Monday, March 7, 2011


Laughs and durs, four feet of sick pow, trains, anyone want a Cliff Bar?, cute girls, impressive soap selections, tramps, hobos, and bums, sushi, cow guts, new friends, amazing comp runs, boxers and coon tails, apples to apples, librarians getting busted, butterflies, sassy train attendants, 480 volts, pickles, gua-ca-mole-e, and a gorgeous BIG BLUE lake.

The CRMS Telemark Team finally made the trip, as a whole team, to Alpine Meadows California for the Alpine Meadows Big Mountain Telemark Championships. Below is the epic story told through the eyes of everyone on the team, starting with Peter Madigan's video of the adventure:

California Day 1. Wednesday Feb 23rd. The Train.

Thorne Warner Writes:
There is something about trains that is almost surreal. They are one
of those things that in a society where it's all hustle and bussle,
stop go, stop go they have managed to retain a relaxing and calm,
steady yet not rushed feeling. That was one of the nice things about
taking a train out to california. On a team with 13 people, usually 2
bags per person, not counting carry-ons or all the the ski gear, being
rushed is a hassle, not to mention being on time and organized.
Arriving at the train station we get the fat boy unpacked, our
mountain of gear taking up a sizable portion of the area. Looking
around, the same look is in everyones eye. An intensity created by
being supercharged with excitement and readiness to tear up the
mountain and competition along with its 10 feet (and growing) of new
snow. The train ride is completely hassle free, no luggage to worry
about, big comfortable seats, outlets in the walls for the ultimate
movie marathon experience and an entire team of excited telemark
skiers. At first you can hardly feel the train moving and you get a
sense of floating along with the scenery gliding by. After the first
movie or two you decide its time to stand up and take a walk or
explore a little bit, getting your train legs is not as easy as it
sounds. Despite the feeling of a lack of motion when you are sitting
down, walking down the isle is a test of endurance and agility as you
sway back and forth in an almost drunk swagger. Be it relaxing
watching a movie in your seat, sitting with a cup of coffe watching
the view in the lounge car, curling up and distorting yourself trying
to get a few winks or having dinner and playing apples to apples with
the team, the train is always good. All you need to remember is sit
back, relax and enjoy the ride, and hopefully you'll have the added
benefit of one of the best, powder-full skiing weekends of your life
just waiting for you around the bend.

California Day 3. Friday Feb 25th:

Cormac McGeough writes:
The storm raged through Friday, dumping absurd amounts of cold light snow (up to 4 feet in some areas) with winds up to 100 miles per hour. Alpine Meadows and Squaw shut down so we went to Homewood, a smaller more mild ski resort with cheaper lift tickets.
It had snowed so much the lower degree slopes with all that snow made it almost impossible to make tele turns, let alone keep your tips up. The steepest run that was open was the main run, which was around 30 degrees. The lift was extremely slow, and after the steeper part, went on a flat for about 500 ft. The only thing keeping us warm from the fierce winds was skiing down the mountain. We met up with Luke lubechenco (?), Will Cardamone, and Jake Sakson, along with at least 15 other atheletes competing in the competition. We lapped the hill until 3:30, when we all left with our homestays.

Kelsey Freeman writes:
You never know when you’re going to wake up to the biggest powder day of your life. For some of us, that day just might have been Friday of our trip to California. As we were leaving, we of course were ecstatic to hear that it had snowed seven feet in Tahoe. Then you can imagine our excitement when it dumped two more feet overnight. That morning I rolled out of bed, peered out the window, and all I could think was “it’s gonna be a good day.” And of course it was. Since Alpine Meadows was closed (due to the loads of fluffy pow), we took off to Homewood, another nearby resort. While it didn’t necessarily have the steeps, it certainly had the powder (about waist-deep)! The rest of the comp seemed to have the same idea, so we got to mix it up and ski with plenty of other fellow telers. In the afternoon we found a run that was steep enough not to get stuck, and we lapped it for the rest of the day. For me, it was such a blast to ski with some of the best tele skiers around, and we certainly couldn’t have asked for a better day for it!

