April 2019 President’s Broadcast

Hello Trakkers!

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Teaching Beginner skiers balance, weight transfer and timing in the first lesson

Steve is a longtime Trakkers member and a dedicated ski instructor for many years. He shares his advices based on observing and teaching beginner skiers. Cross-country skiing is an accessible winter sport and a few tricks makes a big difference to enjoy the glide.

When I teach beginner skiers the diagonal stride with poles, a common problem is that students tend to be too upright such that there is little balance over the glide ski, and the timing of the pole action with the skis is off. Many isolated exercises can be used to try to correct this, but the best method I find that makes a big difference early on is to emphasize putting the poles on correctly and gripping the pole handle between the thumb and forefinger. Then it is possible to fully extend the pole backward in a straight line with the arm by opening the hand and pushing on the strap. The action can be demonstrated statically with the student by grasping the student’s pole and moving it through the extension and recovery cycle. The straight back extension does these things:

  1. The opposing force on the upper body naturally projects it forward over the glide ski.
  2. Weight transfer is more complete.
  3. Timing of the pole action with the skis is smoother and rhythmic.
  4. Correct poling action, timing, balance and posture are learned at the beginning and committed to motor muscle memory. It is much more difficult to modify motor muscle memory later if the student develops bad habits.

President’s Broadcast March 2019

Hello Trakkers!img_1730-2

What a winter it’s been! With record snowfall and fantastic conditions, we may keep going a bit longer yet!

We are so lucky this year to have made it up to Arrowhead.  

 

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We  had a fantastic weekend trip to the Blue Spruce Resort, near Algonquin Park. A good time was had by both regular and new participants.

 

This Sunday we are going to Georgian Nordic.  Remember, tomorrow night is Daylight Savings Time, so don’t forget to set your clock one hour forward before going to bed!

Wine & Cheese – March 17, Scenic Caves

We are not going down without a fight for the chance to have a visit, shoot the breeze, and lift a glass with our friends.

We have, once again, booked the log cabin at Scenic Caves, so let’s hope that conditions hold.  ullrpodfull1Festivities will start at 3 pm. Remember to book early for this popular trip. We will be going with two busses only.

I would like to introduce you to Ullr, the God of Skis. Here’s hoping for ongoing good conditions!

 

 

Save  the Date: AGM and Year-End Social — Thursday, April 11

With last year’s Annual General Meeting and Year-End-Social being so well attended, we have decided, once again, to hold both at the Madison Avenue Pub in the Annex. Here are the details:

Thursday, April 11
Madison Avenue Pub
14 Madison Avenue (near Bloor Street West and Spadina Road)

6:30 p.m. — Annual General Meeting business
7:00 p.m. — Food and drinks

All Trakkers members are invited to attend the AGM. The board will report back on club activities and finances. Members will be able to vote on the proposed board slate for the 2019-2020 ski season.

Immediately following the AGM, we invite you to join us for our year-end social. Not only will you see your Trakker friends, but you can also join us for ample, yummy food and drinks.

Tickets are $20, which includes appetizers and two drink tickets.

Tickets must be purchased ahead of time through the “My Account” page, similar to the way you register for a Sunday trip.

A formal invitation and Notice of AGM will be sent to members in the near future. This and other key information will be available on the Club Operations page.

Volunteers Needed

Trakkers is an entirely volunteer-run club with so many of you helping to make it all come together.

We are still looking for someone to assist our Webmaster with various tasks. For details see last month’s President’s Broadcast found at this link.

If you have graphic design or artistic skills to help us re-vamp some of our materials for promotional events (Open House, MEC Snowfest), we would love to hear from you.

As a club, we love and really appreciate all our volunteers!

Other News

Big congratulations to Michael Kerwin, who recently obtained his Level 2 certification with the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors (CANSI).  We are very much look forward to learning from him!

Katja Lutte

President, Trakkers XC Ski Club

 

Kawartha Nordic – a Wintery Best

Gillian is a long-time cross-country skier. She joined Trakkers this season after many years of cross-country skiing at Kawartha Nordic with her family. Read about their second visit back to this idyllic park with the club.

On our second Trakkers trip to Kawartha Nordic, it was Family Day weekend.

My mother used to live next to this non-profit community-run ski club. 20 years ago, all members volunteered, and they used to spend two weekends a year as “cabin keepers” starting and tending the fire in what used to be a small trailhead cabin. With growth in community, and new resources from partners and Trillium Foundation, the club has grown. But it maintains a distinct non-commercial feel.

My daughter (17) agreed to come along. She joined our regular Trakkers gang – myself, my partner, my son (13), and his school friend (who keeps pace with us after just two lessons through the club). And the gang was larger as we also skied with another Trakkers member and her son (14) who we had met on our first Sunday trip. There was fresh snow, and lots of energy as we set out on the trails.

My kids learned to ski here, on the easier Beaver and Kawartha trails, but we headed straight to our favorite intermediate trail: Red Fox. This trail is narrow and isolated, following slight winds, dips and rises. We are spellbound again by the exquisite sunlight cast through the trees. It is 1km of heaven, between two of the larger routes in the 46km trail network.

Kawartha Nordic is also special for the two trail-side cabins heated by wood stove. From Trakkers weekly posting of insider information for the coming Sunday’s destination, I gained a tip to wrap our sandwiches in foil and heat them directly on the stove. We brought cheese sandwiches, for melting! And a new invention: a foil bundle of black and green olives, which we warmed and shared with other Trakkers members in the cabin 🙂

We usually ski to our favorite Laderach cabin (we like the classic trails around there), but today we had ventured farther to the Tanney cabin. Both cabins stock birdseed so skiers can commune with local winged creatures. All three boys spent their entire lunch outside, feeding the delightful soft-bellied chickadees and nuthatches.   

The return trail was a slight downhill most of the way, so we glided back quicker than expected.

… despite irresistible stops for nature pics.

With time to spare, the youth in our gang sought the thrills of downhill: my daughter hit the informal toboggan hill near the main cabin, and the boys headed to a newer switchback trail called “the hills”. We adults couldn’t resist a return loop to run the Red Fox … yet again. 

As time neared 4pm, all Trakkers skiers converged towards the two-storey trailhead cabin.

Outside, some members sunned on the porch. While inside, others sat around the wood stoves. I enjoyed a snack huddle with the kids, while we perched on homey, member-built tree-trunk stools. It was a perfect wind-down to an energetic day.

On the bus home, we continued to snack, in style with our cheese and fruit tray. Then, most of the bus dozed off and I got back into my second read of a fine book set in a fictional country of beautiful East Africa. I enjoyed immersing myself in the sensuously described paysage. Of course, returning from another ski Sunday with Trakkers in the “rugged Canadian Shield at its wintery best” … I couldn’t be envious at all.

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.

 

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