Telemark, one of the latest and more fashionable ski disciplines, boasts over 150 years of history!
It incorporates all aspects of modern skiing: freedom, the beauty of movement, free ride and above all a specific state of mind.
No more shoes with laces or bindings and skis that resemble those used on the cross-country circuit in the early 80s. As in all other disciplines, the improvement in equipment has encouraged the rapid development of Telemark.
Telemark is named after the county of Telemark in Norway where Sandre Norheim first invented the telemark ski position. This peasant carpenter invented a short ski with a thin middle and a wicker binding that enabled him to reach the village in a number of shorter turns to avoid gaining too much speed.
In 1868, this technique became known beyond the county when Sander won the first ski competition in Iverslokke and thus became a reference in the skiing world. In the late 19th century, the citizens of the neighboring and rival county of Christiania, invented their own turn which marked the start of the modern parallel turn (the Christiania turn).
In the 1970s a group of Swedish exiles in the United States found some old pictures of the telemark method. Telemark was thus revived in Sweden closely followed by Norway. The first Norwegian Cup took place in 1984 with 50 competitors.
In the 90s Telemark gained a more trendy and modern image.
Telemark skiing is distinguished mainly by the bindings used. The heels are free and the turns are made by using flexion of the knees (kneeling). This method makes this discipline extremely aesthetic.
3 different events
As in the past, the idea of telemark is to reward the most capable skier in three different disciplines: slalom, ski jumping and cross-country.
The major difference today is the speed of the competitors and the equipment used.
All events have several common factors: a slalom, jump, loom and a skating section (as in cross country skiing).
At every gate and at every jump the competitor must be in the “telemark” position, otherwise a one second penalty is awarded.
The classic event is performed in a single run of more than 2 minutes
The classic sprint event involves two shorter runs of 1 minute each.
The dual sprint event involves two racers per leg in a knockout sprint.
Since the early 90s, the International Ski Federation (FIS) has organized an annual circuit of World Cups and World Championships.
The Mont-Blanc region previously hosted the World Championships in 1989.