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Keeping our members safe during COVID-19

The board has taken the position from the start that this season can happen and that we will find a way to do so. All of our efforts have been towards that goal and, as the parts fall into place, we become more convinced that NTSC will be able offer our members quality programming, excellent instruction, charters, daytrips and socials once again this winter.

We have many hurdles to overcome, but we also have many advantages too. Our sport is outside in the fresh air.  It is, by its very nature (mostly), socially distant from others.  Being on the hills or trails isn’t going to be an issue.  It is the buses, resorts, changing, lunches, flights, etc. that are taking up our time.

If it turns out that COVID has more surprises for us, then we will adapt to them. If this means that we are not able to operate, then we will be honest, open and transparent to our membership about our choices and act in the best interests of our members and the club.

So buckle up for a season like never before and get ready. NTSC is coming!!!

Alpine Day Trips

One good thing about the pandemic hitting in March is that we have had a summer to plan and to learn from others what we can and can’t do and how it might fit with what we need to do to ensure a successful season. For Alpine Day Trips, this means investigating options for buses and working with the mountains, determining participation numbers and costs, deciding on timing, responsibilities of volunteers, etc.

In the end, the two biggest concerns of our members are going to be … “Is it safe?, Is it fun?” and “How much will it cost?”

BUSES

We have had extensive conversations with the bus companies over the last month and we now have some strong ideas of what a bus trip will look like.

  • While provincial guidelines allow bus companies to fill buses completely, we are anticipating reduced capacity (50%) on each bus for the safety and comfort of our members.

  • Buses have upgraded their circulation systems to completely recycle the air in the bus every 10 minutes.

  • Buses have been equipped with sanitizer to use during the trip.

  • Buses will be completely cleaned before and after every trip.

  • Buses may become more important places on our day trips as preparing for the ski day may need to happen on the bus as opposed to the chalet. Extra room will be necessary to make this possible.

  • Masks will be mandatory on buses for all members at all times.

RESORTS

Every resort will have different rules and regulations for what is going to work for them and, honestly, they aren’t ready with those protocols yet. Their plans are going to have to be approved by Health Officials, and then communicated out to organizations like ours.

Most are talking about reduced capacity on the hill and in their chalets, possibly setting up tents, reserving times for lunch in advance, etc. We will be having a meeting in the coming days with MSLM who appear to be the furthest along.


PRICE

The changes that are required for both buses and resorts will have an impact on our costs. We are hoping to keep the average cost of Alpine Day Trips to around $115. We will update this estimate in the weekly e-blasts that the club will delivering to our members and also on the website as they become more certain.

FUN

NTSC has always been about people - our great members, getting together to learn, smile and laugh. It will be different this year, but the spirit of who we are and what we do will still be there, and shine through.

We hope to see you on the hills with us this winter!

SNOW SCHOOL

We are pleased to share that COVID will not stand in the way of learning and developing your skills this winter. We have been reviewing our practices to make the right changes to keep you, our instructors and the skiing public safe. We believe that with everyone’s cooperation we can enjoy the winter out on the slopes improving your skiing and snowboarding skills.

To manage risks, we will continue to make changes and add new practices as more information becomes available to us from health officials, ski resort partners and instructor affiliations. For instance, we will keep class sizes smaller for your comfort and safety.  Smaller class sizes puts pressure on our Snow School budget.

It is currently projected that the budget will allow us to offer lessons on Day Trips until early-March. Since the club will not be travelling to the United States to ski Holiday Valley, we will have lessons on that Saturday but will pause lessons on busy Family Day Weekend to make sure that when we are in lessons it is spent sliding on snow not standing in lift lines. We will resume the weekend following Family Day.

You will notice some changes to our regular practices such as masks being mandatory for students and instructors during the entire lesson. We will pause on practices like signing Lesson Books and eating lunch together and hold off on clinics such as racing that increase the risk of injury and potential hospital visits. We will also ensure our Beginner Lessons are safe with no physical contact between teacher and student.  Training for our instructor team will take place to bring them up to speed on these practices and help them offer high quality instruction with the new practices.

More details will be shared as we get closer to our first lessons on Saturday, January 2.  When we have a detailed plan we will invite you to an online information session to hear how we can all contribute to making our learning environment safe and productive.

CHARTERS

The Charters team has been working hard all summer with our travel partners to come up with a great season of trips at Canada's best resorts! 

Our members' safety and financial security has been top of mind in our planning and you will see the several changes this season:

  • Charter sign up will be later in the fall than usual so we can evaluate the current situation and make adjustments if needed. 
  • Our weeklong trips will offer the option of "Cancel for Any Reason" insurance.
  • We have reserved more rooms for single supplements if you are uncomfortable sharing.
  • All our weeklong trips are ski-in/ski-out to reduce the amount of time on buses.
  • This year's trips have been planned with fewer people to allow for greater social distancing, so be sure to sign up quickly to guarantee your spot.

Check out our Charters Reveal newsletter for the 2020/2021 charter trip line up!


NORDIC

Assuming that the snow co-operates, we think that this will be a big year for nordic skiing within NTSC.  

Like our Alpine friends, the Nordic team has been steadily preparing for a solid year ahead. We are working with the bus companies and the resorts to ensure a positive experience for all of you.

We expect that bus protocols will remain the same as outlined above for both portfolios.  Nordic skiing however isn’t nearly as reliant on technology and gathering as Alpine skiing. The opportunity to completely escape into nature while enjoying some physical exercise may sound more enticing to our members than ever before. Crisp air and enveloping silence while gliding along at whatever pace suits you best. The mental break from everything else going on is incredible.

Our instructors will be safely ready to go as always teaching traditional or skate methods. There is a nordic option to Silverstar being planned in cooperation with the charters crew, and we are tentatively planning on returning to Sault Ste. Marie (tentative) for a weekend excursion. More details will come when we have more information and costs.

Costs will rise this year because of the decreased bus capacity and possibly increased prices at the resorts. As soon as we know more, we will share these with you.

We hope you will join us for a day or for a full season of fun. Get up later, get back earlier, spend less money, enjoy a stress free day with us... Sounds fantastic to me!

SOCIALS

Let’s get together! Oh we can’t. $%&@!

Socials during a pandemic are, what’s the word?, tricky.

Generally, our socials have been great opportunities for our members to get together off the slopes or trails to have even more fun, deepen friendships and party. We try to move them around the city, try to strike the right balance between tried and true and new and exciting, athletic and sedate, quiet and loud.

And then there are our major events, Kick-off, Holiday Party, Year-End. These are almost inconceivable right now in the way that we have done it in the past (although we hold out hope for the year-end). And, I am not sure that people would enjoy these events virtually. 300 people with open mics on a Zoom call sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.


So, what to do? The socials team is working on it. We have some events we are working on now that include:

  • Virtual wine/vodka/scotch/? tasting with a professional

  • Cooking classes

  • Golf Tournament - September 26 - Sign up now!

  • Scavenger Hunt with online reveal

  • Online games including Trivia

  • Ice skating seems like a natural

We are also looking at the things that we already do to see if there couldn’t be a social there. For example, could we get a group of mostly alpine members to come out for a Nordic trip and vice versa. Snowshoeing, why not?

We would LOVE to still do socials every two weeks and make them fun and memorable.  While the weather is still good, we would like to be outside as much as we can. If you have ideas, or things that you have been part of that worked for other organizations, let us know and we will investigate how this could work for us and our 1,150 members. 

We really do hope to see you soon!

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