Kayo, Meghan, and Cormac ridin' it old school at Homewood.

Kelsey Freeman digging out of the goods at Homewood

The Homewood Playground

California Day 3. Saturday Feb 26th. Prelims.

Kelsey Bohanon Writes:
After the traumatizing experience of ripping my binding out of my brand new ski the previous day, I was back on the mountain on competition day, thanks to the generosity and handiwork of Luke, who fixed up his skis for me to use. We had gotten up early and were on the lifts early, headed up to the venue to get a inspection run in before showtime. Unfortunately, getting to the venue involved at least 7 minutes of sidestepping, but fortunately we were all tough enough to handle it. By 9:30 that morning, the team was standing at the top of the venue looking down at a fun, featured, powdery run with lake Tahoe on our right and some of the best tele skiers in the world on our left.

As we all dropped in to scout our lines, Charlie Crocket started the day off right by tumbling at the top and causing a small avalanche that took out Peter and carried the both of them halfway down the run along with most of the fresh snow on the venue. We giggled into our jackets as the rest of the competitors watched the mess of Tele team puffy, sticks, and coon tail in shock from the sidelines. Much to my dismay, I missed the Junior runs as I was heading back up to the top for my run.

I was greeted at the top by the intimidatingly good female skiers that made up the rest of women's category. Turning 18 was not good for competitions. I was first. I buckled my boots and gave the starter a nod and soon could hear her voice rising up from the speakers at the bottom. "Judges ready, skier ready, 3, 2, 1..." I dropped into the steep, skied out top section. I was unstable. Just keep moving! I told myself. So I did. With the help of a few butt checks I made it shakily down the venue and off a small air at the bottom. Not my best run.

Hanging out at the bottom with the team, I watched the rest of the girls ski incredible lines and watched the men's category. Charlie flew off a cliff near the bottom, almost stuck the landing, but ended up face-planting and came though the finish grinning, with snow filling his gaper gap. Luke and Peter both hit the same upper cliff and both crashed heavily upon landing. Peter was able to save himself in time, but Luke tumbled down some rocks and pulled up his sleeve at the bottom to reveal a bloody gash on his elbow. We also had a great time watching some of our old pals and top-notch huckers like Jake Sakson, Will Cardamone, and Luke Lubchenco ski unbelievable lines.
As the day progressed, Peter, Luke, Charlie and I dreaded the second run that the announcers assured us we would have to take, but were saved by the impeding dusk. The juniors did get a second run in and all crushed it. Weaver, Thorne, and Kelsey all dropped cliffs and everyone skied beautifully! We were able to get one more lap in as a team with my local host family who took us to a wonderful run that was still covered in fresh powder.
At the meeting that night we were all psyched to find out that despite their crashes, the men of the team made it to finals. Luke, Peter, and Charlie would all be skiing and the infamous Buttress the next day!

California Day 4. Sunday Feb 27th. Finals.

Charlie Boyne Writes:
“You should do it naked” I heard my coach say jokingly on the lift up. I put on a pensive face to get some laughs and ended up thinking about it in reality. I carried the joke on too far- as I usually do. “Yeah!” I exclaim. “Yeah! Gnar points!” “I'd carry your stuff down for you,” my coach replied. That's when it hit me. I had opened my big mouth once again and agreed to doing something stupid. I had taken a joke and made it real. A habit that I, in disagreement with my body's aspiration for general well-being, hope to never lose. Some of the best moments of my life have been because I did something that no one actually wanted me to do- like skiing naked in my final run in the the telemark competition on Alpine Meadows.

