Skiing: X Telemarks the spot |

Skiing: X Telemarks the spot

Jon Mitchell
Devon Wright goes airborne off the sprint-course jump Saturday during the USTSA National Championships at Sunlight Mountain Resort near Glenwood Springs. Wright is one of close to 100 Telemark skiers from around the nation who descended on the ski resort for the national tournament
Jon Mitchell / Post Independent |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — As much as Henry Barth didn’t like falling during his second run of the day at Sunlight Mountain Resort on Saturday, he couldn’t have been happier about skiing at a national tournament in his own back yard.

“To ski with all of the bigger guys and the bigger competition and do it here is really cool,” the Glenwood Springs Middle School eighth grader said.

Barth, who is on the developmental team for the United States Telemark Ski Association (USTSA), wasn’t the only person who felt that way about the atmosphere at the resort. He was one of close to three-dozen Telemark skiers from around the country who descended on the resort for the USTSA National Championships, which continue through today.

“It’s pretty cool to have his event at a small resort instead of at a big one like in the past,” said 22-year-old Devon Wright of New Hampshire, who this weekend was competing in the national-championship event for the fourth time. “It kind of reflects the Telemark spirit. We’re all a big family here, and this seems like a big family resort.”

The event, which features the top Telemark skiers in the nation, followed the FIS Telemark World Championships that were held in Steamboat Springs earlier this month. Sunlight landed the event when tournament director Ken Gay approached Sunlight spokesperson Jennie Spillane in November of 2014 about the Glenwood resort hosting the event, which they were more than enthusiastic about.

“I said, ‘Let me talk to Tom [Hays, assistant general manager] about it,’” Spillane said. “He was definitely all for it.”

Unlike Alpine skiing, which is all about keeping your legs together and speeding down the hill as fast as possible, Telemarking is about moving the lower body and using the so-called Telemark turn, which features a kind of duck-walk position. Saturday’s Sprint course, which took place on the Joslin run at Sunlight, featured the best of both.

It began with a traditional slalom course with a jump in the middle where skiers had to clear a certain distance dependent on their skill level. At the tail end of the course was the Classic skate portion of the course, where racers had to go around a “rappleduza” on their way to going down a cross-country skiing style home stretch to the finish line. Skiers must keep with those trademark Telemark turns at all times during that run because if they don’t, they’ll receive time penalties from course judges.

It’s not the biggest event that Sunlight has hosted recently — an under-10 and under-12 Buddy Werner event held last year brought in more people. Still, there weren’t too many people who weren’t pleased with the overall outcome of the event thus far.

“We had one of our ski patrollers [Jack Cody] who said he heard a lot off compliments about how accommodating people here have been,” Spillane said. “That was a great thing to hear, especially with a great event like this.”

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