Tribe looks to establish youth telemark
Like wanderers searching for the best way to enjoy the area’s snow, the Tele Tribe is finally finding their way into the mainstream.
For months, about a dozen local kids have been unofficially gathering on the mountainsides of Park City to test their telemark skills. Dubbed the "Tele Tribe" by adult leader Mike Sharp, these kids ski together with adults on Sundays, learning the turns, twists and skills required for the telemark style.
But the free-heel nomads are finally ready to set down some roots. This Sunday, March 11, the Tele Tribe will hold an official Tele Pow Wow to introduce other members of the Park City and Salt Lake community to the sport they have been discovering all season.
"We want to add something for kids that are more serious," Sharp said.
Sharp hopes that the pow wow will drum enough interest to support a full-fledged program next year. This summer he plans to organize the youth program, earn non-profit status and establish insurance to support the program. Most of the current "tribe" members are from Park City, so Sharp is particularly focused on attracting a Salt Lake crowd. Participant Alex Butler’s father owns Wasatch Touring in Salt Lake and other kids have similar connections in the valley to help the cause.
"We’ve got all these kids in the community," Sharp said. "It’s just getting the word out."
Even though there is already a small group of youth telemarkers that are skiing at an intermediate or advanced level, Sharp says they are looking for beginners that want to learn. Many of the kids currently skiing on Sunday have a Nordic background and wanted to try something new. Sharp says that kids with any skiing or snowboarding experience should have no trouble picking up the sport and encourages them to attend.
The Tele Pow Wow is a fully insured event, so beginners can feel comfortable to test their skills.
Sharp says that telemark skiing is for youth that want to try something new. Many kids are intrigued by the turns of telemark, while others see it as a test of balance.
Tentatively, he hopes to add a Saturday component to benefit kids that are focused on competing.
"I think there are some kids that would really like something more structured," Sharp said.
Right now, competitive telemarkers can compete in Nastar races, in open events and big mountain competitions. There is also a U.S. Telemark Team that competes in World Cup races.
There’s no telling how much the Tele Tribe could grow, but Sharp just wants to make sure the option is available.
"It puts them on the radar. It’s a community and networking thing to organize for next year," Sharp said.
The all-day telemark clinic will be held at The Canyons resort on March 11. The clinic is geared toward alpine skiers and snowboarders in grades 6-9, and telemark skiers of all abilities. The cost is $50, and includes all day coaching from established telemark instructors and professional athletes. The cost does not include a lift ticket, lunch or telemark gear rentals. Youth and small-size telemark ski and boot rentals are available in limited quantities at White Pine Touring, Wasatch Touring, Kirkham’s, Wild Rose, and REI. There will be beginner, intermediate, and advanced groups. Space is limited to a maximum of 24 kids, so participants are encouraged to sign up early at http://www.pctelemark.org . Questions about the Tele Pow Wow, Youth Tele Tribe, and PC Telemark should be directed to Sharp at 940-0590 or 640-2727 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
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