The organization has evolved over the years, and this year it is adding a telemark program, coached by Theron Johnson.
“We’ve evolved into a true snow sports club, and it’s something to be proud of,” says Chandler. “We now offer instruction in all mountain skiing, slope-style skiing, snowboarding, Nordic skiing, ice skating and now telemark skiing.”
Coach Johnson, who just moved to Telluride with his two children, originally hails from Minnesota, has a strong Norwegian background, and has been telemark skiing for 27 years. “I think TSSC is a great program that exposes kids to all types of skiing,” he says. “So when I noticed there wasn’t a youth telemark program, I decided that there should be one.” Johnson spearheaded the program entirely, approaching Chandler with the idea, and then putting the pieces together to bring it to fruition, complete with sponsors Loki, TwentyTwo Designs (makers of Hammerhead bindings), and Sons of Norway. The program will also have a Nordic faction, coached by Lance Waring.
In this inaugural season, Johnson says he’s looking for eight kids (on a first-come, first-served basis) who are already strong alpine skiers. They will learn basic technique, the foundations of the sport, plus waxing and tuning methods. By season’s end, he hopes his kids will not only be “dropping the knee,” but also using their equipment to go up as well as down.
“I just want it to be fun, and I’m blown away at what kids today are doing on their tele gear” in the park and pipe, he says. “I guess they’re doing it on everything else, so why not on tele gear, too.”
Because he doesn’t want kids to have to lose out on other TSSC and Ski P.E. programs, Johnson has scheduled most practices for Saturdays during the ski season, with some Sunday, after-school and holiday practices as well.
“TSSC’s main goal is to expose as many kids as possible to all snow sports, and to instill and nurture a passion and lifelong love of adventure and activities in the outdoors,” says Chandler. “Offering a telemark team will help us achieve that goal.”
To stir the telemark momentum, TSSC will present Loyalty, a new ski flick produced by Telemark Skier magazine editor Josh Madsen, featuring young rippers sliding rails, hucking air and shredding pow, all on “pins,” on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for adults ($8 for kids), and are available at the Palm that evening.
For those interested in signing up for the TSSC’s Telemark Team Program, call Johnson at 970/270-6851, or TSSC at 970/728-6163, x10. Scholarships are available.