Tagged ‘FIS Telemark’

A Season Like No Other!

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The World Cup Finals were held in Thyon, Switzerland. The GB Telemark Ski Team included Alec and Colin Dixon, Timote (Tim) Gough and I for this event. Our injured team-mate, Sissi Compton, turned up to show her support and Irish athlete, Max Screawn, joined us throughout the duration of these races. The racing kicked off with a grueling Classic where I finished in 4th, Alec in 21st, Colin in 20th, Tim in 19th and Max unfortunately did not finish (DNF).

The following day and subsequently the final World Cup day (as the Parallel Sprint was unfortunately cancelled due to poor weather conditions) was the Sprint event. Here I placed 4th again, Alec in 20th, Colin and Tim unfortunately did not finish (DNF) and Max in 18th place.

I finished 5th this season in the overall World Cup ranking; 4th in Classic, 5th in Sprint and 7th in Parallel Sprint. It was not my best season but its all part of the game that is sport!

Then the snow began to fall (hence the cancellation of the last race) as we made our way to the World Championships in Melchsee-Frutt, Switzerland. Originally the event was meant to be held in Murren (also Switzerland) but they were eventually unable to hold the event due to reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We enjoyed a few powder days before racing again, not ideal race preparation but the good news was that everyone was in the same boat.

The week also included the World Junior Championships (WJC), as well as the World Championship races. The first event was the WJC Sprint where Tim finished 12th and Max in 9th place. The seniors went up to help slip the course; this is part of the true telemark spirit.

The first World Championship race was the Sprint, I finished in 7th, Alec in 11th, Colin in 18th, Tim in 19th and Max in 12th place. This is a career best for Max, Colin and Alec Dixon, and from Alec – the best ever finish in a Sprint from a British man on the world stage.

Following the Sprint, we had a qualification run for the Parallel Sprint and here, I qualified in 3rd with a solid run. I eventually finished in 5th after being knocked out by silver medal winner Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI) in the semi-finals.

Alec finished in 13th, Colin in 17th, Tim in 15th and Max in 14th place. Tim and Max also competed in the WJC placing 11th (Tim, after a huge crash) and 10th (Max, after a close race).

The last race, the Classic, included two skate sections and really finished off the racing in style. I finished 5th, Alec in 11th and Colin in 12th place, both results are career best finishes in Classic for the boys! In the WJC Tim finished in 12th and Max in 8th respectably.

These were not quite the results I was hoping for, it has been a difficult season in so many ways but as always it is a pleasure to spend time on snow and even better to compete, especially with all that is going on in the world right now.

Our training buddies, the French, are losing their coach Julien Annequin. He has retired and is passing the baton to former racer, Antione Bouvier, who I am sure will also do a great job. Julien, or Pingu as I call him, will be very missed.

Now time to rest, and take stock of the season. As always, thank you to everyone making it possible, those people include team and personal sponsors, coaches and team, team-mates, committees, organisers, federations, friends and family.

A special shout out to coach, Sebastien Mansart, and his girls for allowing me to stay with them for several months, and to my boyfriend, Will, for taking a massive risk by joining me this winter.

I feel I have learnt so much, both on and off my skis. Who knew there was so much soul searching, work and investment involved in chucking yourself down a mountain.

The Replacement World Cup

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Last week, we were lucky enough to compete in Plaine Joux, Passy, France. This event was a replacement for the lost races in Krvavec, Slovenia and St Gervais, France.

In my blogs, I mainly report the British perspective, but for more information you can visit FIS Telemark.

I recently recorded a podcast with Josh Madsen from Freeheel Life, you can listen to that HERE. In The Snow recently published an article HERE as well as Ski Press HERE, both articles are linked to our new team sponsorship with Maier Sports.

I was happy to be joined by 5 of my team-mates; Sissi Compton and Louis Blyth (both of them competing in their first World Cup events), Alec and Colin Dixon, and Tim Gough. Max Screawn, from Ireland, is linked to our training program and we consider him as one of us.

The event kicked off with a Sprint race. I finished 5th, Sissi finished in 18th, Louis in 25th, Alec in 23rd and Tim 22nd in place. Max skied well and placed 16th which is a career best.

The following day, another Sprint race, was slightly more complicated with poor weather conditions. We only managed to race the first run, carrying over the second run to the third day. That meant finishing the Sprint race before commencing the Classic later that day. I suppose no one said it would be easy…

I finished 8th in the Sprint, after collecting too many penalties, Sissi was 18th, unfortunately Louis was disqualified for missing a gate, Colin was 25th, Alec was 24th, Tim was 19th (another career best) and Max finished 21st.

The Classic was more positive; I finished 4th, Sissi in 20th, Colin 23rd, Alec in 22nd, Tim in 20th, and Max in 17th place. The World Cup Classic is quite a shock to the system, it takes many years to learn pace and to get the balance between going for it and not burning out too soon.

