This season we are offering Telemark Skiing Clinics! Clinics will be held on Jan 23rd, Feb 13th, and March 20th. Click here to select your date and reverse your Telemark Clinic spot! Telemark Skiing is a discipline with a rich history and much to offer to those looking to improve their skills on the mountain. This technique can improve your overall skiing ability, a challenge between strength and grace, learning to harness more agility and freedom of movement. You can go downhill, uphill, alpine, and telemark parallel, all on one setup.
History of the “Free Heel” Movement
What started as transportation turned into recreation. Telemark skiing is a technique that combines Alpine and Nordic skiing, named after the Telemark region of Norway, where the discipline originated. Sondre Norheim is often credited for first demonstrating the Telemark turn in ski races, including cross county, slalom, and jumping, sometime around 1868. He also experimented with ski and binding design, introducing side cuts to skis and heel bindings. Telemark skiing had a rebirth in the early 1970s, gained popularity through the 1980s, and is now a World Cup Racing sport.
From twisted willow twigs for toe and heel loops with leather boots to 75mm (duckbill) boots and cable bindings to NTN (New Telemark Norm) boots and bindings, the gear has gone evolved, becoming more similar to alpine gear than cross country gear, but with a bellows over the ball of the foot allow for a greater range of movement. The free heel is still there but now you can also lay the skis over, carve a clean line and follow it up with a fun run in the trees or a great line of bumps easier than ever before.
Benefits of Telemark Skiing
Learning to ski on telemark equipment improves your overall skiing, it forces new skiers who are inclined to lean back toward the center of their skis and sharpens their balance and agility. Telemark boots also tend to be more comfortable and easier to walk in than alpine ski boots. The bindings fix only the toe to the ski, creating the “free heel” unique to this discipline because the skier’s heel is not locked down.
With such a rich history and long list of benefits, it’s hard to believe that everything you need to Telemark Ski is in our own backyard! The Nordic trail system here at 49 Degrees North offers wonderful terrain for Telemark skiing. Access to the Nordic Center is included with Day Tickets and Season Passes. Not only do we have the terrain, but the gear as well! Limited NTN rental gear is available at 49 Degrees North Rental Shop.
Give Telemark Skiing a Try!
If the thought of freeing your heel and finding new ways to explore beautiful terrain catches your interest, then you’re in luck. This winter 49 Degrees North is offering a Telemark Clinic Series! The 3-Clinic series will take place on Jan 23rd, Feb 13th, and March 20th and is perfect for anyone regardless of ability or time spent on telemark gear. So come explore the free-heel world and broaden your horizons with our certified Telemark Instructors.