Steamboat Springs Local tele-heads hope this year's Winter Carnival Telemark Revival is greeted with the same weather that prevailed during last year's event.
"It was awesome. It was an 18-inch sow day and we still had 50 people turn out," said Peter Van De Carr, one of the organizers.
Scott Cowman and Ken Recker are also among the organizers this year. In fact it was Recker who won last year's Telemark bump skiing contest by throwing a front flip. Jonny Moseley has his dinner roll, and there's a rumor that Recker is working on a new move called the "granola bar," this year.
The Telemark revival is a two-competition event and again this year, the classic giant slalom race will include a hike up to the final gate.
Recker brought the concept of an "uphill, downhill telemark race" to Steamboat from a U.S. Telemark Skiing Association event in Snowbird, Utah.
"The point is to have a hiking component. It gives the race just a little bit more of a telemark flair," Cowman said.
Van De Carr said people who competed last year shouldn't fear the last hike -- it won't be as demanding this year. "Last year was pretty much of a cruncher."
When you understand telemark skiing, climbing uphill to get through some of the gates in a downhill race begins to make sense.
The reason telemark skiing is an up and down sport is the fact that the equipment is a hybrid, blending the loose heel of Nordic skis with the side cut and torsional rigidity of Alpine skis.
Van De Carr, of Backdoor Sports, thinks telemark skiing, and the ability to hike in one's downhill skiing equipment is ideally suited to the Steamboat aesthetic.
"That's what is attractive, I think, to people who live in Steamboat," Van De Carr said.
"On the same pair of skis, you can go for a hike, ski into the backcountry, ski bumps and then rip down Heavenly Daze as fast as you would on Alpine skis."
Steamboat is such a hotbed of telemark skiing that people might get the impression it is widely accepted throughout the ski industry.
Van De Carr said that while the sport is growing, it is inconstant need of nurturing.
"We're reviving the art of telemark skiing," Van De Carr said. "Because that's what it is. It's an art. It's full contact skiing. You use every element of your physical strength and your ability to concentrate. It takes every fiber of your athletic being."
Having said that, Van De Carr wants to put a little more emphasis on the costume contest this year, and a little less on hardcore competition. The organizers are working hard to attract competitors of all ages.
"It's all about involvement," Van De Carr said.
"It's a fine line between making it competitive for the experts, but light and fun for everybody who is not so aggro."
Cowman agrees the goal is to make casual recreational telemark skiers feel welcome to enter the events.
"If you want to come compete seriously that's great," he said. "If you want to wear a costume and act silly, that's great too."
Van De Carr said part of the reason telemark skiing in Steamboat is so popular is that Mount Werner and the slopes of the Steamboat Ski Area offer the perfect mix of terrain for the sport.
In addition to large numbers of upper intermediate trails on the ski area, Steamboat offers a variety of gentle, hike-in backcountry skiing.
"It's perfect here," Van De Carr said. "You have backcountry skiing right off the ski area and relatively stable snow conditions in the surrounding back country."
Skiers who leave the boundaries of the Steamboat Ski Area to enter the Medicine Bow/Routt National Forest may do so only through formally designated gates. Only experienced and well-prepared backcountry skiers should make use of the access.
Cowman said it might be a reach to say the man and woman who win the combined title in the Telemark Revival are the best telemark skiers in Steamboat. The extreme powder skiing experience will be missing from the revival events. That is, unless the weather is just like last year.