A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Start to the ski season

December 18, 2021
Emilie Phillips

The 2021-2022 ski season has finally started. Saturday the annual AMC NH Telemark clinic with Jim Tasse came back after a year’s hiatus, and Sunday we got some fresh snow and family time at Cannon.

Tasse Clinic

All lined up

Every year, except 2020 (for reasons that start with a C), the NH AMC starts the season with a Telemark clinic for the trip leaders. I have always enjoyed the clinic, but I never realized how necessary it was until last year when it didn’t happen. I started the year feeling rusty. By the end of the year, my turns still felt ungangly.

This year, there has been no snow. The clinic was the first day on skis for most of us. In deference to our weak leg muscles, we took the day slow. Still, Jim pinpointed a couple week spots for me to work on. If I work on those, combined with a general refresher, I’m confident my turns will be better at the end of the year than they were pre-covid.

Technique summary

My assignments

  • Hold the hands low and steady so they don’t affect my balance. Keep the pole tips back unless I am actively planting a pole. Don’t anticipate.
  • Wider stance – feet should be hip width apart.

Tyson’s assignment

  • work on alpine turns as a form of cross training

Overall points

  • Edge release first, then lead change
  • Keep consistent pressure on the snow by retracting during the edge release and extending when passing through the fall line.

New exercise

  • telemark railroad tracks – only tip the rear ski inward. This demonstrates how much the back ski can turn you if properly weighted.

Other notes

Christina and Casy on the new octo-lift

The snow was terrible. The edges of the trail had chopped up granular ice. The middle of the trail just had ice. Those of us who could skied tight to the edge. Tyson tried following Jim down one edge with a ridge. Jim skied it fine, but Tyson caught a solid lump of ice, tripped, and slid down the banking. As he tried to extricate himself, he slid halfway down to the stream.

Loon put in a new 8 person lift with fancy upholstered seats, a protective bubble, and a dash of heat at the beginning of the ride. We liked the heat. We left the bubble open for covid. The chair picks you up from a moving carpet. The moving carpet dead ends at a drop off into a concrete well. Presumably the drop off is so your skis don’t get tangled up after you sit on the chair. Tyson, Sarah, Jim and I were about to be scooped up by the chair when we realized the chair in front of us had just pushed a snowboarder head first down into the well. We hollered, but the chairs kept moving. We hollered louder as we realized we were about to be run over the snowboarder too. The lift attendant finally heard us and stopped the chairs. Problem 1: the lift attendant couldn’t see what was going on. Problem 2: there were no steps or ramp for the snow boarder to get back out of the well. He managed to climb out. Then he made his way back along the concrete floor to the snow. He would take a step with his free foot, and then scrape the board across the concrete. Every scrape, the crowd moaned in sympathy for the board. Problem 3: the lift attendant couldn’t get the lift to start again. He joined another operator back in the control room, but neither could find the right button combination. Finally 10 minutes later the chairs started moving. Sarah’s legs were fine because she is short, but Tyson and my knees weren’t happy with 10 minutes of being compressed between a chair and the ground. Problem 4: They had the chairs going, but they still didn’t have the gates or the magic carpet working. It took the operators another few minutes to get that working again. Problem 5: once the bar goes down, it locks. If you happen to end up in the wrong place — like Nick squashed to one side — you are stuck the whole way up. We gave up on that lift after we all finally made it to the top.

Photos from the clinic

Family skiing at Cannon Sunday

Mike skiing the edge of the run

Isaac had opted to spend Saturday with Sarah’s kids and her husband Mike. So Sunday, we got the kids and Mike out for a morning of skiing at Cannon. The conditions were much better after a couple inches of fresh snow over night. Sarah spent most of the morning with their littlest who is just starting to ski. Isaac and Fenton spent a good while skiing together on the green and blue slopes. Isaac was super proud that he got to be the big kid and help Fenton ride the chair lift. He and I worked a little bit on learning to Telemark. Right now, he just needs to learn the telemark pose. I had him practice traversing in a Telemark pose, do an alpine turn, traverse back in a Telemark pose, alpine turn, repeat. Next time, I think we should do more of that, plus introduce a few monomark turns. Lead changes look like they might be too complicated.

For the second half of the morning, Mike, Tyson, Isaac, and I headed to the steeper runs at the top of the mountain. It was cold and windy up there. Isaac led the way down every run with us adults stopping to huff and puff. We did two fun runs and then called it.

Photos from Cannon