Telemark makes it free-heeling season
When the skiing season opens Dec. 14 on Copper Mountain, there will be one technical difference.
For the first time, the Colorado High School Activities Association will allow telemark equipment.
After years of coaches pushing for use of the equipment, a decision was made largely to increase the number of athletes who participate in sanctioned high school skiing.
“It will bring more kids into the program,” CHSAA assistant commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said. “Let us try it for a year and rediscuss it.”
Some telemark racers had to borrow equipment to race alpine in the past, but the ruling “will increase the number of telemark skiers that will be able to race, and that is great,” Summit Tigers coach Tory Hauser said.
Coaches agree it’s important students are able to compete together regardless of the equipment they use, Hauser said, “as there is no competitive advantage; kids just want to race with their team.”
While there might be a disadvantage to using telemark when it comes to placing, because “it’s just slower,” two-time alpine coach of the year Chad Bowdre of Steamboat Springs said, “in my book it’s just fine.”
Vail Mountain and Steamboat Springs are two schools that will employ telemark.
Summit and Aspen, who have collectively won the past six team titles in boys and nine in girls, look to dominate again.
Hauser, entering his sixth and final season, has a group of seniors he expects to further tradition, although he does not foresee any team dominating all meets this season as his boys team did last year.
“We are looking at one of the most competitive seasons I have seen,” Hauser said.
Steamboat Springs will host the state championships Feb. 21-22, and closer results might be due to prep competitors choosing to compete in the International Ski Federation races in Telluride on the same weekend.
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