Lost Trail Powder Mountain, MT 19JAN02

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Lost Trail Powder Mountain, MT 19JAN02

Postby Jay Silveira » Fri Jan 25, 2002 12:13 am

I just found out yesterday that Lost Trail was having a Telemark demo day on Saturday, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try Tele skiing for the 1st time. E and I had to take care of some things in Missoula on Saturday morning, but we got home as soon as we could and headed to Lost Trail. This meant that we didn’t arrive until after 2:00 P.M., but that’s the nice thing about having a season’s pass. In the past few days, Lost Trail has received about a foot of new snow, so conditions were excellent. <BR> As it turns out, a local Missoula Telemark/outdoor store known as Pipestone was running the demos, everything was free and they had tons of equipment. They were really friendly, and asked us if we had ever Tele skied before, which we hadn’t. From there they set us up with some boots (turns out they were Scarpa T2) and skis (180 cm Atomic TM 22). They gave us a couple of pointers and we headed off to the bunny slope. <BR> We had figured that learning Tele skiing would be like learning to snowboard, so we anticipated spending the rest of the day (about an hour or so) on the bunny slope. I had only tried Telemark style turns on my Nordic equipment, which was pretty unstable, so I figured it would take a while to find balance. Well, this wasn’t the case on this setup. The boots were really stable, and after a couple of turns it already started to get fun. When we got to the bottom of the bunny slope, we contemplated grabbing the rope tow back up to the top, but decided things were going smoothly enough to head on down to chair 2 via the long green slope known as Drifter. We were a little concerned about a short blue pitch on this trail, but soon found out the increased pitch actually helped! Conditions were nice and soft, and the skis bit right in. <BR> After the short blue pitch, we mellowed out to green again, and kept refining our Tele turns. At first during my turns, my back ski was sort of skittish (E didn’t have this problem and I was jealous), so I figured I should put some more weight on it. Shifting the weight back just a smidge took care of that problem, and let the skis act like one big edge in a carve. It really is a lot like Alpine skiing in a slightly different stance. Over at the edge of the trail there was about a foot of nice light powder, so I figured I’d take a shot in there and see what it felt like… <BR> <BR>Oooh man was that sweet! (drool) <BR> <BR> My favorite part was the feeling of the powder washing up against the knee of my back leg (this is the knee that gets really low). It was just like everyone always says about skiing powder Tele style, you really get down in it. E saw me over there and jumped in herself. After that pitch, she said, “Wow, that was like being one with the snow!” We were both giggling like a couple of nuts. We finished off the trail, grabbing a few more stashes of powder and worked on smoothing out the turns and the transitions in between. We got on the lift and it was non-stop chatter about what it was like to ski on Telemark skis. <BR> Since that trail had gone so well, we decided to hit something a bit steeper and headed off in the direction of North Bowl/Speedway (mild blue in steepness). There was lots of nice cut up powder here and we started to really get the hang of turning. Things got a bit faster and we (OK maybe I) got a bit louder. We finished off the trail with a short stash of untracked in some small evergreens. The powder was light and heavenly and we wanted more! <BR> Our time was growing short, and we had just enough time for one more run. We decided to go for the trifecta and hit a black trail. We chose Thunder, a standard black run with a few hundred verts of moguls that should be enough to give us the feeling of Telemark skiing in bumps. In my first few turns, I found my weight shifting back and I had to rescue myself by finishing off the turns Alpine style (this was actually more of a reflex action than a conscious decision). I was watching E, and she was doing the same thing. We redoubled our efforts to stay in the Tele stance through the whole turn, and gradually improved. By the end of the bumps we were both connecting turns well in Tele stance the whole way. It’s a little different than skiing bumps on Alpines because your footprint is larger and the transition is slower, but I found that if I hopped from stance to stance, I could quicken up the turns. <BR> At this point, we had to return the skis because the lifts were shutting down, and we were NOT psyched. We squiggled some last turns through the powder on the side of the trail and reluctantly returned the equipment. We talked with the folks from Pipestone and told them how much fun we had. They of course had that happy, “Ohhhhh, yeahhh, we totally know manner <IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/clipart/happy.gif" ALT=":)">”, and they were very supportive. No joke, if money wasn’t an issue, I would go out A.S.A.P. and get a Tele setup. If I had to compare it to Alpine skiing, I’d say it really comes across as another flavor. Of course, right now that flavor is really new and I want more of it. The equipment is a lot more stable than I thought it would be (the woman who set us up with boots did say that these T2s were really nice and stable too). <BR> If you’ve even had a remote interest in trying Telemark skiing, keep on the lookout for Telemark demo days like this near you. It’s totally the way to go and just what I had been looking for. To both E and I, it seemed like the concepts of edging, balance, transitions etc. seemed to translate really easily from Alpine skiing. We were amazed at how fast it was possible to progress in just an hour on these skis. With this modern equipment, it seems like the industry is making Telemark skiing more user friendly. <BR> <BR> Oh, and for those of you who have never been on Telemark skis, that spring loaded binding actually want to make your heel spring up a bit! I always though that boots would naturally want to lie flat like a cross-country binding, but this was not the case (at least with the bindings we had. There is a gentle upward pressure. I just found this interesting, because even after all of the Telemarkers I’ve skied with, I never picked up on the peculiarity. <BR> <BR> There’s a huge storm coming ashore and they’re calling for 2-3 feet in the Bitterroots for the rest of the holiday weekend, so we’re heading back out tomorrow. We’ll be on Alpines (we finally got the CMH powder boards mounted) but I bet we’ll be thinking a few Tele thoughts ;). <BR> <BR> <BR>J.Spin
Jay Silveira
 
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