Angus and I went to Thredbo the for opening weekend. It’s usually a social weekend, chance to catch up with mates that we haven’t seen since last season, rather than excellent skiing. Due to lack of natural snow at this time of year, skiing is limited usually to the Merrits area which is a bit boring and High Noon which at this time of year is icy and patchy.
Knowing this I decided to bring along Emma’s touring Tele skis and boots so Angus, Telecrag and I could go for a cross country ski, probably to Kosciuszko lookout which is not far as the crow flies from the top of the chairlift at Thredbo.It would have been a chance for Angus to get out of the resort and see Australia’s highest mountain covered in snow, however due to low overnight temperatures and a frozen snowpack, we decided not to go.
Instead, after lunch on Saturday, Telecrag and I gave Angus a Telemark lesson on Friday Flat, Thredbo’s beginner area.
Angus has professed to having “retired” from ski school, since his normal alpine or downhill skiing has progressed past the fun and games that kids going to Thredboland enjoy.
I suppose there’s only so much you can learn from skiing behind a bunch of kids following an instructor and his recent “melt-down” at ski school in Canada proves he’s over the “heads shoulders knees and toes” games they play sometimes. (he let the instructor have it and told him he wasn’t playing his stupid baby games and he just wanted to go skiing black runs). He eventually went back to “Whistler Kids” and had a great time by the way.
Anyway, he was very excited to learn Telemark skiing, which for people who don’t know is the original technique of making a turn on skis and it originated at its namesake in Norway.
Modern skis have the boot fixed to the ski at both ends and to turn you push the heel out to steer the ski around a curve. In Telemark skiing only the front of the boot is affixed to the ski. This is so you can lift your heel and walk normally up hills which is the major advantage / attraction with Telemark. However the drawback is that to gain stability you must put one foot forward and one foot back and turn in this position. This has been aided, in recent years, by the development of Telemark gear to the point that it resembles alpine ski gear and gone are the skinny skis and short leather boots of yesteryear that were nightmares on any slope more than a few degrees.
The technique requires a fare bit of leg strength as you are constantly doing lunges and hence is more tiring than alpine skiing. It is also more demanding as you have to coordinate more bio-mechanical actions than alpine skiing which is about as technically challenging as sitting on a toilet compared to Telemarking.
We started him out at Friday Flat which is the flattest area of Thredbo and has the worlds slowest chairlift the Easy Does It. Telecrag could walk up the hill on his pattern base cross country skis quicker than we could line up and catch the lift up. Hopefully that was the last time I have to ride the EDI during this lifetime.
On Sunday Telecrag went home after lunch and Angus had his second half day go at Tele, this time up on Merritts which has a bit more gradient.
He thought it was great that Phil skied past and yelled out “nice turns” and got a big rap at dinner that night.
By Monday he was a converted Tele skier and left his alpine skis behind and skied all day on Tele.
We also caught up with Kate and Rocky and the boys did a few runs with them too.
Angus did surprisingly well given he is only 8 and after skiing Saturday and Sunday afternoons and all day Monday, he could get very close to pulling off a Tele turn.
He got lots of comments from people especially the local Tele-Mafia at Thredbo who thought it was great the he was learning to Telemark.
Now my only problem is finding an new pair of Tele boots for Emma as I dont think she will get hers back from Angus.
Here is a Video