X-Country Ski Club
Welcome to Etobicoke X-Country Ski Club! Whether you are returning to cross-country (Nordic) skiing or snowshoeing after a gap of years or even decades, are a brand-new skier, or are already a regular skier, as a new member you will find a friendly welcome with us!
You’ll find all the information you need to enjoy club activities on this website. If you have queries about your membership you can call or email the Club’s Membership Convenor, whose contact information is noted on the Membership page. Your membership of Etobicoke X-Country Ski Club includes membership in Cross Country Canada (CCC), which provides liability insurance both for the club and for members along with other benefits such as store discounts and access to CCC’s online store for clothing and accessories ( cccstore.cccski.com ).
To get ready for your first season on the snow with the club, read on!
NORDIC SKIING BASICS
Almost anyone can cross-country ski. It can be as simple as a gentle meander through the snowy forest or, with more experience and a lesson or two, it can become an athletic activity and you’ll want to tackle longer trails and more challenging terrain. Either way you’ll be out enjoying beautiful winter scenery. Don’t be misled by a lack of snow in the city. Conditions just an hour north can be much different – one of the pleasures of a day out by bus with the club. If you wish, you can check conditions on the resort web site (see links to the resorts under the Calendar tab).
If you haven’t been to a resort for a while you may notice some changes. You’ll see skiers using both classic and skate ski techniques, and most resorts accommodate both on the same trails. In classic skiing the skis are parallel while moving along on the flat, and on groomed trails they fit into the ‘track set’ – a pair of grooves carved in the snow by a grooming machine. With skate skiing a diagonal motion is used similar to ice skating, requiring a wider, flat trail (see Equipment for more information). The wider trail also makes it easier for all of us to snow plow downhill! Incidentally, on a one-way trail you can use the track set to check you’re going in the right direction – the track set will usually be on the right.
Most of our members use the classic ski technique. We’re happy to provide you with a manual of basic classic techniques prepared by one of our members, and you’ll find this under the Skiing tab. The author, Peggy Walker, is a very experienced skier who once skied with the legendary Jackrabbit Johannsen, the man who did much to popularize Nordic skiing in Canada. He was still skiing at age 110, something to aspire to! The manual includes a map showing potential routes in Centennial Park that could be used to practice Nordic skiing when conditions allow. Members sometimes arrange to meet there to ski together and to practice their technique.
YOUR FIRST TRIP
You’ll find tips on how to prepare for your trip (e.g. clothing and equipment, etc.) as well as details on the amenities you can expect to find at the resorts under the Skiing tab. Under this same tab, you will also find information on how to book. Generally you’ll book your trip ahead of time. Members are encouraged to submit cheques in advance for each of the trips they would like to participate in during the entire season to make sure they will have a spot on the bus. Plan to arrive at the pickup point in Centennial Park by 8:45 at the latest. Put your equipment in the bin under the bus and climb aboard. You’ll be greeted by the friendly bus captain who’ll check your name off on their list. If you’re handing in a cheque for a subsequent trip do this now – it helps to have it ready in your hand. Then find a seat. You’ll keep this seat for the entire trip. Usually you’ll put your belongings in the rack above your seat to leave room for other members. If you’re on your own, having a seat mate is a great way to meet and get to know people. The bus will depart at 9:00 a.m. sharp.
Our trips use comfortable coaches with reclining seats and washrooms. Most resorts are 1 – 1 1/2 hours’ drive, so settle back to enjoy the ride. If you want, bring along your morning coffee, a newspaper or book, but chances are you’ll spend most of the time chatting or admiring the snowy scenery outside the city. Our drivers make these trips often and it’s a great opportunity to leave the driving to someone else and just enjoy yourself.
We are fortunate to be able to offer lessons at both a beginner and intermediate level. This is a great way to get started with Nordic skiing or to get back into it after a break (see Skiing Lessons ). In addition to learning techniques, you’ll get oriented, get tips on clothing and equipment, and also meet other members and find others at your level to ski with.
If you just want to head out and ‘find your feet’ on your first trip that’s great too. We strongly recommend that you not ski alone. Make sure you are comfortable with the distance and difficulty level of the trail you choose to ski. Stick to a shorter, ‘green’ trail to start with. If the resort is new to you, you can check with other members or with resort staff about the trails. Always ski in control and know your own limits – see the Cross Country Responsibility Code. Be aware that snow conditions can change between morning and afternoon, as well as from week to week.
Most of all, enjoy yourself, and welcome to winter!