Monday, February 8, 2010

CRMS/VMS Tele Weekend Extravaganza!

This weekend we re-wrote the record books in tele team history—largest student tele posse amassed on one mountain-- 60 students ripping on telemark skis!!! We invited the Vail Mountain School Telemark Team to join us for a weekend packed with a Highland bowl hike, mogul competition, high stakes broomball tournament, and sprint classic race at Sunlight Mtn. Also, born from the weekend were: potential longest human GS course known to man, a new standard in being ejected from the rappleche (banked turn) in sprint classic, hardest digger in front of a judging panel, most competitions completed with a tree branch as a pole, best shirtless run with a backpack in competition, a potential romance or two, and some new friendships.

The fun began on Friday at Highlands. We amassed in the morning for introductions and an explanation of the day. We were psyched for the opportunity to share some turns with not only VMS, but friends in our CRMS instructional tele groups as well. We soon broke into groups based on ability and desired terrain selection and hit it hard skiing all over the mountain in the morning. Some focused on bumps, others perfected their turns on groomers, and the hard-chargers decided to test their legs (and lungs) in the bowl.

It was exciting to share and show off our mountain to a new crew. Going up the lift, one of the VMSers kept asking, “Is that the bowl?” Nope. You see it at the top, and you’ll know when you see it. “Wow! Sweet!” As we got off the lift at the top of Loge Peak, it loomed before us. An impressive site even to those who have seen it a thousand times before. Today, flanked in blue sky and with fresh snow, recent enough to see each individual track on some aspects. With such a large group, we decided to forgo the first ten minutes of the cat and do the whole hike. What ensued was a surprisingly quick hike for such a large group on a gorgeous, bluebird day. No complaints from this crowd, as we all knew of the prize that lay ahead.

Gearin’ up and strippin’ down

Oh yeah!

Peter eyes the snowfield as others delayer

The VMS ladies begin the journey

Aisha falls into rhythm

JJ Worley and Peyton Heitzman admire the scenery

Meghan gives it her game face

The ladies, killin’ it!

Kelsey Bohanon proudly displays her hard work

with a well-executed snot-rocket

VMS all smiles!

Hannah Horn cools off before the final ascent


The final push!

Grady and Aisha chill at the top

VMS coach Mike and his athletes

The crew at the summit with Pyramid Peak

and the Maroon Bells in the background

Charlie Boyne puts on his skis in front of

Mt. Hayden and the Five Fingers Ridge

We chose a continuous line in the G zone, straight down from the peak. The VMS crew charged! They set out in a tight pack—we were impressed! CRMS wasn’t far behind, either, as all of us yelped at the pure sickness of skiing chopped up pow in the bowl in a group of 23 young freeheelers.

VMS skiers charge the bowl

Grady Lenkin with a picture-perfect turn

After a quick lunch we regrouped for a mogul competition on Scarlett’s. Coaches from both teams judged all athletes on technique, continuity, and overall impression. Great skiing from everyone! In the end, sweet potato fry bribes to coaches at lunch ended up not actually being the deciding factor of the results. Female VMS skier Riley Evel emerged victorious with her consistent, energetic, beautiful skiing. Luke Falcone got huge props from the judges for his back flip but was unable to keep it together further down the course. Peter Madigan also skied impressively (bare-chested with a backpack) but amassed an ungodly amount of negative points for spraying the judges. Most impressive, however, were the efforts of our newer skiers, who showed determination and moments of brilliance on a long bump run.

Here’s Peter’s take on the afternoon:

Nom. Nom. Nom. Nom. Nom.

I scarfed down the over-priced lunch from the Merry-Go-Round Lodge and ate up a few assorted mushed snacks I found in my backpack, absolutely psyched for the FIRST ANNUAL CRMS VMS BUMP COMPETITION AT ASPEN HIGHLANDS. Well maybe not absolutely psyched. My legs ached from hiking and skiing the bowl, trying to keep up with the ripper VMS team and, to put it blatantly, who ever wants to ski bumps? The venue loomed over us as we ate, making me savor every deep-fried bite of chicken and every moment I wasn't using my legs.

I rode up the lift to the top of the venue with a few bits of my not-quite-finished lunch in my jacket. Rumors were spreading about the activities in store that night: butter churning, underwater-basket weaving, and sled building, to name a few. Once I got to the top for the pre-run, I could already feel my legs burning. I stopped part-way down to check out the jump and to see if the landing was fixable. Luke, Kayo, and I got to work digging and kicking out the moguls in the way. Then the shenanigans began.

Shirtless skiers, twisty-twisty-spreads, and cra-azy backflips, along with some gnarly bump lines, filled the rest of the day. Then the two teams put aside their differences and formed the world's biggest telemark human slalom ever attempted. All-in-all, a pretty sweet day.

Juan Pablo presides over the judges booth

Coach Dan Pittz looking for the perfect run

Former tele teamer Steve Roh holds court in the finish

Bump comp winner, Riley (left) and more of her VMS crew

Sunny and Jae Young enjoy the bump comp.

Below, Yang gets in on the action

Lynn and Bru make it out for the big event!

The best comic relief of the day belonged to VMS skier Nicole, when she caught an edge right in front of the judges. She augured into the snow pretty hard with this show-stopping move, but was a great sport and able to laugh it off! Finally, we finished off the day by amassing all 60 students and coaches for a human GS course that stretched from the Merry-Go-Round restaurant at mid-mountain all the way down to the bottom of the hill. Great practice for Saturday’s sprint classic!

