Steamboat Springs Brett Stein can remember six years ago when he started telemarking and the sport wasn't that big.
Now 17, and part of the U.S. Telemarking Ski Team, Stein said the past three days in Steamboat at the U.S. Telemark Nationals have shown him how much the sport has actually grown.
"Heck, when I started there was a few other kids, maybe like 10 or so, doing it with me," said Stein who won Sunday's Sprint Classic in the men's open division. "Now there's like 10 kids winning awards."
Sunday's Sprint Classic at Howelsen Hill concluded three days and six races of skiing that brought in some of the best telemarkers in the country.
"It's a great opportunity really for the kids to see the top of the sport," said Matt Graves, head telemark coach for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. "They get to see actually what the sport is because sometimes it's not that visible."
More than 110 racers competed in each event this year with the young racers separating into several different divisions for the first time.
Other overall winners included: Kelsey Schmid-Sommer (Women's open), Matt Macartney (Men's open), Brain Marcum (Men's citizen), Lisa Mamo (Women's citizen), Maria Katherman (Women's masters), Roy Mckinstry (Men's masters), Francrsca Pacillard-Cain (Women's junior), Wiley Thayer (Men's junior), Mackenzie Gansman (Women's U-10), Max Powers (Men's U-10), Elizabeth Klemer (Women's U-13) and Jeffrey Gay (Men's U-13).
For some racers like Klemer, the race showed her what it takes to possibly make the U.S. Telemarking National Team.
"I like racing and have been working at it for awhile," she said. "Here I got some competition, and it actually feels like it's a good win. I now know what it takes to make the U.S. team."
The Nationals were also paired with the Telemark Revival, which featured several events - including moguls - on Saturday night at Howelsen.
Overall winners in the Telemark Revival include: Tine Pike-Sprenger (Women's open), Drew Hauser (Men's open), Bill Quain (Men's citizen), Roy Mckinstry (Men's masters), Francesca Pavillard-Cain (Women's junior) and Wiley Thayer (Men's junior).
Graves said the participation in both the Nationals and the Revival show that Telemarking is growing.
"Just the numbers alone show it's a success," he said. "It's the biggest event we've had in a long time."
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