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:
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.
– 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.
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.
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.
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.
A self proclaimed “Professional Ski Bum,” Paul has been skiing since he was two and freeheeling since 2005.
He has competed in big mountain telemark competitions from Crested Butte Colorado to Alyeska Alaska and won a couple of them.
A mainstay in Powderwhore films, Paul is feartured in “Flakes,” “Breaking Trail,” “Television”, “Elevation,” and their newest film, “Some Thing Else.”
He is excited about coaching and skiing with the youth of telemark as much as possible and fostering a future for the sport.
Talked in this Episode:
Partnering with Jake Sakson, Paul started the Beartooth Basin Telemark Camp that offers two sessions of freeride telemark instruction in June.
Check out telemarkfreeridecamps.com
for more info and register before January 15th for a $200 discount.
Shaun Raksin is a rad telemark skier.
She is considered one of the best Big Mountain telemark skier on the planet. Let’s dive in her life as a pro telemark skier. Let’s see exactly how she became one of the top telemark female athlete on the planet. Listen up to the story of Shaun Raskin
Hey Telemark Tribe
This is it.
The moment a lot of you have been waiting for.
I’m so so excited.
Here are a few example of people emailing me about it
This years Telemark Foundation is going to be out of this league
I’ve been working VERY HARD and I know you’ll LOVE IT.
But more on that in a little bit.
A little bit about me:
When I started telemark skiing, I got hook instantly.
But it took me a couple of years to become comfortable on my telemark. I was not instantly at the same level that I was alpine skiing but I was out there doing it full time. At that point I had left the ski instructor position and moved out west in the Canadian Rockies. That first year, I had a hard a time on my tele.
Yes I enjoyed every moment, but I also struggle to ski the things I wanted to ski.
I can’t count how many times I cart wheeled down the slope or how many times I fell head first for memorable face plants.
Looking back, this was the most dangerous time in my progression.
I wanted to improve but I didn’t know how.
And I now realize I could have seriously injured a knee, my back or a shoulder.
I had a few people around to show me but it was always the “just do like me” technique.
Today people usually do not believe that I have no real talent for telemark.
But it’s true. If you look at my progression, I was not different than the average skier.
But I skied a lot. That’s really all I did.
More than 100 days a year for 15 years.
I’ve built a shack, camped, lived in trailers to work as little as possible and to ski as much as possible.
The best season was 1999-2000 in Whistler. I got a job at the ski school. In those days, if you told them you had a place to stay, they would hire you.
But on the first day when I told them I did not have a pair of alpine skis, they were dumb founded. They put me with the 3-4 years old and told me I could keep my winter boots. Perfect.
I worked 2 days a week, lived in a shack I built literally between two runs, and I skied every day I could. That year, I met a lot of really good telemark skiers, and skied with them. They showed me around but also, I got to watch them and try to execute.
If I’m not the fastest learner, my real talent is to analyse others.
How they do it, what they do that’s different, and I started to analyse every part of their skiing.
I remember one guy name Simon, a local that could do anything from jumping of 90 foot cliff to ski 65 degree slope to carve on ice. He was and still is today, the best telemark skier I’ve meet. And he was dedicated to being out there, in the mountains, day in and day out. I immediately hit it off with Simon.
I also skied with a lot of other telemark skiers.
From looking at Simon and other great telemark skiers. I realize something.
That something became the basic element of how I teach telemark, how I analyse people’s main problem or flaw as I like to call it.
This is so powerful yet so simple.
There’s only ONE THING that separates very good telemark skiers and the average telemark skier I was.
Only one thing.
Can you guess what it is?
It’s not talent
(When someone tells me they can’t progress it has nothing to do with pure talent. Even at high competitive levels, talent comes second).
It’s not equipment.
(The average telemark skier can spend 1000 to 3000$ a year on equipment, some way more. Good equipment is fun to have and it has improved greatly in the past decade but there were awesome telemark skiers before that).
It’s not where you ski or who you ski with
(Too many telemark skier focus on looking around to see who’s doing it and not)
So what is it?
It’s knowing what is killing your telemark right NOW
It’s having the ability to understand the steps to get where you want to be.
Not just being good,
Because, like Henry Ford said: Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re RIGHT
Telemark is unique. The flow is unique.
