Monthly Archives: January 2019

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!

Woolner-House-2Woolner-House-1

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.

Blue-Spruce-1Blue-Spruce-2

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!