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Photo Chase Jarvis

Or maybe more appropriately titled, why tele sucks ass. Now don't get me wrong, tele hasn't always sucked ass, it just sucks ass in the year of our Lord 2002. No doubt it had its place back in the day; when the Norwegians were hunting, mobilizing armies, or just getting out of the house. But unless you're living in Scandinavia, check the calendar. Snowboarding and alpine are superior methods for descending. Randonee is the choice of almost all serious mountaineers. So what's the deal, "One Less Car"? Get it together hippies.

Most of you non-Scandinavian telemarkers are like white guys with Native American tattoos--real goofy. Yeah, yeah, your last name's Anderson. Well you're not off the hook unless you've got a FarMor with a thick ass accent. So what's the draw, why are people continuing to join the group that represents the biggest gapers on the hill? Let's examine this by dissecting what drew me in, just two short years ago.

I had some pinner bros that I used to ride with (and wait for) on my alpine gear. They were the rockinest telemarkers on the local slopes, and kept getting mad accolades for their style and skills. Aside: The year tele piqued my interest was full of deep powder- Powder: One of the few ski conditions where it's possible for a tele skier to shine. Anyway, I got all fired up about buying a tele setup, and looking oh so forward to the wicked props I was gonna receive. I vowed to only telemark in 2001. With a much smaller talent pool, I knew it would be easy to be recognized as one of the best locals in the sport.

I've been riding alpine pretty much every winter since I was in grade school, so I had a strong foundation for learning tele. By my fifth trip to the hill, I was riding as solid as all my rippin' tele bros. By year's end, some days I rode better than they did. So I didn't quit telemarking because I sucked. From what I've seen, I was probably in about the top 10 percent of the sport.

The year I started riding silly pins, the snow wasn't nearly as choice. I had about 15-20 good tele days, and I rode about 45 total-all tele. It didn't take me long to figure out that telemarking is more physically demanding than alpine or snowboarding, and in a bad way. I was in pretty decent shape going into the season, but my goddamn knees quickly became sore to the touch, for about six friggin' months. Knee related overuse injuries are a real problem facing pinners because of joint stress, muscle fatigue, and excessive repetition. These types of injuries are much less common in the more advanced glide sports. And if you're thinking, "More advanced my ass!!" why don'tcha try thinking about it like this: Telemark is to Snowboarding/Alpine/Randonee as Straight Sticks are to Fatties. Out of date.

So if you show up geared for hard charging, choose a different method. Especially if the conditions aren't ideal. When you get those clowns into the icy bumps or some deep chowder, you better show up with a fucking hardhat and lunch pail. Snowboards and alpine handle a much broader variety of conditions, are way more stable, and way faster. And with bonus runs, hippies get extra opportunities to take in nature's magnificent alpine beauty and plan the next WTO protest.

But you say you're a hippie that like's to go up and down? Try randonee. Any hippie worth his weight in hairy arm pit stank should relish opportunities to use skis and crampons at the same time. Not to mention, more riding stability keeps your unshowered ass out of a crevasse. Ever drop a knee with a 60-pound pack green bud-dy? Day in the life of a geezer? It sucks.

Tele is a physically inferior method of ascending and descending, that's been established. But, what about psychological or spiritual reasons to free your heel and slow your friends? Maybe you wannabe connected with a group that shares your hippie doctrine of "I have seen the truth and you suck." Or maybe you wannabe part of an obvious and identifiable minority. Both are reasons I'm not partial to. The Women's Studies act got old in college. I did it to get props. And it was easy, because the sport is so chock full of gapers. But the oodles of praise just wasn't enough fuel to keep my tired ass genuflecting, though it may be enough for some of you tofurkeys.

Try as you might to grow the sport, freeheeling isn't going anywhere. Telemark had its day. Snow sports have evolved. But I guess there are tight little groups of egomaniacal, elitist blowhards still speaking Latin. So one might expect a few telemarkers rubbing their stinky green antisocial asses in the face of snow sports.

Anyway, unless you're a Norwegian farmer, or one of the true few who can ski tele as well as apline, get over yourselves. Otherwise, please evolve and shut up.


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