The International Ski Federation (FIS) has formally proposed that the International Olympic Committee include telemark racing in the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022. This comes as a big surprise as telemark skiing has been in decline for years with only a few thousand telemarkers still hitting the slopes in the United States.
FIS telemark racing is different from alpine ski racing in that telemark courses include jumps, slalom gates, skate-skiing sections through a loop as well as an uphill portion. The range of challenges is made possible by free-heel equipment.
“It’s kind of like if you took alpine racing, ski jumping, and nordic skiing, and put it all into one—then kept it together with telemark, which is the original form of skiing,” explained Madi McKinstry, a telemark racer from Bozeman, Montana to NBC Boston.
More information on telemark ski racing from ustsa.org
“Telemark skiing is named after the Telemark region of Norway where the sport was first performed. It is believed that Sondre Norheim pioneered the Telemark turn in ski races, starting in about 1868. The discipline is characterized by a ski turn where the inside ski is drawn back under the skier and the heels are free to lift off of the ski. The Telemark turn is judged in races to be a true Telemark turn if the inside foot is one boot-length behind the front or downhill foot. The skier then shifts the inside foot forward to begin the next turn, pressuring the ski as it comes forward to become the new downhill ski.
Telemark racing combines the best of Alpine gate racing with the jumping and skating used in the Nordic events.” ustsa.org