It has been a dreary year for snow in Colorado. Most ski areas are only 20-30% open, but that did not deter 7 returning and new Backcountry Babes from being smart about the situation. They took the opportunity to learn or improve their telemark technique this past Saturday at Arapahoe Basin. Several of the women were outfitted for the first time with demo gear that Babe’s sponsors provides so that more women like Katie, Tanya, Ann, and Emily can have the opportunity to try out new sports like telemark skiing. After learning how to properly buckle and adjust their Scarpa boots (provided by Scarpa & Mountain Outfitters in Breckenridge), and click into a pair of G3 Jam or Viva skis with Targa bindings, the gals headed up the lift to try out their stuff. The Babes crew was easily identified by their instructors in their stealthy black “Babe Squad” Masala jackets by Fly Low.
All of the gals found plenty of good terrain to practice telemark skiing for the first time or learn new techniques to improve their current level of Free Heel’n. Both Tanya, who had only snowboarded previously, and Katie who had never skied at all, were making genuine telemark turns by the end of the day as they followed Anita down slopes that were unimaginable to them earlier! Others like Ann, Emily, and Kris worked with another of the Babe’s star instructors, Cindy Gagnon, learning how to let their skis do most of the work. They practiced properly flattening and edging their skis into the perfect tele turn. Although mostly just blue runs were open at A Basin that day, Emily H. used the opportunity to work with Liz and Ashley, both of whom have been telemark skiing for years, to “get back to the basics”. “Practicing quality technique on easier slopes is the way to solidify your skiing style so that you can carry it into more difficult terrain, and really improve your skiing.” Liz and Ashley learned some new telemark techniques from Emily. They practiced making every telemark turn a smooth, balanced, and flowing turn–somewhat like waltzing down the mountain. Now they will be able to take this technique and apply it to a the steeper stuff so that they can better ski the black runs, bumps, and trees in the future.
And the best part of all…they made it SNOW! The first snow in weeks. Since this isn’t the first time ULLR, the Nordic Snow God, dumped snow on some Babes while they were gathered together for a Backcountry Babes course this winter, we are convinced that ULLR really likes it when a bunch of women are inspired to get together and enjoy a Backcountry Babes event! Luckily, when it really got to dumping and Katie’s goggles started fogging up, there was also an extra pair of Smith I/OS goggles available so that she could see clearly again and make a few more runs practicing that tele turn she just learned.
So do your part for the snowpack this winter, sign-up and participate in a Backcountry Babes ski or backcountry/avalanche course! We have several more coming up in CO and CA in February, March, and April! See our clinic schedule at www.backcountrybabes.net.
We will supply the Elemental Herbs chapstick!