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Sondre Norheim
- the
Skiing Pioneer of Telemark

Skis – Bindings – Telemark Turn – Christiania Turn – Slalom

This is a brief description of the equipment and skiing techniques introduced by Sondre and his fellow skiers from Telemark.

The skis
The skis were shorter (about 2 m 40 cm) than other skis used at that time, and narrower in the middle than at the ends. The sidecut made it easier to turn. These skis, made of pine, were called Telemark skis.

Skis made by Sondre in 1870
Photo by Eivind Molde
Courtesy of the Norwegian Ski Adventure Centre

The bindings
The bindings were made of twisted willow from birch-roots, and had both toe-bands and bands around the heel. These sturdy heel bands made it easier to control the ski when turning and jumping. The bindings commonly used at that time had just toe-bands. 

Bindings made by Sondre in 1870
Photo by Eivind Molde
Courtesy of the Norwegian Ski Adventure Centre

The turns
The Telemark turn: this is the turn used in Telemark skiing
. When initiating a turn, the outer ski is placed a little ahead of the other one, as it is moved in the direction you want to turn. The heel of the inner (uphill) ski is lifted, as the knee is bent.

Telemark turn - Telemarker Pia C. Robertsen
Photo by Jon Vidar Bull
Courtesy of Halddetoppen Telemarkslaug, Alta, Norway

The Christiania turn: this is the turn used in alpine skiing and when a ski jumper is making his stop. When turning, the skis are held in a parallel position, with the inner ski a little in front of the outer ski. The turn has been called the Christiania turn, or just Christi, since 1901 (when a set of rules for skiing was made) – it was so called because it was introduced in Christiana (now Oslo) in 1868.

Christiania turn - Norwegian junior skier Markus Nilsen
Photo by Einar Witteveen
Courtesy of the Norwegian Ski Assn.

Slalom
The word slalom (in Norwegian “slalåm”) originated in Telemark as a mix of two local dialect words.
“Sla” means slanting terrain and “låm” means traces in the snow.

In Norway the word is still written “slalåm”, but internationally “slalom” is used because the letter “å” only exists in Scandinavia.

The word slalåm was printed for the first time in 1879. The first slalom competition was held in the Telemark village of Seljord, 18 kilometres east of Morgedal, in 1886.


Copyright © 2002-2012 by Anne-Gry Blikom and Eivind Molde email@sondrenorheim.com
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