Bored with snowboarding? Done with downhill? You're not alone: Earlier this year, the trade group Snowsports Industries America released a study showing that sales of alpine skis and snowboards were flat nationwide. So what was hot? Fat skis, twin tips -- and telemark skis, for a once-thought-dead technique that's being revitalized across the country.
Sweet. Tele skiing in the Washington Post. Heh, it even includes info on Whitegrass
"The hardest part is getting that initial start," says Chip Chase, owner of White Grass Touring Center in Davis, W.Va. "People have an Alpine hangover. . . . But it's more of a cross-country skiing movement." Turning is initiated by genuflecting motions that dip your knees close to the snow. It looks tough on the joints but actually spares them the twist necessary to make parallel turns. The pumping up and down from one leg to the other, however, is a killer quad workout. Expect a lot of practice: Chase says that getting to the intermediate level is harder than in downhill skiing.
Go Chip Go.
If anyone in the DC area (heck, anyone nationwide) wants pointers or a free lesson from someone who used to be pretty gosh darn good at this thing before he had a kid and fell out of shape (if I do say so myself), shoot me an email and I'd be glad to take you out. Of course, that same offer also stands for anyone looking to go to the range and see what the shooting sports are all about, too.
UPDATEHere's a great video of Chip Chase telemarking. I have a longer post on telemarking here and of course be sure to check out the Whitegrass Daily Report - they've been running a very blog like homepage - the most honest assessment of ski conditions at any ski area I've ever experienced - for far longer than I've known about blogs. I should also take the opportunity to point out that one of the great Whitegrass employees also happens to be America's top Female Mountain Biker and honorably took the high ground when the U.S. Olympic Committee stole her spot in Athens and gave it to someone less deserving.