The final event, another Classic; I finished 6th, again too many penalties from me, Sissi unfortunately did not finish (DNF), Louis in 25th, Colin in 29th, Alec in 27th, Tim in 24th and Max in 23rd place.

Just a special thanks to our coach; Sebastien Mansart, who played a massive role in putting on these replacement races in such a short space of time. He is either a genius or mad… or maybe both!

It is not quite the set of results I wished for but it is a pleasure to be on the slopes, with my team-mates and competitors, competing none-the-less. Thank you to everyone for the continued support and for making it possible.

Now time to work in the ESF for a few weeks, before more training and an action packed March with World Cup Finals, World Junior Championships and the World Championships, all of which are in Switzerland.

The World Cup, COVID and a Podium

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We began training on the slopes back in October with our first camp in Hintertux, Austria. This season, Slovenian athlete; Masa Strakl, has been a regular training buddy of mine, along with the French Telemark Ski Team who have always been close by.

I spent time with the Swiss Telemark Ski Team, training up on the Saas Fee glacier. The conditions were often ideal and I learnt a lot throughout my stay – thank you to the Swiss for having me.  

I was even lucky enough to spend time with the German Telemark Ski Team in Kaunertal, Austria. We were always vigilant to stay within the rules, and as the season has progressed the restrictions have become, well more restrictive.

The pre-season training was very interesting for me, there were many positive points to not-being-able to return home between camps, and spending time with other teams opened my mind to new ideas. I do of course miss my family and friends very much; I can’t imagine this time has been easy for anyone.

As December arrived, so did my boyfriend Will who, during winter, works at Praz Sports just beyond Chamonix. Coach; Sebastien Mansart, managed to organise training in Flaine and then Plaine Joux within France, although much time was spent cross country skiing as the resorts have remained closed here in Les Houches.

The COVID situation within the UK became more serious recently and further restrictions were placed on Brits leaving and entering the country. This made traveling very complicated for the majority of my teammates.

The GB Telemark Ski Team has a new clothing sponsor; Maier Sports. The clothing provides a high-quality, bespoke fit along with a five-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship on all products. We are very grateful to Maier Sports for their support; it will now be very easy to spot us on the slopes.

The racing kicked off in Oberjoch, Germany with two races within each discipline; the minimum requirement for a “full” season. The tour has suffered with cancellations of the Slovenian and French part of the circuit, although much work is happening behind the scenes to replace these lost events. We also had competitions in Thyon, Switzerland in the form of two FIS races, which served as the perfect warm up event for the World Cup races in Germany.

The first two days of racing were both Sprint events, I finished 4th and 7th and GB new-comer, Timote (Tim) Gough finished 24th and did not finish (DNF) on day two. Max Screawn, Irish athlete, finished 21st and a career best of 16th place. As you can see below, it was a good day for Switzerland.

The following two days were Parallel Sprint (PS) events; the PS is always so exciting. I managed a 5th and then 9th place after a crash in the first round of racing. Tim and Max unfortunately didn’t qualify within the top 16 men.

A good friend of mine, Matti Lopez (FRA) crashed in the final, finished 2nd but injuring his knee, a small word to wish him well for the future.

The final day was one to remember! Two Classic events after all those races previously, proved to be grueling both physically and mentally. I finished 2nd behind Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI) and ahead of Johanna Holzmann (GER) in the first race which felt a real achievement after a tough week. The second race I collected more penalties and finished 6th but was pleased with the day none the less. Tim finished 21st and 20th after skiing very well; Max was 18th and 21st respectably.

It is great to be back in the start gate after such a crazy year. Thank you to all organizers, sponsors and supporters for making this possible. I feel very lucky to be able to do what I am doing.

Fingers crossed for more races very soon!

End of Season

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The remaining races of the FIS Telemark World Cup season have been cancelled due to the corona-virus (COVID-19). The ski resorts and pretty much everything else, have shut down entirely to reduce the spread of this outbreak. That gives time to conclude another year of work, to reflect and look ahead to the next steps.

A few seasons ago an athlete-movement took place, all athletes met to discuss the viewpoint they have, and what they foresee in the future of our sport. This formed an Athlete Working Group comprising of three athletes; myself, Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI) and Matti Lopez (FRA). Since then we have attended FIS Congress events in Greece, Croatia and Switzerland doing our best to represent the athlete viewpoint.

There is an official organisation under FIS (International Ski Federation) called the Athletes Commission, and until very recently this only included athletes from Olympic disciplines. I am very pleased to announce that a further two athletes have been added, myself on behalf of Telemark and another British athlete; Jan Farrell from Speed Skiing. This is important as it gives a voice to athletes across a broader range of disciplines. We can share and exchange our experiences to develop further.

