What is Telemark?

This hybrid skiing method will likely make its Olympic debut at Beijing 2022

The International Ski Federation (FIS) wants telemark to be showcased at Beijing 2022.

The Parallel Sprint and Team Parallel Sprint will be included in a proposal to the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The IOC is expected to decide on adding new disciplines in July.

But what is telemark? Where does it come from? And what equipment is being used?

What is telemark?

Telemark skiing is a technique that combines both alpine and nordic skiing elements. Telemark skiers are often known as 'free-heelers.'

The boots used are clicked into toe bindings that leave the heels free. The free heel gives it the appearance of cross-country skiing but it also has a look of alpine skiing in the downhill phase even though the style used is completely different.

As opposed to alpine skiers, telemark skiers will bend their knees every time they have to turn. The heel is attached to the front of the binding by a hinged cable.

Where does it come from?

It comes from Norway’s Telemark region, and it dates back two centuries.

Norwegian Sondre Norheim is said to be the inventor of the ‘telemark turn’. He first showed off the turn in a race in 1868.

Before then he had already invented a range of telemark bindings in 1850 and is still worshipped in the Scandinavian country as the father of modern-day skiing.

What equipment is being used?

Although it was initially used as transportation, telemark skiing is now a World Cup sport.

It is offered in a number of different formats, such as Classic, Sprint Classic, and Parallel Sprint.

The last world championship was held 2017 in La Plagne.

Telemark racing was first governed by the International Telemark Federation until 1995, when it was recognised by FIS.

It combines elements of alpine racing, nordic skate skiing and ski jumping but requires different equipment from that used in both alpine and nordic skiing. Telemark equipment can be used both on- and off-piste and even in freestyle parks.

The sport helps skiers to access areas they would not normally get to. It can be used to travel uphill by attaching 'skins’ to the bottom of the skies.

Some people say it was the original way of getting around. During World War II telemark was used in Norway on some pretty dramatic occasions.

These operations inspired a range of movies, documentaries, and series as the likes of 'Heroes of Telemark' from 1965 based on the novel 'Skis Against the Atom' and the recent series 'The Heavy Water War'.

Enjoyed this story? Share it with your friends!