Successful British Championships and Rauris World Cup!

Last week we all returned from Rauris, Austria after a fantastic few weeks of training and racing. The first 2 weeks were the British Championships which were followed directly by the third World Cup of the season. The standard of skiing at the British Championships was the best we have ever seen and really bodes well for the future of British Telemark! We were slightly lacking in snow but the event was still a huge success and a big thank you must be given to the Army and Navy for all their work organising it. Thank you also to the sponsors who gave some fantastic prizes this year: Snow and Rock, POC, Belton Cheese, Reusch, Rossignol and Tog 24. The full results from the British Championships can be found at: AWSA Telemark

We had three Championship races: GS, Sprint and Classic and two Development races: Sprint and Classic. It was great to see the Development racers racing their Classic on the same slope as the Championship race. Congratulations to Jasmin Taylor and James French who are this years British Champions! Anna Morrissey came second in the ladies and Fred Thomas and Jack Harvard Taylor came second and third respectively in the mens.

The new Senior and Development teams were announced at the prizegiving, congratulations to all those selected! Thank you to Chris Wotton who has taken over the role of team coach and was fantastic at spotting new talent and getting everyone involved. The event finished with the mountain race where everyone gets up stupidly early to race up the mountain. A special mention to James French who was leading the race until his skin fell off ha!

New Senior Team:

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Ladies: Jasmin Taylor, Anna Morrissey
Men: Jack Harvard Taylor, James French, Freddy Thomas, Chippy White, Andrew Clarke

New Development Team:
Men: Robert Houstoun, Louis Hatchwell, Ben Atkinson, Danny Johnson, Paddy Armour

Men: Robert Houstoun, Louis Hatchwell, Ben Atkinson, Danny Johnson, Paddy Armour

Jas, Anna, Jack, James, Freddy, Chippy, Andy, Ben, Louis and Robbie competed in the Rauris World Cup. Everyone skied really well, Jas finished 6th in the Sprint and James finished 19th in the Classic. It was impressive to see a couple of the new Development team members getting a top 30 place too! The classic race, set by Urban Simcic, lived up to last years with seven rollers in the skate section taking us all the way to the bottom of the Kreutzboden chair lift..very tiring!
Unfortunately the Slovenian World Cup that was due to follow Rauris has been cancelled due to lack of snow. A few of us are competing at the Inter services Championships in Meribel next week and then Jas and Anna will fly to Steamboat, America to compete in the fourth World Cup.

Jasmin Taylor – Junior World Championships bronze medalist

An excerpt from Jasmin Taylor’s Blog about her recent achievements at the Junior World Championships in Espot, Spain…

World Junior Championship Bronze Medalist!
— March 20, 2012

After having spent the last 5 days in Espot, (Spain) I’m very pleased to announce that I won a Bronze Medal in the Dual Sprint! The first day of racing was the Classic, the longest of the 3 disciplines. I was 3rd Junior, and 7th overall before the plenty’s were added, and after I was shifted to 4th and 9th. I felt disappointed, and kept re-playing the run again and again in my head thinking “if I had just done this..or that”. Later that day, we had a qualifying run for the coming Dual Sprint race the next day. I crashed and thought I’d blown it, turns out I was 5th Junior! They take the top 8, so I was very pleased.


There were 3 competitors that I took on, the first sent me through to the final/small final, so at worst I would finish 4th. Each time you race them twice, so in total the final 4 all skied 6 times. The next round of races I lost, so I knew I was competing in either 3rd or 4th position and I really wanted a medal. In the end, I won my final 2 runs and was chuffed to have won a Bronze! I have been told it’s a first for Great Britain, so I couldn’t be more pleased.

I feel like I should take this opportunity to thank my team-mate and captain, Andrew Clarke, for selecting me to be on the team. Sadly, Espot was his last world cup race and I would like to wish him all the best for the future.

Telemarkers on track Sunday April 18, 2010

Gus Olds, a sports therapist joins the GB Telemark Team for the World Championships as they move from the Spanish Pyrenees to the French Alps. Here’s the second part of his blog for PlanetSKI.

I am an unashamed anatomy geek. As such I found the complex interactions of core and lower body required through the gates and on the jump, followed by the highly co-ordinated upper body effort required on the skate section incredible. There are few sports that require such a concerted effort from almost all major muscle groups in the body.

