Notes From Under Wh20: CANSI Telemark Level I Instructor Course - Whitewater BC by Karen Reader Posted on Jan 30th, 2014

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Never have I been so elated to see a 30cm prediction only produce 15cm. It was early morning on Day Three of running a Level 1 Telemark instructor course and we had yet to see a square foot of corduroy.  And indeed, searching for groomed terrain during a 48 hour storm that produced 59cm of perfect intercontinental coldsmoke, had me seriously questioning:  What was I doing? 


What I was doing was working...passing on the passion for the freeheel tricky turn we call Telemark to aspiring instructors.  Enter the proverbial free-heel - the permission to take and leave, the permission to decide on the when, the where, and the how, to at once observe and suggest or to react and interpret.  In the end we found a groomer or two and practiced our curtsy and attempted perfect demos of the Intermediate Telemark.  All passed with flying colours. 

Some affirmations...Love skiing first - first morning agenda item was discussing course, evaluation criteria, and introductions....however...with 20cms on the board we worked on personal powder skiing instead, did intros on the chair/in the liftline, evaluation criteria and formal intros during lunch.   I will always remember the big smile that spread across Neil's face when I told him, no, we were not going to sit in the lodge for an hour on a powder day...who does that anyway?

To Homework or Not to Homework? -I spend a little too much time prepping for a course sometimes but my efforts have been affirmed!  Knowing a little bit about the candidates prior to our first meeting on snow allowed me to understand and accommodate agendas.  Luckily, everyone had communicated to me that they were really looking to improve their personal skiing. With lots of fresh snow, we sessioned personal powder skiing and everyone welcomed feedback on their technique and tactics!

Get Back to Business - By getting the powder willies out every morning and several free laps to shred pow throughout the day, the group was extraordinarily focused and efficient for the other, less exhilarating aspects of the weekend. 

And so the inspiration to complete these notes came from a few sentences that Nancy Selwood wrote after she joined us to refresh her certification over the weekend...she writes:

"The day after the class was another FANTASTIC snow day at Whitewater and I managed to get first tracks down the "Bound for Glory Run" under the Glory Chair. It was the best run I have ever done my life. Using the new patented "Sink and Swing technology" the folks in the chair lift were hooting and yelling as I rocked the best linked turns of my life. Why did I wait so long to do my refresher?  Clearly it has made me a better human!"

Karen Reader is a Level 3 Telemark Course Conductor for CANSI and is a fully certified Telemark instructor in the US.  She has just finished an 8 year tenure coaching Rossland's Freeride Team and now travels to teach women's steeps camp and various clinics in both countries, she coordinates the Skier Development Program at Black Jack Ski Club in Rossland and is one of the organizers for the best little big ski festival on the planet - the Coldsmoke Powder Festival ( at Whitewater.