Catching Up With Tele Skier Kjell Ellefson
Published on 10/29/2012
By Tommy Joyce
Telemark skier Kjell Ellefson sent us his season edit last week and we had a chance to learn a little more about the guy throwing all the sick tricks on free-heel bindings.
Q: What was your favorite trip last season?
A: In late February I travelled to Scandinavia with Telemark Skier to film for their new movie "Lets Go!" We first started in Morgedal, Norway which is the birthplace of modern day skiing, The film crew and the rest of the athletes got to stay right next the cabin where Sondre Norheim (inventor of the modern ski turn/binding) was born. If you don't know him and you're a skier, look him up. It was amazing to visit the region where my family comes from and ski at the same time. I was also surprisingly in Norway at the same time as my brother, who was racing in the Cross Country World Cup, so I got to see him race in the middle of the city in Drammen, Norway. I then went to Sweden for a week for park shoots with Sweden's best telemark skiers. It was such an amazing trip.
Q: Where did you get the best snow / terrain?
A: We all know last year was hard on snow and unfortunately when i was in the Pacific Northwest, it was before all the snow came. It almost seemed like my busy schedule made it so I was accidently avoiding all of the snow fall, so I didn't really get to see much of the soft stuff. But I guess I can't complain because I got to travel and experience so many different places.
Q: How does being a telemarker influence your tricks / creativity on the mountain?
A: Most people think that telemarking is purely for backcountry and is just extra effort when it comes to resort skiing. Telemark has grown so much in terms of technology in the last couple years and now has releasable bindings with brakes that can be used for resort and backcountry skiing, as well as freeride. In terms of park/trick skiing some people see not having a heel piece a disadvantage. However I see it as another way to add difficulty and individuality to my skiing. It takes a certain balance to take off and land switch but it only takes practice. Tricks like tele stance slides on rails and tele butters are just some additions that have been invented.
Q: What are your plans for this season?
A: This season my plans are kind of up in the air as of now. I am most likely heading over to Sweden for an extended period of time for filming, training, and competition. I also plan on competing Telemark Big Air in the Winter Teva Games in Vail. Keeping a healthy balance between film and competition is important to me so I can keep pushing myself.
Q: What's your favorite piece of gear that you use?
A: It's hard to pick just one but I would have to say my bindings I use. The Rottefella NTN Freeride is a fully releasable bindings with brakes and an adjustable tension setting. It is really the first reliable releasable telemark binding. Its great because not only is it safer on the knees, but it also has a quick lever that puts you in tour mode and the heel riser flips up into climbing bar for skinning. It is the future of the telemark binding system for sure.