HOW WILL THE CLUB CHANGE ITS PRACTICES DUE TO COVID-19?
COVID-19 has resulted in a lot of uncertainty in the travel industry. For those members choosing to travel, the Club will work with Tour Operators to keep members as safe as possible.
Some of the actions we’re taking include:
WHEN, HOW, AND WHY DO WE PICK OUR DESTINATIONS?
NTSC typically picks trips that will appeal to a wide variety of members -- notably a variety of terrain and more reliable snow conditions. Other factors include off-hill activities, night life and general ambience at price points that aren't cost prohibitive.
Unless we don't. Some trips are just too appealing even though we know that they aren't for everyone.
Except for perpetual favourites such as Banff, Whistler and Tremblant, we try to change things up and not visit the same resort more than once every three years.
We try to time the trips so that snow conditions are ideal (higher altitude or more northerly resorts early or late in the season) while spreading trips as evenly as we can from mid-December through early April. We'll avoid some holidays (especially US ones) but embrace Ontario ones to minimize the time off work. We try as best we can to offer a March Break trip every year unless the premium is prohibitive.
WHAT TRIP IS RIGHT FOR ME?
It depends what are you looking for. Value? Variety? Tradition? Thrills? Comfort? Weather? Culture? Cameraderie?
Our trips are first and foremost about skiing and snowboarding, so if you've never skied or snowboarded outside of Ontario, think about:
If you are concerned about the level of difficulty of a resort, talk to a member of the Travel Committee who can advise you on the best trip given your abilities. And see the FAQ on ski/snowboard trail difficulty ratings.
HOW DO DIFFICULTY RATINGS IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES COMPARE?
The green ⚫, blue ⬛, black◆ or double black ◆◆ slope ratings that you're familiar with locally apply across the US and Canada. But what's a blue run at Mount St. Louis isn't necessarily the same as a blue run at Lake Louise. Resorts like to advertise a good mix of green, blue and black runs, so larger Canada and US resorts tend to have comparatively more difficult runs.
In Europe, resorts use a colour system to help skiers pick the best slope for their ability. It is worth knowing that the grading system will never get harder as you head down the mountain. If you are at the top on a blue run, you will always be able to make it to the bottom on either a blue or a green run. This is a golden rule of European piste grading. From the easiest to most challenging, they are coded:
Japan uses a color-coded system, but shapes do not usually accompany them. Some resorts, mainly those catering to foreigners, use the North American or European color-coding system, adding to the confusion. When in doubt, check the map legend. The usual ratings are:
I'M A BEGINNER SKIER OR SNOWBOARDER, SHOULD I GO ON A TRIP WITH THE CLUB?
Yes, if you are ready for something more stimulating and challenging than what you're skiing in on our Alpine day trips. All resorts we'll visit have designated beginner, intermediate and advanced runs, and we generally post the relative numbers (total runs or percentages) of beginner, intermediate, or advanced runs. Almost all of those resorts will have enough beginner runs to keep you interested.
But most people on charter trips will focus on intermediate and advanced runs, perhaps using beginner runs for warm ups or to where they're the only way to get from point a to point b. And so if you only aspire to, or feel comfortable on, beginner runs, you may find yourself skiing alone much of the time.
If you're a beginner, but plan to work at your skiing, set your sights on trips later in the year and you shouldn't have an issue.
If you are concerned about the level of difficulty of a resort talk to a member of the Travel Committee who can advise you on the best trip given your abilities.
CAN I STAY AND SKI/BOARD FOR LONGER THAN THE CLUB PLANS?
Most Tour Operators’ proposals will allow a limited number of diversions. There may surcharge to do so in order to maintain group airfare and it is a common requirement to join the Club for the outbound leg of the trip. Most trips will also offer a 'Land Only' price for members who want to arrange their own airfare (or are flying on points). Those members are not bound by the dates of the Club's trip, but are on their own for arrangements outside of the Club's reservations, such a bus transfers.
REGISTERING FOR A TRIP
WHEN I BOOK A TRIP, DO I HAVE TO FIND A ROOMMATE?
No. If you do not have a roommate we will match you with a member of the same gender. The proviso is that another member of the same gender is also looking for a roommate. We try to get you the best roommate possible (partier/quieter, snorer/non-snorer). And some trips have a limited number of single rooms (with a single supplement, noted on the page for those trips).
I have a roommate in mind, what do i do?
