WINTER 2015-2016 SEASON A TELLURIDE SKI & SNOWBOARD SCHOOL PUBLICATION
Stacked to Shred Improve Your Skiing with Body Awareness
A Storied History
The Humble Beginnings of Telluride Ski School
Ski Like a Girl
Celebrating 35 Years of Women’s Week
Up Close & Personal Meet Telluride’s All Star Instructors
Noah’s Note I’ve traveled and skied the world throughout my career, yet this quaint town dwarfed by rugged Rocky Mountain peaks has a vibe unlike any other. The people that call this town home have a love for the mountains and the community that infiltrates everyone around them. Here, relationships are king and our passion is palpable. In fact, people are what have drawn each of us here in the first place. I taught skiing in the Bavarian Alps for three years and was lured to Telluride to come work for someone in who I’d met over there. Everyone here has a story like that, of how they discovered Telluride for the first time or who brought them here. And every local also has a
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story about the relationship that has kept them here. That’s why we decided to produce a magazine about our ski school instructors. They are the people who spend the most time with our guests and develop genuine relationships that keep them coming back year after year.
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They are much more than instructors; they serve as mountain guides, town gurus and, eventually, friends. They find out what our guests love and what would take their experience in Telluride to the next level. That’s why 70 percent of the lessons we book are by guests who are requesting a specific instructor, and often the only instructor with whom they will ski or ride. This magazine is our humble attempt to share stories about some of our instructors and why we’re so lucky to have them on staff. But, the articles contained in this magazine highlight just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the Telluride experience. If you haven’t given the Telluride Ski & Snowboard School a try yet, I invite you to join us this year. We’d love the opportunity to create an day on our mountain unlike anything you’ve experienced in the past.
Allred’s offers Contemporary American Cuisine and features one of the best wine selections in the country. Take it all in while admiring the breathtaking view of the town of Telluride from the main dining room.
located at the top of the gondola A T T H E B E A U T I F U L S T. S O P H I A S T A T I O N
Bring on winter!
Noah Sheedy + Telluride Ski & Snowboard School Director NSheedy@TelSki.com + 970.728.7501
CONTENTS : F E AT U R E S :
Telluride’s Unsung Heroes These canine companions do more than fetch. Patrol pups are trained to save lives and educate guests.
Forward Motion Take your skiing and riding to the next level with Telluride’s extensive specialty camps.
35 Years of Women’s Week Colorado’s oldest women-specific ski week hones your skills and replenishes your spirit.
Telluride’s All Star Instructors Meet the men and women who embody the adventure, professionalism and personality of Telluride Ski & Snowboard School.
24 Stacked to Shred
Unlock your bones—a.k.a. understand your body’s biomechanics—for supreme performance on the hill.
14 A Story for the Ages
Ski in/ski out to North America's highest elevation restaurant Extensive wine list Handmade pastas, local meats and cheeses, world renown comfort food
Embracing the legacy of Telluride Ski and Snowboard School’s wild and woolly past.
TO P O F G O LD H ILL E XPRESS (14 ) Dinner Reservations Available Wednesday-Saturday (Adults 21+) | 888.405.4903 2
Tellurideâ€™s 4-Legged Heroes Mountain safety is at the heart of everything we do at Telluride Ski & Snowboard School, and Telluride Ski Patrol are our partners in providing safety and education services to our guests. Some of Patrolâ€™s most loyal staffers, Telluride Avalanche Dogs, also have the most fun. Serving five surrounding counties with mountain search and rescue services, Bee, Mona, Wiley, Sadie and Stella are trained not only saved lives, but educate guests about avalanche safety. Telluride visitors are welcome to stop by to meet the on-duty avalanche dogs at any of the upper Ski Patrol stations on the mountain. And each spring, animal lovers of all ages gather in Mountain Village for a seminar to learn how the canine companions are trained to perform under pressure in rescue situations, providing a fast and effective means of locating buried avalanche victims - often faster and more effectively than their human counterparts.
