Apologies for a long post! Hopefully worth reading, especially for those based in GB.
I am recently back from the UK Army Winter Sports Association event Exercise Telemark Titan 2018. It is an amazing 11 day combination of telemark instruction and racing open to GB military and civilians.
We all had a blast!
What: Exercise Telemark Titan. Both telemark training from beginner to GB team level combined with racing. Races arranged in 2 classes- Championship, which is also the GB National Championship, and Development- suitable for both experienced telemarkers and novices. The GB National Championship picks the GB World Cup Telemark Teams plus up and coming skiers for the development cadre.
Instruction provided by ESF, instructors included Sven Lau, youngest of the Lau brothers who have all been telemark world champions, and Anne-Flore Aufrere, winner of the women's alpine Derby de la Meige. The instruction was incredible. It is just not possible to go to an ESF or other ski-school office and ask for a group telemark lesson to be taken by a world cup winning racer/ world champion with a group of similarly skilled group members. Nor is it possible to find telemark instruction in about 8 or so different levels. Anne-Flore took the group I was in - simple clear nuanced instruction with progressive tasks, specific simple individualised feedback. The best ski instruction I've ever had. The GB coach, Seb Mansart, was also teaching for a couple of days before he and GB Teams inc Jasmin Taylor went off to the US, where Jaz has just won 2 Golds!
Races: Telemark GS x 1, Sprint x 2, Classic x 1 and Mountain Race x 1, skin up and then ski down and either team or single entry. (unfortunately the GS and mountain races were cancelled due to weather).
Where: Pralognan la Vanoise. A small and very French resort. 4 Chair lifts, a cable car some pomas. Ample space for 150 telemarkers.
Great mountain restaurants (beer 4 euros- coffee- cheap). Hotel Vacanciel- full board- huge and tasty breakfast / lunch / dinner - proper French food from France rather than Chalet fare. Comfy enough rooms. Ski prep areas.
When: Late January Saturday to Thursday - 11 days skiing
Who: GB military and GB civilians. A very diverse group. Royal Marines, Sappers, Navy, different parts of the Army, OTC groups, members of the Scottish Telemark Club, Manchester Cross Country Club, Ski Club of Manchester and assorted other civilians, GB telemark team members, keen skiers and club racers. Telemark experience - from FIS registered international telemarkers through to at least one person who'd never skied before. Two parents with children under 18. Sissy Compton, 14, was a forerunner for a World Cup race in PLV before Ex TT and would have placed 11th had she been allowed to compete.
How much: £870 for civilians in 2018 - including: full board, lift pass, instruction, race entry. Plus £100 transfer to and from Geneva airport. Not included- flights,and race insurance.
Whats it like: Hard work- amazing fun, great company. Skiing daily with either instruction, 0900 - 1630, or racing. Race and gate training was surprisingly fun and did not take all of the 6 instruction days. On race days, there were still instructors around for assistance. Race pics of me in Championship Sprint race.
Otherwise training was aimed at developing all mountain/terrain telemarking and included off piste powder, moguls, bumps and even basic switch - on soft snow! Approx 90 min lunch break and hotel only a short walk away.
Next years dates have been set- arrive Sat 12/01/2019, depart Thurs 24/01/2019 immediately before the World Cup Telemark races in PLV (in 2019 these will be hosted by France) on the 25th, 26th and 27th. It is likely that the WC organisers will be looking for volunteers to help with the World Cup races.
Who should go: Anyone who loves skiing. Suitable for any competent alpine skier who wants to learn to tele through to aspiring racers / GB team members. GB Telemark are really on the hunt for young (14-16), strong, fast alpine skiers who would readily adapt to Telemark with aim of achieving Developement cadre and then World Cup squad.
Very very friendly and cooperative.
Although primarily a GB Military event- to which GB civilians are invited - it is subject to financial pressures - like every other aspect of public expenditure right now. The more people who attend - especially civilians - the more likely it is to continue, the better deal the AWSA can get with the hotel, lift pass and instruction costs, so the cost for everyone goes down.
The combination of military and civilians in an event like this is a great mix and civilians find it very interesting and healthy for all.
In summary, an outstanding event and such incredible value. Doubt if any other organisation could get anywhere near the overall deal.
See also www.awsa.org.uk/telemark/ and www.facebook.com/ArmyTelemark/
Lets have some GB participants next year!!
If you would like further information, please contact me.