Telemark skiing is a ski technique that combines elements of Alpine and Nordic skiing. Telemark skiing is named after the Telemark region of Norway, where the discipline originated. Telemark skiing is the original and oldest form of skiing. 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 cut to skis and heel bindings (like a cable). Telemark skiing was reborn in the 1971 in the United States. Doug Buzzell, Craig Hall. Greg Dalbey, Jack Marcial, and Rick Borcovec are credited reintroducing the style after reading the book "Come Ski With Me" by Stein Eriksen. Telemark skiing gained popularity during the 1970s and '80s. Telemark equipment crosses Alpine and Nordic ski gear. Generally, Telemark skiers use Alpine skis with specially designed Nordic style bindings that fix only the toe of the ski boot to the ski, thereby creating the “free heel.” Telemark turns use a distinct lunging motion to engage the ski in a powerful yet graceful arc.
Originally made popular as a mode of backcountry transportation, Telemark skiing is now a world cup sport focused on carving.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.”
Telemark Racing was governed by the ITF (International Telemark Federation) 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 Hafjel, in Lillehammer, Norway. Today Telemark Racing is organized by FIS and also by national sport committees such as the United States Telemark Ski Association (www.ustsa.org), and the British Telemark Ski Team (www.gbtelemark.co.uk/).