We did the long traverse to the venue and Kayo asked us what we were thinking. “I'm thinkin' about dropping in on skiers left inside the cliffs and billy-goating down hitting as many cliffs as I can,” said Peter. “I'm thinkin' about hitting that big drop on skier's left in the cliffs and then that other big drop at the bottom of the run,” said Luke. Kayo looked at me. The venue scared me. I was in with the big boys. In my last two competitions I got dead last- no joke, the idea of making it past preliminaries was just a joke to me, but here I was- joke come real. “I'm debating between the full monty or a little mystery,” I said. Kayo laughed. He, like me, was just stoked that I was standing there. I wanted to not take the run as a joke- I wanted to really compete. But a mixture of the timidness and the self-obligation to get some laughs out of it persuaded me to take the other run. I rationalized it like this: cliffs and me are not friends, but my turns are solid, and when I try, I can get the speed the the judges want to see. If I traverse out of the cliffs into the open part of the venue and just throw down the best turns I can, I'll score the better than I would for leaving the mountain in an ambulance having tomahawked down a cliff face. Plus, I can be naked.

I chose the leave the boxers on- I'm 18 and can now get charged as an adult. As an added bit of excitement, I realized I was wearing one of my favorite pairs. I took off my clothes and the other competitors started staring. I don't know if it's because I looked good or if I looked stupid. I ski with sticks and a fake raccoon tail hanging on my helmet- I like to think it's because I looked good standing there with my sticks, my boots, my helmet, my gloves, and my bib tucked into my boxers- ready to charge, but it's probably the latter.

Luke went first. I was next. He disappeared out of site and I knew that the only way to follow up Luke Falcone is to ski naked. It was the only thing going through my head. The lady asked for bib 82. “Right here,” I said. “What's your name?” “Charlie Boyne.” “Crocket!” yelled Kayo. The lady looked confused. “Charlie Crocket!” repeated Kayo. The lady talked into the walkie talkie “Charlie Crocket Boyne bib 82 skiers far left... 3....2...........1................. dropping” My heart dropped before I did. It sank and I traversed over, it sank deeper and I kept traversing. The butterflies were going crazy. I fell. The judges couldn't see me yet but I was naked, face down, in California powder. The butterflies disappeared and the rest is a blur. I skied into the finishing zone and looked up. It was over. It was epic and it was over.

It was an awkward 15 minutes waiting for Kayo to come down with my clothes, I stood with the audience. I was trying to ignore the fact that I was wearing my boxers, I was hoping no one noticed the holes in them (they are my lucky boxers, all lucky boxers have holes, but these holes are big ones). Someone once said- “you never realize they're the glory days until they're over”, but this day I realized.

Luke Falcone Writes:

When Jake Sakson says something your about to ski is intimidating, it probably means its one of the dumber things you've ever lined up. When Jake Sakson says, "this is one of the most intimidating lines I've come across since Alaska," you turn around and go home to your mom.

This was how he chose to describe Alpine Meadow's run, The Buttress. Somehow, someway, I find myself peering down "the most intimidating thing since Alaska."

As I sit atop the Buttress, with a naked Charlie, a goPro-ed Peter, and a rallying Kayo, I can only think of how this all came into play. Upon returning our bibs (thinking that surely the 3 of us have no chance of moving beyond the preliminary round due to a series of unfortunate crashes) I over hear a judge say that they are taking the top 25. Out of curiosity I check the roster... next thing I know; I've hiked for over a half an hour, nearly fell off a cornice, almost missed the venue (which I have not scouted), watched a competitor narrowly dodge death after breaking a binding at the top of the run, forgotten my line and am now standing next to a hairy naked dude. Right.

At this point, while Charlie is undressing, Peter and I decide we ought to go scout. We approach the drop in, only to realize it is in fact a drop off. The first and only thing we can see is the judges stand and the rest of our team partying at the bottom. In between us and them, there is, from what we remember, which isn't much, a large number of gnarly, boney cliffs with very little snow coverage. Right.

I'm the first of our boys to drop in. I hurried to the bottom, simply because I knew what insanity was yet to come. As I unclip from my skis, I hear; "Skier: Charlie "Crocket" Boyne...dropping." I couldn't keep the smile off my face. Slowly but surely, the crowd shifted from quite murmurs, to pointing and giggling, to full on hooting and hollering. 1000 point bonus for Crocket. By the time we found Charlie a coat, Peter was already silhouetted at the top. If you haven't watched Peter's video yet, scroll up and do so now. He skied one of the sickest lines of the day. Like better than you could have, because he's got a goPro.