WHAT’S HAPPENING, WINTER 2015-2016
ELEVATE YOUR GAME: SPECIALTY CAMPS
Telluride Ski Tree Lighting & Ullr Bonfire
Jingle Jam (Mountain Village)
Holiday Prelude (Mountain Village)
International Women’s Ski Day
Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade (MV Only)
Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade (MV & Town)
Silver Skiers (Session 1)
Silver Skiers (Session 1)
Telluride Fire Festival
Making Friends With Moguls Camp (Camp 1)
Silver Skiers (Session 1)
Silver Skiers (Session 2)
Heli-Ski Camp (Session 2)
Silver Skiers (Session 2)
21-MAR 1 Telluride Gay Ski Week 25
Silver Skiers (Session 2)
- January 15-18
- January 31-February 2 - February 10-12 - February 28-March 1 - March 3-5
available to the public through the Ski Biomechanics Camp, which includes training on the snow, in the classroom and via video analysis.
Do you dream of skiing untracked lines but worry that your
4-DAY SKI BIOMECHANICS CAMP: $1,375 without lift tickets, $1,575 including lift tickets
skills aren’t up to it? If you ski with confidence on all blue
INFO: call 970-728-7414 or visit tellurideskiresort.com
skiing out of the ski area and into the backcountry for an
terrain, this camp will build skills and confidence to take your experience of a lifetime.
MAKING FRIENDS WITH MOGULS CAMP - January 20-21 - February 29-March 1 This two-day camp is aimed at the mature intermediate skier
Silver Skiers (Session 1)
21-FEB 2 Heli-Ski Camp (Session 1)
Dr. Kim Hewson’s innovative biomechanics approach is now
SKI BIOMECHANICS CAMP
2016 SUMMER SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
who is very proficient on all the groomed runs a ski resort may have to offer but avoids mogul runs. The goal of the camp is to make friends with moguls and develop confidence in blue-level mogul fields.
MAY 27-30 Mountain Festival JUN 16-19
43rd Telluride Bluegrass Festival
2-DAY MOGULS CAMP: $375 without lift tickets, $475 including lift tickets
The Ride Festival
Telluride Jazz Festival
Telluride Film Festival
Telluride Blues and Brews
INFO: call 970-728-7414
SILVER SKIERS PROGRAM - January 7, 14, 21 and 28 (SESSION 1) - February 4, 11, 25 and March 3 (SESSION 2) The newest Telluride Ski School program is offered to skiers 50 years young and older. Meet others who share your same passion and love for the sport while exploring the mountain with just the right amount of coaching. 4-DAY SILVER SKIERS SESSION: $150 not including lift tickets
JUN 23-26 Telluride Wine Festival JUL 9-10
3-DAY HELI-SKI CAMP: $2,150 without lift tickets, $2,250 including lift tickets
INFO: visit tellurideskiresort.com
- JANUARY 22-24 - FEBRUARY 7-11
28-MAR 1 Heli-Ski Camp (Session 3) 29-MAR 1 Making Friends With Moguls Camp (Camp 2)
Visit: tellurideskiresort.com/events For More Information
The Telluride Women’s Week is the first women-only ski program in Colorado, and has grown to include social events
Silver Skiers (Session 2)
and pampering that create friendships to last a lifetime.
Heli-Ski Camp (Session 4)
Subaru Freeride Series
Red Ball Express (Benefiting Telluride Rotary)
3-DAY WOMEN’S WEEK: $550 without lift tickets, $675 including lift tickets 5-DAY WOMEN’S WEEK: $875 without lift tickets, $1,075 including lift tickets
Telluride’s Mountain Town Get Down
INFO: email firstname.lastname@example.org 7
Ski Like a Girl For thirty-five years, Telluride’s Women’s Week has encouraged women to celebrate their progress and hone their skills on the slopes. - By Maribeth Clemente
Thirty-five years ago, Telluride ski instructor Annie Savath had
This winter, Telluride will host
a realization: many of her female students sabotaged their own
three Women’s Weeks: one in
progress by being overly self-critical. After linking turn after turn
January and two in February.