Remember when you first got to link a few turns and just got that Haha moment.
And as you progress, it only gets better. The feeling of a great flowy powder run, or carving so much that your uphill leg touhs the snow is hard to beat.
And that’s often leading to not knowing what to focus on, what to do next in order to get that feeling
And we all know the reward: the feeling of the FREE HEEL, the energy created from those turns…
The best part?
Imagine you could know for sure what is killing your telemark skiing.
Know exactly the steps you need to do to improve like never before.
Once you start on this path, it become addictive.
But the truth is, the path to becoming a great telemark skier is not that complicated.
You only need to focus on the keys that will get you to the next step.
If you’ve have been telemark skiing for a couple of years, it becomes harder and harder to improve.
That’s a big problem.
Because when the good times comes, you want to enjoy every turn.
Whether is that trip that you have been planing or when the conditions are heaven like:
… I want to feel like I’m surfing down the hill.
… I want to carve that groomer,
… I want to float through powder and get those face shoots
… In the spring, I want to enjoy that perfect corn snow just soft enough that I can rail those turns, just hard enough that I can blast at high speed.
When the good times come (and there’s only a few a year) I certainly don’t want to feel insecure
(Am I going to break my leg and miss three weeks of work?)
I want to be on my A game and enjoy that flow so unique to the telemark turn.
The BIG question is:
How can you make this season the best in your life.
… without loosing the fun of the free heel turn
… without waisting days being burnt by noon
… without being frustrated spending time on tips that won’t work for you.
That’s where my project comes in.
I’m dubbing December “Biggest Change in your Telemark Month.”
And beginning on December 7th, I’ll share my recipe on how to create dedication, improve dramatically and find that light bulb moment you had that day. There will be HD videos, all-new webinars, and more.
More specifically, here’s what to expect:
This tutorials are based on the 7 flaws of telemark.
Through out my 17 years of teaching … I’ve discovered theses flaws kept coming back.
The 7 flaws are so powerful because they focus on what is not working NOW
Telemark is a complexe synchronization of movement.
Your main flaw is looking you down, whatever you try to improve, it’s not going to be easy.
Sometimes, focusing on the wrong problem can even get you in the wrong direction and do even more arm than good.
I’ve developed this method to rapidly and efficiently solve people’s main flaw.
Yeah that’s right.
We all have a main flaw that is really killing our telemark technique, and by simply eliminating that flaw, you will improve dramatically.
In this three video series, I will show you all the flaws.
I’ll also take you behind the scenes of two people that have followed this method.
Plus, you will get access to the exact sequence I use to improve year after year and how to effectively apply it to you.
This all means that I’m going to send you a lot of email over the next few weeks. And there will be work for you to do.
You see, we’re starting the 2014-15 season, and if you’d like to CRUSH it on telemark from day 1, you’re going to LOVE the material I prepared for you.
But if you feel like you’re already skiing great, and you don’t need to know how really fast forward your path to improvement, feel free to click the unsubscribe button at the bottom of this email. No hard feelings.
As I said, I will begin sending this material to you starting on December the 7th. In the mean time, I want you to do two things:
If you are not on my Newsletter, you need to subscribe to get all the content.
If you already receive my emails, great you’re all set
Are you going to join me (and the rest of the Telemark Tribe) on this journey towards passion and dedication ?
Leave a comment BELOW
In that comment, I want you to do one simple thing: tell us what is your greatest challenge on telemark. That’s it!
I’m still putting the finishing touches on this material, and this will be your chance to get your question answered by me personally.
Go leave a comment now.
P.S. Look, if you are interested in improving massively this winter, don’t miss this. Over the next few days, I’m going to send you a TON of FREE training on how to telemark
Today we meet with Josh Madsen.
He’s been exclusively a telemark skier since 1992. Loving it. He’s been a sponsored athlete since 2002. In 2004, he started a webzine called FreeheelLife.com that ran until 2008. He’s appeared in several movie productions including Warren Miller’s Higher Ground (2005) as well as many independent telemark movies. He’s produced, filmed, edited and toured internationally 5 of my own telemark movies. He was the Editor of Telemark Skier Magazine 2009-12. He then purchased Telemark Skier Magazine in 2012. He’s just opened Freeheel Life Telemark Ski Shop in 2014.
