Monthly Archives: January 2020

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.