AVSC adds telemark to Big Mtn. | AspenTimes.com

AVSC adds telemark to Big Mtn.

Staff report

Jake Sakson, who will lead the AVSC Big Mountain Telemark program, shows his style.

The fastest growing program within the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, Big Mountain, is adding a new division this season.

Telemark skiing will join the club.

Jake Sakson, winner of the 2011 Telemark Freeskiing Series, will lead the free-heel skiers as head coach.

"This is for passionate skiers who want to ski the whole mountain and get the whole experience out of it," Sakson said. "We really want a program for people who want to explore and master the entire mountain in a different way."

Freeskiing techniques, line choice, avalanche awareness training and plenty of in-bounds hiking are included in the curriculum.

Team members will have the opportunity to compete in several big mountain events against teams from Steamboat Springs, Telluride, and Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS).

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Telemark Big Mountain is open to level 8 or higher skiers and snowboarders who are at least 11 years old.

Younger athletes will be considered with coaches' discretion.

The weekend-only program runs Dec, 13-March 8 and costs $1,325, plus a parent work deposit.

"I've been a fan and had tremendous respect for Jake Sakson's telemark skiing and as a former freestyle athlete, I've followed his career," said Freestyle/Freeride Program Director Eric Knight.

In addition to his 2011 title, Sakson made history the following year as the only telemarker ever to podium against alpine skiers at the North American Freeskiing Championships.

Sakson took up telemark skiing after spending 16 years on either alpine skiing or snowboarding gear.

"Telemarking really brought together my other skills. I've always seen it as the pinnacle," he said.

Knight said that when Sakson approached AVSC about starting a telemark big mountain program, "I was all in." That's the kind of inclusive attitude the coaches want to prevail in this program.

"It's not a culture that has to be gnarly and intense. It will be fun for everyone to get the most out of the mountain," Sakson said.

For more information, contact Knight at 970-205-5130.

For equipment information, contact assistant telemark coach Nick Cherney at nick@cherney.com.

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