By John Eames, BASI Trainer and Telemark Director
The Telemark Festival at the Chill Factore on 20 May organised by the Manchester CrossCountry Ski Club was blessed with good snow (they had finished ‘redoing’ the whole slope the evening before!).
With a well prepared slope and no queues, approximately thirty freeheel skiers ranging in age from 13 to 83 (!) gathered first thing in the morning, sorted hire equipment and then split into five coaching groups from ‘beginners’ to ‘advanced’. BASI supported the event by sending me along to represent BASI and lead one of the five coaching groups and I had the privilege of working alongside Jaz Taylor, current British Telemark Champion. Jaz is currently ranked 4th in the world Telemark standings and is the first Brit to achieve podium spot on the FIS Telemark World Cup circuit, gaining a 2nd place this season.
Despite the many groups, a quiet Chill Factore meant we had plenty of space and good skiing was had by all … with considerable improvement achieved many! Thanks to some equipment and ‘goodies’ donated by BASI we were able to award prizes to the most improved skier in each of the 5 groups.
Enthusiasm for Telemark skiing remains ‘unparalleled’ (groan!) and whilst numbers involved are relatively small, the commitment and keen-ness is huge – the indoor Telemark festivals in the UK reflect similar festivals held throughout the Alps and North America between November and May.
These events seem to be peculiar to Telemark but highlight the passion, interest and camaraderie that exits amongst Telemark skiers the world over. The next UK event is at Braehaed, Glasgow, on 29th July and if there are any Members interested in an introduction to Telemark, I will be running one for BASI Members at Chill Factore on the 1 October and it counts as a CPD! £65 plus your lift pass. You can book here!