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The Bishop Blog

Telemark Does Not Belong to the Bros: Advice from a Badass Woman

International Women's Day, telemark, women skiing, tele, telemark bindings

It is International Women's Day 2017, and here at Bishop Binding Co. we want to give a shoutout to all the badass women telemark skiers out there. It’s a day to remind the strong women in your life that they don’t need to apologize for being awesome, and as badass ladies on tele skis we need to claim this sport as ours too.


It’s pretty safe to say that everyone knows the badass women alpine skiers of the world: Vonn, Maze, Gut and Shiffrin, who are constantly pushing the limits of speed and strength. Everyone knows freestyle women: Kearny and Dufour-Lapointe, as they expand notions of beauty, grace and gravity.


But where are the badass telemark women of the world?


We are in your backyard. We camp in the parking lot and are hiking up before you’re even making your morning coffee. We are dropping cliffs and taking face shots before you have your boots on. We are smacking gates, hitting rails and dodging trees. And we are still doing it all long after you have packed up your car and are heading home for the day.

women skiing telemark bindings tele International Women's Day

On the slopes, I often get introduced to other people as “the best” or “one of the best female telemark skiers in the United States.” While this is true (I’ve seen the top of a podium or two, or twenty) why can’t they just say, “Oh yeah, see her there? Yeah she’s one of the best telemark skiers in the United States.” Because I am. Don’t say I ski like a girl. I either ski like someone who has practiced and trained for hours, or I ski like someone who hasn't.


My journey to get here was long and it was rough. It has been bruises and tears, sore muscles, lost toenails, broken bones and frostbitten skin. When I was 10, I finally convinced my parents to get me a pair of telemark skis and boots; a 3-pin binding setup and gold old leather lace-ups. While I still have elf-sized feet (6.5), back then there was no hope of finding something small enough. We stuffed the front of the boots with newspaper and socks and off I went. Within two years, I became the founding member of a telemark group at my home mountain that in the past 10 years has produced not only dozens of passionate and talented telemark skiers between the ages of 7 and 20 but also five U.S. National Team telemark skiers. Four are men. One is me.


When I joined the tele world it was a man’s sport: They taught me the joys of going uphill as well as down, how to rip the bumps and kick back a beer at the end of the day, and for that I will always be grateful. But there is no reason that we need to be in that world any more, the great guys that taught me to telemark make up part of the sport, but there is no reason they should own it. If you take a minute to look around you will see the badass women and girls that are teleing all around the world (#girlswhotelemark on instagram is a great place to start) and you should take note because we are the ones who are pushing the sport to go further. We are the ones who are out there during our lunch breaks demoing new equipment and skiing with other people, inspiring them to do what we love.

International Women's Day girlswhotelemark telemark bindings tele gear

The fight to change the industry — the products that are being produced and the way that they are marketed — is a long road, but that doesn't mean that women just have to roll over and accept it. Yes, it will be a long time before I find a women's boot that is stiff and powerful enough for my skiing, so until then I will rock my men's T-Race, the only 75mm boot that is powerful enough to match my Bishops.

 

When you’re asked why you do what you do, don’t say because your boyfriend does it, or your husband. You telemark because you love it and you’re good at it, and it’s okay if people know that. So my advice for the badass telemark ladies out there (from someone who is still trying to figure it out for herself), is to be the boss of your own sport, teach your friend, or sister, or daughter to telemark because it is their sport too. On International Women's day, we hear how women belong in the boardroom and sky-high offices, but hey — we belong on the ski mountain too, dropping knees and turning heads, one tele turn at a time.


I should not be, in fact I refuse to be, defined as a women telemark skier — I am a badass telemark skier, who just happens to be a woman in her free time.

USTSA Telemark Nationals Recap

Bishop Badassador, Sarah Carley recaps the USTSA Telemark Nationals at Crotched Mountain, NH earlier this month

The first day, Thursday was a training day. Friday we started off with two classics, I opened up on the podium in third and then fourth for the second race. Saturday was a two run sprint classic -- after the first run I was in third and for the second run I jumped big, fell, and ended up in fifth.

Sunday was a long day, I ran two qualifying runs in the morning and qualified for the parallel in second place. Having the upper hand through most of the bracket, I won my race in the bracket of 8, and then had a narrow and very contentious win in the bracket of 4 -- making it to the finals.

I raced in the final and ended up falling on the jump (go big or go home!), but I knew I just needed a finish to end up in second for the day, so I hiked and skied the rest. So overall I had a second, third, fourth and fifth place finish -- and taking my best two results to calculate National Champion, I ended up third overall by a narrow margin in either direction. 

Congrats to Sarah for a strong finish in New Hampshire! And to Bishop supporter and athlete, Lucy Sackbauer for picking up a big win at the Big Mountain Tele Fest in Targhee the same weekend. GO Team Bishop!