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Title photo courtesy: Beth Lockhar:t www.bethlockhart.com

Descender sent me to find out what our crew thinks about the State of Telemark. We were up in Bella Coola, BC, filming with Bones and UP productions for UP 3. The usual suspects are: Sarah Clemensen, Bj Brewer, Norwegian skiers Frode Gronvold and Henrik Halland and me, Ben Dolenc.

Descender: What is each of your skiing/snowboarding backgrounds?

Sarah: My ski background consists of learning at the age of 3 1/2 at Beaver Mountain Ski area. My dad was on volunteer ski patrol, so we skied for cheap every weekend. I lived close to the mountains, so at a young age I cross-country skied out my back door into the hills. Once I knew that college wasn’t on my priority list during the wintertime, I began skiing daily. I have been Telemark skiing for 5 years.

Bj: I’ve been skiing for eighteen years and Tele-skiing for 8.

Frode: Skiing as much as possible. Going to great distances to get freshies, our limit was 4 inches of fresh for us to skip school. If it snowed more in Lillehammer, I wouldn't have graduated... I camped out in the summer ski area of Stryn during my teens. Worked in a snowboard shop, but sucked at snowboarding. I should probably mention that I did some alpine racing as well, and even did some bumps for a while.

Henrik: I’ve been, like all Norwegians with a little respect for themselves, skiing since I was a kid. Started cross-country skiing when I was two and alpine when I was four. Left skiing for a few years and then got back on it through snowboard at the age of 13. I tried it a couple of times. Since then, I´ve been skiing as much as school allowed me to and Frode and I hooked up and skied Hafjell in the winter and Stryn in the summer. I was just waiting to get through school so I could ski full-time. That’s where I am today, done with school and skiing full time.

Ben: I started cross country skiing when I was three and did that until snowboarding came along. Snowboarded for seven year, then picked up Teleskiing.


Descender: Do you still ski alpine or snowboard? Does it help/hurt your teleski vibe?

Sarah: I do all kinds of crazy stuff on the snow, but as far as Alpine, Snowboard, and Telemark skiing.... I strictly Telemark!

Bj: Mixing it up in every aspect of life helps round out the squares.

Frode: I alpine ski just as much as I telemark, I don't like telemarking in crusty bad conditions. It helps for sure, but if I alpine for a long while without telemarking, it's easy to loose the feel of your skis when you're pinning.

Henrik: I picked up Alpine when the twin tip came. I had always wanted to do the same on skis as the snowboarders were doing and this got me closer. Today I jib on alpine and freeski on Tele’s. That is what I think teleing is about. Big turns in good conditions. I think the jibbing has done good for my Teleing. My goal is to combine jibbing on big mountain stuff. After riding in parks your eyes get wider and you see kickers in the lines you’re picking!

Ben: I only Tele just because it is what I do best. I can’t see going out on a pow day with clamps because I would not be as comfortable with them. In the park I could see skiing alpine but to change your skis just to go in the park doesn’t make sense to me.

Descender: What would you be doing if you weren’t spending your time skiing?

Sarah: You name it. I would probably be doing it. But on a serious note, I would most likely be at the beach playing in the ocean waters and playing pro beach volleyball hopefully winning and earning the big bucks. But the mountains keep calling me back.

Bj: I would be go go dancing in Vegas.

Frode: PLAYING! If I'm on my tele's I pretend to be surfing. If I'm on alpine I pretend to do motorcross.

Henrik: I’m getting into surfing. I’ve been on several surf trips the last couple of years in places like Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Canary Islands, France and Spain Love surfing and the development you go through in a new sport. Surfing is also great for the style and balance in skiing. I love the feeling of not having to put on shit loads of stuff before doing your thing. You can wake up in the morning, put the shorts on, wax your board and walk down to the beach. Not even feeling cold!!!

Ben: Living somewhere warm, probably in Baja, surfing, playing rock music and drinking margaritas.

Descender: What other athlete’s style do you like best? Any sport?

Sarah: I don't have a particular athlete I could name right now, but in general, any athlete with there own style, grace, and fluidity. I dig fearlessness, and confidence in an athlete’s eyes.

BJ: Surfing and soccer.

Frode: Thor Heyerdahl and Dalai Llama.

Henrik: Surfers have a great style and also there are a lot of people with a good mentality. Skating is the most impressive sport I know. They’re stylish and are doing some gnarly stuff!

Ben: Skaters blow me away. In surfing Rob Muchado is rad and is so mellow. Skiing, JP Auclair, Seth Morison, and Shane Szocs style kill it.

My swatz is bigger than yours. Photo: Ben Dolenc

Descender: Is that stylekill or style skill? Is that a Norgy word? Anyway, comps good or bad?

Sarah: Competing has the good and the bad. I receive such an adrenaline high from competing and it’s how you become known in the sport you dig. After experiencing Bella Coola, The adrenaline high I received is the high I desire most. (insert soul slide here) I want to free ride and enjoy the beauty and freedom of telemark skiing where I want and with the people I want. Who wants specific lines and boundaries with our cute little numbers?

BJ: Comps are good for the development and publicity of any sport.

Frode: I don't like the comps, but a lot of people do, so...hmm.

Henrik: I don’t like competitions, but people have different mindsets. I think for telemark comps aren’t a good thing. It will only look good if the conditions are good.

Ben: Comps can be fun. What I like the best is hanging out with everyone. I would rather put my energy into filming though because the mindset fits me better.

Descender: What is the biggest downfall of teleski?

Sarah: In my eyes there is no down fall to telemark skiing, just lack of telemarkers.

BJ: The fucking low budget industry $$$$

Frode: Bad conditions and whiteouts.

Henrik: Telemark skiing on hard conditions looks stupid because it is so hard skiing on changing conditions, compared to alpine and snowboard.

Ben: The old telers who don’t want the sport to change, grow or evolve. People who think it’s only for the backcountry. The old images sucks too that Tele is for hippies and old people.

Descender: What will be stoking you and Tele in 5 years?

Sarah: What will be stoking me in telemark skiing in 5 years is... another 5 years!

BJ: The growth, the groms, and the groupies.

Frode: Good conditions and blue sky.

Henrik: Telemark is falling bigtime in Norway, but I guess that is because people seldom get good conditions and it’s easier to choose alpine. Telemarking’s future is hard to predict, but hopefully it will continue growing and people will have as much fun doing it as I have! I would be stoked seeing someone combine the big mountain and jibbing. Reading the terrain and using it as it is. Style will always stoke me and Telemark definitely has the potential!

Ben: Watching as more young rippers come up and get to reap the benefit of how the sport has changed. This last year will stoke me for years to come. Being on that beach in Baja with surf and a Margarita.

Descender: Yeeah. Give it to get it. Believe. The future is now.

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