Although not one of the most well-known skiing disciplines, Telemark skiing is growing in popularity and skiers like the UK’s Jasmin Taylor are leading the charge. We caught up with Jasmin to find out exactly ‘what is Telemark skiing?’ and to see how her impressive career has been going so far.
Interview with Jasmin Taylor
We posed the following questions to Jasmin, read on to find out a little bit more in the future of the sport and the athlete herself.
Hailing from Ipswich, UK (not exactly renowned for winter sports or even hills) how did you get into skiing? And specifically Telemark skiing?
I got into skiing through a school project when I was ten years old. We had to do a speech on mountains and I chose Whistler (Olympic venue 2010). My parents saw my work and thought it would be a great place to go on holiday but my dad told me I had to take lessons to learn how to ski, so I went to Ipswich dry ski slope and it all went from there.
Telemark started six years later, and a lot has happened between then and now. When I was sixteen years old, I did a Telemark trial week at the British Ski Academy – I loved it the second I tried it and have been training with that same coach, Seb Mansart, ever since.
What is Telemark skiing and how does it differ to normal skiing?
In telemark skiing, the heel or the ski boot is free – like a Nordic binding – and as we turn the skis, we lunge into the turn. In racing there is a jump, a cross country skating section, a giant slalom and a giant banked turn. It’s awesome.
Well done for your recent World Cup 2nd place finish in Hintertux. How does competitive Telemark skiing work?
Thank you, that’s kind. It’s pretty full-on. We have a World Cup race series at the top level, with World Cup Finals and World Championships. It works the same as any other skiing discipline whereby we collect World Cup points and the overall winner is awarded the title at World Cup Finals. There are also Norweigan and French Cup, FIS races, many different national cups, including Great Britain, and there is even an Indoor British Telemark race series.
How did it feel to be on the podium for the first time?
It felt amazing. It still feels amazing even just thinking about it and I hope it’s something I can repeat many times in the future – winning or skiing well gives you such a buzz.
What are the three things you have ‘given up’ to pursue your Telemark career?
Seeing my family and friends as often during winter, university and a relaxed/easy lifestyle.
Telemark skiing is currently not an Olympic sport, do you think it will become one in time for you to compete?
I hope so. I think it will be Olympic in 2022, that’s the aim anyway, and I recently set up a petition to push our campaign. I’d be so grateful if your readers would sign the petition – it literally takes less than 30 seconds.
What would it mean to you and other British Telemark skiers if it became an Olympic sport?
It would mean the world to all of us. We would certainly be a lot more famous and attract sponsors easily – more people would recognize the sport and understand how amazing it is. To win an Olympic medal is the ultimate dream of any athlete along with becoming World Champion.
When not Telemark skiing are there other winter sports you enjoy? And what about summer sports?
I love cross country and alpine skiing, climbing and surfing, road cycling and gym training. Pretty much all sports to be honest
You injured your knee (grade 3 MCL tear) in March, how is the recovery going?
I’m getting much better now thanks. It was a scary time as I hadn’t had that sort of injury before but everything is getting stronger and I’m looking forward to skiing again in the pre-season.
Despite missing the junior championships (when you were ranked #1), and the senior World Cup final through injury, you finished the season ranked 7th in the world (and 3rd in the Juniors). What is your goal for next season?
The goal is to get back and be better than before, I never like saying too early or too much, but to finish in the top five overall would be awesome.
So now you know the answer to the question ‘what is Telemark skiing?’ and what it takes to get to the top. It certainly sounds like a lot of fun, although plenty of hard work and not without its risks. Thanks to Jasmin for taking the time to speak to us and we wish her all the best with her recovery and future career.