Camaraderie high in small but competitive field of World Cup telemark racing
Shane Landreville was the only Canadian at a recent World Cup Telemark race in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
“That I want to keep doing this!” he said while back in Revelstoke between races. “Definitely learning that I want to keep doing this and I want the sport to grow both nationally and internationally.”
Telemark racing is a small sport compared to its Alpine counterpart. It combines multiple elements of skiing – alpine gates, a skate-ski section and a jump.
Landreville has been skiing since he was 18 months old, he said. He grew up in Fernie and was on the high school racing team.
When he was 14, he learned how to telemark so they could go ski touring together. “That’s how it all began and then it progressed over the years,” he said.
He said he loved the flow of telemark skiing, the fluid movements and the freedom he felt while doing it; and the camaraderie amongst telemarkers. Last year he sold all his alpine gear and made the complete switch to telemark skiing.
His competitive side was still there so he decided to look into racing. “I still had a competitive edge, I still wanted to compete in something and I found out there’s such a think as telemark racing,” he said. “I had no idea. As soon as I found out, I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”
Last year he contacted Telemark Canada and in the summer he trained with the U.S. team at Mt. Hood, Oregon. He moved to Revelstoke, partly because he thought it would be a cool place to live and partly because the Revelstoke Ski Club said he could train with them.
Revelstoke-based World Cup telemark racer Shane Landreville (above and left) will compete at Silver Star this weekend before heading to World Cup events in Europe. Photo contributed.
Landreville’s first race was a regional race in Whitefish, Montana. Steamboat, from Feb. 13-18, was his first World Cup event.
In the first race, the classic, he finished 24th out of 29 racers. His best result was 20th spot in the second of two spring races.
“It was an absolutely incredible experience,” he said. “Getting to meet the other racers. Like I said about the camaraderie – I think its even stronger on the World Cup circuit. Everyone’s friendly, but competitive at the same time.”
Landreville will be racing at Silver Star this weekend before heading off to Europe for World Cup races in France and Spain. When he gets back, he’ll head to a race in his hometown of Fernie. His goal is to crack the top 20. Beyond that, he wants to be on the podium at the 2015 World Championships.
Because telemark racing is a small sport, there is little in the way of funding for it. Landreville has a few sponsors, but he still has to buy most of his equipment and fund his travel out of his own pocket. Most racers, aside from the top few, are in the same boat.
“Everyone’s there becasue they want to be there,” he said. “They’re paying their own way, they want to compete, they love to do this.”
You can follow Landreville’s exploits on his blog at landreville.blogspot.com.