If you have already arranged with another member to share a room, make sure you both sign-up for the trip Priority List as early as possible. Registration spots are offered to roommates according to the sum of each members' place on the Priority List. For example, if Sally signs up early and is #2 on the Priority List (#1 is top of the list) and John signs up later and is #31 on the Priority List, their combined score is 33. Jill and Susan also want to be roommates and their Priority List places are #9 and #11, with a combined score of 20. They will be higher on the Priority List than Sally and John and have a greater chance of being offered trip spots.
Also, please be aware that if your roommate has to cancel before the trip date, depending on the timing of the cancellation, you have a few options:
If no member of the same gender can be found to share the room or you do not wish to pay the single supplement, then no refund will by provided to your cancelling roommate by the tour operator.
I HAVE AN IKON/EPIC PASS, CAN I USE IT ON A TRIP?
Yes, we offer trips with a "no lift ticket" option for those with passes or for those who wish to Nordic ski.
THE TRIP I WANTED TO GO IN IS FULL, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
The options available are:
CAN I REGISTER A FRIEND WHO IS NOT A MEMBER OF NTSC TO JOIN ME ON A TRIP?
No. NTSC run trips are only available to club members. Membership has its privileges. This is a TICO (travel industry) regulation.
WHAT DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT DEADLINES AND WHY ARE SOME SO EARLY?
There are trip/club deadlines and individual deadlines. They are almost always imposed by the tour operator, and sometimes by the resort. Club Med in particular is very strict about deadlines, and even when the trip is later in the season, they will insist on early registration.
Deadlines enable us to grow a trip in size, or reduce numbers (and in a worst case scenario cancel a trip).
NTSC pays a deposit to tour operators and we are subject to penalties if we cannot meet minimum group requirements. We plan the season with the expectation that we will comfortably exceed those minimums, but in case we make a mistake we reserve the right to cancel the entire trip. But a more likely outcome of a poor choice on our part is that we will 'return' excess seats. Once we return seats to the tour operator it’s unlikely we can get them back and we will close registration. So the sooner people register, the more we can ensure group rates for hotel and flight and not incur a loss. Earlier registration may also guide us in requesting additional seats or accommodation if a trip proves surprisingly popular. In the case of bus trips, it may be the difference between adding a second bus or not.
Individual deadlines are typically driven by trip deadlines. Once we close a trip, you can't sign up for it. The other important deadlines relate to 1) initial payments and final payments, and 2) individual cancellations. Different trips will refund different amounts for cancellations at different times prior to departure. The Club's registration fee ($35 for bus trips; $50 for air trips) is non-refundable after you've paid. Payments to the tour operator may be returned (in whole or in part) depending on whether and when we can find a member to take your place. Additional fees may be imposed or payments forfeited (especially for air trips, where airline penalties are being passed through). Details are on the trip pages and vary by trip.
WHY DOES THE BUS TRIP SHOW IT IS FULL BUT THE BUS HAS AVAILABLE SEATING?
There may not be availability at the hotel. The tour operator blocks off an estimated number of rooms that are adjusted as needed. If by a certain date we do not fill them, we release them back to the hotel. We may or may not get them back later depending on availability.
ON YOUR TRIP
CAN I TAKE A LESSON WITH THE NTSC SNOW SCHOOL WHILE ON A TRIP?
NTSC Snow School instructors are not insured to teach at out-of-province resorts.
Lessons are available at each resort's snow school.
I'VE NEVER BEEN ON A SKI TrIP BEFORE, WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
Everything you would bring on an Alpine Day Trip, plus:
WHAT DOES A TRIP LEADER DO, AND HOW IS A TRIP LEADER DIFFERENT FROM A TRAVEL REP?
NTSC Travel Reps are members of the Travel Committee. Each Travel Rep organizes several air and bus trips. Some of these duties include selecting the trip line up for the season, building the trip events for our website, working with tour operators, organizing Priority Lists and sending out Registration links for trips. Travel Committee and Board members are not permitted to sign up early for trip Priority Lists or to register early for a trip. They sign up at the same time as members.
Trip Leaders are volunteers who are selected from trip registrants to help create a fun and social atmosphere on the trips. For bus trips we appoint one Trip Leader per bus. For larger air trips (i.e. more members) we may appoint a co-trip leader or assistant trip leader. On each trip, the Trip Leader will host a welcome party, so that members can meet each other and to create a social atmosphere on the trip. Often Trip Leaders will organize other social events or outings on the trips.
Examples of Trip Leader duties include: