Colorado Governor Honors Telemark Skiers’ Achievements

First Tracks Online
April 28, 2009
Denver, CO
– Colorado Governor Bill Ritter congratulated three Colorado junior telemark skiers on their recent skiing accomplishments in a ceremony at the Capitol earlier this month.
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter congratulates his state's top telemark skiers in a ceremony at the State Capitol earlier this month. Posing from left to right: Rep. Randy Baumgarter, Ben Paley, Lorin Paley, Drew Hauser, Gov. Ritter, and Sen. Al White.

Lorin Paley, 16, and Ben Paley, 18, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., and Drew Hauser, 19, of Silverthorne, Colo. were invited to meet with the Governor after their recent success at the Telemark Junior World Championships held in Austria, and at the U.S. Telemark National Championships held in Steamboat Springs.

“These three young skiers have shown exceptional poise and remarkable skill to achieve this level of success,” Gov. Ritter said. “All of Colorado is extremely proud of their performances on the world stage in Europe and at the National Championships. Congratulations to Drew, Lorin, and Ben. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of their accomplishments in the years to come.”

The Telemark Junior World Championships were held in Kreischberg, Austria, on Jan. 24. Lorin Paley won two gold medals in the Classic and Sprint Classic events, and finished second overall. She was the first American female to stand on the podium.

“It was incredible that the Governor took time out of his busy schedule to honor us,” Lorin Paley said. “The best part was that he was truly interested in finding out more about what exactly a telemark race consists of. We explained that every telemark race starts with giant slalom race gates, followed by a jump where the athlete needs to make a jump line or receive penalty time. After the jump are more giant slalom gates, and finally at the end when your legs are toast, the athlete needs to muster enough energy to complete a one- to two-minute skate ski to the finish line.

“After Governor Ritter heard that the telemark race has so many interesting components he wondered why Telemark is not an Olympic winter sport,” she added. “We were definitely in agreement on this point!”

Hauser also won a gold medal at the Telemark Junior World Championships, finishing first in the Giant Slalom event, and finishing first overall.

The U.S. Telemark National Championships were held in Steamboat Springs from Feb. 26 through March 1. Lorin Paley finished second overall in the women’s championships, losing to Kelsey Schmid-Sommer of Whitefish, Mont. only through a tiebreaker, while Hauser finished first overall in the men’s division. Ben Paley finished third overall behind Shane Anderson of Whitefish, Mont.

The telemark contingent brought with them gifts from the Steamboat area for the Governor, including a Mountain Hardwear jacket with the Steamboat Ski Area logo embroidered on the front, and a goodie bag from Smartwool, which is based in Steamboat Springs.

“We even have a picture of the Governor wearing the lime green Smartwool hat!” said a delighted Lorin Paley.