2011 R & R Sport Freeheel Fun Weekend

The R & R Sport Freeheel Weekend took place on the final weekend of the first Broken River Telemark Week - August 6 & 7th. After six days of settled and perfect weather the weekend threw a few curved balls. Saturday morning was wet and the visibility difficult. That did not deter the gathered faithful. Led by Marti and Greg, our visiting instructors from the telemark division of the NZSIA, a full-on display of synchronised telemark skiing unfolded before the onlookers at Palmer Lodge. Synchronised pairs, twin snakes, and a human slalom kept the skiers on their toes and the crowds enthralled. By then it was lunch time so we headed inside to dry out, have some some food, and watch the big, wet snow flakes gently fall.

However, the skies cleared on Saturday afternoon to reveal a mountain covered in fresh snow. Everyone enjoyed several hours of lovely snow and good visibility before the Tele Cross event. This race was set by local tele-legend Jim “bounce” Henderson. The course made the most of the natural rollovers and features in the middle of the basin. Fun was had by everyone with some close times. Then it was inside to the warmth of Palmer Lodge for the prize giving. Alec and Nicky were awarded prizes for the best synchronised tele skiing. Our French guests Eduard and Alec won prizes for their daring, bare-chested synchronised ski run. Thanks to our sponsors R&R Sport, Black Diamond and CHILL for providing prizes for everyone.

Sunday was another surprise, with a clear sky and a light dusting of powder overnight which had blown into the hollows of the chopped, firm base. The weather was lovely but the skiing very challenging. We pressed on. The freeheelers enjoyed clinics with Greg and Marti and the feedback from these was very positive. Some of the best snow on the mountain was on the learners and traverse tow. Taking advantage of that were six first time telemarkers, taught by Broken River’s two freshly graduated level 1 telemark instructors. (I can confirm the rumour that there was also good snow in Double Bowl.)


Beginner Telemark lesson at Broken River under the direction of instructor Tom. Photo Jim Henderson.

The weekend was a great success. Thanks to our sponsors for the prizes; to  Ewan and Roy from Black Diamond from lugging up their latest demo alpine and telemark skis; and to R&R Sport for suppling their telemark rental gear for people to try. Thanks also to the great staff at Broken River who were beavering away in the background, to Jim Henderson for organising the Freeheel Weekend, to Claire Newell for setting up the first Telemark Week, and to Marti and Greg for their excellent tuition. Book now for next year!

9 August 2011 - "Father Tom"