The final day saw me on the mountain for the last race in the Spanish leg; the classic. I now understand that the word “classic” is the Telemark code for pain!

The race features all of the disciplines of the previous days grueling giant slalom course, but this time there are more gates and a longer skate section, combined with the fact that it was on the last day of a demanding week of competition. This led to a very busy afternoon on the massage couch trying to force lactic acid out of the resulting stiff muscles.

There was just time for a celebratory coffee in the glorious sunshine before driving to Montchavin, in France, for the final leg of the world cup.

In contrast to the quaint Spanish mountain town of Espot, La Plagne was a bustling resort, full of British support. This, combined with the army of ‘Lau fans’ drafted in from Meribel to support the French team, created an atmosphere that led to many a fan, myself included, wondering how this engaging visual spectacle of jump, slalom and skating down the course with ribbons of snow billowing off skis and being illuminated under the floodlights had not yet been included in the winter Olympic program?

I was now the official pole guy.

Should one of the racers break a pole on a gate and require the spare for the skate session, I was to hand it to them. This positioned me right in the thick of the action, just off the wrap, with the other coaches, and meant I could hear all of the technical advice offered to athletes.

I was able to bask in the electric atmosphere created whenever a French racer rocketed toward the finish. It was here that I witnessed perhaps the most profound single embodiment of the Telemark spirit.

I was standing next to the French coach, Denis, as our girl, Sarah, passed through the skating section. He casually leant over and offered his professional opinion on her skating technique that would help her take 3-5 seconds off her skate time. Here was a man paid to make sure that his country are at the top of the table (which more often than not they are!) offering free coaching in order to aid a direct competitor to his athletes. I am sure that there are very few other professional sports where such commitment to the greater good would be displayed so openly.

Turns with the telemarkers – Gus Olds, Thursday April 1, 2010

Gus Olds, a sports physical therapist, joins the GB Telemark Team for the World Cup in the Spanish Pyrenees. He is new to the sport and seems to be full of admiration for the telemarkers.

My first impression was how relaxed the team seemed in each other’s company and how, despite the constant good natured ribbing, there was no evidence of any inflated egos that are so often present in many professional teams that I have worked with.

I wondered if this would this be the case under the pressure and strain of competition.

Telemark is an incredibly physically demanding sport that raises the heart rate to near maximal levels for extended periods of time, whilst producing vast amounts of lactic acid. It also requires agility and flexibility.

I am reasonably fit and I was at my limit on a simple jog up in the mountains, after a day’s work. Yet these athletes compete in these conditions for the whole season.

Race Day

Offering a helping handThe team was up early after a late night of waxing skis; an activity undertaken with a god like reverence and accompanied by many a “fascinating” discussion about what type of wax to use, ironing techniques and soaking times.

Breakfast was wolfed down v. early before heading up the mountain for the first race; the sprint.

The team completed course inspections before taking the lift up to the top of the run.

I waited at the finish and watched the first few competitors complete their run.

The high-speed balancing act that I witnessed made me glad that I had brought my strapping and fracture kit with me, thinking that there would surely be injuries.

I was wrong.

The team each completed a successful run in absolute control (Ed – Oh the archetypal swanlike telemarker) and joined us for lunch in the sun, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they had just performed a series of demanding split lunges, whilst travelling at 40 mph on a pair of razor sharp skis.

Telemark cameraderieLater when we got back the hotel it was my turn to start work, in earnest.

This was the first time I had had to evaluate the athletes from a performance perspective and nearly all had niggling areas of tightness or injuries that would render many a lesser athlete unfit.

However I was told that this is the nature of the sport; vast amounts of lactic acid generated by quads, hamstrings and calves of steel are bound to create havoc if not treated.

I set my goal for the two weeks that I was with the team: reduce the negative effects of lactic acid!

The team all received their first massage, some better than others.

The agonising experience that is having lactic acid ironed out of a tight muscle by an unrelenting elbow or knuckle, is one that I would not wish on my worst enemy, but the team all took it on the chin and it was a indication of their professionalism that they were willing to undergo this ordeal for a few seconds improvement on the next day’s race.

In the next report from Gus Olds we move away from massages to anatomy and from Spain to France. Oh, and more pain.