Whilst training and competing, I am also working my way through my BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) qualifications, aiming to achieve the highest level. This season, I have been working for the ESF (Ecole du Ski Francais) in Les Houches which has been an amazing experience.

Whilst the competition circuit has functioned far from ideally, I managed to collect three World Cup podiums exceeding the former tally to hold a new British record. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that supports, from team and personal sponsors, to family, boyfriend, friends, team-mates, coaches, committees, federations, organisers, and many more.

Norway

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Following on from Samoens, France, the tour traveled on to Rjukan, Norway for two Sprint events and one Parallel Sprint.

Day one started well, I was sat in 3rd place after the first run but had a small crash on the second run, ending up in 10th place. Louis Hatchwell skied into 22nd, while Colin Dixon ended up in 23rd position; a personal best for Colin in the Sprint.

Day two was more of a success, I secured my third podium of the season finishing in 3rd place behind my training buddy, Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA) and Amelie Wenger Reymond (SUI). Louis Hatchwell finished 24th and Colin Dixon finished in 28th place.

The final day of competition was the Parallel Sprint. This year the rules are slightly different in that your qualification time is now taken into account for the final result. If you make it to the quarter finals, rather than four athletes finishing in joint 5th place, their qualification time is used to determine who is 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th place. This means that the Parallel Sprint has taken a great step in the right direction and results are easier to follow for the viewing public.

I qualified 4th and then finished in 4th place behind Amelie Wenger Reymond (SUI), Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI), Kaja Bjørnstad Konow (NOR). Coincidentally, Louis Hatchwell qualified and finished in 21st, as did Colin Dixon in 32nd place.

It’s been cool to be mentioned on BBC Ski Sunday each week, who have been following my progress since last season where we filmed a feature together. The show is extremely popular in the UK averaging 1.22 million viewers weekly and it is awesome to see so much British snow sport success.

Unfortunately, the World Cup event in Oberjoch, Germany has been cancelled due to poor weather conditions. I know FIS Telemark are working hard to find a replacement event, all news will be updated here on the main website.

If you wish to catch up on any live-stream footage, you can find that here.

The 2019 World Cup Season

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After Christmas the British team, along with the French, spent time training in La Thuile, Italy. The conditions were amazing and it allowed for some great progress. I was joined by BBC Ski Sunday, who came to film over a few days. This was a really fun and interesting experience where TV presenter, Graham Bell, attempted to telemark in a giant slalom, on a jump and to skate for the first time.

BBC Ski Sunday Presenter Graham Bell with Jasmin Taylor in La Thuile, Italy

The training group with the BBC Ski Sunday team before Christmas

The first World Cup race was also held in La Thuile, it is a super steep slope and has hosted many alpine World Cup events over the years. Graham Bell and the Ski Sunday team turned up again, and Graham actually fore-ran the Classic event which proved to be quite the challenge. I managed a 2nd place finish, and 4th the day before in the Sprint discipline.

The first World Cup podium of the season in La Thuile. Photo credits and thanks to Luca Nava

The final steep section, possibly the steepest slope of the tour. Photo credits and thanks to Luca Nava

The prize from the first podium. Photo credits and thanks to Sara Mo Vanacht

The first race was the Sprint, followed by the gruelling Classic where Sion Bingham (30th, 26th), Ben (27th, 23rd) and Jack Emsley (DNF, 29th) were also competing. Louis Hatchwell achieved a career best finish of 12th place in the Sprint discipline but unfortunately did not finish (DNF) in the Classic. Jack Harvard Taylor and Tanner Visnick were in the commentary booth. US athlete, Tanner, suffered a serious ankle injury in training just before the first race. This is a real shame because Tanner is an amazing skier, and was showing real form on the slopes.

Team-mate, Louis Hatchwell, in the hot seat waiting for his competitors to finish, he looks quite comfy. Photo credits and thanks to Luca Nava

Meanwhile, the British Championships were hosted by the army in Pralognan-la-Vanoise, France, and from what I have heard they were a real success and well attended. The new overall British Champions are Sissi Compton (British C Team) and Robert Houstoun (British A Team), while Colin Dixon (British B Team) was victorious in the Classic discipline. There were also some great performances from Ben Silva (British C Team), Magnus McIntosh (Magnus had joined us for training in La Thuile), Naila Cardwell (British B Team) and Louis Blyth (Club des Houches).

