Print This Page >
Pros teach kids tricks
Fall Line ski camp helps teens develop big mountain skiing skills.
By Miller N. Resor, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Date: January 16, 2013
After two full days of skiing with renowned Jackson skiers and ski instructors, the students in the Teton Gravity Research Fall Line Camp were ready for more.
Gaden James, 15, from Greenwich, Conn., tomahawked twice the day before in the Mushroom Chutes attempting to jump a double cliff band.
Trey Spear, 13, from Hilton Head, S.C., dropped off a jump in the terrain park and landed directly on top of his Jackson Hole Mountain Resort instructor Rob LaPier.
But three days in, both kids were waiting excitedly in the cold shadow of the tram tower for the first car of the day to take them to the top of the mountain for more.
The camp — held the last week of December — is one of nine free-skiing camps Jackson Hole Mountain Sports School will host this season and the only one that includes skiing with Teton Gravity Research athletes. The next camp will be held from Feb. 17 to 19. To sign up go to JacksonHole.com or call 800-450-0477.
Fall Line is a camp for boys and girls between sixth and 12th grade who want to learn the fundamentals of big mountain riding.
Abilities ranged from the novices who worked to find comfort in their first departures from the ground to experts who were honing inverted aerial tricks.
At the top of the mountain, the group convened in Corbet’s Cabin to await the mountain’s official opening and discuss the plan for the day.
It was decided that most of the group would accompany Griffin Post, Tim Durtschi, LaPier and several other instructors and go look for a place to build a kicker. A group of girls decided that they would rather ski with Max Hammer and check out the kicker later.
“It’s really fun,” said Carina Masuelli, 12, from Houston. “We’ve been doing a lot. I’ve learned a lot about jumps and my skiing style in general. The pros are pretty amazing. Just watching them you can learn a lot.”
Heloise Germain, 12, from Baltimore, agreed.
“It is so much fun skiing with the pros,” she said. “They are so good, it motivates me. I’ve learned to ski powder, take jumps and improved my skiing in general.”
Post, who has skied for Teton Gravity Research, said he spent the three-day camp floating between the groups, giving pointers on everything from the kids’ stance on their skis to how to hit a cliff.
At the top of the mountain, the group that had gone to build a kicker found a suitable wind lip in Tensleep Bowl and set to work building a jump into its side.
While one group worked on the jump, others packed down the takeoff and put in a boot pack.
As the jump took form, the excitement level in the group increased and talk of potential tricks spread among the camp’s participants.
Instructors were supportive but also advised that the students work within their comfort zone. As the first skiers stepped up to the top of the takeoff, LaPier reminded the skiers to think about their landings.
“Toes up, hands forward, bend your knees,” he said.
Garret Weintrob, 13, from Washington, decided he would push his comfort level by trying a backflip on the jump.
Weintrob had done a backflip on a trampoline, but never with skis.
Just before he dropped in, LaPier told him, “No maybes. You have to believe you can do this.”
Weintrob pointed his skis at the jump and headed up the ramp. At the lip of the jump, Weintrob threw his head back and pulled his skis over his head.
He overrotated and landed on the back of his skis, but came up smiling, popped his skis off and headed to the top of the boot pack, getting in line next to Post to wait for another try.
“The best thing about this camp is skiing with all the guides,” Weintrob said. “At the beginning of the camp I would never have expected to do a backflip.”
A TGR videographer captured footage throughout the camp. After the final morning on the mountain, the group headed to TGR’s studio to learn a whole new set of tricks — these about making ski movies.