Telemark skiing

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Telemark ski racer executing Telemark's unique lunging or "free heel" turn. Telemark competition gate.png
Telemark ski racer executing Telemark's unique lunging or "free heel" turn.

Telemark skiing is a skiing technique that combines elements of Alpine and Nordic skiing, using the rear foot to keep balance while pushing on the front foot to create a carving turn on downhill skis with toe-only bindings. Telemark skiing is named after the Telemark region of Norway, where the discipline originated. [1] Sondre Norheim is often credited for first demonstrating the turn in ski races, which included cross country, slalom, and jumping, in Norway around 1868. Sondre Norheim also experimented with ski and binding design, introducing side cuts to skis and heel bindings (like a cable). [2]


History of Telemark skiing

19th and 20th centuries

In the 1800s, skiers in Telemark challenged each other on "wild slopes" (ville låmir); more gentle slopes were described by the adjective "sla." Some races were on "bumpy courses" (kneikelåm) and sometimes included "steep jumps" (sprøytehopp) for difficulty. These 19th-century races in Telemark ran along particularly difficult trails usually from a steep mountain, along timber-slides and ended with a sharp turn ("Telemark turn") on a field or icy lake. [3]

Telemark skiing (colloquially referred to as "tele skiing" or "tele-ing") was reborn in 1971 in the United States. Doug Buzzell, Craig Hall, Greg Dalbey, Jack Marcial, and Rick Borcovec are credited with reintroducing the style after reading the book Come Ski With Me by Stein Eriksen. Telemark skiing gained popularity during the 1970s and 1980s. [2]

Telemark skiing today

The appeal of Telemark skiing lies in access: long pieces of synthetic fabric, known as skins, can be attached to the bottom of the skis to allow travel uphill in the backcountry. With the invention of light-weight alpine touring (A.T.) skis, however, telemark skiing has decreased in popularity in the backcountry.

Telemark skiing uses a specialized type of equipment. [4] Generally, Telemark skiers use flexible Alpine skis with specially designed bindings that fix only the toe of the ski boot to the ski, thereby creating the "free heel". Oftentimes the heel is attached to the front of the binding by a hinged cable, which holds the ski boot firmly in the binding. These bindings are often non-releasable. [5]

Releasable Telemark bindings

Rottefella created releasable telemark bindings and called them NTN. NTN is an acronym for "New Telemark Norm". The NTN binding is considered by many[ who? ] as a revolution in telemark bindings providing:

1. Superior edge control for the skier.
2. Improved safety with a sideways release system and optional associated ski brake.
3. Ease of manual binding release when inverted (e.g. in a tree-well) compared to conventional, heel-release systems, enhancing self-rescue in potentially life-threatening situations.

NTN Binding NTN Telemark Bindings.jpg
NTN Binding

Telemark racing

Originally made popular as a mode of backcountry transportation, Telemark skiing is now a World Cup sport focused on carving. At its core, the Telemark discipline combines elements of Alpine racing, Nordic skate skiing, and ski jumping. World Cup Telemark is offered in a number of race formats, including Classic, Sprint Classic, and Parallel Sprint. A typical Classic Telemark race involves a jump that must be landed in a lunged position, a series of gates, a skate section, and a 360 degree banking turn known as the reipeløkke. [6]

Telemark Racing was governed by the International Telemark Federation (ITF) until 1995, when Telemark skiing was officially recognized by the Federation International de Ski Telemark committee (FIS). The first FIS Telemark World Championships were held at Hafjell, in Lillehammer, Norway.

