14ers Ski Descents – Huron Peak – May 3, 2009
A Sad Day for the Tele’s
Route: Northeast Face
Team: Ted, Christy, Dirk Bockelmann, Philip Ping
Christy is always picking on me for having more shoes than she, and when you count all of my old beat up running sneakers she may be right, I could stand to toss a few old pairs. But the most recent addition to the footwear pile in the closet isn’t another set of clunky trail runners, but a new pair of ski boots. And they aren’t mine. Christy decided it was time to get some Alpine Touring boots.
Not to imply that her telemarking days are over at all, she simply came to the realization that in some cases, the locked down heel is a good idea. Several reasons were mentioned when asked about the decision but ultimately it came down to a safety call. As the difficulty of her spring backcountry aspirations increase, so to do the consequences of an accident or mistake, and many feel the free heel only increases that likelihood. For most of us who are already firmly locked down, skiing variable snow on steep and committing terrain after first climbing the mountain can be difficult enough. Adding the telemark factor to the equation adds another layer of challenge and risk potential to an already challenging and risky day. Even when it’s just a good long mellow run, backcountry conditions can often give more grief to the telemarker than the alpine skier, and over time Christy grew tired of watching us all cut right through the same snow that was tiring her legs and slowing her down. And on that note, doesn’t everyone already know the word telemark loosely translates from its Scandanavian origins to “hey guys, wait up”? 😉
Joking aside, some may choose to argue otherwise but I agree with her thinking and believe the alpine setup to be, generally speaking, safer.
We broke them in on Mount Huron, 14,003 feet.
Dirk, Phillip, Christy, and I skied the Northeast Face with a little bit of new snow and it was awesome. Even though Phillip demonstrated that the snow was plenty friendly to a telemarker, Christy dropped in, psyched on the on the new rig and snaked down through the couloir, cranking turns faster and with more certainty than she was ever able to do before.
So for Christy’s tele skis and boots it was a sad day indeed. By no means are they done though, she insists that the inbounds realm will always be theirs. And despite all the attention the landmark change-of-heart garnered this day, some of the best pics were still of the lone telemarker. Way to represent Phillip.