May 2018 President’s Broadcast

Hello Fellow Trakkers!

With the skiing season now well behind us, here’s an update on our activities, both past and coming up during the off-season.

AGM and Year-End Party

Thanks to the many of you who joined us for this year’s AGM at the Madison Pub in the Annex. We heard from Jen Liptrot, who presented our annual report, and Gleb Jegaline, who provided an update on our financial statements. A new board slate was confirmed. Special thanks to our outgoing board members, especially Hanna Balakier, Vice President, who volunteered on the board for seven seasons! A huge thank you also to Ina Puchala, Secretary, Carolyn Sitler, Director responsible for Social Events and Mark Soubry, Director responsible for Membership. To be sure, the contributions of these folks are too many to detail, but suffice it to say that this is what makes it all happen!

These special awards were given to our fellow Trakkers:

Ski School Award (for enthusiasm and dedication to achievement) – Preeti Gandhi and Pramod Gopalakrishna

Special Recognition Award (to our fabulous blogger) – Linda Mah

Longevity Awards (30 year members!!!) – Diana Fancher, Christine Hughes, Steve Parfitt

5 Years Awards – Andy Bognar, Anita Elash, Pascal Ethier, Katja Lutte, Christina Mills

Bernie Award (for outstanding contribution to Trakkers) – Sylvia Crowhurst and Xavier Lambert

Broken Ski Award (President’s Award) – Jen Liptrot

AGM - 5-year members.jpg

Andy, Christine, Pascal, Katja, John & Anita

AGM - Bernie Award.jpg

Sylvia, John & Xavier

Thank you to John Webb for his thoughtful organization of the Trakkers Awards. A big thank you also to Karen Olsen for so capably chairing the AGM.

The AGM was followed by eating and drinking in very fine company. Thanks again for joining us for a wonderful evening!

Both the annual report and year-end financial report are now posted in the Club Operations section of our website.

2018-2019 Membership Fees

We are pleased to tell you that our membership fees will remain the same for another season. It may seem eons away, but remember to mark September in your calendar for early-bird renewal (by September 30th).

2018 Open House

And while you’re in your calendar, save the date for November 16th, 7-9 pm, for our annual Trakkers Open House at Swansea Town Hall.

Off Season Events:

Ready for some off-season training and fun? Here’s what’s on.


Saturday, May 26th:

On offer is an 18.5 km loop hike in and around Scotsdale Farm and the Silvercreek Conservation Area (just north of Georgetown). You will see beautiful views, cedar forests, bridges and boardwalks, and mossy terrain. Pace will be brisk. Offered by Doug Seaborn, Florence deLannoy and Katja Lutte.


 Saturdays, June 9th, July 7th and August 11th – Dufferin E2E Hike:

These are a series of hikes (each between 18-19 kms long), offered by various Trakkers hikers, adding up to hiking the Dufferin section of the Bruce Trail end-to-end.

Feel free to participate in any or all of the hikes. Friends welcome.


These rides are very generously facilitated by Jim Girling and Janette Porter.

Sunday, June 17th – Petals & Pedals – a guided bike tour to 3 Royal Botanical Garden sites and to the kitchen garden of Dundurn Castle

Sunday, July 15th – Spokes & Spigots – our annual guided bike tour of wineries in the Niagara region

Sunday, August 26th – Sites & Cycles – a guided bike tour of historic sites in Hamilton and Burlington

Further details about these rides will be posted shortly.

Participants in off season activities will be asked to sign release of liability waivers. 

There’s no better way to stay in touch than by following us on Facebook and Twitter and checking our website periodically for updates. This is also where you find details and updates on any of the above activities.

Wishing everyone a great spring!

Katja Lutte


Trakkers – LOVE Winter



It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

As we head into this evening’s AGM and year-end social — and with Highlands Nordic reopening their orange trail for skiing this weekend (no, the club isn’t going) — one more post to reflect back on a fantastic (and long season).

This guest travel blog comes from John Webb, who took part in the Val David trip led by the Bruce Trail Club, along with a number of Trakkers members in March:

With promises of 20 cms of new snow at our destination, it was to be a long-weekend trip, so the departure from York Mills was rather early, but that allowed an extra afternoon of activity at the destination. The forecast was correct and new snow and newly tracked trails greeted us at our two interconnected destinations, Chalet Anne-Piche and Chalet Far Hills.  Our accommodation was at the Auberge du Vieux Foyer which was located directly on the trail system.

During our next two and a half days on the trails, it was quickly obvious that the Quebec grading of Green, Blue and Black was one notch more challenging than similar grading in Ontario, for both ski and snow shoe trails.  But with the new snow every night, it was quite manageable and exhilarating. Perhaps not surprisingly, snow shoeing was the preferred activity for the majority of the Bruce Trail club members, and they were guided through some interesting walks throughout the more than 30 kms of trails available.  

The Auberge was perfectly equipped to meet the needs of hungry and exhausted guests.  A hot tub or swim, followed by a four course meal restored the body, and yoga was available before breakfast every morning.

Many thanks to our executive for arranging this joint club event.  For long-time Trakkers, it was a return to a regular destination from the 1980’s.  Sadly, the Hotel Far Hills has closed, shortly to become a time-share condo. But the memories of spending those late afternoon sipping B-52’s in the bar while gazing through the picture window at the sun setting on the Laurentian hills remain.



March President’s Broadcast

Hello Trakkers!

Well, it’s turned out to be a very interesting ski season in terms of the weather! “The big thaw” the last two weeks of February meant that most resorts closed for some time in an effort to protect the snow base. And now that we’re back to normal cold temperatures there hasn’t been much snow, so many resorts are offering somewhat limited trail access.

