By Eva Potter

Telemark skiing, freeheeling, teleskiing – it’s all the same – another way to enjoy the fabulous ski slopes of Ellicottville. And March 1 and March 8 usher in two tele events you won’t want to miss.

On March 1, freeheelers can enjoy a day with kindred spirits at Holiday Valley’s Telefest. Sponsored by the City Garage, Telestock’s center point is Yodeler’s Champagne Deck, where you can purchase reduced lift tickets before the lifts open, demo equipment free, reconnect with your tele friends and enjoy a free outdoor cookout on the deck at lunchtime. And if you’ve never tried teleskiing, it’s a great opportunity to get helpful tips from experienced skiers who will gladly take you under their wing.

Trey Clauss of the City Garage said, “It’s a freeform event, because we have so many people who are friends and customers that are pretty well versed in tele, so it’s really anybody that’s there lends a helping hand. It’s just a fun day of no stress.”

According to Clauss, the tele market has stayed fairly consistent, because it’s still a small percentage of the snowsports industry. Clauss said this year’s Telestock will feature the best selection of boots and equipment for newbies and seasoned pros to demo.

When asked if there any recommended slopes for beginners, Claus said, “I would suggest to people that when you’re going out for the first time you start out on a flatter run so you’re not put to the test right off the bat. But if you can figure it out, it’s almost better to go to a bit of a steeper pitch, because you have to commit a little bit more because it’s definitely about balance and being in the right position.”

HoliMont’s Telefest will be held on March 8 to celebrate “the world’s oldest new sport.” Everyone is invited to join HoliMont’s Tele Crew for a fun day of freeheeling. You can participate in clinics for raw beginners to seasoned experts taught by PSIA certified Nordic instructors. Vendor displays, demos, the classic Tele Race, raffles, prizes and a potluck lunch (bring a dish to share) round out the day.

For nonmembers, the cost is $90 for clinics, lift ticket, T-shirt, race and raffle. For pass holders, the cost is $50 for registration, clinics, T-shirt, race and raffle, or $25 for registration and T-shirt. Registration begins at 10 a.m. Please preregister by March 1. For more information, call (716) 699-8159. Limited telemark package rentals are available by calling Russ at Gear Up at (716) 699-5582.

A Little Tele Insight

HoliMont now has nine freeheeling ski patrollers and that number is growing. Ski patroller Scott Printup has been a teleskier for eight years, ever since “one rainy, miserable Super Bowl Sunday,” when his friend Tom Tobias, also a HoliMont ski patroller, asked him to come out and try it with him.

Printup said it was challenging initially, “only because it is counter to everything ingrained in my brain as an alpine skier. That is, your weight is on your ‘back ski’ (uphill ski) vs. it being more centered on your downhill ski as in alpine… After numerous clinics, I always find different things I try very hard to implement.”

Now, Printup teleskis at least 50 percent of the time while he’s patrolling, about twice a week. He said he also occasionally teleskis at Holiday Valley with some of his friends from there. He definitely sees the sport becoming more popular.

“I would say if you are mildly curious and wish to put an entirely different aspect into your skiing, get on teles. Take lessons and begin with good solid basics right from the beginning to prevent possibly unbreakable bad habits in making poorly shaped and executed tele turns,” he said. “Telemark skiing will cause you to look at your home resort in a whole new way, if you are a little bored on alpine skis. It is a very dynamic way to descend the hill, which in effect, will present you with a whole new place to ski.”

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