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Free Heels for Free Spirits

teleTeleski in Ellicottville

By Alicia Dziak

You’ve heard the terms—telemark skiing, freeheeling, teleskiing – they all mean the same thing, but what exactly is that?

In a nutshell, telemark skiing utilizes a different boot and binding than traditional downhill skiing, and the major difference is that the heel is free and able to lift off the ski. Telemark skiing is a versatile skiing style that allows the freedom to ski both at the resort and in the backcountry, with the idea that free heels allow for easy climbing and open possibilities for efficient touring.

Never tried it but want to learn? Have tried it and want to improve? Just wondering what it’s all about? Events at both of Ellicottville’s ski resorts are planned to promote this snowsport that’s gaining in popularity.

Telestock, Feb. 27 at Holiday Valley

On Feb. 27, freeheelers can share the love at Holiday Valley’s Telestock. Sponsored by Ellicottville’s City Garage, Telestock is based at Yodeler Lodge’s upper level Champagne Deck. The free event will offer discounted lift tickets, demo equipment, rentals and the opportunity to talk with others well versed in the sport.

“It’s just a fun day of skiing,” said Trey Clauss of City Garage.

The event has had the same name for about 13 years now. “It came from the theme of Woodstock,” explained Clauss, noting that the famous 1969 music festival fits in well with “the free spirited way of skiing” that teleskiing was first and is still known for.

Telestock will also feature a cookout on the deck, with meat provided by Dom’s Butcher Block. Additionally, there will be event t-shirts available (tie dye, of course!), and prizes from Scarpa, a telemark boot company, and 22 Designs, a telemark bindings company.

If you can’t make it for Telestock, but still want to give teleskiing a try, Clauss noted that teleski equipment is available for rent at City Garage.

Telefest, March 6 at HoliMont

HoliMont’s annual telemark skiing event, Telefest/Free Heel Fling, will be held on Friday, March 6. The event, open to the public, will feature a tele race, clinic, shirts, demos, raffles and a potluck lunch. Registration is $100 ($50 for passholders) and half price for kids ages 11 and under. Register by March 1 by calling (716) 699-8159 or by email at snowsports@holimont.com. In addition, limited telemark package rentals are available. For more information, call Russ at Gear Up at (716) 699-5582.

HoliMont also offers teleski lessons for members on Sunday mornings throughout the season.

“HoliMont has been and remains very committed to the sport of telemark skiing,” said Dash Hegeman, HoliMont’s marketing director. “HoliMont Snowsports School has a number of very dedicated tele instructors who love the opportunity to work with everyone from aspiring tele skiers to seasoned tele enthusiasts.”

World Telemark Day

Skiers always like an excuse to celebrate, and if you’re looking for the next one, Telemark Skier magazine has declared March 1 the first annual World Telemark Day.

This inaugural event is a day to celebrate all things tele—meet up with other telemark skiers and enjoy the day and sport, where the motto is, “Wherever you might be around the world, let’s gather at our local hills and drop a knee together!”

Find your inner peace on the slopes and join other teleskiers for one of Ellicottville’s premier tele events, or head out on your own and enjoy the free-spirit mentality that comes with freeing your heel. Mark your calendars and set yourself free!

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