Updated Dec 4
As I write this on December 2nd it is snowing outside my dining room window, and my new skis are holding up the wall downstairs in our rec room. Yesterday I cycled outdoors on my road bike for the last time this year, and today it is coming indoors for the winter. It has been a while since the club has communicated with the membership for the perfectly good reason that there has been nothing to report since we suspended our hiking season when Montreal was put under the Red Zone – Maximum Alert status.
We’re still a Red Zone, and are likely to remain one through the winter, or at least most of it. The areas surrounding Montreal, the places we ski, are all either Red Zones or Orange Zones
Here are some of the relevant guidelines from the Quebec Covid-19 website that pertain particularly to us. (Italics below are mine.)
Orange Zone: Travel between regions, either starting or ending in an orange zone for the purpose of organized sports and recreational activities is permitted but not recommended for schools, associations, or private sports clubs.
Red Zone: Travel between regions, either starting or ending in a red zone is not recommended.
No organized sports, physical or recreational activities are permitted.
Activities that are carried out individually or in pairs and individual training are allowed, provided that the health guidelines are followed.
What does this mean practically for our club and members? It means that for now, and for the foreseeable future, we cannot get together for formally scheduled club outings either in the Montreal region, or in the neighboring regions where most of our ski venues are.
I do believe, however, that it does mean we can start our informal Saturday morning Cap St. Jacques and Wednesday evening Mont Royal outings whenever conditions permit, with the proviso that members adhere to all the relevant provincial health and safety guidelines (the government does not require masks for outdoor activities, but does recommend masks when two metre social distancing is not possible). At CSJ members normally meet up in the parking lot and head straight out onto the trail. As long as appropriate social distancing or mask wearing is respected, and members head out in ones or twos, with some distance between groups, we should be fine. The same is true of Mont Royal, with the exception that skiers would be better meeting up outside the Beaver Lake chalet. Chalets at both locations will be closed, but washrooms will be available. When it’s time we will update you through our weekly emails.
And what does this all mean for our Tremblant weekend? For now, we are still holding our Jan. 22-24 booking, but it does not look good. Individual members can make private arrangements to get together and travel between regions, but I do not believe the club should be facilitating or sponsoring this. A club sponsored Tremblant weekend would, under current regulations, contravene both the recommendations for Orange and Red Zones. If you are interested in making private arrangements, and would like to connect with others planning the same, let me know -Peter Côté
I’m looking forward to getting out and trying those new waxless skis of mine. Sure hope we can do so together in some fashion this winter! We’ll keep you posted.
If you do head out, let us know what the conditions were where you skied, and send along some pictures we can share on the website and Facebook page. It could help others with their ski plans, and it might be the only way some of us get together this winter.
Sept 2020 update
Greetings pandemic weary hikers and skiers. The organizing committee of the BTNSC has been talking about our upcoming season these past few weeks, and several of us have been approached by members asking/hoping that we will have at least some kind of season.
In these abnormal times it is impossible to know with any certainty how to proceed, but for now we have decided to begin with as normal a start to our season as possible. We will begin with our Lachine walks, Wednesday evenings at 7 pm, starting Sept 2nd. We meet in the municipal parking lot at St. Joseph and 21st Avenue. Be there five to ten minutes early, and have parking money.
Beyond that it is our intention to start the Sunday hiking schedule at the end of September, as is customary, at Cap St. Jacques. We will keep the initial hikes as close as possible, so as to limit the need for indoor bathroom stops. We will adjust and adapt as we go.
We hope to start the Ski season whenever it is possible to start skiing. We will have our regular Sunday outings, however possible destinations may be more limited than in previous years. We will also schedule the Saturdays at Cap St. Jacques and the Wednesday evenings on Mont Royal.
Everything is dependent on Covid-19 though, and the dictates and recommendations of our Public Health authorities. As weary as we may be, we must all remain responsible and vigilant in our behaviour. We’ll post health and safety guidelines here on our website and in the weekly emails.
Some members are looking forward to a BT season, however it may turn out. Others may think it is simply unwise altogether! Everyone has to make their own decisions as to how they wish to proceed. If you are comfortable coming out, please do so.
We will not be scheduling any indoor social events, nor will we have an Opening Meeting in November. We will post updates on the season here on our website, and send this information out via weekly emails. For now, we will be holding onto our Tremblant Weekend, scheduled for January 22-24.
Finally, we will not be charging any membership fee this season, as much of that money goes to supporting our social gatherings, Opening Meeting and Ski Clinic. The only one of these that may happen is the Ski Clinic. We’ll figure that out later if necessary. This will be a transition year to better times.
We will continue with last year’s membership mailing list. If any lapsed members wish to be added to the list, they only need ask. If any potential new members wish to join us, you need to know that this will be a very different year. We’ll have to arrange to meet up with you at a given walk, hike or ski outing and introduce you to the club one-on-one.