I first put on Telemark skis over 15 years ago. It took a while for me to really get into it; in those days the skis were long and not that much wider than Nordic cross-country skis and the boots offered about the same level of ankle support as a pair of sturdy walking boots! Initially I thought I’d use it to pootle about on easy terrain those days when I fancied a change from Alpine skiing. That lasted about a week before I realised I couldn’t stay off the more challenging stuff and I got my hands on a pair of Scarpa T1s, which were amongst the first high performance Telemark boots. Now I no longer own skis with fixed heel bindings. Why clamp your foot down so you can’t move properly (why fix your feet together on a board, but that’s another story!)?
Over the years my friends have gone through various phases of humouring me, considering me bonkers and, latterly, wanting to give it a try. In the days when I fell over a lot, I perfected the Telemark roll, or how to roll out of a fall whilst sorting your legs and skis out before getting them back on the ground and skiing off without stopping. It’s one of the advantages of Telemark skiing that falls less often result in injury than other forms of snowsports. It also has to be said that if you want to be different, it’s certainly a way to stand out from the crowd. Other skiers find it hard to resist watching a Telemarker; it looks so smooth and elegant. People spontaneously stop to chat, especially other Telemarkers. I’ve even received a round of applause after skiing a black mogul field, from a group who’d stopped to watch!
One of the best aspects of being a Telemark skier has to be the camaraderie of what is, after all, a pretty small group of folk. This is the spirit which Kim has developed at Ski4Real and it’s something that we both want to encourage and build upon. You don’t just learn to ski Telemark, you join a community of people who love the mountains and are willing to take on the challenge of doing something that requires a little more effort in order to get a greater reward.