I hope, as we approach midsummer day and the days will be getting shorter in less than a month, many are thinking about next winter. So I thought I'd let all telemarkers, and anyone thinking of giving it a go, know about the GB Telemark Training and National Championships.
The event is formally known as Exercise Telemark Titan 2020 and is run by the Army Telemark Ski Association (ATSA) but is also open to civilians. Takes place in Pralognan la Vanoise, next to 3 Valleys, 11-23 Jan 2020. This will be the fourth year in PLV and up to 150 telemarkers are easily catered for. Last year the numbers dropped to around 100 Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and civilians (30 ish), mainly due to military commitments etc, so there is ample scope for us civilians to get involved and keep up numbers. For some reason the RAF Telemarkers do their own thing somewhere else.
Briefly, the event consists of a weeks instruction for all levels from alpine skiers wishing to learn telemark, to training the GB World Cup Squad and those endeavouring to get into the squad. The instruction is first class and depending on numbers may be just french instructors or include well know english instructors, eg Telemark Tracks from Val d'Isere. Daily instruction is 0900 - 1630 with around 1 - 11/2 hours for lunch. Group size is approx 6, last year my group of all mountain skiers was 4 and with a brilliant French telemark WC skier, although novice classes may be a little larger. For the non serious GB squad telemarkers, the emphasis is on being or becoming an all mountain telemarker. So conditions permitting, everything from on piste to deep powder to moguls is covered. Race instruction is not the main activity, but some will include round the gates, jumping and skating. It is actually quite fun. Adjustable poles that extend to around 1m 50cm are a good idea for skating!
A day off in the middle gives the chance to recover, recuperate and relax - but a group of us went touring up into the mountains. A really lovely but tiring day.
Then there are a few days of racing. For novices, a few development races and the better ones do get into the GB Telemark Championships. The GB Championships are for all and from that the GB World Cup team is selected. Finally, a Mountain Race. This involves skinning up a hill and skiing down, repeated for 3 laps. Either in 1 lap relay teams, or as a solo.
Some instruction continues during the racing days for novices.
The gate racing is surprisingly fun and you don't need a catsuit! Last year Ed Silva and I won Gold in the GB Championship Team Classic event - so anyone at any age has a chance of a gong. We did also have two much younger hotshots in our team - Ed's son Ben and Harry Fletcher. It also helped that one of our rival team crashed out. But as they say, to finish first - first you have to finish.
The event is hosted in the delightful small friendly scenic resort of Pralognan la Vanoise, south east of Moutiers and next valley to the east of Courcheval.
Full board accomodation is in the Hotel Vacanciel, large buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and short walk to the lifts. Large free open car parking area - shovel and snow chains are a good idea. Travel out is an own arrangement and the military do it by numbers! For us civilians, I have set up a Whatsapp group so that we can perhaps coordinate travel better or arrange sharing etc.
Last year the cost for civilians was £900 - full board, instruction, lift pass and race fees. And the Championship Secretary is trying to keep to the same for this year.
Kit can be hired for the event.
The initial details will be published in June, with confirmed details in the autumn.
It is tremendous fun and a terrific opportunity to meet telemarkers at all levels and ages.
So if you have ever thought how elegant those telemarkers look and have wanted to have a try, this is the event to go to. Even if you return to Alpine (still with training heel!), a week or so of telemarking will improve your balance and coordination enormously. See this article - www.thetimes.co.uk/article/why-telemark ... -338wf2pcs
Even more important are children. If you have fearless, good confident alpine skiing kids, then this is the place for them to try telemark, be trained and assessed for the GB World Cup Development Squad, perhaps ending up in Telemark World Cup races. Last event there were a few young being chaperoned by their parents.
And it is a great way of supporting our Armed Forces and ensuring the event has enough numbers to keep the discounted rates etc.
Any questions and I can email last year's documents, please pm me.
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Telemark. The only reason to go down on one knee.
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