through a steep bowl or narrow glade, the women in her classes
The goal, says Savath, is to make
had a tendency to focus on what was not perfect versus the one
women realize “what is going on
effortless turn they made.
with their skiing and what about it
“Most women will compliment other women on how they’re skiing, but will downplay their own accomplishments or, worse, beat themselves up,” says Savath. “I realized that changing that mind frame is very important.” In 1981, Telluride Ski School launched the first women-specific ski clinic ever held in Colorado. Now, thirty-five years later, Savath— and a staff of elite, women instructors—continue working to change that destructive mind frame with Telluride’s “Women’s Week” camps, three- and five-day intensive courses open only to women. 8
is good,” she says. “And of course we will give them tools to improve. The point is we want women to appreciate their progress.” But the clinic is more than a feel-good exercise in positive reinforcement. Instructors work with students to fine-tune their skills, implementing Telluride’s
EXPERIENCE COLORADO’S LARGEST SPA
Women’s Week 1998
Women’s Week 2015 – Fawnda Rogers, program coordinator (far right), Annie Savath, program founder (second from right), with 2015 campers
innovative biomechanical approach and focusing
“It’s magical what happens in the camps,” she says.
on technique. “Women, in general, have less muscle
“The program enlightens and energizes women, and it
mass than men of the same height and body weight,
gives them a nugget that may change the path they are
so they can’t really muscle their way through a turn,”
on in their lives physically, emotionally and mentally.”
says Savath. “Women have to be more technically correct.”
Of course, the extracurricular activities don’t hurt, either.
This is not a bad thing. Being technically correct
Organizers also plan Women’s Week après ski parties,
safeguards against injury and builds confidence.
and participants dine at some of the town’s best
Throughout the clinic, participants make notable progress,
restaurants. There is also time for a spa treatment and,
largely thanks to the lack of self-criticism (banned).
naturally, a proliferation of chocolate. Combined, these
Skiing hard with the same group of students and
benefits make Women’s Week as relaxing as it is
instructors for three or five consecutive days inevitably
empowering. “Ultimately,” says Savath, “we want women
leads to improvement, says Women’s Week program
to learn to enjoy the whole skiing experience.” —
coordinator Fawnda Rogers.
IF YOU GO Choose between a three-day or five-day session
Dates: January 22-24, 2016 February 26-28, 2016 February 7-11, 2016
Women’s Week 2015 - (from left to right) Heather Baltzley, Ellen Ross, Sam Smith, Adrienne Christy and Ella Dayton
Cost: Prices start at $550 for three-day camps* Info: www.tellurideskiresort.com/ski-school/ specialty-camps/womens-week
* Does not include lift tickets. Discounts available for referrals
Immerse yourself in tranquility, well-being and exceptional service. OPEN 6:30AM – 8:30PM 866.770.9892 ThePeaksResort.com/Spa T H E P EAKS RESORT & SPA • 136 CO UNT RY CLUB DRIVE 11
Homegrown Excellence From humble beginnings to world renown, Tellurides Ski & Snowboard School delivers expert instruction in an intimate environment. - By Maribeth Clemente
“The mountain was raw,” says longtime Telluride ski instructor Cindy Smith about the early days of the resort. “We were all into steep skiing, and the town was wild.”
experience was a whole culture unto itself.” That culture extended to the
From people riding horses into the New Sheridan Bar to raucous
ski school, which was originally
parties in the town’s late night establishments, Telluride in the
housed in the Day Lodge, now
early 1970s fostered “some outrageous behavior and indeed
Big Billie’s. Then, all transactions
some blatant lawlessness,” says Smith. “Rumor has it that
and operations were logged
firemen would come in and hose people down in the bars on
in “The Book,” a directory used
really rowdy nights.”
