Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Midwest Telefest 2011

By nature, I'm a curious person. This one trait has brought so much pleasure into my life alone.  Not to mention adventure!  I never want to stop learning!  One thing I've always looked at and admired is Telemark skiing. I've made some attempts to learn.  I first bought a set of used skis.  Then I tried to learn by videos on my computer....skreeeetch...stop!  The best decision I made was to commit to going to the Midwest Telefest and taking their classes.
  I arrived Friday evening and settled into the motel.  I then went to see if I could find where Tele Central was and get registered for the weekend.  Driving along the shore it was dark but I could see the ice on the lake. I was expecting to see lights and a well lit ski resort but instead came to a dark sign that pointed the way.
 The chalet was softly lit with a huge wood fire and a tele movie on a big screen.  I registered and was given a beer and I thought this was good.
  The next morning I was there bright and early for my class.  Down Wind Sports had all kinds of demo gear there so I let them pick a pair of skis out for me to use in the class. They told me the new equipment was almost like cheating compared to the used skis I had. OK let's see what they've got.
Bob and Mike were my instructors.  We had a class of seven students. Bob and Mike only had us do two runs down the mountain but they spent three hours instructing in those two runs. Giving us very basic building blocks and working from there. Very hands on and very personal one on one.  As a group we had progressed by leaps and bounds in our understanding and ability by the end of the afternoon and there were smiles all around.  There is no substitute for personal instruction! Maybe some people can pick up things from a video easier than others but nothing can replace being able to ask a question.
 Then we were free! I went up and down the mountain.  I gave back the demos skis and went back to my old skis praying I wouldn't hate them after using the new state of the art skis.  I was very happy to find I loved them just as much as before. Towards the end of the afternoon I was debating whether I had anything left in my legs for one more run.  You know the place where you have to gamble possible crash versus one more wheee down the hill.  I went with one more wheee. I bent down to snap my heel throw on and it snapped off in my hand. Bummer! I opted to watch the uphill downhill race start and head back to the motel for a beer and hot tub before the evening.
The evening festivities started with an awesome pasty dinner and a band called Chasin Steel. I was really impressed with this band.  Very talented musicians and everyone of them had a beautiful voice. If you get a chance to hear them I highly recommend it! I headed back to the motel after the first set but I heard the band played until they had to move it to the motel bar and then they played the night out. The party was rocking!
  Sunday was a slow start for everyone. Down Wind promised to hook me up with demo skis all day so I took them up on the offer. I tried many different skis with the last one being Rossignols Backcountry skis. I liked those.  I also liked the BD Aspect's too.
As with all sports there are different muscles for each.  My legs were screaming at me so I had to call an end to the tele skiing for the day even though I wasn't completely tired out.   XC ski trails abound so I switched out and did about five miles on them. The photos I took do not do the subtle colors justice.  The woods was a cold ancient beauty. I am looking forward to exploring the area more.
  This weekend was going to be a retreat for me.  A chance to learn something new in an anonymous environment. A quiet sabbatical where I could relax, write and explore. What I found was an awesome festival with an incredibly fun group of earthy people. There were many people that showed up but there was never a crowded feeling. I found I knew people there and met some really cool new friends. Next year I will be back for sure!

No comments: