Outing Club
at the Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center

Telemark Skiing Class Winter 2010

Story posted March 17, 2010

BOC Blog Staff writer: Quinn Cohane

Maine may have gotten less snow than usual this season, but plenty of Bowdoin students have still been taking advantage of nearby ski and snowboard opportunities. One group that's been hitting the slopes of Sugarloaf often this year is the Bowdoin Outing Club's telemark skiing class.

Telemarking is a more challenging variation of alpine skiing. Sam Howe '12, one of the instructors for the class, describes the difference between alpine skiing and tele skiing as a difference in appearance and turning style. "Telemark bindings only lock the toe of the boot down, allowing the heel to come up off the ski" said Howe. "With this type of binding you can ski the same way you would on alpine skis, using parallel turns, or you can do telemark turns which involve different weighting and flexion of the toes, ankles, and knees."

Howe is an experienced telemark skiing instructor and was happy to share his knowledge of the technique with Bowdoin students. "The existence of the tele group was one of the reasons that I came to Bowdoin in the first place" said Howe. "I am a telemark instructor at home so it seemed pretty natural for me to teach here as well."

Students interested in learning how to or practicing telemark skiing signed up for the program at the end of the fall semester. The program does not offer the option of taking individual classes; students had to commit to all six, which were held on the Sundays between winter break and spring break. The Outing Club provided class members with use of special tele skis and boots.

The class schedule was rigorous: students met at the Outing Club on Sundays at 6:15 a.m. and returned to campus at 6:00 or 7:00 at night. There is a serious time commitment, but Howe believes it is worth it. "It gets you out of bed in the morning, you get to practice skiing and you get to learn from some really great ski instructors" said Howe.

Lizzy Tarr '12 is a member of the tele skiing class and has had a great experience. "It's been a ton of fun, and it's really cool to have student peers be the teachers too" said Tarr. "I would definitely recommend the class to anyone who loves to ski!"

The final telemark skiing class was on Sunday, March 1, so this year's session is closed. Current students will also have the opportunity to go on a weeklong backcountry trip over Spring Break, where they will learn ski tuning, maintenance, and repair. Both Howe and Tarr encourage students to sign up for next year's telemark skiing program and add another winter sport to their repertoire.