But the season’s not quite over yet! Tomorrow we are headed to Georgian Nordic near Parry Sound, which is reporting decent conditions with new snow the last few days and freshly groomed trails. We have quite a number of standby seats available so if you’re hemming and hawing about coming standby there’s lot of room available — bring a friend! Reminder: because Georgian is one of our more northern destinations, we leave an hour earlier at 8:00 a.m. (Tonight is also Daylight Savings Time, so don’t forget to set your clock one hour forward before going to bed! Yes, it’ll feel like a double-whammy, but this could be one of our last trips so it’s going to be worth it!)

Hold the Date: AGM and Year-End Social — Thursday, April 19

Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey with respect to plans for the club’s Annual General Meeting and year-end social activity. The board had the opportunity to consider all the responses this past week and are pleased to confirm details for the AGM and social:

Thursday, April 19
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, at which the board will present an update on club activities and financials, and the volunteer board to support next year’s ski season will be elected. For those who wish to stay for the year-end social portion of the AGM, tickets will be $20, which includes appetizers and two drink tickets.

Tickets must be purchased ahead of time through the Trakkers web site similar to the way you register for a Sunday trip. Simply log in to your member account, scroll to the bottom of the page where it says “Events”.  Look for “AGM / Year-End Social Tickets” and click the “Register” link beneath that.

A formal invitation and notice of AGM business will be sent out to the members in the coming days.

We’re Recruiting for a Volunteer Communications Board Director!

Heading into the Annual General Meeting and nomination of next year’s board, the club has one board vacancy for which we are recruiting, specifically for Communications.

We’re looking for a social media-savvy club member who is looking to give something back to the club! The Communications director position is responsible for managing the club’s Facebook and Twitter account, posting updates for each of our Sunday trips throughout the week. The Communications director also supports content development for the blog and participates 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).

If you think you might be interested please contact myself or Hanna Balakier for details.

Congratulations to Sylvia and Xavier on Level 2 Certification!

A huge shout-out to Sylvia Crowhurst and Xavier Lambert — two of Trakkers’ awesome ski instructors — for recently obtaining their Level 2 certification with the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors (CANSI). Congratulations, Xavier and Sylvia — we are so proud of you and look forward to taking advantage of your amazing teaching skills next season 🙂

CANSI Level 2 certification

Sylvia Crowhurst and Xavier Lambert, 2nd and 3rd from left

Photo Contest Winners — And One More Week Left!

Despite the dicey conditions, our photo contest is still going strong. Winners for Week 2 and 3 of the contest were Celine Lamarre and Steve Favell, and each received a $50 gift card from Mountain Equipment Co-op.

Wild Life Photo

Wild Life theme: “I think I’ll turn left!” by Celine Lamarre

Wipe-Out Photo

Spectacular Wipe-Out by Steve Favell

And the photo contest has one more week to go! Because our last two trips were cancelled, tomorrow’s trip to Georgian Nordic will be the last week for the contest.

The theme for this week’s photo contest is “Winter Patterns in Nature”. Contest will close noon, Saturday, March 17.

Keep on trakkin’,

Jen Liptrot
Volunteer President
Trakkers Cross-Country Ski Club — LOVE Winter!

Off-season training using the TTC


It started with deciding to take public transportation instead of driving to work last fall.  First, I was just sprinting to the bus stop so I wouldn’t miss the bus and I did the usual walking up the escalator on the left instead of standing on the right in the subway [but did you know that TTC removed signs saying stand on the right in 2007 for safety reasons and that a study done on the London tube in 2015 suggested it may be more efficient use of the escalator if everybody stood on both sides?]

Since not everyone follows that (now) unwritten rule, I started walking up the stairs, which evolved into running, and then sprinting up the stairs. The good thing is that hardly anyone takes the stairs up so there’s minimal traffic.  Just because I can be a little competitive, I started pushing myself and now I can get to the top faster than people walking up the escalator. The amazing thing was realizing that this was helping me tackle the uphills in cross-country skiing.  Instead of doing that awkward Herringbone, I found I could just bound up the hills fast enough that I didn’t slide backwards.

If you take the subway during rush hour, you’ll be familiar with the no seats left, must stand thing, where you have to find a spot so you can grab a pole or lean against something so you don’t go flying (or sometimes it’s so jam-packed, you can do the sleep stand). The problem is that you can’t always find that spot and sometimes you still go flying even when you’re hanging on. It’s also hard to turn the pages of a book when the other hand is grabbing a pole.  So recently I started to try to balance myself on the subway without hanging on and I realized it was a lot like trying to stay upright when going downhill on skis, especially if you’re being rocked back and forth. It’s also kind of fun because it feels like you’re surfing or snowboarding on the subway train.

I thought I had stumbled onto something pretty brilliant but if you google “balancing on the subway”, the idea of getting a balance workout while standing on the subway has been written about here. And here. For the less adventurous, you can get a core workout sitting down.  And best strategies to stay upright on the subway has actually been discussed.  The next challenge for me is staying upright while walking towards the exit as the train pulls into the station while not hanging onto anything.  There are other positives – it’s more fun to ride the subway, I no longer have to pull out the smartphone to keep occupied, and I don’ t have to do that mad rush to grab a seat [by the way, it’s much worse on the Beijing subway where people don’t even pretend they’re rushing to grab a seat – they RUN and they push and shove even small children if needed].

So without a whole lot of snow or additional time needed, you can do a bit of off-season training while riding the TTC.