My team-mates, (L to R) Naila Cardwell, Colin Dixon, Sissi Compton and Ben Silva in Pralognan-la-Vanoise

The British Championship Classic podium: 1st place; Colin Dixon, 2nd place; Robert Houstoun, 3rd place; Louis Blyth

Then the World Cup tour travelled to Pralognan-la-Vanoise where we joined the rest of our team-mates. The first race was the Sprint, I skied clean on the first run taking the lead by over 2 seconds, the second run was very intense but I am proud to have taken my first victory of the season and against Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI) who has proven to be one of the best athletes in snow-sport history. This occurred right before the BBC Ski Sunday program was broadcast to 1 million viewers on mainstream TV, and 80,000 viewers on BBC iPlayer back home in Britain. The support and feedback following the article has been overwhelming.

The opening ceremony in Pralognan-la-Vanoise, France. Photo credits and thanks to Agence Zoom

A team photo after opening ceremony

Louis Hatchwell on course in Pralognan-la-Vanoise. Photo credits and thanks to Agence Zoom

Sion Bingham powering through the run in Pralognan-la-Vanoise. Photo credits and thanks to Agence Zoom

Trying to find the front of my ski in France. Photo credits and thanks to Agence Zoom

The flower ceremony with (L to R) Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI), Jasmin Taylor (GBR), Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI). Photo credits and thanks to Argeline Tan Bouquet

The prize giving ceremony and British national anthem with (L to R) Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI), Jasmin Taylor (GBR), Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI). Photo credits and thanks to Agence Zoom

The French hosted race was a World Cup debut for Ben Silva and Magnus McIntosh where they finished 31st and 29th in the Sprint and 34th and 33rd in the Classic. Sion Bingham finished in 22nd and 21st, Jack Emsley 30th and 32nd, Louis Hatchwell DNF and 22nd, Colin Dixon 27th and 29th, and I finished 4th in the Classic. A great weekend of racing! You can see an article from BBC Sport here.

The winning moment caught on camera. Photo credits and thanks to Colin F Shepherd

We then moved onto the third round of racing in the southern French Alps in Pra-Loup. The event kicked off with a tough Classic, I felt like I was fighting an uphill battle from the very beginning so I was very pleased to walk away with 2nd place and team-mate, Ben Emsley achieved a career best of 23rd position. The following day, the Sprint, I took my fourth podium with a 3rd place, and again Ben achieved another personal best of 20th position. The third and final day of racing was the Parallel Sprint, the first of the season. I finished in 5th after crashing out in the loom against Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI) who went on to take 2nd place, Ben finished in 17th place after racing Theo Sillon (FRA). BBC Sport caught wind of the action again, which you can see here.

Last season there were 21 World Cup races, this season had just 12 although it is a World Championship year, these races are counted separately.

Awaiting the start of the Parallel Sprint in Pra-Loup. Photo credits and thanks to Argeline Tan Bouquet

On the podium in Pra-Loup, France with (L to R) Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI), Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI) and Jasmin Taylor (GBR). Photo credits and thanks to Argeline Tan Bouquet

Following these races in Italy and France, we had a short one week break which I spent back in Les Houches. It was so nice to see my boyfriend, Will, who came to visit and we enjoyed some powder skiing together.

Will being shy, or just looking at how much snow there is…

An amazing view of Mont Blanc from Les Houches, France

Some bad news struck in the form of team-mate, Sissi Compton, getting injured. Sissi broke her ACL whilst training, but everyone is behind her wishing her well. She will be back stronger than ever.

The next round of racing in Oberjoch, Germany kicked off with a Sprint where I finished 3rd, Louis Hatchwell DNF, Alec Dixon 31st and Ben Emsley in 30th place. Then the Parallel Sprint where I qualified in 4th place. I raced Johanna Holzmann (GER) in the semi-finals where I suffered one of the biggest crashes in my career, I had to race the small final with borrowed poles and my training skis because of the damage which had occurred to my equipment. Full of adrenaline, I won the dual against Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA) taking 3rd place. Luckily the German team doctor was on location to treat my arm after the race which had swollen to twice the size. The boys all finished in joint 17th place.

The Sprint podium with (L to R) Johanna Holzmann (GER), Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI), Jasmin Taylor (GBR), Martina Wyss (SUI), Simone Oehrli (SUI). Photo credits and thanks to Stefan Hess

Louis Hatchwell racing in the Parallel Sprint. Photo credits and thanks to Bernhard Krempl

The crowd in Oberjoch, Germany. Photo credits and thanks to Bernhard Krempl

Ben Emsley on course. Photo credits and thanks to Stefan Hess

Jasmin Taylor (GBR) vs. Johanna Holzmann (GER). Photo credits and thanks to Bernhard Krempl

I think it was at this moment I realised that this might hurt… Photo credits and thanks to Bernhard Krempl

Slightly worse for wear… Photo credits and thanks to Guro Helde Kjølseth

The aftermath of the crash… A huge thank you to Sebastian Sinz, the German Team doctor who was on location to generously provide his help and expertise!