through the late 1980s. The Book
Into this mayhem came the dozen men and women who made up the original team of Telluride Ski School, a tight-knit group of instructors who moonlighted at restaurants to make enough money to live in this remote southern Colorado outpost. In the beginning, these instructors—along with ski patrollers, lifties, and other locals—shuttled to the mountain from town on a company-owned bus that served dual purpose: transportation
traveled from one locale to another throughout the day, going from Coonskin for the nine o’clock lessons to the Day Lodge (for beginners) by 11:00 a.m., and then to Gorrono’s (for intermediate to expert).
and community hub. “When the roads were really bad, people
After a day of lessons, instructors
on the bus would get out and push on the steeps,” says Larry
congregated at Coonskin
Hopkins, who opened Powder House Dining and Spirits in
(“Coony”), and then headed
the early 1970s and became a ski instructor in 1985. “The bus
for drinks at Leimgruber’s
Go on an
(Homegrown Excellence continued)
Bierstube. Originally ski patrollers held court at
All that changed, however, with the influx of private lessons in
this watering hole in exchange for granting Leimgruber’s
the mid-1980s, coinciding with Telluride’s second home boom.
staff first tracks on powder days. But after a ski patroller
Wealthy families developed relationships with individual instructors,
went through the front window during a particularly
establishing bonds that could endure for years.
rowdy night, the ski instructors took over that coveted spot. Drinking games flourished. There was the big, beer-filled glass boot passed around that everyone had to drink from (paid for by the instructor who earned the most tips that day). Whoever was stuck with the last sip had to buy the next boot. “It was popular until we figured out that was likely why we were all getting sick all the time,” says Hopkins.
Clients invited their favorite instructors to dinner, or even on family ski trips to Canada or Europe. Some even fell in love and married their instructor. But even as the private lessons flourished, group lessons also thrived, especially as the program’s reputation for excellence spread. In the early 1990s there were afternoon bump lessons for as many as 90 people. The Steep and Deep program, introduced around the same time, was among the first where instructors took clients out before the mountain opened. Hike-to
Drinking games aside, Telluride ski instructors took
terrain had instructors branching off from the top of Chair 6 toward
their jobs on the mountain seriously. Under the guidance
Gold Hill or in the other direction toward what is now the top of
of Annie Savath, director of Telluride Ski School from
1979 through 2001, the instructors earned early praise for quality teaching that was consistent and cohesive. Savath, originally from the French Alps, developed a European-styled school of instruction, remarkable for its rigorous professional standards—orderly presentation with a strict dress code, PSIA (Professional Ski Instruction of America) certified staff. Enforcement was strict.
Today’s Telluride Ski & Snowboard school, now nearly 300 strong, may not be as rowdy or lawless, but it retains the legacy of its early pioneers. The staff is diverse and passionate, with each instructor bringing enthusiasm and zest to the institution. “Back then we were like an extension of family,” says Smith. “Which is what we still are today.” —
“We had to look good for the job,” says Hopkins. “Facial hair wasn’t allowed and if you hadn’t shaved, Annie would pull out a cheap, plastic razor for you at lineup and you’d end up with a bloodied face.” Initially, the instructors were not busy. On slow days, instructors volunteered to sweep the mountain with ski patrol at the day’s end. That meant skiing what is today Happy Thought, which was out of bounds at the time. “Then we’d go up the mountain again and ski down Coony after closing,” says Hopkins. “We’d be paid an hour and a half for that, and some folks lived off of those daily
Above: Michael Ambrose holding court at Gorrono Ranch, 1982 Left Telluride Ski Resort’s first branding campaign, 1972
OPEN DAILY 9AM–5PM
hours and a half for the better part of the season.”
Snowbike Lessons & Rentals 14
Fun & Exciting Kids Programs
L o c at e d i n s i d e t h e s k i s c h o o l at t h e b a s e o f t h e g o n d o l a i n M o u n ta i n V i l l a g e
SUPER GIRL Kristen Permakoff In 1994, Kristen Permakoff moved to Telluride from New York and realized she’d found her home. The self-described extrovert immediately fell in love with the mountains, rarely, if ever, falling prey to “box canyon fever,” despite Hometown: West Point, New York Age and location where she learned to ski: 8 at West Point Ski Area
Telluride’s long, cold winters. “You don’t get that when you’re up on the ski hill,” says Permakoff. “At least I don’t. I love teaching and I love to be on the mountain.”
Favorite on-mountain lunch: Anything at Alpino Vino
Twelve years ago, when Permakoff was pregnant, friends and
Favorite run: Kant-Mak-m Trees
to ski, snowboard, and teach even as her belly grew and grew.
Coffee or tea? Americano, per favore!
co-workers began to call her “Supergirl” because she continued
“I had a lot on my plate, but I didn’t slow down,” she says. The moniker stuck and manifests today through her teaching.
Whiskey, Beer, or wine? Whiskey First tracks or après? Après
Telluride All-Stars Nearly three-hundred instructors from all over the globe gravitate to Telluride each winter to share their love of skiing with guests wanting to hone their skills. Meet four of Telluride Ski & Snowboard School’s
Why Telluride? I fell in love with the mountains here, and I’ve worked really hard to be able to stay. Now I’ve got my lifetime ski pass [awarded after 20 consecutive years of teaching] so I can never leave.
Permakoff aims to create a fun and relaxing environment where clients are comfortable pushing themselves because they trust themselves. “It doesn’t matter if that’s cruising the greens or going heli-boarding. What’s important is that they accomplish something new,” she says. She brings that same drive to her off-mountain life. In 2011, Permakoff was elected to the Telluride Town Council where her local perspective and understanding of the world inhabited by her clients, many of who own properties in and around Telluride, helps bridge the gap between Telluride, Mountain Village, and the ski area. Her secret weapon? Patience. “Ski and snowboard instruction requires lots of practice and repetition,” Permakoff says. “So does most everything else.” — Liesl Greathouse
acclaimed all stars, and be sure to say hi when you see them on the hill.
Hometown: Bariloche, Argentina Age and location where you learned to ski: Age five in Villa la Angostura, Argentina Favorite on-mountain lunch: I’m not picky. I’ll eat anywhere. Favorite on-mountain run: Power Line
Coffee or tea? Mate
Francisco “Frankie” Zampini
Rain was the first thing Francisco “Frankie” Zampini encountered when he moved to Telluride for the 2007-2008 season. Lots of it.
French-born Annie Savath has always been a trailblazer. By the time she arrived in Telluride in 1972, the
Zampini, who had secured a position teaching for Teluride Ski &
France, Switzerland, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and Taos,
Whiskey, Beer, or wine? Wine First tracks or après? First tracks Why Telluride? I regularly have the opportunity to share my passion with my fellow instructors, guests, my family and friends. Life is simple in Telluride. It’s impossible not to love it.
Snowboard School, arrived mid-November in a deluge so intense,
resort’s opening season, Savath had already taught skiing in
Hometown: Chambery, France
he couldn’t see past the storm to the mountains. Mildly depressed, the Argentina native settled in and began to wait. He didn’t wait long. Rain soon turned to snow, which dumped in prodigious amounts, breaking previous records. “It stormed every other day that first winter, with sunny, bluebird powder days in between,” he says. “I fell in love.” And he decided to stay. “I had never before skied such dry, light snow,” he says. “It was an easy choice to stay.” Zampini’s path to Telluride was relatively convoluted, starting with a career in Information Technology in Buenos Aires. After 12 years, he missed the mountains, and Zampini relocated to Bariloche,
first female director, a position she held until 2001. Age and location where you learned to ski: 17, Chamonix, France Favorite on-mountain lunch: Gumbo at the Village Table Favorite on-mountain run: It depends on the day, and the snow conditions, and the traffic. I can find wonderful runs all over the mountain. And I do.
never looked back. Merging technical expertise with a fun-loving attitude is Zampini’s specialty. He is a member of the Southern Synchro Skiers,
“I love to ski and I love to share what I know about the sport,” says Savath. “I’ve spent my career helping people discover the wonders that can be had on the mountain and on the snow.” Along the way Savath earned Professional Ski Instructor of America (PSIA) Level 3 Alpine full-certification and maintained her existing French alpine instructor credentials. In 1986 she earned the prestigious distinction of becoming a PSIA Alpine Examiner and
Coffee or tea? Coffee
served on the PSIA board of directors.
Whiskey, Beer, or wine? Wine
Savath helped grow Telluride Ski & Snowboard School from a tiny
First tracks or après? First tracks
a popular Argentinean resort. When his former boss, now an instructor for Telluride, suggested he check out Colorado, Zampini
New Mexico. Seven years later she took over as the ski school’s
operation with few students to its modern incarnation that enjoys industry-wide recognition for excellence. In 1981, Savath launched
Why Telluride? This is my home. It’s a small, beautiful place where the people I love most are.
Colorado’s first, women-specific camp. After a bumpy start involving a sole client and evacuation from a chairlift that no longer exists, the program has evolved into one of Telluride’s most popular annual camps.
a team of international ski professionals that competes in
These days, Savath no longer manages and instead spends her
synchronized ski competitions around the world, and a staff rep
time with private, repeat clients and teaching specialty camps.
for Dynastar and Lange. He’s also an ambassador, convincing his Argentinean family to visit—and stay. “I am so lucky to be part
“Teaching fulfills me,” says Savath. “I intend to keep doing it as long as I keep getting results.” — Karen Toepfer James
of this town and to call this home,” Zampini says. “And I love to share it.” — Allison Perry
Hometown: Fagersta, Sweden
Age and location where you learned to ski: Age three in Riksgransen, Sweden, north of the Arctic Circle. Favorite on-mountain lunch: The Croque Madame at the Bon Vivant.
Favorite on-mountain run: Dynamo
Your Passion, Unlock Your Potential
Coffee or tea? Coffee Whiskey, Beer, or wine? Wine First tracks or après? First tracks Why Telluride? Any winter day here is world class with skiing, ice climbing and rock climbing. It’s the ultimate outdoors playground.
In the beginning, skiing was a point of national pride for Telluride ski pro Daniel Sundqvist. As a child in his native Sweden, Sundqvist’s early memories are of cheering on Swedish skiing phenom Ingemar Stenmark as he dominated the World Cup circuit. “I remember having math class stopped and the TV rolled in so everyone could follow his races,” says Sundqvist. This formative experience propelled Sundqvist into ski racing and later inspired him to travel the world in search of good snow and steep slopes, logging more extreme descents than he can count. These include (but are by no means limited to) snaking down a 9,000-foot couloir in Italy, dropping into a 55-degree slope in Mt. Rosa, Switzerland, and exploring the Telluride backcountry. Equally impressive is that Sundqvist parlayed this passion into an enduring career. At age 17, Sundqvist followed his father’s footsteps and began coaching ski racing, even as he was still competing. “Nothing extraordinary came of my own racing, except I learned to set my edges in any conditions,” he says. (Or any continent; before moving to Telluride, Sundqvist taught skiing in New Zealand.) In addition to working at Telluride, Sundqvist co-owns and operates Alpenglow Ski Safaris, an adventure school and touring outfit that offers educational snow science courses and backcountry ski trips in the U.S. and Europe. One of the best perks of his jetsetting lifestyle? Coming home. — Geoffrey Hanson
MAKE YOUR DAY ON THE MOUNTAIN AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or new to the mountains, you’ll find the keys to improvement, an insider guide to the resort and a friend in your Telluride Ski & Snowboard Instructor.
BOOK A LESSON TODAY!
866.988.3672 | TellurideSkiSchool.com 20
Stacked to Shred Incorporating a deep understanding of the body’s biomechanics sets Telluride’s ski and snowboard instruction apart. - By Annabelle Boelema
When sports medicine doctor and orthopaedic surgeon Kim
that their bones are doing the
Hewson retired to Telluride in 1993, he did not plan to revamp the
hard work and not their muscles
entire curriculum of the Telluride Ski and Snowboard School.
and joints? As he developed an
Yet that’s exactly what he did after signing on as an instructor
understanding about how the
in 2000 and bringing his medical training to the world of
body moves while skiing, Hewson
snowsports instruction. Specifically, as Hewson embarked on
transformed his own teaching.
a second career as a ski instructor, he began to research ideal
His students grasped difficult
skeletal alignment—also known as biomechanics—for optimal skiing.
concepts earlier. Fewer
He wanted to know how skiers could use their bones to carve
complained of sore knees and
turns most efficiently so they conserved energy and reduced the
quads. The rate of injuries dropped.
likelihood of injuries.
When he explained why they
“Much of my career was devoted to understanding biomechanics in sports, how the body works at its optimum, and that has historically been neglected in the ski industry,” says Hewson, who spent almost three decades heading up a sports medicine department and serving as a team physician at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “I didn’t just want to know how to teach or how to accomplish a certain skill, but why it works.” He discovered that the optimal “position” is having skiers’ bones stacked one upon the other in their natural alignment. This allows the skeleton to absorb the forces exerted on the body while skiing. Simple to do standing still. Significantly more challenging when moving downhill on boards with metal edges on a steep and slippery slope. So Hewson probed further. How does the body work at high speeds going downhill? How can skiers make anatomical changes so
should move their body a specific way (instead of simply telling his students to do something) Hewson tapped into what’s now commonly known as “body awareness.” The term might be mainstream today, but a decade ago, it was avant garde. And it worked wonders. “When students better understand how their body works, their skiing or snowboarding almost always improves,” says Hewson. FEET FIRST Good skiing begins with the feet, says Hewson. Before anyone can 23
carve fluid parallel turns, they must have an awareness
same language. (Returning instructors must complete
of how their foot sits in the boot and how it moves.
twenty-two hours of training, and most participate in an
Technically speaking, feet move in multiple planes
additional twenty-five hours (or more) of elective training.)
simultaneously, and all these movements complement
This consistency has translated into an efficient and
each other. In laymen’s terms, this means that the bones
accessible mode of training. And it has distinguished
of the feet move up and down, backward and forward, and sideways, and they all work together. When you
Telluride Ski School as a leader in biomechanics
LATERAL AXIAL ROTATION
education. The methodology used here is extending to
move one bone in your foot, it has a rippling impact.
MEDIAL AXIAL ROTATION
And when your foot bones are aligned, the rest of the
snowsports schools around the world as it becomes recognized for its efficacy.
skeleton more easily falls into place.
“When people are aware of what piece of their body
“It is so important to highlight this fact to our students,” says Hewson. “By flexing your ankles and keeping your feet underneath the rest of your body, your feet and
they need to move to get into better alignment, it’s easier
for them to understand how to manifest that movement,” PLANTARFLEXION
ankles are in an ideal place to initiate ski tipping (a.k.a. that
says Hewson. “And once that happens, we can teach skiers how to set their body up most efficiently to do
movement that sets the edges of your skis on the snow).”
the least amount of work. Guests are having some
major breakthroughs in their understanding, confidence
If it sounds complicated, you might be overthinking it.
and physical skill.” Because each instructor learns
“I try to simplify it,” Hewson says. “You’ve got two feet and it’s like walking down the hill. Strike with your heel first, roll onto the flat foot, and push off. Each part of the foot has a different function.” Before they ever click into bindings, students will
Hewson’s methodology, biomechanics has become an integral aspect of Telluride snowsports instruction.
GOOD SKIING CENTERS ON THE THREE PLANES OF FOOT AND ANKLE MOTION. Feet move in multiple planes simultaneously, and all these movements complement each other. When you move one bone in your foot, it has a rippling impact. And when your foot bones are aligned, the rest of the skeleton more easily falls into place.
This consistency is critical, says Hewson. “Each teacher has their own style and level of qualification, but all the instructors at Telluride speak the same
experiment with moving the bones of their feet back and forth to develop a visceral awareness. For instance,
using incorrect terms like ‘bending at the waist’ anymore.”
instructors might have students move from the “big
length change in the turning legs by just focusing on foot pronation
And, for the last three years, the public can take an
toe side” of the foot to the “little toe side” to help them
and supination. “This is a really great way to experience the concept
immersion course with Hewson on ski biomechanics,
understand on a physical level how the bones in the
of foot-to-foot pressure control and lateral balance,” says Hewson.
with the assistance of some of Telluride’s most
feet and ankle work together.
language, and it’s accurate too,” says Hewson. “No one’s lightens the pressure on the inside ski. The student feels the
experienced instructors. “Participants literally get
TEACHING THE TEACHERS
the same knowledge and training as the ski school
As students become more “foot aware,” they begin to
Since 2005, all instructor training provided by the Telluride Ski and
consciously feel the effects of those movements on
Snowboard School has incorporated a biomechanical curriculum
each foot and leg. For instance, when a skier initiates
that Hewson developed. His series of biomechanics lectures—
a turn, they pronate the outside foot and the outside
there are classroom sections that use videos and specific
leg lengthens and rotates internally, directing pressure
exercises to teach the teachers about body awareness—helps
At its heart, biomechanics promotes an awareness of the
to the outside ski. At the same time, the inside foot
instructors understand how the human body works in the
interconnectedness of the body. Telluride instructors
supinates and the inside leg becomes shorter. This
application of skiing, and, as a result, instructors start speaking the
instructing staff,” says Hewson. (See sidebar for more details).
Biomechanics is not ski-specific: A private snowboard lesson focusing on dorsiflexion on the heal-side turn
LEARN MORE: For the third season, Teluride Ski School is offering the Ski Biomechanics Camp to the general public. The four-day camp uses Dr. Hewson’s innovative approach, including video analysis, in-classroom learning and on-snow application all focused on efficient skiing using our natural functional alignment.
(Stacked to Shred continued)
“When your mind is in tune with your body, that sensation is ageless. When your mind and body are working together, you’re twelve years old again. It’s amazing how young it
Skill level: The camp is open to intermediate to expert skiers, with a maximum of four students per instructor.
Highlights: Participants will learn how the body works and how to apply that knowledge to their skiing to simplify the effort. Participants will also get personal video analysis and develop special technical knowledge, improved skills and training exercises to check performance following the camp.
have a range of exercises intended to foster an
What follows naturally, says Hewson, is an
awareness of the body in those conditions. One drill
understanding of the entire body, or what he calls
is essentially an exaggerated turn that has students press down early on the big toe side of the outside ski while they pull the inside foot up and back. This creates
Cost: Pricing starts at $1,375, lift tickets not included
long sweeping turns and viscerally illustrates how a skier’s feet impact the actual skiing.
Info: tellurideskiresort.com/ski-school/specialtycamps/biomechanics or call 970-728-7414
“There are multiple joints in the human skeleton and if we stack the bones properly over the base of support, the muscular effort is minimal,” he says. And when you hit that sweet spot, you can say goodbye to quads
Hewson says today’s students come with an elevated
burning because your balance is too far back and your
sense of their bodies, thanks to a culture that promotes
muscles are working double time to keep you upright.
yoga, wellness and overall awareness. This represents a change from historical ski instruction, which Hewson describes as, “Bend your knees, two dollars, please!” Put another way, he has little use for the instruction of yore that dictated students follow their teacher down a slope and try to mimic his movements. “Most young people are interested in their bodies— how they work, how they feel,” he says. “When you explain how their body works and then have them feel it out on the mountain, they can ski and play until they understand the role of the feet, the role of the ankle.”
“natural functional alignment.”
SKIING FOR LIFE By incorporating a more “skeletal” approach, skiers can pursue the sport well into old age because there’s less wear and tear on the joints and muscles. Plus, this approach requires simplifying and not overthinking things, a useful philosophy, says Hewson. “When your mind is in tune with your body, that sensation is ageless,” he says. “When your mind and body are working together, you’re twelve years old again. It’s amazing how young it keeps you.” —
Biomechanics is the foundation of all my lessons, it’s allows me to teach my clients how to ski efficiently and effectively with minimal fatigue and injury. 27
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