trakkers at Scenic Caves

Stefan and Vera arrived from Germany a few months ago, with their two children. They became members of Trakkers Ski Club to experience a local winter outdoors activity. Read about their first adventure with the club as they participated in the Sunday trip of December 16.

Absolute cross-country beginners, brand-new with Trakkers, and just a few months into Canada: Saturday evening, we scratched our heads whether we had every form filled correctly (we didn’t), all the gear ready (mostly), and enough food stocked up to survive Canadian winter (just so).

What a brilliant experience this was – for all four of us!

Finding the bus was no problem at all. Getting the kids out of bed on a Sunday morning may still need some practice. The bus ride itself was a breeze with a few friendly chats along the way. I haven’t travelled in a bus for years. Sitting in the last row brought up memories from long past school outings where the last row was the place to be. Travelling with kids, we were also quite relaxed to find that there’s a washroom on the bus, and an electric plug for smartphone people, and even cup holders (just not for oversized refillable venti thermos cups).

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Slowly nibbling away on our food supplies, we enjoyed watching the landscape flying by, and getting whiter and whiter. The bus ride was convenient, it was a pure luxury on the way back with sore muscles and pleasantly tired.

Finally, we arrived at Scenic Caves – what a beautiful winter day. We quickly grabbed our gear and kids (and figured out we could leave some stuff in the bus and in the log cabin).

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So, beginners we are and enrolled in Xavier’s beginner’s course. A very good decision, even as proficient downhillers, to learn the basic cross-country was essential, and big fun as well. Xavier is a brilliant instructor and took us through snow ploughs and quick steps along the tracks, and even recruited some of the other skiers coming by to demonstrate how going down a little hill.IMG_3750

After this, we moved around far from elegant but felt sufficiently prepared to explore the easy peasy lemon squeezy tracks through the forest. What a difference to our downhill experiences in the European Alps where slopes can get pretty crowded. We enjoyed the peace, wondered about animal tracks in the snow, and experienced a nice blend of sweat (uphill) and adrenaline (downhill).

IMG_E3760.JPGEasy peasy track, but expressive map-style.

This was fun. We are so glad we joined at the start of the season, and will surely be back as often as possible. Every one of us, had their little successes and learning opportunities, and when we stepped back into the bus, we were tired and joyful. What a beautiful day. Thank you, Trakkers.

Note to ourselves: Add sunglasses next time. Bring even more drinks. Remember to take the improvised toboggans again for the kids, and bring more books.

December President’s Broadcast

Hello Trakkers,

First Trip!!!

Well, it’s that time again! We are very excited for our first Sunday ski trip planned for this Sunday, December 16th to Highlands Nordic! Please register early for the bus, so we know you are planning to come. Advance registration always opens on Mondays and closes Thursdays at 9pm. Please review the Sunday Trips policy on the website to refresh your memory the procedures. If you wish to join a lesson, please sign up when you register for the trip.  Please remember to check our website and facebook  for regular updates on trip status, including any destination change.  Better yet, follow us on facebook for the latest updates.

highlands-nordic1

Lessons

Speaking of lessons, Trakkers offers various types of lessons for skiers at all levels: Junior Trakkers (for kids), Beginners (both Absolute Beginners and Experienced Beginners); Intermediate; Advanced; Skating and Hills lessons (for new and experienced skiers).

Hesitant to make the leap or unsure of your technique? Try our new Advanced Lessons in both classic and skate technique, offered by Xavier Lambert and Sylvia Crowhurst, both CANSI certified level 2 instructors. These lessons are for skiers who have mastered their intermediate skill and want to up their game, or who are thinking about teaching. Students will receive on-snow video feedback throughout the lesson.

For more information about our lessons, go to this link on our website and keep your eye out for more updates to come.

Ski Lessons

Saturday December 15 – CANSI Level 1 Instructor Preparation Course

The CANSI Level 1 Instructor Preparation Course takes place this Saturday, December 15th at  Highlands Nordic ski resort, near Collingwood

If you’d like to share your skills with others, becoming a ski instructor is a great way to do it. This course will prepare you become an assistant ski instructor, and to pass the exams required to become a CANSI certified Level 1 instructor.

Trakkers pays the tuition in return for your teaching. Instructors and assistants also get free bus fare and trail fees on the days they teach. (See our Poster for more info)

Trakkers Open House

We had a great turn out at our Open House on November 16th, where we met many new people interested in the club.  It was also wonderful to see many of our members.  Thanks to everyone who came out, especially the many volunteers who helped with set up!

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MEC Snowfest

On November 18th a few Trakkers represented the club at MEC’s Annual Snowfest.  Again, thanks to all who came out!

Calling all Volunteers

If you have a skill that might be of use in the running of a not for profit, entirely volunteer-run club, please speak to our bus captains or one of the board members on an upcoming trip about how you might be able to help.  At the moment, we could use the help of a graphic designer to assist with updating some of our promotional display materials.  If you have the skills and desire to help out, please let us know!

Ok, folks, the countdown is on!  Conditions look promising and our Sunday Trips Coordinator, Liane MacGregor, is all over the weather reports.  Here’s to shaking our snow globes between now and Sunday!

Katja Lutte, President