“Free Your Heel and Your Mind Will Follow”

Donny Roth Safety2_Winter2013Ah…Finally! The stressful work week has ended and it is time for some much needed R&R in the backcountry. Unfortunately, you strap on your skis only to realize they too are tying you down. Is it too much to ask for a little mobility and a sense of freedom on your day off? No, it isn’t. Sometimes you just need to let loose. Your job keeps you bogged down, but your skis shouldn’t! This winter, release your heel and your mind on telemark skis.

Ready? Picture this…

You are all geared up, standing in a winter wonderland ready for your next adventure. The sun is shining, adding warmth to the winter chill. There isn’t a cloud, car, or building insight. The sounds are pure and calming. In front of you is a mountain you have never explored; but today, it is your quest. Take a deep breath, relax, put those skins on the bottom of your skis…and off you go!

Up the mountain you trek. The snow is perfect, the temperature is ideal. You feel that stress slowly easing away from your body. You feel the burn creeping up. Your quads are about done. But you know in order to get down, you must get up first! You see the top. Just a little further. Just one more big push. YES! You did it! You reached the top!

Take a deep breath. Let out the howl you built up during the climb! Look back at what you have just accomplished and prepare for the downhill ride. Remove the skins and begin. As you descend, think about how graceful and round your turns are and how dropping a knee provides for stability. You feel free, stylish, and flexible. Enjoy it. At your speed this will not last long. And just like that, you have reached the bottom. Is there time for another run?

Can you picture it? Can you see yourself enjoying the backcountry on telemark skis? Are you still wondering what telemark skiing is and why you should give it a try?

Telemark skiing is a unique form of skiing that can be done both on the slopes and in backcountry. As you guessed, a big difference is the free heel. With telemark skis, your toe is all that is locked in. This allows for a natural, more efficient uphill stride and a rounded, smooth downhill stride.

Telemark skiing is unique. No one does it the same. Unlike other forms of skiing, telemark skiing allows for individual preference and style. Similar to a dance or a melody, you can make it your own.

Telemark skiing has a laid back, chill feeling to it that some cannot get with other forms of skiing. It’s not about your ability or the gear you wear (however, make sure you are properly prepared); it’s about being outdoors away from the stresses of everyday life. It’s about trying something new and challenging yourself. Telemark skiing is an art that is never fully mastered because you have to continue learning and adapting to new terrains. And on top of that, you get the opportunity to form new bonds among friends as you all reach new heights. So go ahead and free your heel this winter.

This sport is not easy to learn alone. That is why the CMC offers telemark skiing courses. These courses allow you to mingle with other outdoor enthusiasts while working on your technique. According to Director Jim Kennedy, “as long as you have been on skis, you have a place in the course…we accept anyone from green to expert.” The course is spread over two days. The first day is usually at a ski resort and goes over downhill techniques. The second day is spent in the backcountry. Throughout the course, instructors will go into the basics on preparation and safety in the backcountry. All of the instructors are very experienced and enjoy sharing their passion with new folks. As Jim put it, “it is all about going out and having a really good time in a beautiful area.” See why others are interested in telemark skiing with this short video. And sign up today!

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