Updated 6 days ago
I joined my daughter and grandsons at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows on 4/17-19. Youngest grandson Daniel, 13, wanted to learn telemark, so on Monday I taught him at Alpine in rain, fog, and wind that had all but the lowest lifts closed. I thought he would be a quick study. He was on the Mad River Freeskiing team when they lived in VT.
I was astonished at how well he took to it. He’s a natural. On day 2, we did Squaw and he did KT-22 with his brothers, 19 and 16, and kept up. His brothers gave him a lot of crap because he is so small we had to rent women’s stuff for him. Nobody, except Chip, rents kid sized tele stuff. So his skis said “Rip Chick” on the top skins. This is an invitation for teen aged boys to rag on each other, amplified of course if they are brothers. Daniel says he only wants to tele now. That could be a problem in that he is about 4’ 10’, 100 lbs. with size 7 feet right now and could be much bigger by next season. We’ll likely have to buy rather than rent. BTW he got more crap from his brothers for losing a baby tooth and swallowing it while skiing.
Yesterday The older 2 did the palisades from a cornice, where dozens of warren miller scenes have been shot. Daniel wanted to do it too but his mom wouldn’t let him do it in his 3rd day on tele skis.
Before this trip I hadn’t been to Squaw for almost 20 years and had forgotten how great it is. I am still a bit skittish about the shoulder and skied only blue terrain. But riding lifts and looking around is amazing. I did a bunch of runs on Red Dog lift. Beside the blue runs are dozens of steep tree shots that you can scope out from the lift, similar to the Supreme lift at Alta, but longer, steeper, and a lot more of them. The KT-22 lift alongside it is even better. It has to be to best lift in America for terrain accessed. It blows away anything I’ve seen. The trees are widely spaced old growth, meaning no tree wells. With 2 feet of powder it would be heavenly. Otherwise I wouldn’t even think about it. My daughter and boys already have their 17-18 passes which are being honored for this spring until closing. Today Squaw announced that they will try for September. Their season snowfall total is now over 700”. So, I am going to get a Squaw/Alpine pass for 17/18 to go with my Kirkwood/Heavenly/Northstar pass.
Good report Denis. Sounds like you got another recruit for the Drop Knee Nation. And looks like you picked a very good winter to get a late start on your own skiing! If Squaw stays open all or most of the summer you could get a longer “ski season” than most of us. I took this picture riding Red Dog chair in 2013. That was one chair I most definitely was glad to use safety bar:
Parts of Red Dog appeared to be 200’ off the ground and there is a mega-scenic view to rider’s left as the terrain rapidly drops off to the valley below. Photo doesn’t do it justice
Great story, Denis!
My daughter and a classmate at North Country School (boarding school up in NY Adirondacks) became tele skiers in 7th grade. The head of the ski/board program has been a tele skier and instructor for a long time. The kids were both advanced alpine skiers by age 11. After 2-3 seasons at Whiteface and the school ski hill, no problem skiing pretty much any advanced/expert terrain at Alta with a mix of parallel and tele turns. She’s been after me to give it a try.
When I checked with Alta Ski Shop about renting tele gear, boots weren’t a problem (size 7 street shoe) but all the skis they had were way too long for a beginner who is 5’0”. My daughter is in high school now, so it was reasonable to buy her a tele set up.