I started telemark skiing 21 years ago here in Utah. The turn itself has brought me thousands of hours of fun inbounds and in the backcountry over the years, but it’s the community that has always intrigued me most. I’ve traveled all over the world, meeting telemark skiers and making turns together. There is something different about diehard tele skiers than any other snow slider I’ve encountered — they love what they do. I mean they really LOVE what they do! It is one of the inspiring things that I’ve been able to share with others in my travels.
One story comes to mind immediately about this passion people have. A few years ago I traveled to Morgedal, Norway where telemark skiing began. It was my second time there and I was more than anxious to get back there to see my friends. My friend Hamish picked us up at the hotel at the end of town and said that we were going to meet some Polish telemakers at the house they were staying at up the road. I was intrigued already at the fact that some telemarkers from Poland had made the journey to visit Morgedal for the gathering that was taking place and couldn’t wait to meet them in person.
Hamish informed us that that they had left early that morning to go touring and were still out walking around. It was well past dark and as we made our way up the winding snow packed road I began to wonder where they were. As our tires smeared against the ice with enough purchase to get us to the next summit I started to see the silhouettes of some people up ahead on the side of the road. They were trekking along in single file as they skinned along the fresh snow flanking the icy snow packed dirt road.
As we pulled up beside them I was expecting a crew of tired individuals ready for a ride to their mountain home, but it was quite the opposite. We were greeted with smiles and cheers from all of them, happy to see us and even happier to tell us that they were going to finish the last quarter mile to the cabin to meet us. We promptly let them resume their rhythm and continued driving up the road until we reached the old Norwegian homestead where they were staying.
After a short wait of about twenty minutes, the still energized skiers arrived. They clicked off their skis and walked over to introduce themselves. We all hugged and shook hands as if we had known each other from another place and time. “I’m Magic,” said the leader of the group.
Magic and his crew had packed up their Sprinter van a few days earlier in Poland with an array of cheese, meat and homemade liquor and traveled all the way to Morgedal to pay homage to the home of Sondre Norheim and his hometown. They had taken ferries and had driven long distances to be here. We all had. And that is what made meeting all of these new people so special.
Over the course of the next week Magic and I had many chances to talk about life, telemark and why we were there. There was one moment that stands out to me though more than the rest. We were talking about some old punk rock bands that we liked to listen to and he brought up the band Agnostic Front. I told him I surely listened to them, but wasn’t that familiar with all of their albums or lyrics — he didn’t care. He looked at me and put his fist in the air mimicking the Telemark Skier logo on the trucker hat I was wearing and said, “For my family, for my friends,” a lyric from an Agnostic Front song. That lyric become our unofficial anthem for many of us that trip. It wasn’t about whether you listened to punk rock. It was something that we could all relate to and reflected why we were all there in Morgedal. We had all come there to be part of our telemark family. We were all there to share with other people the telemark turn and that feeling that makes us all so diehard about sharing it with other people.
This story is one of many that I’ve experienced over the last two decades and I’m sure that it won’t be my last. It is a story about sharing and spreading telemark skiing.
So this year we have decided to focus on one simple thing, spreading telemark skiing around the world to our friends, our family and anyone that will listen. Be part of the worldwide story this year with us. #SpreadTelemark