Nobody is really doing this, we can really make it OUR OWN
Link to this episode
Unparalleled II (Links to amazon to buy the movie, I have not found a youtube preview. One left for sale!
and Big Cottonwood
Josh on the web
A few of Josh edits that we talked in the interview.
Do you use leash on not releasable telemark binding in the resorts.
On all skis or boards, you need to have a system to hold or stop the device from going down if it were to leave your feet. Image a ski or board going down a slope at great speed hitting someone on the head and killing him. It’s happened, I’m sure.
As a ski patrol, I have seen a lot of dangerous situations and a few close calls.
On Alpine skis, the fact that the binding is releasable, brakes have been the norm for quite a while.
On snowboards, a leash should be attached to one of the legs. This practice is not followed by any snowboarders I know. The reason is quite simple, the binding system is very reliable. 20 years back or so, I remember seeing bindings rip from boards after a hard landing and going down like crazy. I’ve seen this happen with alpine skis and telemark as well.
Telemark skiers are mostly responsible people and most of them use leashs to link the boots to the binding. If after a great fall, if the binding was to release, the skis would go nowhere.
Now there is a few telemark bindings that comes with release and brakes so we’ll leave these out of the conversation.
I don’t use a leash and have been doing so for 10 years.
I know, I know, that’s not very wise. Quite stupid frankly.
And you are right. If my binding was to release for no reason, my ski would go down like a missile.
But it’s never happened.
That’s another stupid thinking I know.
Then comes risk management.
Risk zero does not exist.
Any living is doom to end. The goal is to rationally choose the most acceptable path to the end.
Water is dangerous so we learn to swim.
Telemark binding are not safely held to the boot so we put a leash.
My years of experiences have thought me that binding tension will always loosen, so I’ve made a rule to always check that the tension is all good. And that’s always been enough to keep my binding to my feet, unless a great fall. Like a really good bail. And then, I’m kind of happy that the ski releases.
This has happened to me a few times. Manly in tight woods, where the skis got stuck and got riped from my feet.
See what I mean at 2:50
That one time, I was skiing with a demo ski and it had a leash. I injured my leg on the scene. When my leg when under the snow, I felt the binding go with out to much tension, then I felt the leash hard wire create a large amount of tension. It broke. At the time, I was sure I had blown my knee, but luckily, after a week, I was good to go…
So, did the leash do it’s job?
It did not prevent the ski from becoming a missile.
And it injured my knee in the process
Managing the Risk
As I said, it’s all about reducing the risk to an acceptable minimum.
This is what I see as a ski patrol, 99% of the time:
- For telemark skiers. If they have to remove their skis in a steep slope, they will have a lot of difficulty to put it back on. and sometimes, one of the skis will escape…. Missile of dead
- For snowboarders, beginners will remove their snowboard to walk down a harder section. The board will slip out of their hands for what ever reason, and the missile is launched.
Now there is still that 1%
That’s where risk management comes in place. Is that 1% were the missile launch could have been avoided by a leash.
Leashes are not a no fail system as seen in the video. And they don’t even avoid the main danger’s I’ve seen.
It’s now accepted in the snowboard scene that leashes are non sense and, around me at least, you never see a snowboarder wear one.
For the telemark scene, I don’t think it’s that much different.
Make sure your binding tension is right every time you put the ski on. That will save you and the surrounding skiers 99.9% of the time.
Then if you feel more secure wearing a leash please do. Especially if you’re a beginner and you are not aware of what is the right tension in your bindings… Or if you are using older bindings that did not create as much tension.
Dave Bombard is the owner of Bishop binding Company. More than just a business man, he’s really just a passionate telemark skier, doubled with a engineer and MBA background. When I meet with Dave, I only saw the telemark skier. His passion is at the core of his life and you will discover a true ambassador for the sport.
Discover your inner ski bum with this inspiring story. Nanou went from literally a top cancer researcher in a laboratory to full time pro patrol in a year. After nearly a decade of her inner voice talking, she took a leap of fate and fulfilled her dream, drove out west and telemarked day in and day out.
A lot of these GREAT pictures are from William Eaton. A big thanks for letting me post them here. You can see his work on Instagram @Williameatonphoto