Vertical Integration

Vertical Integration’s self titled film chronicles the history of a group of Utah skiers who are drawn to the Wasatch backcountry and free heel skiing. Over the years, this group sets themselves apart through their passion for filming, photographing, and writing about their exploits. Theses endeavors allow them to travel the world in pursuit of knee-dropping good times; while they quietly and consistently keep themselves relevant in the small world of telemark publications.

The film is interesting in that it shows how a group of friends can take their passion for floppy binding skiing and elevate it into an ongoing project, which acts as an outlet for their creative and intellectual pursuits. By being bold enough to share their craft, and partake in a bit of self promoting, the smelly tele skiers create a meaningful legacy, as well as friendships across continents.

The movie is a bit lengthy, and the really great skiing, like that that goes down during their trip to Austria, is spread somewhat sparsely over the hour and fifteen minutes. But, the Vertical Integration crew does a great job of painting a picture of how a lifestyle dedicated to sharing skiing with others can be achieved without buying in to the commercial forward nature of popular skiing media outlets. There’s no attitude or flash in the history of V.I. Just a collection of skiers immersed in their craft. For this reason Vertical Integration is a very worthwhile watch, and an excellent example for anyone passionate about skiing.

Peter Estin Hut Trip

The fact that the trip was off to a slow start was made clear when my car arrived at the Yeoman Trailhead at 4:30 pm and we were the second to the parking lot. The rigors of office work, an afternoon Calculus class, a 500-mile drive, a debilitating hangover, just plain laziness, and car-lessness were all listed as excuses.  None of these would shorten the hike; it was going to be a late night.  The eight-mile skin took the thirteen of us between six and eight hours. We made our way up the even grade of the forest road, and by nightfall separated into smaller groups. After separating, our parties navigated through the dark alone, or in groups of two or three.  Our roaming canine companion, Poncho, encouraged everyone along the way. Although this worm of a dog wore no collar, a jingling sound was imagined by certain members of our party.


The trip begins

 

Seven and three quarter miles after leaving the trailhead we climbed a steep rise in the road and rounded a bend. Besides the snowed over trail, a “no snowmobile” sign was the only sign of human presence in several miles, and a welcome indication that we were headed in the right direction.   A short ways later, in the snowy darkness we glimpsed the soft glowing lights of solar powered electricity.  

Skinning up to get down

Frustration quickly melted into relief as the victory shout echoed slowly back from the front of the group, to the rear, where the bravest souls trudged upward with our two heavy sleds.

 Boots by the fire

Upon arrival at the cabin, we were greeted by new club members Jared and Jack, who had a warm fire raging.  They introduced themselves, and became our voices of reason and models of preparedness for the trip.  So began the festivities.  Beers were cracked.  Wine was poured from a bag. After a prayer, paying respect to the knee dropping World War II veterans of the 10th Mountain Division*, a delicious pasta dinner was inhaled.

 Westy Eggs

After a welcome, wood-stove warmed sleep, a feast of eggs and bacon provided our sustenance for the afternoon.  Eleven tele skiers and two alpine skiers, set out to enjoy the bountiful powder surrounding us.  

Snow pit

 

Jared, Jack, and outdoorsman extraordinaire Jeffrey Tarshis dug a snow pit, with the shots being called and analysis interpreted by our intrepid leader and co-founder Sam Shiverick.  

Found a thick layer

These four took on the role of snow scientists and performed compression tests.  We identified some scary layers deep in the snow pack, and decided to stay very safe throughout the day.

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Lapping mellow powder became the name of the game.  

Andrew the commander turning heads             

The gloriously deep day was full of knee dropping, tele-face plants, whoops, laughs, skinning, and blister development. Pure beginners gained some experience, if only slightly, in the foot of fresh snow.

Addison demonstrating the tele roll

Missteps were rewarded with joyous tele-powder-rolls.

First year tele skier Tom getting rad

All of this exertion quickly led to widespread exhaustion.  

Drew dropping a knee into a face shot

By sunset at seven o’clock, we had thoroughly harvested the powder fields of Prospect Peak above the cabin, and the Blaze Meadows below.

Jared Harvesting

 

After the hard work on the slopes, the task of consuming the 200 beers provided by Avery Brewing, along with the twelve Molsons provided by Will Westerfield, became the most formidable challenge of the trip.  

Tim on his liquid throne

 

The gentlemen of the Boulder Telemark Club stepped up admirably to the job.  In a performance that would have made the grizzled mountain soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division proud, we finished all but a few straggling beers.  These revealed themselves in the days to come hidden deep in our packs, encased in mittens, hats and jacket pockets, as souvenirs of the trip.   

Spencer dragging a sled and a Guitar

The day concluded with an excellent dinner of well-stuffed burritos, and a night of tele-wisdom and merryment.  Sleep snuck up quickly on our day of festivities.  In the morning we trekked down through a warm April day back to the Yeoman parking lot, and parted ways.

Hut Group Shot

 The cool, snowy weather and face shots were all of a sudden miles away.   We left with a batch of fresh knee dropping memories and several, strange new knee-dropping friends a piece. 

Group Shot

Thanks to Avery Brewing for the hoppy beers, Twenty-Two Designs for the hinged bindings, and the enthusiasm of the members of the Boulder Telmark Club who made this year a smashing success.  Always remember the famous words of Warren Miller’s tele skiing brother Earl, “If you don’t drop a knee this year, you’ll be one year older when you do.”

 

 Guest book entry

 

 

 

*We found a 10th mountain Division Soldier’s memoir in the hut’s library.  The writer’s reference to a skier who made beautiful alpine style turns with the rear tip weighted, but struggled to ski with a heavy pack, suggests that some of the Camp Hale soldiers may have been tele skiers. 

Grand Targhee Telemark Open Feb 22nd – 24th

Carpool from Boulder Colorado to the Teton Teepee in Alta, Wyoming for 3 days of skiing at the Telemark open in Grand Targhee, Wy.

Come ski in the event! Or, come to see the Tetons, root on the competitors, and get smelly in the secluded powder bowls of Targhee.

Email us at telemark@colorado.edu and we’ll get a carpool going out on Thursday, February 21st and returning on Sunday, February 24th.

ImageThe venue looks great in this photo from this week! So, escape from the 30 inch base in summit county to the 83 inches in Targhee.

Links:

http://www.grandtarghee.com/the-resort/news-events/1822/BigMountainTelemarkComp3rdAnnual.php

http://tetonteepee.com/

http://www.grandtarghee.com/

Let’s Go!

We are proud to announce that the first meeting of the 2012/2013 season will be a premier of Telemark Skier Magazine’s new movie, Let’s Go.

The trailer looks awesome, and snow is beginning to fall in the high country.  So, it’s time to kick off the ski season with a movie full of knee dropping radness!

Check out the trailer and come join us for a free show:

Wednesday, October 3

Atlas room 102

7 pm

 

http://www.facebook.com/events/230709463721191/

“Let’s Go!” – Official Telemark Skier Movie Trailer from Telemark Skier Magazine on Vimeo.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

This weekend we went to Great Sand Dunes National Park and brought the skis along.  We found the sand dunes to be quite shreddable with the wax provided for sand dune boards.  We even had a first time tele skier on the dunes.  He dropped his first knee right before the bottom.  This trip will definitely be in the schedule again next year.  Making turns in the sand is a very strange, very awesome feeling.