The Parallel Sprint podium with (L to R) Johanna Holzmann (GER), Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI), Jasmin Taylor (GBR), Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA). Photo credits and thanks to Bernhard Krempl

Both races were broadcast on mainstream German TV with over 2.5 million viewers on each feature. There was another BBC Sport article published (see here) and a report on the local BBC news channel back home.

Feeling slightly worse for wear, battered and bruised we travelled on to Krvavec, Slovenia for World Cup Finals and the World Junior Championships. There were more junior women, than junior men which is a really positive sign for the sport. Again, we started with the Classic event where I took my final podium of the season, a 3rd place, taking my total to 29 World Cup podiums equalling the British record set by Free-skier, Gilly Curry in 1994. There was an article published by Planet Ski here and one by BBC Sport here. This podium places me 2nd in the World Cup Classic standings, earning me a silver medal. Louis Hatchwell finished in a respectable 20th place.

The race hill in Krvavec, Slovenia

On course in the Classic. Photo credits and thanks to Morten V Eriksen

Louis on course in the Classic. Photo credits and thanks to Morten V Eriksen

The prizes in Slovenia. Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

The World Cup podium earning me a joint British record with Johanna Holzmann (GER) and Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI). Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

A silver medal in the World Cup Classic standings with with Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI) and Johanna Holzmann (GER). Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

Alec and Colin Dixon did not compete in the World Cup Classic, reserving their energy for the World Junior Championships where unfortunately, Alec DNF but Colin placed in 16th position.

Alec racing in Krvavec, Slovenia. Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

Colin on course. Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

Qualifications for the Parallel Sprint were held the next day, picking up too many penalties, I found myself in 8th place. Louis crashed and therefore didn’t qualify; Alec qualified in 32nd and Colin DNF. The following day, Alec finished in joint 17th place and I finished in joint 5th place. In the World Junior Championship Parallel Sprint, Colin finished 17th and Alec in joint 9th place. This 5th place result puts me in 4th in the World Cup Parallel Sprint standings.

(L to R) FIS Chairman; Andrew Clarke, Jasmin Taylor, Coach; Sebastien Mansart. Photo credits and thanks to Argeline Tan Bouquet

The very last day, a Sprint, tensions were running high with overall rankings vulnerable and not yet in the bag. I finished in 4th behind Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI), Johanna Holzmann (GER) and Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA). This 4th place just behind Argeline meant I maintained 2nd in the World Cup Sprint standings, another silver medal. Not only that, I have a new world ranking within the top 3, my goal for the season earning me a bronze medal in the Overall World Cup standings. Great Britain finished 5th in the Nations Cup standings, our joint best result.

A silver medal in the Sprint World Cup standings with Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI) and Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA). Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

A special moment. Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

A silver medal in the Sprint World Cup standings. Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

The Overall World Cup podium earning me a bronze medal with Johanna Holzmann (GER) and Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI) Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

The final day in Krvavec was spent in the commentary booth with Monica Huszcz Delevaux where I watched Alec finish in 16th and Colin in 12th in the World Junior Championship Sprint event. The races were broadcast on Slovenian mainstream TV which is again, hugely beneficial for the sport.

A team photo in Krvavec, Slovenia with (L to R) Colin Dixon, Alec Dixon, Sebastien Mansart, Jasmin Taylor. Photo credits and thanks to Neil Dixon

Still a team photo… Photo credits and thanks to Neil Dixon

At least it was a team photo… Photo credits and thanks to Neil Dixon

Now I return to the UK for a few days rest before travelling back to France for more training in preparation for the World Championships later this season in Rjukan, Norway. As always, thank you to everyone making it possible: boyfriend, family, friends, coaches, team-mates, university, organisers, committees, federations and fellow athletes.

The Olympic Bid

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Following the FIS Congress earlier this year, the International Ski Federation (FIS) voted to put forth various sports (that sit under the FIS) to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Telemark was successful in this vote but was unfortunately not successful at the final hurdle; the IOC stage. The decision took place a few days ago and while the answer was not the one we were hoping for, telemark as a sport is the strongest it has ever been.

The official statement from FIS Telemark

The official statement from FIS Telemark

Prior to the IOC decision, the World Cup athletes headed up a social media campaign which not only raised the profile of our sport, but has shown our unity and that we are a strong force. I spoke with BBC reporter, Nick Hope, leading up to the decision. There was an article published on ‘BBC Sport’ here and ‘BBC Get Inspired’ here.

An article with 'BBC Sport' by Nick Hope

An article with ‘BBC Sport’ by Nick Hope

An article with 'BBC Get Inspired' by Nick Hope

An article with ‘BBC Get Inspired’ by Nick Hope

The story also ran on the BBC World News television channel 7 times throughout the day of the decision. BBC World News has over 378 million viewers per week and over 52 million per day. You can see the report below which includes other international World Cup athletes; Amélie Reymond, Phil Lau and Tobi Muller.

