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Skiing has existed as a mode of transportation for at least 4000 years, based on rock carvings found in Norway. there is some evidence that soldiers used skis in the middle ages. In the late 1800's skiing made a shift from a method of transportation to a recreational activity. People from villages in Norway would gather to ski, jump and compete on their skis. Sondre Norheim is credited today as being the father of telemark skiing. He was a Norwegian, living in the area of Telemark, Norway when in 1866 he was invited to attend the first known ski jumping contest and won, impressing the audience with he performance. In 1868, Sondre competed in the first national skiing competition held in Oslo where he used the Telemark turn and was the only competitor using curved skis and bindings with heel bands made of willow. While Sondre may not have been the first to use this new method and equipment, he is known for bringing attention to these methods and for moving skiing from a method of transportation to a sport.
In the 1900s as the sport of skiing progressed, and ski resorts with groomed hills were developed, the Telemark technique fell out of favor and was forgotten as the parallel techniques became the method to use. Parallel techniques were easier to learn, especially on firm, groomed snow and the Alpine method of skiing became the norm.
In the 1970s, the Telemark Revival began in the United States as a way to reach and ski in the back country. Skiers in Crested Butte are credited with starting this revival, but it spread quickly to other areas of the country. In addition to Telemark skiing in the back country, many skiers are moving to this technique for resort skiing and for racing.
The US Telemark Ski Association was formed officially in 1993 to support the sport of Telemark through education and racing. The USTSA is the national governing body for Telemark racing in the USA and is a member of the FIS Telemark organization. USTSA is compiligh a history of Telemark skiing and racing in the USA, if you have race results, photos, or news articles from the 1970s-1990s, please contact Tory Hauser through the "Contact Us" section of this site.
To read further about the history of Telemark skiing, check out the following sites:
"What is Telemark Skiing?" by Mitch Weber at Telemarktips.com
"Sondre Norheim - the Skiing Pioneer of Telemark"
Wikipedia - Telemark Skiing
Last Updated ( Friday, 03 October 2008 15:51 )