Telemarking skiing in rhythm
VAIL – It’s hard. It makes your thighs burn. You’re really tired when you’re done.Apparently, those are good things – reasons to cross over to telemark skiing and never look back.”This is more challenging physically,” said Maggie McGuan of Ouray, formerly of Eagle County.
McGuan is a free-heel skier who switched from alpine skiing three years ago and now teles exclusively. “There’s just a lot more technique to it, so I think it’s more fun,” she said. “You’re in a lunge stance, and your thighs burn like hell.”Telemark skis have bindings that attach only the toes to the ski. The outside ski leads the turn and the inside ski is pulled back with the heel up in the air.The free heel can provide more mobility, including the ability to ski uphill with climbing skins.McGuan got bored with alpine skiing, which she’d been doing since she was 3. “I think it’s more fun in the bumps and it’s more fun in powder than regular skiing or snowboarding,” she said.
Tele Tuesday is a social club for telemark skiers that happens every week at Beaver Creek. It’s an event for all levels of telemark skiers and includes lessons for people who want them. More than 20 tele skiers, including McGuan, attended last week.”It’s a way to get skiers of like minds together just to go up and have a good day on the hill,” said Sean Glackin, owner of Alpine Quest Sports in Edwards, which runs the event.Telemark skiing seems to have surged in popularity around the valley in recent years, Glackin said.
Telemark skiing may conjure images of hippies with beards, dogs, hemp pants and bumper stickers that read “Drop knees, not bombs.”Glackin – who was beardless and did not appear to be wearing any type of hemp clothing – said tele skiing is getting away from that image.”It used to be more of that hippie feel, because it was more backcountry and leather boots,” he said. “Now, the equipment has come so far. And just like anything else, you have people who go to the backcountry, people who ski bumps every day and others in the halfpipe. It’s kind of getting out of that Grizzly Adams, hippie kind of thing.”
At Tele Tuesday, one group splintered off for a lesson with a Beaver Creek instructor. The rest headed to the top of the mountain.Some ambitious tele-skiers headed down Ripsaw, a black-diamond bump trail, on their first run. The others warmed up on a groomer, but were soon heading for bumps in Larkspur Bowl and then Grouse Mountain.Audrey Poeppelmeier of Vail, who has been telemark skiing for a year and a half, also said she switched over because it was something new. She started telemarking skiing after alpine skiing for 10 years. She only telemarks now.”I love it,” she said. “It’s just so much more fun. It’s more of a challenge.”Ken Bridges of Avon went from snowboarding to telemarking. Now he does both. He took up tele-skiing mainly for backcountry skiing and hut trips, he said.”I love the rhythm you get in when you’re tele skiing,” he said.Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or email@example.com.