Telemark skiing to join SVSEF alpine curriculum

The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) and Sun Valley Tele are joining forces to expand SVSEF Alpine U16 and FIS programming to include a telemark curriculum. This new partnership is designed to introduce athletes to a new discipline that will build upon race techniques and redefine training standards. Telemark skiing serves as an invaluable teaching tool to help skiers understand body movement and technique as it relates to alternative disciplines.  

The concept for a telemark program came to fruition after discussions of getting the kids off the race course and into the backcountry. “The ski experience outside of a competitive format is equally as important to our athletes’ growth as skiers and mountain athletes,” said Brian Eggleton, SVSEF Alpine Team technician. “Not only is it important to enrich the connection our athletes have to skiing, it’s important to connect the similarities in how our anatomy moves across various types of equipment in a variety of ski disciplines.” 

With liability and expenses complicating the backcountry program, the concept of a telemark program came into play and offered the same opportunity for alternative training tactics that sparked the coaches’ initial discussion. “We believe that diversifying their skills and experiences on the mountain can be transformative,” said Will Brandenburg, SVSEF Alpine Program Director. “Not only will it add an exciting dimension to their skiing journey, but it will enhance their racing technique in a way that sets them apart.” 

The programming is set to begin in Jan. 2024 at Rotarun Ski Area, where the high school athletes will have the opportunity to step out of their race gear and into telemark gear after practice sessions. The hope is to cut down on the redundancy and repetition of gate practice by incorporating novelty and self-discovery through a completely new sport.

Brandenburg hopes to strengthen the alpine community through this new partnership. “We hope the launch of this program sparks more interest in the coming months of practice. If the alpine community buys into this endeavor, we can continue to integrate tele sessions into the curriculum well into the future.” 

This venture would not be possible without the generosity of the Sun Valley Telemark members who have offered to donate their time and expertise to the alpine teams. “After nearly 45 years hosting community races and events, Sun Valley Tele is thrilled to share the telemark turn with the next generation of mountain athletes in a formal setting,” said Julian Tyo of SV Tele. “Our team of 11 volunteer coaches consists of longstanding event participants and race organizers, all ready to help SVSEF’s athletes add another arrow to their collective quivers.”

With equipment contributions and tuning services from Backwoods Mountain Sports, Sturtevants of Sun Valley, 22 Designs, and Scott Sports—SVSEF and SV Tele extend many thanks to local retailers for contributing their time, money, and resources to help make this exciting new initiative come to life.