Event photographer Spain: Valdezcaray Legend Telemark Skiing, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain

 4/3/18 Valdezcaray Legend, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | sturcke.org

Event photographer Spain

Over more years than I care to remember I’ve skied in the Alps, Pyrenees, Canada and USA but it’s these past few years that I’m enjoying the most. Since taking up telemark skiing four years ago a whole new world of backcountry adventure has opened up. 

La Rioja’s Valdezcaray ski resort may be titchy by world standards but when the snow and the weather is good and you’re able to leave the crowds and disappear to the other side of the mountain, there’s little to compare it with.

Telemark Skiing in La Rioja

Last weekend, over 130 telemark skiers from across Spain and southern France took part in the fourth Valdezcaray Legend. It’s a two-day event organised by Torocuervo and Lurk telemark clubs that offers an elimination race, telemark classes and backcountry touring. But what really marks it out - at least to those who travel from bigger, better-known ski areas - is the night of wine and tapas in Ezcaray. Wandering from bar to bar through the town’s pedestrianised streets to the sound of a tambourine and an accordion with impromptu dancing is a simple but special experience. It was a fantastic social quasi-cultural (ie boozy!) evening of fine wine, good tapas and, this year, a rocking rock band.

With the madness of Saturday night over, finding peace and tranquility the next morning on the other side of the mountain was a god-send. What’s more the sun came out and our mountain guide Eukeni Soto found some great snow. What else could you ask for?