Category Archives: President’s Blogs

President’s monthly blog

February 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

October 2019 President’s Broadcasti

Hello Trakkers!

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Even though we are LOVING the fall, we are now well into planning for the season to come!  A few things to look forward to, as we reconnect and get excited about winter …

Winter’s Not Far Off Pub Night

Thursday, October 24, 2019; 7 p.m., The Wicket, 1671 Bloor Street West www.thewicket.ca

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Reconnect with fellow Trakkers! No need to reserve in advance. Just show up to join us!

November 15, 2019 Trakkers Open House

Come join us at our annual Trakkers Open House on Friday, November 15 from 7-9 pm at Swansea Town Hall, 95 Lavinia Ave.

Meet up with old friends and, better yet, make new friends.  Think about bringing a someone you know, especially someone new to skiing or even new to Canadian winter.  Remember our tag line: Love Winter ….  Let’s share it!!!

If you would like to volunteer with set-up and related tasks for the Open House, please contact Gina Ang at social@trakkers.ca.

Bus Captain Boot Camp – Saturday, November 23, 2019

Our bus captain boot camp is scheduled for November 23, 2019. Existing bus captains, please come to polish up your skills.  This is a great opportunity to meet our new Director of Bus Captains, Lindsay Royston.

If you are not already a bus captain, consider joining our fabulous crew. The perks are significant, from free bus fair, half-price trail passes (for most places) to getting to know  Trakkers by name before the end of the season!  If you are interested in becoming a bus captain please contact Lindsay at buscaptains@trakkers.ca.

Posting of Trips on the Trakkers Website

This season you will see a change in posting of weekly destinations. We know that with unpredictable weather over the last few years, more than 60% of our trips have been rescheduled to different destinations from those originally scheduled.  This has been due to our search for better conditions. This year, rather than posting the actual schedule, we will post a list of the various destinations and an update on the actual destination chosen closer to the date of the trip.  The exception to this will be pre-scheduled trips to farther destinations, such as Arrowhead and Georgian Nordic. As always, keep an eye on the website and on our communications via Facebook. If you follow us on Facebook, you will receive notifications.

Upcoming Ski Swap Events

Ski swap events provide an opportunity for the sale of used equipment and the purchase of gently used or unsold (i.e. from last season) new items at reduced prices.

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Hardwood Ski and Bike is holding their annual Ski Swap on Saturday October 19th and Sunday October 20th.  For more information, go to this link.

Highlands Nordic’s Dust Em Off Ski Swap is on Saturday October 26th and Sunday October 27th.  For more information, go to this link.

 

A Note on the September Broadcast

Due to a technical challenge you may not have received our September broadcast. We do apologize for this.  Do scroll down to read the September broadcast after you have read this one.  If you follow this broadcast, you will always receive notifications.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend One & All! thxgvg

Katja Lutte

President, Trakkers XC Ski Club

 

May 2019 President’s Broadcast

Hello Trakkers!

Well, folks, it’s a wrap!  After an amazing skiing season we had the opportunity to connect one more time at our AGM and Year-End Event and to wrap up the operations of the club for the 2018-2019 season.

AGM and Year End Event

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Pascal & Gina

This year AGM and Year End Event marked a special occasion 40 Years of Trakkers!!! The events were, once again, held at the Madison Pub.  Turn out was healthy.  We were able to get through the business at hand, specifically presenting our Annual Report and finances, as well as take questions from the floor relating to both.  Most importantly, we confirmed our board slate for the upcoming  season.

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Most Board Members. Thanks to Claude, our photographer!

Your Board of Directors for 2019-2020 is:

President-Katja Lutte; Vice-President-Laure Sabatier; Treasurer-Gleb Jegaline; Secretary-Brigitte Balle; Director responsible for Membership-Florence de Lannoy; Director responsible for Communications-Jen Liptrot; Director responsible for Ski School-Sylvia Crowhurst;Director responsible for Sunday Trips-Liane MacGregor; Director responsible for Bus Captains-Lindsay Royston; Director responsible for Web Site-Pascal Ethier; Director responsible for Weekend Trips-Henry Furlott; Director responsible for Social Events-Gina Ang.

Much gratitude to outgoing board members, Anita Elash and Sam Tosaria for their huge contributions to our club.

Many thanks to Karen Olsen for being an excellent Chair! All materials relating to the AGM can be found at the Club Operations tab of the Trakkers website (accessible once you have logged in).

For all materials relevant to the AGM, such as the Annual Report, year-end financials, and draft minutes, please log into your Trakkers account and visit our “Operations” page.

After the meeting, long time member John Webb presented awards and anniversary recognition to Trakkers members.

The Bernie Award was presented to Henry Furlott, who was honoured for his

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Henry

organization of our weekend trips. It is on these trips where we relax, we socialize, and we tell all those war stories about the hills, the bends and the successes. Usually over a bottle of wine and with somebody’s family recipe cooking in the background.  The Broken Ski Award was presented to yours truly, for my role as President.  These awards will be retired as of this year, with Swansea Town Hall having agreed to showcase the trophies in one of their display cases.

 

These Trakkers received Membership Anniversary Awards:

 

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John, Ursula, Bogna & Hanna

35 Years Lawrence Rennie

25 Years Hanna Balakier, Sylvia Crowhurst, Ursula Nocon, and Bogna Pinkowska.

10 Years Alison Naughty and John Van Nostran

5 Years Nadia  Chenier-Yacoub, Huw Sangster, Patricia Jarosz, Julie Anderson, Sonya Bourgeois, Doug Seaborn and Jennifer Leavitt.

Thank-you, John, for your contribution to member recognition.  Thank you, also, to John and Xavier Lambert for offering to work with the club during the next season to create a historical archive of club members’ contribution.

Off Season Event – Save the Date!!!

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Annual Winery Bike Tour on Saturday, June 22, 2019

Join fellow Trakkers for a guided bike tour of 4 Niagara wineries and a chocolate factory. All you need is a multi-speed bicycle, a bike helmet, bike lock, and a pannier or backpack, and you are ready to go!

We start cycling from the Niagara Falls train station which may be reached by either car or by GO Transit’s special bike train. We will travel down to the vineyards below the Escarpment and will spend the afternoon visiting select wineries before returning to Niagara Falls for an optional after-tour supper.

The registration fee is just $10 in advance which is refundable on the day of the tour (wine tasting and winery tour fees cost of the supper are extra).

For more information or to register, please e-mail Jim and Jannette at jannette_jim@yahoo.ca or phone us at 416 921 7737.

For more details of the tour, visit the Trakkers website

For an overview of how these tours operate, click on https://vimeo.com/335345966 (Password: Pedalfun).

 

Have a great summer, One and All!

Katja Lutte (President, Trakkers XC Ski Club)

 

 

 

 

 

President’s Broadcast March 2019

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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

 

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.

 

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:
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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