Next time though, I think we should just go to Snowmass... so... yeah.

Williams Huck Fest 2011

Coming Soon!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

VMS - CRMS Telemark Extravaganza 2011

The Vail Mountain School and CRMS Telemark Teams united in Aspen again this year for another weekend of Telemarking together, competition, and general shenanagins.

The weekend began on Friday at Aspen Highlands where we divided up into two groups for the morning: those who wanted to schralp Highlands Bowl, and those who were not quite ready for Highlands Bowl.

Due to his knee injury CRMS Telemark Team athlete Adam Hobby graciously volunteered to give the non-bowl group a tour of the lower part of the mountain, which at first appeared that he would be taking one for the team, until it became evident that this entire group was made out girls from VMS...BROWNCHICKENBROWNCOW...who's your daddy?

The other group marched up the bowl ridge in howling winds and sub-zero temps. It was not unlike an Everest Expedition, and a RAW introduction to the bowl to some of the newer members of the VMS team. It was great to see CRMS students so comfortable in such conditions, and willing to help at the drop of hat (including Charlie Boyne removing his coon-tail from his helmet and stuffing it around the face of one particularly cold and whiney VMS student who was complaining about his face freezing off..."Here, wear this"!) Everyone made the summit, however, and the powder turns down through the North Woods revitalized peoples spirits and blew people minds.

VMS/CRMS Highlands Bowl Summit Team!

In the afternoon we BBQed at the bottom of Scarletts and held an informal bump competition between the two schools. Riley Ebel from VMS managed to win the entire comp AGAIN this year. Here are the results:

Riley Ebel 84
Ellen Edgerton 71
Kelsey B. 70.5
Maggie Sherman 68.5
Sydney Idzikowski 68
Emily Bandoni 65.5
Nicole Byrne 64.5
Maddi Conlin 64.5
Sierra Brill 63
Hannah Horne 53
Kelsey Freeman 52.5
Monika Gehl 48.5
Kendall Peck 43.5
Kelsey Samuels 33.5

Luke Falcone 81.5
Addison Baker 73.5
Peter Madigan 71.5
Marshall Thompson 70
Austin Cerny 70
Tanner Shelden 69
Brandon Rosenbach 64
Ian Reid 62
Cormack McGeough 62.5
Josh Rosenbach 62.5
Charlie Boyne 60
Claire Jaicks 58.5
Weaver Froelicher 58
Jack Geddes 57
Andy Wright 50.5
Lucien Blakemore 44.5
Drew Verratti 44
Christain Bohren 43
Craig Tietbohl 40
Avery Hynes 27.5

BBQ at the bottom of Scarletts

That night we held a square dance in the barn to live music provided by Josh Carter, Kayo, Connor Meyers, Shannon Meyer, Leah Linse, and Calleigh Smith. Josh's wife Mallory called dance. The CRMS Telemark team was well trained in square dancing from a run through of it on dryland the day before. At the end of the dance we tried to morph it into an electronic dance, with a bit of success for a while.

On Sunday both teams hit Snowmass, where we attempted to hold the first annual dual big mountain competition, where teams of two were going to compete on the Hanging Valley Headwall and be judged on syncronicity as well as the full array of big mountain competition criteria. The visibility did not cooperate however, and so we just had to ski powder. Sometimes it is hard being a Telemark skier.

At the end of the day Lucien Blakemore crashed and had his arm skied over, resulting in a wicked wound, to which his response was: "this is going to be such a sick scar!". We all visited him in the clinic until we were finally kicked out.

Mid-Winter Dryland: Hill-bounding and Pond Skimming

Hill-bounding/sledding relays were a quick way to find ourselves in the hurt locker during a mid-winter melt in Carbondale. Each team did four reps, followed by a slushy run.

The upside of the melt was the goose poop filled melt pond at the bottom. This was a prime coaching moment to teach pond skimming by giving an outstanding example of technique.