Today, Telemark Racing is organized by FIS and by national sport committees such as the United States Telemark Ski Association, [7] and the British Telemark Ski Team. [8]

Olympic bid

The FIS Telemark Committee have announced that their proposal for Telemark Parallel Sprint and Team Parallel Sprint is to be included in a FIS proposal to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The proposal was approved by the International Ski Federation (FIS) at the Congress held in Costa Navarino (Greece) May 2018. However, in a July ruling, the IOC voted not to include the Telemark Parallel Sprint in the 2022 Beijing Games. [9]

Further reading

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cross-country skiing</span> Form of snow skiing

Cross-country skiing is a form of skiing whereby skiers traverse snow-covered terrain without use of ski lifts or other assistance. Cross-country skiing is widely practiced as a sport and recreational activity; however, some still use it as a means of transportation. Variants of cross-country skiing are adapted to a range of terrain which spans unimproved, sometimes mountainous terrain to groomed courses that are specifically designed for the sport.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Slalom skiing</span> Alpine skiing discipline

Slalom is an alpine skiing and alpine snowboarding discipline, involving skiing between poles or gates. These are spaced more closely than those in giant slalom, super giant slalom and downhill, necessitating quicker and shorter turns. Internationally, the sport is contested at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, and at the Olympic Winter Games.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Skiing</span> Recreational activity and sport using snow skis

Skiing is the use of skis to glide on snow. Variations of purpose include basic transport, a recreational activity, or a competitive winter sport. Many types of competitive skiing events are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Ski Federation (FIS).

A ski is a narrow strip of semi-rigid material worn underfoot to glide over snow. Substantially longer than they are wide, and characteristically employed in pairs, skis are attached to ski boots with ski bindings, with either a free, lockable, or partially secured heel. For climbing slopes, ski skins can be attached at the base of the ski.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alpine skiing</span> Sport of skiing downhill

Alpine skiing, or downhill skiing, is the pastime of sliding down snow-covered slopes on skis with fixed-heel bindings, unlike other types of skiing, which use skis with free-heel bindings. Whether for recreation or for sport, it is typically practiced at ski resorts, which provide such services as ski lifts, artificial snow making, snow grooming, restaurants, and ski patrol.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nordic combined</span> Winter sport combining the events of cross-country skiing and ski jumping

Nordic combined is a winter sport in which athletes compete in cross-country skiing and ski jumping. The Nordic combined at the Winter Olympics has been held since the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924, while the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup has been held since 1983. Many Nordic combined competitions use the Gundersen method, where placement in the ski jumping segment results in time (dis)advantages added to the contestant's total in the cross-country skiing segment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ski jumping</span> Skiing winter sport

Ski jumping is a winter sport in which competitors aim to achieve the farthest jump after sliding down on their skis from a specially designed curved ramp. Along with jump length, competitor's aerial style and other factors also affect the final score. Ski jumping was first contested in Norway in the late 19th century, and later spread through Europe and North America in the early 20th century. Along with cross-country skiing, it constitutes the traditional group of Nordic skiing disciplines.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of skiing</span> Skiing from 7000 BC to today

Skiing, or traveling over snow on skis, has a history of at least eight millennia. The earliest archaeological examples of skis were found in Karelia and date to 6000 BCE. Although skiing's origins were purely utilitarian, the modern sport evolved from beginnings in Scandinavia, starting in the mid-1800s skiing became a popular recreational activity and sport, becoming practiced in snow-covered regions worldwide, and providing a market for the development of ski resorts and their related communities.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nordic skiing</span> Skiing variant

Nordic skiing encompasses the various types of skiing in which the toe of the ski boot is fixed to the binding in a manner that allows the heel to rise off the ski, unlike alpine skiing, where the boot is attached to the ski from toe to heel. Recreational disciplines include cross-country skiing and Telemark skiing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sondre Norheim</span>

Sondre Norheim, born Sondre Auverson, was a Norwegian skier and pioneer of modern skiing. Sondre Norheim is known as the father of Telemark skiing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ski binding</span> Connects skier boot to snow ski

A ski binding is a device that connects a ski boot to the ski. Before the 1933 invention of ski lifts, skiers went uphill and down and cross-country on the same gear. As ski lifts became more prevalent, skis—and their bindings—became increasingly specialized, differentiated between alpine (downhill) and Nordic styles of skiing. Until the point of divergence in the mid-20th century, bindings held the toe of a flexible, leather boot against the ski and allowed the heel to rise off the ski, typically with a form of strap or cable around the heel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stem christie</span> Skiing technique

The stem christie or wedge christie, is a type of skiing turn that originated in the mid-1800s in Norway and lasted until the late 1960s. It comprises three steps: 1) forming a wedge by rotating the tail of one ski outwards at an angle to the direction of movement, initiating a change in direction opposite to the stemmed ski, 2) bringing the other ski parallel to the wedged ski, and 3) completing the turn with both skis parallel as they carve an arc, sliding sideways together.

