Frequently Asked Questions
About the club & gear
How fit should I be?
If you are used to walking a few kilometres briskly several times a week, that is a good measure of how much energy is required to ski. The ski trails vary in length and difficulty and you can increase your time gradually. It is better to go out for short runs (4 - 5 km) a couple of times a day rather than attempt a long trail before you know your endurance level.
If you're thinking about doing some training to get in shape for the season, check out this helpful presentation from one of our Ski School instructors!
What's the age range of members?
Trakkers is the only club that welcomes families. While members must be 18 or older for insurance purposes, our extended family means our "members" age range has spanned from 6-months old to over 80, through the club's long history.
How can I find out more about Trakkers?
The best way is to visit us at our season kick-off Open House - meet long-time members, talk with the volunteer board, enjoy some snacks, find out why we have so many 10-year, 20-year, and 30-year members.
How can I volunteer?
Just let us know! Trakkers depends on the generosity of its members' time to keep the club running all year round. Speak with a board member. Let us know where you'd like to help - board, ski school, weekend trips, publicity, social, Open House, Sunday trips, etc.
Is alcohol allowed on the bus?
For insurance purposes, alcohol is not permitted on our buses.
Do I need to have my own equipment?
No. You may choose to rent skis for your first few trips. All of our destinations have rental equipment. Most destinations have a pro shop where you can try out skis before purchasing them.
Do you have ski rentals?
No. We do not own any ski equipment. Our club visits ski resorts that have rental equipment available.
Where can I find new or used ski equipment?
Before investing in cross country ski equipment, you should have an idea of what you are looking for. Are you going to ski in parks and back-country areas or at ski resorts on groomed trails? Do you want waxless or waxable skis? Do you want to skate or classic ski or both? Classic skis and boots are designed differently than skate equipment. If you do wish to both skate and classic ski but only want to purchase one set of equipment, combi skis may be an option. While combi skis and boots are designed for both techniques, be aware that they are, as a result, a compromise which will be reflected in performance at higher levels.
Regardless of your needs or budget, skis need to be not only the proper length but, more importantly, the proper stiffness for your body weight. Poles need to be the correct length as well. There is lots of information online so you can be well-prepared before you shop. If you are still unsure, you may wish to rent skis before buying; some ski resorts will let you put the cost of a rental toward a purchase particularly if you are looking at higher end equipment.
If you are looking to purchase used equipment, you can try Kijiji or Play It Again Sports. For higher end equipment, you might find something at the ski swaps held in early fall at Hardwood Ski and Bike north of Barrie or Highland Nordic near Stayner. Both are ski resorts and you can find details and directions on their web sites. Again, you should know what you are looking for before purchasing so that you get equipment that will be suitable.
If you are looking to purchase new equipment, your best bet for selection and service in Toronto in our opinion is Velotique, 1592 Queen Street East, Toronto M4L 1G1; telephone 416-466-3171. Alternatively, you can try stores such as Mountain Equipment Coop, Atmosphere, Skis & Bikes, etc. or simply do an online search, e.g. “cross country ski equipment, Toronto.”
What do I wear skiing / snowshoeing?
Wear multiple layers for warmth, made from materials, e.g. polyester or similar material, that let your body's moisture wick away from the skin. Remember that cross-country skiing is very physical.
- Start with a layer against your skin that is not cotton. Cotton absorbs moisture and will keep you cold. Researching appropriate underwear will be worth the time. You will be looking for polyester, nylon, wool or silk content.
- Next, we can add a fleece vest or jacket
- Followed by some sort of shell to break the wind
- Do not forget mitts or gloves, hat and balaclava. They do not have to be fancy. A simple wool or fleece mitt with a shell can give you the flexibility you need when temperatures change.
- Carrying an extra set of clothing is recommended if you perspire heavily and wish to change during lunch or at the end of the day.
What's the cost of membership?
Membership fees vary slightly over the course of the year. The earlier you sign-up pre-season the more you save. Your membership always includes one free Sunday bus ride. As a not-for-profit, volunteer-run club, your membership fee helps Trakkers provide you with free ski lessons by CANSI-certified instructors, the Open House at Swansea Town Hall, insurance and more. You'll find the latest membership fee information on our Join page.