The video below is the version included on the ‘BBC Get Inspired’ news article.

You can read about the FIS sports which did make Olympic inclusion here with an article by ‘Planet Ski’ and how it affects British Ski & Snowboard athletes and disciplines here with their official statements. I believe telemark would bring diversity to the Winter Olympic Games and it remains my dream to one day see telemark make Olympic inclusion. Thank you to everyone that has supported the journey along the way, the job is not done yet.

FIS Congress in Costa Navarino, Greece

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This season was significant for a number of reasons though something I haven’t mentioned until now is the athlete involvement that has taken place. I should imagine it’s obvious that for me, telemark is more than a passion, it has been my main source and measure of personal development, for which I am very grateful.

Corinth Canal, Greece

We saw the Corinth Canal on the way

The FIS Congress in Costa Navarino, Greece

The FIS Congress in Costa Navarino, Greece

Our accommodation

Our accommodation had some nice features…

The beach

The in-resort beach

Enjoying our lunch hour in Costa Navarino, Greece

Enjoying our lunch hour, could be worse…

This year, I attended the FIS Congress in Costa Navarino, Greece with fellow athletes; Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI) and Matti Lopez (FRA). We went there to communicate and represent the athlete viewpoint from athlete-centred meetings conducted within the winter season. The FIS Telemark Committee were polite and receptive, it was an extremely positive week which has taught me so much about the governance of our sport.

While we were there, the International Ski Federation (FIS) voted to put forth various sports (that sit under the FIS) to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Telemark was successful in this vote and the next stage continues in June later this year. Whether or not we become an Olympic sport, this is still a significant step in our sporting development.

This is the official statement from FIS Telemark: “We’re delighted to announce that our proposal for Telemark Parallel Sprint and Team Parallel Sprint to be included in a proposal to the IOC has been approved by the FIS. The next stage is the IOC vote in June.”

Matti Lopez (Athlete Representative, FRA), Beatrice Zimmermann (Athlete Representative, SUI), Andrew Clarke (FIS Telemark Committee Chairman, GBR), Jasmin Taylor (Athlete Representative, GBR), HP Birchler (FIS Telemark Committee, SUI), Neil Dixon (FIS Telemark Committee Representative, FRA)

Matti Lopez (Athlete Representative, FRA), Beatrice Zimmermann (Athlete Representative, SUI), Andrew Clarke (FIS Telemark Committee Chairman, GBR), Jasmin Taylor (Athlete Representative, GBR), HP Birchler (FIS Telemark Committee, SUI), Neil Dixon (FIS Telemark Committee Representative, FRA)

You can easily following this movement on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by tracking the FIS Telemark social media account and hashtags.

#FISTelemark #MakeTelemarkOlympic

An amazing telemark family, long may it last and grow. It would be amazing to see telemark make it all the way to the Winter Olympic Games, to think it could now be a reality is so exciting. Please follow the story and spread the message far and wide.

The Final World Cups

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We arrived in Rjukan, Norway for a training day prior to the Norwegian round of World Cup racing. The conditions were superb and the set up was as perfect as ever. Rjukan is the location for the World Championships next year so it very much felt like a warm up in preparation. It was just myself and Robbie Houstoun competing from Great Britain and the racing kicked off with an afternoon Sprint. I finished in 5th and Robbie finished in 37th place.

The scenery in Rjukan, Norway

Gaustatoppen in Rjukan, Norway

The race hill in Rjukan, Norway

The race hill in Rjukan, Norway

The following day was the Parallel Sprint event and after a tricky qualification run I was paired against World Cup winner, Simone Oehrli (SUI). Simone took the win meaning I finished in 9th place. Robbie unfortunately didn’t quite make the qualification cut.

Parallel Sprint in Rjukan, Norway

Buckling up for the Parallel Sprint

Out of the start gate in Parallel Sprint

Out of the start gate in Parallel Sprint

Shaking off the previous day, I took the Parallel Sprint start gate once more though this time with a fresh perspective qualifying in 7th place. I met Gøril Strøm Eriksen (NOR), moving on to the quarter finals where I met Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA). After winning the first two rounds, I raced Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI) in the semi finals and unfortunately missed a gate meeting Guro Helde Kjølseth (NOR) in the small final. I was pleased to finish back on the podium in 3rd place. That race was also broadcast on NRK1, which is a main TV channel in Norway at prime time viewing and a great achievement for the sport.

The podium in Rjukan, Norway

The Parallel Sprint podium in Rjukan, Norway

After the race, we went up to the top of Gaustatoppen and skied powder, it was a real joy and wonderful way to switch off post competition.

