Telemark skiing takes nordic skiing off groomed trails and into the backcountry or onto ski resort slopes with beefier equipment designed to hold up in deep snow and tough conditions, as well as to make the graceful Telemark turn down steep slopes of any kind. Josh Baker, who owns The Outiftter in Harbor Springs with his wife, Molly, walks us through the evolution in Telemark equipment in even the last 20 years, sharing insights on today’s Telemark equipment, including Telemark skis, boots and bindings.

The Telemark turn got wide play in 1868 when a Norwegian named Sondre Norheim displayed the fluid turn during a ski jumping competition. The Telemark turn had a strong influence on the ski world until the early 1900’s when new techniques, closer to today’s downhill ski techniques, made it easier to make shorter, faster turns on alpine runs. The Telemark has remained the preference for backcountry skiing and for touring on rolling terrain.

Telemark equipment has evolved pretty significantly in just the last 15 to 20 years, particularly with beefier bindings and boots that make backcountry exploring easier and downhill runs more stable. Josh explains that Telemark skis no longer need to be waxed, they are wider and they now have a metal edge. His tips for choosing Telemark equipment include:

  • Choose Telemark equipment for comfort (this is not usually a race ski)
  • Match the equipment to ability and weight
  • Be sure you have safety straps as ski resorts won’t let you be on their slopes without the straps
  • And have fun because Telemark skiing can add a whole new range to your skiing experience.

Watch Part Two: Telemark Skiing, On the Slopes

Links to Nordic Ski Fun