Tele re-turn: Breck’s first telemark ski event since ‘09 set for Feb. 2-3 on Peak 6’s Six Senses
The first telemark ski competition at Breckenridge Ski Resort in nearly a decade will take place on Feb. 2-3 and test more than 100 junior and adult skiers on Peak 6’s steep and exposed Six Senses.
The Freeheel Life Cup Colorado Regional, a big-mountain freeskiing event sanctioned by the U.S. Telemark Ski Association, will tackle the nasty above-treeline cirque and serve as a competition that is a precursor to the Freeheel Life Cup Championship in March at Grand Targhee Resort in Wyoming.
The big-mountain event is the first freeheel contest at Breckenridge since the Breckenridge Bump Buffet — a signature event at the resort for 30 years — was last staged in 2009. Freeheel Life Cup event organizers say with the competition they aim to introduce more people to modern telemark skiing. In addition to the Peak 6 competition, visitors and spectators will have the opportunity to check out a vendor village and demo tents, featuring sponsors such as Freeheel Life, 22 Designs and Bishop, Saturday on Peak 7.
People who check out the vendor village will be able to obtain a coupon for a free telemark rental from Breckenridge ski shop AMR, one of the event’s presenting sponsors.
“The goal is definitely to show people telemark freeskiing at the highest level of our sport,” said former freeheel pro J.T. Robinson, the competition’s organizer. “And then with the vendor village, they’ll have the ability to try it out.”
Registration for the competition is open through Jan. 29 at: ustsa.org/event/freeheel-life-cup-prelim-breckenridge-resort-co/
Competitor meetings will take place at One Ski Hill Place, and awards will be staged at the base of Peak 7 at Sevens Restaurant.
During the competition, each skier will take two runs. The junior competition is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 2, and the adult competition is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 3. Helmets and avalanche beacons are required to compete and each field is limited to 55 skiers.
AMR owner Dave Stillman, who began talking to the USTSA two years ago about bringing a new telemark competition to Breckenridge, said he’s seen the sport’s gear evolve faster than the amount of participation he sees. He added that the hopes the Freeheel Life Cup will help people realize they can still ski hard and fast on telemark gear, which was not the case historically.
“It used to be more about finesse — dancing down the hill or traversing in leather boots in the backcountry,” he said. “Whereas now, the equipment has evolved and is much more powerful.”
“I love the telemark turn and the strength it gives you,” Stillman added, “and I want to see the sport grow. It’s not just wool-clad hippies out in the backcountry struggling through powder, or falling over on intermediate runs at the resort. It’s a way for alpiners and snowboarders to take the next step in their skiing or riding.”
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