Telemark Skin and Ski Race

On January 5th, Loon Mountain held a skin and ski race. A skin and ski race puts both your telemark skills and lungs to the test. The race started at the

A skier skins up Lower Rumrunner during last weekend's Skin & Ski Race.
A skier skins up Lower Rumrunner during last weekend’s Skin & Ski Race.

Governor’s Lodge and headed straight up Lower Rumrunner. Once competitors reached the top they had to strip their skis of skins to stop their ascend time. From there, it was a timed GS race down to the bottom. The racer with the best overall time was the victor. Two classes took their shot at the course, alpine touring and telemark. Both classes ascended the same way, but once at the top the alpine touring class was able to lock their bindings, allowing for a quicker descent. The event attracted a few members of the US Telemark team, including Sarah Carley, the youngest member of the team at age 16.

Sarah, a New Hampshire resident, helped us cheer on the competitors at the

16-year-old Sarah Carley placed 2nd overall at the 2012 US Telemark Nationals.
16-year-old Sarah Carley placed 2nd overall at the 2012 US Telemark Nationals.

race. Sarah had an outstanding performance at the National Championships this past year, taking second place in the elite women’s division, earning her a spot on the US Telemark Team for the 2012-2013 season. We caught up with Sarah after the race to see what she had to say.

Loon Mountain: Hi Sarah, could you tell me about yourself?

Sarah Carley: Well my name is Sarah Carley and I live down on the seacoast in Exeter New Hampshire. I’m 16 years old and a junior at Exeter high school. I’ve been telemark skiing for 6-7 years now but alpine long, long before that.

LM: How did you get into the sport?

Sarah Carley: I don’t really know, I used to race alpine, but I would always watch these people coming down on tele skis. The idea always fascinated me , but in the beginning they never made women’s boots small enough for my foot, so it took a while to find equipment for me to be able to try it. By the time I was ten or eleven and tried it I loved it. It gave the mountain a whole new perspective.

LM: What’s the greatest part of tele skiing? 

Sarah Carley: The diversity, especially like the race today, skinning up and being able to race down.  The fact that you have to skin up makes this event not usual, it’s really cool. I really like that it’s much more athletic. I really like the feeling at the end of the day that I worked really hard and the feeling of being really tired.

LM: What do you think of the event today?

Sarah Carley: Well I didn’t race this event this year I just helped out, but last year I raced. I love it! Being able to watch it this year, seeing people who skinned up, and knowing how tired they feel and how they are ripping off their skins to end the clock is really cool. I think this event is great especially since it’s held here with so many people. It’s getting people involved with the sport, gaining awareness.

LM: What are the benefits of tele events?

Sarah Carley: It brings everyone together. Not everyone teles at the same mountain, so it’s nice to bring everyone to the same spot.

LM: What types of events are your favorites?

Sarah Carley: They do a dual tele race kind of like the alpine races where you have two separate gated courses but they come together and go off the same jump and into the same skate section, especially when you are racing. And the whole race works as elimination style.

LM: What would your perfect event be?

Sarah Carley: I don’t know. I guess anything with snow and gates. But really anything that gets people out on the hill, kind of like this event, it’s perfect.

LM: What’s it like competing nationally?

Sarah Carley: Last year I went to my first national held at Gunstock. Being able to ski with the people who have been on the team before and seeing their experience, they are so nice and willing to help out. It is such a good feeling competing with them.

LM: Being 16 do you feel like your age is an advantage or a disadvantage in the sport?

Sarah Carley: I think both, I mean the team itself is made up of older members that are able to teach us, but coming into the sport young means I can grow with the sport, and especially since telemark skiing is a young sport. It’s also nice since there are other kids on the team, with the development team there as well!

Interview and story by Tyler Lewis.

Taking a breather at the top of the race course, preparing to descend.
Taking a breather at the top of the race course, preparing to descend.
Taking off climbing skins takes a little practice. A racer prepares for her descent.
Taking off climbing skins takes a little practice. A racer prepares for her descent.

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