Whether or not participants register to race in the competitions, entertainment, parties, and all things telemark make Telepalooza a prime winter extravaganza. Adding to the fun, "2010: A Space Odyssey" has been chosen as this year's stellar theme, and out-of-this-world costumes are encouraged.
"Telepalooza is really the highlight festival of the year. It's community based and the most fun for each discipline," Edwards says.
With fun-filled days, Telepalooza is the super nova of the Telemark world, but the event is also held in memoriam of Jeff Nissman, a local U.S. Forest Service avalanche ranger who was killed by falling ice in 2004. Edwards says Nissman's family is again expected to attend in remembrance and celebration of his life. Edwards adds that Telepalooza is all about sharing Nissman's love of life and carefree nature with the world.
The carefree side of this nearly week-long festival can be seen on the slopes as costumed skiers — likely some astronauts and perhaps HAL 9000, that pesky computer from the Space Odyssey film — careen through the powder on their way to the Sitzmark. There can be found t-shirt sales, qualifying and final race results, entertainment and nightly parties.
The Telepalooza schedule also calls for gear demos located at the top of the tram. Beacon Park games will be held all day on March 27 and are great for kids and adults. Specifically for kids, hair painting will be offered on the Sitzmark deck and later a scavenger hunt will be staged at the same location. The ever-popular costumed Telemark Classic Race will also be held on March 27. And for those who don't know how to telemark ski but would like to learn for next year's costumed race, group telemark lessons can be taken at the Alyeska Resort Mountain Learning Center.
On March 28, more races will be contested.
Test yourself or laugh at others during the Uphill/Downhill Telemark and Rondi race. Later, kids can enjoy face painting and a kid's relay race. By 2 p.m. it's time for the Dual Slalom race. Then, top off the festivities, and your stomach, with a barbecue at the Sitzmark, where race results and winners will be announced. All the while, lessons and demos will be taking place for anyone interested.
Proceeds generated by event registrations, merchandise sales and raffles help support the Friends of The Chugach Avalanche Information Center, a nonprofit organization that strives to forecast backcountry avalanches and promote safety for all mountain travelers. Last year event organizers had a goal to raise enough money to enact a seven-day forecast system.
According to Edwards that goal was successfully met, and this is the first year a seven-day forecast system has been in operation. The year prior, funds helped purchase additional weather stations and snowmachines for rangers to access other areas of the backcountry for accurate forecasting.
This year's goal is to continue to raise funds to support CAIC and provide for more weather stations and continue forecasting operations.
Find more at www.telepalooza.com and www.alyeskaresort.com.
Schedule of events
TUESDAY, MARCH 23
4-7 p.m.: Event Registration both the qualifier and world (for those pre-qualified) at the Sitzmark
4-7 p.m.: Telepalooza t-shirts for sale at the Sitzmark
7-8 p.m.: Pre-qualifier mandatory competitor briefing at the Sitzmark (venue tba), bib handout
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24
9 a.m.: Mandatory competitor briefing for Pre-Qualifier Competition at the base of Chair 4
9:30-10:45 a.m.: Venue inspection
11 a.m.-6 p.m.: Pre- Qualifying Competition (max 120 competitors) 1 run only; in order: Tele, alpine, snowboard
5-9 p.m.: Telepalooza t-shirts for sale at the Sitzmark
7:30 p.m.: Announce Pre-Qualifying race results at the Sitzmark (venue tba)
8 p.m.: Mandatory World Comp briefing for day 1, bib handout
THURSDAY, MARCH 25
9 a.m.: Mandatory competitor briefing for Day 1 World Comp at the base of Chair 4