VMS starts telemark team | VailDaily.com
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VMS starts telemark team

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EAST VAIL – Vail Mountain School’s Patrick Scanlan had some doubts before his first tele-X race, the telemark equivalent of skiercross, at the 2005 Telemark Nationals at Copper last week.”The day leading up to it, I was so scared,” the senior said. “There were like 12 year olds walking around and I was like, ‘I’m going to get smoked by some 12 year old.’ But once you start going, it’s like Nirvana from then on.”It was definitely Nirvana time for Scanlan as he won the Tele-X junior division, racing against some of the best telemark skiers from around the state in his age group, 12 year olds aside.

“It was a real shock to me and my coach Mr. (Mike) Ioli,” Scanlan said. “We were both like, ‘Whoa, this is sweet.'” It was a sweet start for Scanlan and the VMS telemarking team which is in business for the first time as a varsity sport at the school. Last year, the team was a club, practicing a few times a week during seventh period. Eventually, Scanlan and Michael Busenhart approached Ioli, the school’s outdoor-program director, about making the jump to being a full-fledged team.”We basically started as a club and the response was really positive,” said Ioli, who coaches the team with Mike Beerntsen and Kate Brazleton. “The kids were pretty excited about it. We made some progress. This year came around and we wanted to make it a team.”

The newest Gore Rangers raised money for themselves. The started the season with a trip to Alta, Utah, earlier in the year. Last weekend’s competition was the first for the team. VMS heads to Steamboat Springs Feb. 12 for the Telemark Revival, a competition and tele festival.Down the road are possible competitions at Taos, N.M. and Crested Butte. Though there are competitions in all sorts of disciplines like slopestyle, big air, skiercross and giant slalom, the emphasis of the program is much smaller.”We’re trying to introduce the kids to all aspects of the sport,” Ioli said. “We have kids who have never been on skis before to kids like Patrick and Boozi (Busenhart) who are landing 360s and 720s on their telemarks. At this point, everyone is telemarking hard and can ski most terrain. That initially was our goal.”

The team’s training regimen includes days of carving, powder turning, moguls and time in the terrain park. The team is also taking an avalanche class and each member will make a hut trip this year.Another reason the team isn’t so focused on the competitive aspect is that VMS is just one of three schools in the state with a telemarking team – Aspen and the Colorado Rocky Mountain School being the two others.Scanlan, Busenhart, Thomas Hartland, Brian Wood, Drew Roberts, Anna Smith, Meggie Tuthill, Lara Green, Kris Caples, Molly Etters, Lucy Sackbauer, Kelsey Peck, Wes Batts and Kenzie Grant are the members of VMS’ first telemarking team.

“Everyone’s pretty open to each other,” Scanlan said. “There’s a huge range of abilities. Everyone skis with each other and we have a good time. We’re on the same runs, doing the same stuff and everyone’s having a blast.”Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.Vail Colorado


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