You know you watch the telemark skiers when you see them. How can you not? They stand out, because they’re doing something graceful, strong and a tad nutty.
There aren’t very many good reasons to telemark ski nowadays. But that doesn’t stop us from acting like it’s the most elegant, unadulterated, amazing way to ski ever. (Full disclosure: the writer is a tele gaper.) Make it known with these five sure ways to telesnobbery:
1 Get bumper stickers
You could leave your tele skis on your roof rack, but come August, you’ll be a poser. You need a year-round way to let people know that you tele.
So get a “I Tele Loveland” bumper sticker; put it right next to your Colorado “Native” sticker. (Note: The real natives know it’s easier to alpine ski. They’ll know you’re posing as a native. Prepare for confrontation.)
When you see a “No one cares that you tele” sticker, either put one on your car/dilapidated truck next to your other tele sticker, or patronizingly laugh it off (think parent laughing at child throwing dinner on the floor at Frasca, “oh, you know kids!”).
2 Learn new tele slogans
When an alpine skier says to you, “Fix the heels, fix the problem,” don’t automatically say, “Free your heels, free your mind.” It’s cliché.
Instead, throw your alpine buddies a bone. Pretend to have a sense of humor. Here are a few new slogans to try:
“Free your heels, faceplant in powder.”
“Randonee is French for last one down the mountain.”
Wait, ignore these — tele skiers are totally humorless!
3 Cling to the past
Tele is pure. It’s the original way to ski (actually, it’s a 100-year-old way to turn ridiculously long, straight skis).
Doggedly stick with that by talking about Norway, telemark-creator Sondre Norheim and those old leather tele boots you had “back in the day.” Wear knickers and a rucksack to Loveland to tele.
4 Complain about your huge thighs
Tele skiing requires an obscene amount of leg muscle. Tell everyone. Often. Whether they asked or not.
Men: Complain that you have to get all of your pants tailored or custom-made to accommodate your massive … quads.
Women: Complain that the only place you can find jeans that fit your tiny waist and bulging thighs is Retail Therapy in Crested Butte (spiritual home of the ’70s “tele revival”), because “they buy for athletic girls.”
5 Become enlightened
When pressed for tidbits of tele-snobbery, one longtime tele instructor at Eldora told the writer: “You’re barking up the wrong tree. To me, skiing is skiing.”
Touché, Zen Master Slidingwisdom. If that’s what decades of tele does to your mind, free all of our heels now.