Gausatoppen with Canadian telemark team member, Antoine Belanger-Morin and team-mate, Robbie Houstoun

Gausatoppen with Canadian telemark team member, Antoine Belanger-Morin and team-mate, Robbie Houstoun

The summit of Gausatoppen

The summit of Gausatoppen

Amazing snow!

Amazing snow!

The final race day in Rjukan was another Sprint and my 100th World Cup start where I finished on the podium in 3rd place behind Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA) and Johanna Holzmann (GER).

The Sprint podium in Rjukan, Norway

The Sprint podium in Rjukan, Norway

The tour then travelled to Murren, Switzerland for World Cup Finals and the World Junior Championships. The first day of racing was the Team Parallel Sprint where myself, Ben Emsley and Robbie Houstoun raced the formidable Norwegians. I managed to win my race though on the whole, the Norwegians took the victory progressing on to take 3rd place. The junior team; Naila Cardwell, Alec Dixon and Sion Bingham also lost out to Norway.

The scenery in Murren

The scenery in Murren

Team Parallel Sprint in Murren with Ben Emsley and Robbie Houstoun

Team Parallel Sprint in Murren with Ben Emsley and Robbie Houstoun

The final Parallel Sprint was a success for me – I took the win after qualifying in 2nd place. This victory gave me enough World Cup points to finish in 2nd place in the Parallel Sprint overall standings. It was a real rush to compete that day and amazing to feel such a strong team affect with my team-mates cheering from the sides.

The start gate in the Parallel Sprint

The start gate in the Parallel Sprint

On course in Murren

On course in Murren

The Parallel Sprint podium in Murren with Johanna Holzmann (GER) and Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI)

The Parallel Sprint podium in Murren with Johanna Holzmann (GER) and Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI)

Coach Seb was pretty happy with my victory...

Coach Seb was pretty happy with my victory…

The World Junior Championship Parallel Sprint was held the following day where all the British juniors finished in 17th place. Jack Harvard Taylor made his return to the commentary box where I paid him a visit for an interview.

Interview with Jack Harvard Taylor

Interview with Jack Harvard Taylor

The World Junior Championship Classic saw Naila Cardwell finishing in 10th place which is a personal best. The top British male was Sion Bingham who finished in 13th place. The final World Cup Sprint race followed on that afternoon, I finished in 4th place which resulted in 4th place in the Sprint overall World Cup standings. Ben Emsley achieved a career best, finishing in 23rd position. We were joined by Dave Edwards, the current CEO of British Ski & Snowboard, which was a real privilege. Melanie Byrom, the chairman of the Kandahar Ski Club, was also on place to support with many club members.

The GB Telemark Ski Team with British Ski & Snowboard CEO, Dave Edwards

The GB Telemark Ski Team with British Ski & Snowboard CEO, Dave Edwards

The very last day was the Classic, I finished in 6th position which was good enough to finish 3rd in the overall Classic World Cup standings and 4th in the general World Cup standings. Robbie Houstoun finished in the top 20 for the first time with a 19th place. In the World Junior Championship Sprint, Sion Bingham was the top Brit once more finishing in 16th place, followed by Alec Dixon in 21st, Colin Dixon in 23rd and Jack Emsley in 24th place.

My Classic bronze medal in Murren

My tired eyes say it all, happy with my Classic bronze medal in Murren

It has been an incredible season! So proud to have finished with 4 victories across all 3 disciplines, 14 podiums and 2 medals in the overall standings. Thank you to my team, coaches, team-mates, sponsors, supporters, family, friends, federations and committees for making it totally awesome.

The GB Telemark Ski Team

The GB Telemark Ski Team

My first World Cup victory

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After spending Christmas at home I returned to Les Houches for training ahead of the next round of World Cup races. The second event in the calendar was hosted by the British in Pralognan-la-Vanoise, France. The production was very professional and the organisation team put on a great show. The first day of racing was the Sprint, followed by a long, gruelling Classic. I finished in 3rd place on both days. Naila Cardwell finished in 14th and 17th with Sissi Compton forerunning and also doing GB Telemark proud. Colin Dixon finished in 29th and 36th, Colin’s brother; Alec finished in 24th and unfortunately, did not finish (DNF) on the Classic. Sion Bingham has been skiing really well in training, making big improvements, Sion finished with 23rd in the Sprint and a career best of 20th in the Classic. Ben Emsley, one to watch, finished in 30th place on both days. Former British Champion, James French, finished in 17th and 24th, so very respectable show all round. Louis Hatchwell still suffered from injuries and did not race but was on location supporting. Jack Harvard Taylor was again in the commentary box and there was an awesome turn-out of British supporters – including my parents!

