Telemark Skiing is Alive and Well
By Tanner Visnick
This was my first year training with the tele race group of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, and it was a wild ride! Though not typical, our coaches training methods were super effective and helped me become a much better skier. Ty Upson’s personal and “one on one” coaching has increased my interest in the sport. Come join me for a recap of the greatest ski year of my life!
I was a little scared when I first showed up at dry land training in early September. The first two days of testing left me drained and I didn’t know if I could do this for three months. But I got stronger and by the end of dry land, I had gained twenty pounds and was ready to take on the world. I was excited to get the ski season started and didn’t know what to expect. I discovered how important good coaching is and when it comes to coaches, there aren’t many better than Ty. He gets down and personal with me and my fellow teammates. Only on rare occasion he didn’t show up, typically due to being stuck in a ditch! He always did his best to arrive and was more often than not, early!
The most interesting thing we did all year was lerking. A lerk is a tree branch about six feet long that is used to push against the hill to establish angles. We had an interesting time with them and often got stared at by tourists and even occasionally got yelled at by ski patrol. Lerks helped me be more comfortable having really large angles on skis. I come from more of a freestyle background, so I am not as accustomed to skiing with such big angles.
Our first race of the year was the Christmas camp. The race went well and I was happy with my performance in my first race on the United States Telemark Ski Team. The entire Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club did very well. We are very young and small in number but we have a lot of talent and with a coach like Ty, we are bound to be successful. Although we train really hard, Ty gives us a lot of free ski days outside of the race course. We skied the powder, the bumps, and even skied backwards. It was always fun to have a break and it helped to get our concentration back. These days off were crucial to our continued motivation and effort.
The next race was the Eldora race. Even after a pathetic fall in the skate section, I was able to get up and still finish with a pretty good time. The greatest thing about Telemark racing is everyone cheering on everybody else. People even cheer for their biggest competitors. The greatest thing about Telemark racing is the people. My teammates are the best ever. They always cheer me on and give me advice when I need it.
The last big race of the year was Nationals. I was extremely aggressive on the first race, and I managed to break the binding off my ski and in a later race I crashed into a gate and broke my pole. I guess I should stop working out in the weight room! It was a fantastic year and I could not have accomplished anything without my coach and my teammates. Life couldn’t get any better!