Telemark ski racing is the oldest, hardest, and may be the most exciting form of ski racing! Telemark ski racing is the only world cup discipline that tests all forms of competitive skiing in one top-to-bottom event. Each discipline includes alpine, jumping, and Nordic skiing components. Competitors complete telemark style (lunging) turns through gates; fly off a jump, complete a reipelykkje (Norwegian for “knot of rope”, pronounced “rapa-loosha”), a large 360 banked turn a.k.a., “the Rap”; and to add to the challenge there is a skate ski (Nordic freestyle) section, which is often at the finish. Time penalties are assessed by gate and jump judges if racers fail to achieve “boot space” while turning (i.e., complete a fully telemark turn); fail to land past the jump line (distance); and fail to land the jump in a Nordic stance (just like ski jumping).
The Classic consists of one run with a course drop between 230 to 500 vertical meters. The course includes a jump, Rap, and long skate section or sections. Picture lunging through 70 panels at 80 km/h (50 mi/h), flying 30 meters through the air, and then having to skate ski for 3 minutes, sometimes up hill, to finish the race! Welcome to the Classic – Classics truly test the endurance of the athlete!
The Sprint Classic is similar to the classic. Typically, the Sprint Classic is shorter in length than the
Classic but still contains a jump, Rap and a skate section. It consists of two runs with the times and
penalties totaled together to determine the winner.
The Parallel Sprint is the most exciting to watch of all of the telemark racing events. Two Sprint-length courses are set, and racers compete side by side in a tournament-style elimination bracket. Racers fly off the same jump and are funneled in the same Rap before having to skate it out on the flats. Penalties are totaled live on the hill, and racers are required to skate further if they have gate or jump penalties. Bring on course carnage and head-to-head combat! A second day of Parallel Sprint will be run in a team format, pitting country against country. Each country’s top two men and top woman racers compete, with times totaled for an overall team/country score.
The Team Parallel Sprint is contested at the FIS World Cup level. Its format is the same as the Parallel Sprint, but in team format pitting country against country. The teams consist of 4 each country’s top two men and top woman racers competing, with times totaled for an overall team/country score.
The Giant Slalom is still contested in the US and Canada, but not at the FIS World Cup Level. It consists of Giant Slalom style gates with a nordic style jump in the middle of the run.