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Telemark, a sport on the rise

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
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Telemark, a sport on the rise

Postby ERIC » Sat Mar 18, 2006 6:48 pm

Telemark, a sport on the rise

Jack Carrerow
bonanza sports editor,
March 17, 2006

There's a new craze growing in an old sport. Some are turning in their alpine skis and snowboards for Telemarking, a sport that seems to be on the rise locally.

"It has been building in terms of its popularity - I've taken it up," said Diamond Peak director of marketing Milena Regos. "And I do see a lot of kids starting to give it a try."

According to Regos, people who are used to alpine skiing can easily cross over to Telemark skiing with just a few minor adjustments.

"The main differences are that the skis are big and beefy and the bindings free up your heel," Regos said. "It allows you a little bit of alpine, combined with cross country."

Skiing itself had been around for hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of years when Norwegian Sondre Norheim, recognized today as the father of Telemark skiing, popularized a new style of turn in the 1800s. One ski was advanced in front of the other and the heel was raised on the rear ski, with the skier in a very bent knee position. Skiing was shifting from a mode of transportation to a form of recreation.

Although no one can say for certain if it was Norheim who first invented the tele technique, he is widely credited with introducing the turn to the skiing world in jumping competitions.

Norheim would land his jumps in the tele stance and finish with a stylish and smooth Telemark turn.

Soon other skiers from Norheim's hometown of Morgedal, a village located in rural Telemark County in the southern part of Norway, adopted the new turn style.

Today, not only is the sport esthetically beautiful and fun, it can be a tough workout, said certified Telemark ski instructor and Sierra Nevada College professor Katie Zanto.

"You really have to work hard with those big skis and plastic boots, there's a lot of exercise involved because you are going to the backcountry" Zanto said. "But it's very rewarding and I love teaching it."

Zanto, who teaches English and communications at SNC, said that the market for teaching the sport at ski resorts is not huge.

"Most skiers cross over from alpine skiing or snowboarding and basically teach themselves," Zanto said. "And even though I have had students who have never been on skis before want to learn from scratch, it's very few, and so there's not a huge demand for teachers of the sport."

One person who crossed over after spending time as an alpine skier and snowboarder is Diamond Peak Ski Reort Manager Ed Youmans.

"After spending 16 years alpine skiing and 16 years snowboarding, I wanted to learn something different," Youmans said. "Besides, it's good for my job to be as well versed in as many different aspects as I can."

Youmans said that the transition from the other two sports was easy, but that the actual sport of Telemarking is not for people who don't want to exert themselves.

"My legs have been hurting all season," Youmans said. "But it's great. I put the skins on my skis, walk up to the backcountry and enjoy the ride down. It's a tremendous workout, really beautiful and I love the backcountry."

So, if you're looking for a sport that is hard on the muscles but a banquet for the eyes, putting on those beefy Telemark skis just might be the answer.

"I've done alpine and snowboarding," Zanto said. "This is by far the most fun."

Sports Editor Jack Carrerow can be reached at (775) 831-4666 ext. 119 or at
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Postby copeg » Sun Mar 19, 2006 9:31 am

Every time I go skiing I seem to see more and more telemarkers out there.
According to Regos, people who are used to alpine skiing can easily cross over to Telemark skiing with just a few minor adjustments.

Aint that easy :lol:
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