Ski boots are footwear used in skiing to provide a way to attach the skier to skis using ski bindings. The ski/boot/binding combination is used to effectively transmit control inputs from the skier's legs to the snow.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ski mountaineering</span> Skiing discipline

Ski mountaineering is a skiing discipline that involves climbing mountains either on skis or carrying them, depending on the steepness of the ascent, and then descending on skis. There are two major categories of equipment used, free-heel Telemark skis and skis based on Alpine skis, where the heel is free for ascents, but is fixed during descent. The discipline may be practiced recreationally or as a competitive sport.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ski touring</span> Skiing on unmarked or unpatrolled areas

Ski touring is skiing in the backcountry on unmarked or unpatrolled areas. Touring is typically done off-piste and outside of ski resorts, and may extend over a period of more than one day. It is similar to backcountry skiing but excludes the use of a ski lift or transport.

Mikkjel Hemmestveit, was a Norwegian-American Nordic skier who shared the Holmenkollen medal with his brother, Torjus Hemmestveit in 1928.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Teleboard</span>

Developed during the winter of 1996 by Martin and Erik Fey, the Teleboard consists of a long, narrow snowboard, or wide ski, with two free-heel telemark bindings arranged one in front of the other at a slight angle to the longitudinal axis. This is similar to a skwal which uses fixed-heel bindings mounted in line with each other.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Outline of skiing</span> Overview of and topical guide to skiing

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to skiing:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cross-country skiing (sport)</span> Competitive winter sport

Competitive cross-country skiing encompasses a variety of race formats and course lengths. Rules of cross-country skiing are sanctioned by the International Ski Federation and by various national organizations. International competitions include the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, the FIS Cross-Country World Cup, and at the Winter Olympic Games. Such races occur over homologated, groomed courses designed to support classic (in-track) and freestyle events, where the skiers may employ skate skiing. It also encompasses cross-country ski marathon events, sanctioned by the Worldloppet Ski Federation, and cross-country ski orienteering events, sanctioned by the International Orienteering Federation. Related forms of competition are biathlon, where competitors race on cross-country skis and stop to shoot at targets with rifles, and paralympic cross-country skiing that allows athletes with disabilities to compete at cross-country skiing with adaptive equipment.

This glossary of skiing and snowboarding terms is a list of definitions of terms and jargon used in skiing, snowboarding, and related winter sports.


  1. Halvor., Kleppen (1986). Telemarkskiing : Norway's gift to the world. Oslo: Samlaget. ISBN   8252128548. OCLC   19461028.
  2. 1 2 Droste, Patrick, (1964- ...)., Auteur. (2002). "Look Back". Telemark skiing. Meyer & Meyer Sport. pp. 11–21. ISBN   1841260827. OCLC   492425134.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. Bø, Olav (1993). Skiing throughout history. Oslo: Samlaget. ISBN   8252138853.
  4. Huntford, Roland (2008). Two planks and a passion : the dramatic history of skiing . London: Continuum. ISBN   9781847252364. OCLC   212847523.
  5. "How To Begin Telemark Skiing". 2016-01-23. Archived from the original on 2016-01-23. Retrieved 2018-03-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. "What is Telemark Racing? - USTSA - United States Telemark Ski Association". USTSA. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  7. "United States Telemark Ski Association". USTSA. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  8. "Speed ski + telemark - British Ski and Snowboard".
  9. "Winter Olympics 2022: Will telemark skiing make its debut in Beijing?". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2018-12-20.