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.
Classic: This is the corner stone of Telemark racing. Like the downhill race in Alpine ski racing, the Classic uses a one run format. The course (drawing at right) generally takes a time of two plus minutes to complete as racers go through up to 40 gates. In addition, the Classic includes features unique to Telemark such as a reipeløkke (360˚- banked turn), a jump (25m – 40m of distance covered), and a skating or cross country section that typically takes 45seconds to complete.
Sprint Classic: Similar to the Classic race, the Sprint Classic is a shorter, more viewer friendly two run format.
Parallel Sprint Classic: This race was introduced to World Cup racing in 2012. There are two racers on side-by-side courses. One competitor races the red gates and the other races the blue gates. The jumps are side by side midway down the slope. At the bottom, the racers enter a single 360˚ banked turn and then race to the finish in a Nordic style skate. This is a single elimination race; the fastest competitor moves on through the race bracket until there are just two finalists remaining. The entire race can be seen by viewers from the bottom of the course, and with the head-to-head competition, makes this a very exciting race to watch. This race was introduced as part of the FIS Telemark plan towards inclusion in the Olympic Games. For more information go to http://www.ustsa.org/what-is-telemark-racing/