March 20-29, 1998
The Utah resorts of Snowbird, Alta and Park City will be jammed with the best free-heelers from 13 countries competing in the World Cup telemark finals during the Great American Telemark Festival this week.
There are over 110 expert skiers slated to compete (surprisingly, no Germans have shown up) at the home of the 2002 Winter Olympics. And if organizers here get their way, many will be back in four years to participate in telemark as an Olympic sport.
This Mountain Zone cybercast includes the three final World Cup telemark races: giant slalom, classic and sprint classic. There will also be two other FIS sanctioned telemark races (sprint classic and giant slalom) and a rescheduled classic from a cancelled race in Norway earlier this season.
The festival is also packed with local specialties like Teleworld Bumps at Alta where local free skiing pinheads may make an appearance, dual slalom at Park City, and the Free Heel Fly In where participants can join in the local flavors of the Utah Winter Sports Park for 18 and 38 meter jumps. We'll sprinkle a few of these tidbits in with the rest of our coverage, because it's fun, it's cool, and it's all good.
The festival provides an opportunity to demonstrate the potential of telemark racing to the Olympic Committees. The participation by racers from all over the world in this festival will assist efforts by the United States Telemark Skiing Association (USTSA) and the FIS Telemark Committee in bolstering international enthusiasm for telemark racing.
Free your virtual heel and follow our pinhead reporters through this Mountain Zone cybercast of the festivities.
Michelle Quigley, Mountain Zone Staff