L to R, Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA), Johanna Holzmann (GER), Jasmin Taylor (GBR)

L to R, Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA), Johanna Holzmann (GER), Jasmin Taylor (GBR)

Photo courtesy of Pralognan-la-Vanoise Tourist Office

The top three, photo courtesy of Pralognan-la-Vanoise Tourist Office / Yvan Lastes

Photo courtesy of Pralognan-la-Vanoise Tourist Office

Training buddy, Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA) winning her first World Cup. Photo courtesy of Pralognan-la-Vanoise Tourist Office / Yvan Lastes

Some brilliant GB supporters...

Some brilliant GB supporters…

My parents on location in Pralognan-la-Vanoise, France

My parents on location in Pralognan-la-Vanoise, France

The World Cup tour then travelled to the USA for more races in Suicide Six and Sugarbush, Vermont. This meant that Louis Hatchwell and I missed the British Championships which followed on in Pralognan-la-Vanoise. The full results from the championship are listed here. I would like to note how well Sion Bingham and Sissi Compton have done – now the current British Champions. Ben Emsley has also progressed enormously, last year he crashed out in most race runs and now he’s one of the very best in the country.

L to R, Ben Emsley and Sion Bingham

L to R, Ben Emsley and Sion Bingham

The current British Champions, Sissi Compton and Sion Bingham

The current British Champions, Sissi Compton and Sion Bingham

Meanwhile in Suicide Six, I took my first World Cup victory in the Sprint event. I made a bet with my mum, who has never put a pair of ski boots on, that if I won a World Cup, she would learn to ski. The next morning I awoke to this photo…

My mum down at the Suffolk Dry Ski Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk

My mum down at the Suffolk Dry Ski Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk

First World Cup victory

First World Cup victory

L to R Team Captain, Louis Hatchwell, Jasmin Taylor, Team Coach, Sebastien Mansart

L to R, Team Captain; Louis Hatchwell, Jasmin Taylor, Team Coach; Sebastien Mansart

L to R, Johanna Holzmann (GER), Jasmin Taylor (GBR), Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA)

L to R, Johanna Holzmann (GER), Jasmin Taylor (GBR), Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA)

Louis Hatchwell finished in 18th, remarkable considering everything he has had to contend with recently. The following day was the Dual Sprint; I won the qualification run though in the end, finished 3rd behind Johanna Holzmann (GER) and Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA). Louis qualified in 16th place and eventually finished in 9th place.

The start hut in Suicide Six, Vermont

The start hut in Suicide Six, photo courtesy of Sebastien Mansart

Photo courtesy of Herb Swanson

On course in Suicide Six, photo courtesy of Herb Swanson

Photo courtesy of Herb Swanson

The Dual Sprint small final against Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI), photo courtesy of Herb Swanson

Photo courtesy of Herb Swanson

In action, photo courtesy of Herb Swanson

The final racing day in Suicide Six was a Sprint, here I finished in 2nd and with tricky conditions, Louis unfortunately DNF. We had one travel day between races, it was a full on week to say the least. The British teamed up with Czech racer, Kamil Dostal so we were four whilst travelling and sight-seeing. In Sugarbush, I shared an apartment with competitors; Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA) and Goril Strom Eriksen (NOR). Argeline asked me to go to the door and outside waiting for me, was former USA telemark racer Madi McKinstry. I lived with Madi during the 2013 season and it was awesome to see her again – we always have so much fun.

L to R, Sebastien Mansart, Madi McKinstry, Jasmin Taylor

L to R, Sebastien Mansart, Madi McKinstry, Jasmin Taylor

The competition in Sugarbush kicked off with a Classic. Again, I took the victory which means my grandma will attempt to ski as well…

Photo courtesy of NSF Telemark

The Classic in Sugarbush, photo courtesy of NSF Telemark

There was a change in the schedule and it was decided that another Classic would run on day two – it’s very rare to have two Classic races in a row. Here I finished in 3rd place and Louis finished in 19th place. The final day, a Sprint, was the closest race of all, though the closeness was not to my advantage. Despite having the fastest second run, I finished 4th after collecting gate penalties. I finished 2nd in the overall point standings for the American races behind training buddy, Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA).

Photo courtesy of Herb Swanson

A nice moment with Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA), photo courtesy of Herb Swanson

We flew to and from New York so stopped off to be tourists on our way back. During our stay there, I featured on BBC Ski Sunday back at home, in England. That was pretty awesome!

Flat Iron Building with, L to R, Kamil Dostal, Sebastien Mansart, Jasmin Taylor, Louis Hatchwell

The Flatiron building with, L to R, Kamil Dostal, Sebastien Mansart, Jasmin Taylor, Louis Hatchwell

Diner in New York

Diner in New York

Times Square, New York

Times Square, New York with Sebastien Mansart

Making good use of my World Cup prizes in New York City

Making good use of my World Cup prizes in New York City

You can catch up on the live-stream highlights here. Now on to Germany, then Slovenia for more races…

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