Leeder works his way into the Core 

Whistler extreme telemarker featured in new film production

What: The Core premiere by Tough Guy Productions

Where : Garibaldi Lift Co.

When: Nov. 21, 9 p.m.

While hordes of snowboarders and skiers battle over slope and terrain park supremacy, a small but dedicated third army is working its way into the extreme scene.

The telemarkers, once a fringe group of skiers both rare and unique to North American slopes, are pushing the boundaries of their sport, freeheeling their way down the same slopes and over the same stunts as skiers and riders. In a ways their sport is even more difficult and dangerous because telemarkers don’t have the built-in stability or control of alpine skis and snowboards.

Whistler’s Steve Leeder is at the forefront of this telemark movement, dividing his time between the terrain park and the double black runs in the high alpine.

He can really do it all, which was part of the reason he was the first skier – and the only Canadian – featured in the new telemark film Core by Tough Guy Productions.

"I do a lot of everything, some big mountain lines, some lines in the park, a couple of rails," said Leeder. "I wanted to do a full, well-rounded segment. A lot of the other skiers kept their segments totally in the park or in the powder, but I wanted to show kind of the full progression."

Leeder drops a few cliffs in the 40-foot range in his segment, including drops over the Harmony Waterfall and off Horseshoe ridge.

For the most part he’s happy with the footage, but he wouldn’t have minded a couple more days to really show people what he’s doing out here.

"We just couldn’t show everything I wanted to show," Leeder said. "I think we had two-and-a-half days of filming because last year was the year it was. The days we had snow, it was too gray out for filming. Some of my best footage, dropping cliffs and landing switch and things like that, didn’t even get shot."

Core was shot entirely in North America. In addition to Leeder’s Whistler scenes, there is footage from Alaska, Colorado, and various locations in the Grand Tetons, the Cascades, the Monashees, the Rockies, the Chugach, the Wasatch Mountains, the Nelson Range and Sierra Nevada.

Leeder hopes to focus on filming again this year, and already has a heli-ski expedition planned for the Terrace area this winter.

He also plans to once again compete in the Canadian Freeskiing Championships in Whistler this January. He was fourth in the qualifier last year, but was unable to compete in the finals due to an injury. If that goes well, Leeder is considering joining the International Free Skiers Association World Tour, where he will be one of the only telemarkers in the competition.

The sport of telemarking is definitely growing, says Leeder.

"In Canada, I’m still at the forefront of the sport, a bit of a freak, because there aren’t that many of us, but down in the U.S. a lot of guys are starting to break out and doing some really cool stuff. They’re going just as big, and doing a lot of the same stuff as the other skiers. That’s drawing a lot of people into the sport," he said.

The premiere of Core at the GLC is a fundraiser for Leeder, who will use the proceeds to cover competition fees for the season.

The cost is $5 per person, and $5 to enter a raffle for prizes from his sponsors at Helly Hansen, StuntWax, and Vollant. The Escape Route is also sponsoring Leeder for the freeski championships.

For more information on Steve Leeder, you can visit his Web site at www.crazysteve.com. Tough Guys Productions can be found at www.totaltelemark.com.

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