The next Step: Organizing a Festival

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My 3 step plan for developing the Telemark community

With the development of Absolute Telemark last year, I questioned myself about how it could have a stronger impact on the community.

My plan was a three part action:

First develop a personalized online tutorial that many of you have seen with he 7 Flaws. (you can register here)

Second was to get new people to the sport: last week was the second edition of Elle Telemark and was a blast. 40 girls getting stoke on telemark. WOW

The third part was to do something for the actual community around my area. Last year, we had a BBQ at Le Massif and 30 people showed up which was really great. But I wanted something of a greater impact. For the last two years the Telemark Festival is no more at my home mountain, ironically, since the arrival of our new CEO which is a Telemark Skier. And last year I organized this as a plan B. We even had a little unofficial race on the mountain called the Le Derby de la 42. So much fun!

But this year, I went to a greater length and organized a new Festival.

In a backcountry location I have talked about in this blog, the Jacques-Cartier National Park were I also work. This is important for me because backcountry is getting so popular for snowboarders and skiers. The amount of new ATers is just phenomenal around me. It’s important to create places for the community and also to get together and create a great ambiance.

I want to be able to share this with every one, going out in the backcountry is the main thing. And giving people the opportunity to have a dedicated place is great. Telemark is just the best way in my mind, but I know it will probably never be mainstream (hope I’m wrong). But by being part of the backcountry community in my area, I also want telemark to keep it’s place, to show others the possibilities, the ease, the FUN of it.

 

Here is the Festivals add:

Affiche_JAC_FestivalHorsPiste2015_V2

There’s two parts I’m really looking forward.

We have a GoPro contest with Video Editors that will create short movies and Avalanche Quebec will be here to talk to people about avalanches. And there is no avalanche in our off-piste areas.

The Go-Pro event is a real challenge for a new event because we have no fan base. I can’t wait to see the end result and I’m very nervous about the response of the community. But it’s a great risk that I love in organizing an event.

As for the presence of Avalanche Quebec, It’s like having a Pro hockey coach coming to an event in Florida. People here are so unaware about the risks around here.Chances are, these new adept will one day be in avalanche terrain. I want this festival to be the perfect place to learn about all the components of backcountry.

This is a festival for experience inbound skiers looking for an escape, out of the ressorts and out of rules. But at the same time it’s a mean of learning about all that comes with being in a public land. No security, no patrol, no rescue, that’s the price of no rule in the backcountry.

The challenge of a new area, a new philosophy

The other day a friend of mine was addressing a rightful issue.

– There should be a sign that tell people about the dangers and the responsibility of each individual, he said. I see people coming here so unprepared, not knowing about anything

– We have 3 signs.

– Ah!

– With all those new comers, many are careless and someone will get hurt. The park should have someone at the entrance talking to people.

– We have someone.

– Ah!

I told him that it’s okay to be worried. It’s ok to talk to people if they are mislead, but in the end, wherever you do, people will always assume for the best. It’s the blessing of being unaware of the danger, it’s Yhprum’s law (the opposite of Murphy’s law), the Fate in optimism.

And there right, the vast majority will be just fine.

And then, my friend’s also right, someone will get injured and will not be prepared for it. His Friends won’t be ready for it, and the public won’t be ready for it.

And then it’s the media game that will start. Where the mesures in place ok, where the park rules clear enough…

We need to find someone to be guilty.

Sorry I got carried away.

But it’s true, risk management is a no faults game. I used to patrol for a small resort in Eastern Quebec called Mount Glen. One year it was shot down and sold. The new owners wanted to change it to a residential area. But people kept going to ski and hike. Until one day, a guy got injured. He couldn’t work for a while so he turned to his insurance company who sued the new ownership. You can be sure that nobody ever skied again on Mount Glen.

The Heritage

So back to the festival, oh right I was telling you that my goal was to create a nice ambiance. The good news is that I have chosen a place with moderate terrain, 20 to 34 degree angle, in an open birch tree forest with minimal to no avalanche risk (risk 0 doesn’t exist). The perfect place for advanced riders to come and try a new experience.

The local community is great and a lot of people are really exited about this project. The local shops all jumped in to sponsor the event, the newspapers already covered the project, there is a general interest. Time will tell if we can move from the all organized Mountain resorts to places like the Off Piste in the Jacques-Cartier National Park.

Funny thing is that exactly where this sport as started, 80 years ago.

The Province of Quebec have the honour of being the birth place of skiing in North America (we can debate that in the comments :) and the story of Jack Rabbit Johansson  is about the birth of cross country skiing. But to many here, he was all about skiing, their was no cross country vs downhill and Jack Rabbit  could do it all. check out the story here.

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http://www.onf.ca/film/jack_rabbit

 Welcome to the Jacques-Cartier National Park

Check out this nice short film about the new area I just opened this year. Here’s a nice video with my boss, Mathieu Brunet, a real Tele Ripper

So I dream of this place becoming the center of the local community to come and ski in the backcountry, it’s only 30 minutes from the city. I also hope to become the place for newbies to come and chalenges there skills before going to the regionally famous Chic-Chocs where terrain becomes complex.

And you can be sure that I also want to create a place for people to learn about BC, about there responsibility and about there privilege. You can do anything you want, but you have to stand by those choices.

Welcome to my East coast universe.

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  • Jon Myklebust

    Just sounds awesome. Excellent idea of bringing BC concept instead of just focus on Tele. We need you on the West Coast! Maybe next year……

    • Rene-Martin

      Hey Jon,

      Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I hope to go visit next season, but I’ll return the favour, you should come and visit.
      Cheers
      Rene