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The Valley Reporter
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Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Free heelers gather at MRG for NATO Telemark Festival March 9-10

This March 9 and 10, Mad River Glen will host the 38th annual Telemark Festival, as presented by the North American Telemark Association (NATO). Over 1,000 telemark enthusiasts from around the globe will meet to partake in its numerous festivities including beginner and advanced clinics, races and competitions, demonstrations of the latest in telemark equipment, a raffle and a banging apres-ski party.

Telemark is becoming an increasingly popular style of skiing for which NATO and Mad River Glen are more than partially responsible. Back in the early 1980s, NATO founder Dickie Hall collaborated with longtime MRG manager Ken Quackenbush to open the first-ever telemark ski school, setting the scene for a modern day revolution of how ski enthusiasts enjoy the slopes.

For telemarkers more freedom in the heel equals more fun. First invented in the 1800s in Telemark, Norway, the free-heel design of telemark boots and bindings allowed skiers the range of motion to traverse all sorts of terrain, to go not only down hills but up them as well. The invention of the ski lift marked the clamping down of skiers’ heels. Telemark aficionados enjoy the radical techniques and advantages that lie in the gray area between Nordic and alpine ski styles.

The festival will be held March 9 and 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Mad River Glen. Tickets are available on the top floor of the MRG base lodge from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Purchase of a festival lift ticket includes access to all events. General admission is at the gate. Senior discounts are available. Season passholder admission is a flat fee and midweek passholders pay a reduced amount. The apres-ski party will take place in the base lodge from 4 to 6 p.m. with Lawson’s Finest Liquids on tap for all and music by Guy Burlage and the Freeheelers. For more information, visit or call 496-4387.


Telemark Festival schedule


Win a two-day Telemark Festival lift ticket! Winner will be chosen randomly from our fans and newsletter subscribers on March 1, 2013.


Telemark Festival lift tickets, information and registration are available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily on the top floor of the Base Lodge. Purchase of a festival lift ticket gives access to all festival events.


Clinics are scheduled for Saturday: two sessions 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; Sunday: one session only 10:30 a.m.


Clinics meet on the hill in front of the Base Lodge.


Demos: Try the latest and greatest gear from all the major companies.


The Berserkebeiner Championship Race is Saturday at 11 a.m. This is an all-mountain race open to all festival participants. Skins or good climbing wax are needed for certain sections. Pre-registration is 8 to 10:30 a.m.


Lawson's Finest Tele-party takes place Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. on the top floor of the Base Lodge featuring awards, raffle, Lawson's Finest beer on tap and dancing to Guy Burlage and the Freeheelers featuring Aaron "Big Bass" Hersery.


A Free Heel Free For all Bump Buffet Competition takes place Sunday at 1 p.m. and all festival participants are invited.


World record attempt at a group telemark turn occurs Sunday at 3 p.m. with participants meeting at the bottom of the Practice Slope.



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