It’s that time of year again: the 14th annual Troll Telefestival is coming up this weekend, starting Saturday Feb. 16 at 9 a.m.
The festival features a fun day of skiing (or snowboarding) at Troll Ski Resort, with Telemark skiing lessons and an after party at the end of the day with refreshments, a draw and the sounds of local band Roadblock. The family friendly event usually comes to an end around 9 p.m., according to organizer Dougal Hines.
Telemark skiing is a form of skiing originally started in Norway in the 1800s. According to Hines, a longtime member of the Canadian Ski Patrol, it eventually came to North America, particularly to Colorado, in the 1960s and 70s, around the time of the Vietnam War.
“All these draft dodgers that came up from Colorado to get away from the Vietnam War came up to the interior of B.C. … and [many of] these people were Telemark skiiers — because it was a cool thing to do in Colorado — and they introduced that to the people here.”
Telemark skiing is when a skier binds their feet to the ski but their heels still lift. “It’s ‘free your heels free your spirit,’ that’s the thing,” says Hines. “It’s quite artistic and it’s very beautiful to watch.”
The idea of the festival occurred to Hines one day while he was riding the T-Bar up the mountain. “I talked to the owner [of Troll], Hildur and I proposed the idea, and by the ten minute T-Bar ride to the top we’d [decided] ‘OK, we’re going to have a festival and we’ll call it Troll Telefest,’ and it stuck.”
He says the event often brings people of all ages, from children, to their parents and grandparents, and typically sees festival-goers from Prince George, Williams Lake and even Horsefly.
“It’s a family event. That’s what it turned out to be, and I’m grateful for that because that’s exactly what I had in mind. It’s just fun music and good times. It’s a celebration of winter and a celebration of skiing,” says Hines. He says they will be serving local Moonshine coffee and beer from the Barkverville Brewery.
Hines also has high praise for Roadblock, the new Quesnel band who will be playing at the festival. The band performs bluesy hard and classic rock with a little country mixed in. “They do one by Janis Joplin,” says Hines, “And you think it’s Joplin singing.”
Roadblock performed their first two shows in July, on the Friendship Stage in LeBourdais Park during Billy Barker Days. Although the trio have known each other and played music together for years, they only formed the band in June, 2018.
Guitarist Vagn Moore and Bassist Layla Hansen played together in the Correlieu Jazz Band and went to university together at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo to study music as part of the Jazz Studies program, and spent much of their time on the island performing around Nanaimo and Victoria.
It wasn’t until the pair moved back to Quesnel, where Moore is a teacher-on-call, and Hansen teaches singing lessons and works at Quesnel Music, that Moore suggested they start a rock band. From there, the duo wanted to find a good drummer close to their age to complete the band. They already knew drummer Rylan Lamarche, having played with his older brothers before, and from there, the band was born.
“I really had a vision for this three piece, guitar-drums-bass power trio based off of the 60s and 70s power trio rock format,” says Moore, referencing bands like Cream, Mountain and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
He says although the group has started working on their first original song, they have been “pretty much dead-focused on putting together solid sets of covers, to train ourselves to honour the greats who came before us.”
The trio also played at Troll on New Years Eve, during a staff party at the resort.
Moving forward, they have another show lined up opening for the Correlieu Jazz Band’s Latin Nights show on Feb. 23 and they try to perform every month at the RCMA Open Mic Night at the Occidental.