You may have missed it. I did. Ever since I saw World Cup Telemark racing back in the days before forums, iPhones, heck before NTN was even a dream, Telemark racing impressed me as a handicap race. To be fair, having an unlocked heel is a handicap when it comes to maintaining control at the fringes of ski racing, especially with the gear of that era. Back then the Tele World was rife with broken cables and what not. But, as Bob Dylan sang, “things have changed.”
While the current generation of Telemark racers may not make it look easy, ‘cuz it ain’t, they show unquestionably it is possible to Tele that strong. It may not equal alpine, but that isn’t the point. Look at these guys rip. This footage was from the FIS World Cup Telemark races at Thyon-4 Valles last March, 2021.
Did I mention? Not even one is wearing duckbills.
You’ll need to pause the podium shot to see the common ingredient among the winners. Bastien Dayer (SUI), Nicolas Michel (SUI), Trym Nygaard Loeken (NOR), were all ripping with Rottefella’s Freeride. That’s a pretty serious testament. Or Rottefella’s the only company willing to sponsor telemark racers. I’ll bet they have a new version of the black stiff springs in their bindings.