The crowd gathers for the start of the human GS

Peter Madigan improvises for aerodynamics in the course

The day didn’t end there, however. After a quick dinner in the Bar Fork, VMS presented a summer program they have developed involving travel and service work. We then piled into Fat Boys (our busses, not a fat student, as a VMSer thought!) and hit the Carbondale ice rink for a huge broomball tournament, bonfire, and smores. (As Peter hinted at, we hadn’t previously told VMS what the evening’s activity was going to be). VMS then slept in our gym and joined us for the sprint classic on Saturday.


Saturday morning seemed to arrive too soon for many! We were a tired crew after all of Friday’s excitement, but pulled it together for a strong showing at the Sunlight Mtn. Sprint Classic race. Wait, what’s sprint classic again? It’s a unique telemark event that is the only tele event to have a world cup circuit. It consists of a giant slalom course with a jump mid course, a 180 banked turn near the end, and an uphill skating section. Racers are required to clear a certain point off the jump and land in the telemark position, or they accrue 2 second penalties for both failing to clear the distance and for failing to land in the telemark turn. Athletes also accumulate 2 second penalties for every gate they do not telemark turn around.

The following is Luke Falcone's perspective on the day:

Spandex...check. Gates...check. Jump...check. Reipel√łkke...what?

Along with our new VMS buddies the crew took on a Classic race. We may not have been decked out in the full gear some of the other racers were pulling off, but we were able pull out some pretty impressive results. Beyond a few scary moments (umm Peyton catching air off the turn... or Charlie and Gandalf) we had a lot of fun. For many of us this was our first introduction to this traditional event. Personally, I was a little intimidated. We all woke up, bright eyed and bushy tailed, to a blue bird day. All just ecstatic about our early start of course. Showed up on the venue only to see some National Team members absolutely slaying the course, launching probly the most ridiculous airs I have ever seen. These guys are nuts. The CRMS crew held their own, even in a field so strong, and had a great day in the sun. I think we all prefer the steeps to the gates, but no complaints here. It was great meeting up with so many people passionate about the sport and hanging out with the huge (and talented) VMS crew.

The coaches were incredibly impressed with the team’s effort today and the overall comfort every athlete showed in the course. This is certainly a discipline in which we don’t often train. Luke missed the podium by four hundredths of a second in his age division and Gracyn placed third in the older women’s division. The team also convinced Meghan to race. As an ex-alpine racer she had quite a competitive advantage and ended up posting the fastest women’s time of the day.

A huge thanks to all the athletes and coaches from both teams for making this such an unforgettable weekend! The CRMS athletes were gracious hosts and VMS went out of their way to make the trip and approached the weekend with full enthusiasm! Hopefully this is the beginning of a new telemark team tradition!

A pretty mellow scene at the start

Peter visualizing his run… or maybe sleeping?

Jared Carlson… the finish line so close!

Luke Falcone styles the rappleche

Peter polling hard for the finish

Kelsey Bohanon starting to feel the leg burn about now

Aisha eyes the last few turning gates

Kelsey Freebird gets some sprint air!

Hannah lines up the jump

Meghan proves flair can be fast

Gracyn looking smooth

Weaver and Charlie put the “team” in

tele team and finish together

Weaver arcin’ it

Charlie, aka Gandolf, shredding through the Shire….

…distinguishable by his friend “Woody Allen”

Juan P comin’ in hot!

Peyton and JJ enjoy the spectator scene

Thorne shows nice technique in the gates

Meghan and Gracyn share the podium


Athlete, Time (Place)

Women’s Age 13-17 Division

Riley Evel (VMS) 3:08.06 (1)

Nicole Byrne (VMS) 3:33.86 (5)

Sydney Idzikowski (VMS) 3:41.15 (6)

Elizabeth Graves (VMS) 3:49.81 (7)
Emily Vandoni (VMS) 3:50.49 (8)

Ellen Edgerton (VMS) 3:50.85 (9)

Kelsey Bohanon 3:52.97 (10)

Aisha Weinhold 3:54.37 (11)

JJ Worley 4:06.48 (12)

Sierra Brill (VMS) 4:07.38 (13)

Rebecca Wirth (VMS) 4:08.34 (14)

Hannah Horn 4:24.06 (15)

Peyton Heitzman DNF (shortcut over rappleche didn’t work out)

Kelsey Freeman DSQ (outsmarted timing system)

Women’s 18-45 (Cougars) Division

Meghan Detering (CRMS) 2:59.68 (1)

Ellie Knust (VMS) 3:37.33 (2)

Gracyn Overstreet (CRMS) 4:30.87 (3)

Men’s Age 13-17 Division

Jordan Goldstein (VMS) 2:43.88 (2)

Luke Falcone 2:46.56 (4)

Peter Madigan 3:03.02 (6)

Grady Lenkin 3:23.54 (7)

Simon Knobel (VMS) 3:26.65 (8)

Jared Carlson 3:34.35 (9)

Marshall Thompson (VMS) 3:34.88 (10)

Ian Reed (VMS) 3:40.14 (11)

Charlie Boyne 3:44.71 (12)

Thorne Warner 3:49.41 (13)

Tanner Shelden (VMS) 3:57.50 (14)

Andrew Wright (VMS) 3:58.38 (15)

Drew Verratti (VMS) 4:01.23 (16)

Chase Hansen (VMS) 4:01.38 (17)

Weaver Froelicher 4:10.41 (18)

Connor Peck (VMS) 4:14.73 (19)

Men’s Age 18-45 Division

Juan Pablo Alcocer 4:43.06 (7)