Peru, VT – Well before snowboarding hit the slopes, in fact well before downhill skiing became popular, skiers were performing graceful Telemark turns which combine elements of both alpine and Nordic skiing.
Telemark skiers use alpine skis with specially designed Nordic style bindings that fix only the toe of the ski boot to the ski, thereby creating the “free heel” that allows skiers to turn using a distinctive lunging motion.
This classic form of skiing will be featured at the 31st annual Kåre Andersen Telemark Festival, Feb. 20-21, 2016, at Bromley Mountain in southern Vermont.
The event, one of the oldest Telemark races in the U.S., combines the giant slalom turns of alpine racing, the distance jumps of ski jumping, and the endurance of Nordic skiing into one format which tests skill, stamina, power and grace. Proponents hope to one day make Telemark racing an Olympic sport.
“Considering all the recent advancements in skiing and snowboarding available today, we’re gratified that Bromley is taking a role in keeping this elegant, traditional form of skiing alive for future generations to experience,” said Michael Van Eyck, Bromley assistant general manager.
The festival, including a race sanctioned by the U.S. Telemark Ski Association (USTSA), offers Telemark clinics for all ability levels by the area’s top Telemark coaches, and après ski parties in the resort’s Wild Boar Tavern. An exhibit area will feature The Mountain Goat (backcountry gear, snowshoes), Telemark Down (demos and telemark equipment), and Blue Bird Day gear (Telemark leashes). To register, visit www.bromley.com/winter/telefest/.
The Telemark Festival will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late Norwegian Kåre Andersen, a master tailor/designer from New Haven, Conn., who personally designed suits for the late President John F. Kennedy, Sargent Shriver, members of the Mellon and Ford families, and many others before retiring in 1981 and moving to Londonderry, Vt., near Bromley, to dedicate himself full-time to Telemark skiing, singing, baking and golf.
Andersen was an early proponent of Telemark skiing and was a certified PSIA Telemark instructor at Bromley Mountain until his mid 90’s. In 1985, he started an annual Telemark ski race, which has run continuously for 30 years and is currently held at Bromley. The Kåre Andersen Telemark Center at Bromley was named in his honor. He died in 2012 in Brattleboro, Vt., at the age of 96.