Two Steamboat Springs skiers found themselves on the podium at the recent Telemark Nationals Telecross event at Copper Mountain.
Aryeh Copa placed second in the Open Men's bracket, and Nick Ludolph finished third in the Junior Men division Jan. 21.
Copa is one of the telemark coaches with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, and Ludolph is a student at The Lowell Whiteman School and one of 28 youths ages 6 to 16 enrolled in the telemark program at the Winter Sports Club.
"I was thrilled," Copa said. "It's really cool that the two people from Steamboat that went down there podiumed."
Copa and Ludolph finished among the top three in telecross, which is the same as skiercross or boadercross, but on telemark skis. At Copper Mountain, the event organizers lined the skiers up four across. The course took skiers over jumps, rollers and big berms and around gates. The top two finishers in each heat advanced in the bracket before the champion was crowed in each division.
In telecross, skiers are required to make turns in the traditional telemark position; otherwise, the racer is required to go around an extra gate. If a racer fails to make a telemark turn twice on one run, he or she is disqualified.
Copa said exceptions are made when the racers are too packed together to make it practical to get into the correct position.
"It was pretty intense," Copa said. "On my first practice run, I took a few crashes just trying to stay on the course. ... Whoever got the hole shot was pretty much going to win unless they crashed."
The "hole shot" is the lead position at the start.
There was a slopestyle competition at the telemark nationals, as well.
Copa said that he and Ken Recker, the other telemark coach with the Winter Sports Club, are putting together a large telemark event to be held during the Winter Carnival next month.
Telemark skiing is becoming popular with younger children, and the Winter Sports Club coaches are working with the youths on backcountry skiing and terrain park skiing, in addition to technique.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org