What does membership include?
Your annual membership includes: one free Sunday bus ride; free ski lessons from CANSI-certified Trakkers instructors; and an opportunity to have fun throughout the winter.
Do you have family memberships? / What about children?
Children are always welcome! We don’t offer family memberships, but it is not necessary to take out a separate membership for children; they come as guests and are entitled to a reduced bus fare of $10.
Note that Trakkers offers Junior Trakkers lessons for children aged 6 to 12. If yourchild is under 6, please ask a Trakkers instructor for tips on how to get them started on skis.
Can I try the club before joining Trakkers?
If you're not sure if Trakkers is the right club for you, join us one Sunday as a stand-by guest if seats are available. Check our Web site from Friday afternoon onward to find out if there are available stand-by seating. When there's room, meet us at our pick-up location, near Keele subway station.
Bring enough cash to pay for your bus ride ($22 for advance registration or $27 for standby), discounted trail fee (ranging from $10 to $26 depending on the resort), lunch, etc., and get there early to save your spot in the stand-by queue. Look at our Sunday Trips page for details.
I'm a member. Can I bring a guest?
Yes. Guests are welcomed, in accordance with the club's Guest Policy. Your adult friends/family can join us as your guest up to two times. After that, we invite your guest to become a new member, like you.
How late in the season can I join Trakkers?
It is never too late in the season to join. Just fill in the on-line application form before 9PM on the Thursday before you want to come to let us know you are coming as a new member, and show up for the bus on Sunday morning with your signed form and cheque.
More details can be found on our Sunday Trips page.
Where do you go skiing?
Our coach buses take us where the snow is best, within a two-hour drive radius of the city. Look at our Sunday trips page to see the resorts we frequent. We post our destination on the Monday preceding the Sunday trip.
When do you run trips?
Trakkers ski every Sunday throughout the winter, starting mid-December, according to snow conditions. Don't be fooled by snow-free Toronto.
*If conditions are not adequate the trip will be cancelled and this will be announced on the website.
How do I sign up for a trip?
Sign-up for a Sunday Trip is done through the Trakkers web site. Members should log in to their account to register for a trip (see instructions here).
I'm new to cross-country skiing. How much should I budget for a typical Sunday trip?
This represents a typical day's costs:
- Bus: $27 (or $22 if registered in advance)
- Trail fee: $10-26
- Classic equipment rentals: $15-33 (remember to bring photo ID, credit card)
- Skate equipment rentals: $25-46 (remember to bring photo ID, credit card)
- Snow shoe rentals: $10-20 (remember to bring photo ID, credit card)
- Lunch: $12 (or bring your own)
More savings! Members’ children under the age of 18 (17 and under), accompanied by the member, pay a reduced bus fare ($10). Sometimes trail fees are a little more, sometimes trail fees are a little less, but, skiing with us as a member, you always save.
I'm new to cross-country skiing and the trails. Will someone ski with me?
Trakkers offers its members ski lessons, from "I've never been on skiis before" to "I'm interested in fine-tuning my uphill skating technique." During your lesson, you'll meet others at the same skill level. Smile. Make friends with other Trakkers. While not organized, there's always someone to ski with.
Should I carry food or water?
Consider carrying a fanny pack or small back pack with some liquids and energy bars. Be sure to keep yourself hydrated, expecially on long or difficult trails.
How long are your Sunday ski trips?
Our bus leaves our pick-up point, near Keele subway station, at 9 AM. Our bus leaves the resort at 4 PM. We return to our pick-up point at approximately 6 PM.
I've signed up for a Sunday ski trip with a guest, but I didn't cancel before the Thursday 9 PM deadline. Do I have to pay for the trip?
Yes, you remain responsible for the bus cost, for yourself and for your guest.
Does Trakkers run longer ski trips?
Trakkers organizes 2-3 weekend trips, not too far from Toronto. Find more detail on our Weekend Trips page.