Ross thanks Summit for helping her win tele title |

Ross thanks Summit for helping her win tele title

Shauna Farnell

Local telemark pro skier and Babes in the Backcountry founder Leslie Ross wrapped up her winter as the country’s top female telemark skier. Taking second overall in the final competition of the Telemark Freeskiing Championships in Jackson Hole, Wyo., gave Ross enough points to win the championship, which also had competitions in Crested Butte, Brighton, Utah and Alpine Meadows, Calif., throughout the winter. Ross missed the event at Alpine Meadows, but swept the other two contests. The top three of each skier’s best scores are what determine the overall title. Contests were judged by the difficulty of the skier’s selected line, aggressiveness and fluidity.

Some of these characteristics were especially challenging for competitors at the Jackson competition because of snow conditions. The contest, which was moved from Arapahoe Basin because of lack of snow, saw skiers dropping their knees around rocks, holes and snow with peanut butter consistency.

“It was totally gloppy,” Ross said. “The snow was tough, but it was really me who beat myself in my head. I was pretty conservative the first day.”

The second day of the competition, Ross found a way to deal with the inconsistent conditions and with her own mental barriers.

“I just changed my attitude,” she said. “I won for the day, but didn’t have enough points to come back. There was definitely stiff competition.”

Diana Mauriks of British Columbia beat Ross at the Jackson contest, but Ross was still the leader for the overall competition.

“My goal was to win the overall series,” she said. “At Jackson that first day, I might have taken it a little too seriously.”

In wrapping up her winter, Ross wrote a letter to the editor wanting to thank local businesses and individuals who helped her achieve her goal of becoming National Telemark FreeSkiing Series champion and also helping her with Babes in the Backcountry, the organization she founded six years ago that conducts womens telemark and backcountry clinics throughout the winter and mountain biking, mountaineering and kayaking clinics throughout the spring and summer.

“As we gear up for all the summer clinics, I wanted to send a special thanks to the Breckenridge Ski Area, the awesome tunes from Lone Star Sports, the great service and gear from Mountain Outfitters, Arapahoe Basin, Mystic Warrior School of Integrative Arts, Mike Zobbe and all the positive vibes from my friends,” Ross said. “I couldn’t have done it without all (of their) help.”

Ross will lead a mountaineering clinic at Mt. Shasta, Calif. with Babes in the Backcountry, for which there are still a few openings. She then moves on to summer mountain biking, navigation and kayaking clinics with the Babes. For more information, visit

Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at

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