The Telemark Skiing Experience
The Telemark Skiing Experience
Features and News by Nino Severino
As founder and creator of The Hub I am continually looking for experiences that will develop me as a sporting professional, the journey so far has exceeded all my expectations, and has already, after the first two months introduced me to so many individuals and athletes from the sporting world, locally, nationally and internationally.
I often talk about the privileges and opportunities that I have been so lucky to receive, I can now add to my ever-growing list. I was invited to the British Telemark Skiing Dinner, held at the Cavalry and Guards Club located in Piccadilly, London. This was the first event I attended, officially representing The Hub. During my time in sport, I’ve attended many sporting events, dinners and awards, but I must say, this event was very special for a number of reasons, one of them was its venue, The Cavalry and Guards Club.
As soon as I walked through the very impressive entrance, I felt I was walking into a world of military history, the statues, the wonderful paintings on the wall, the military items on display, it was an incredible welcoming experience, and it only got better as you moved deeper into this historic building, with an impressive staircase taking you to many outstanding rooms on the first floor, including the elegant room where the Dinner was being held.
As I know only too well, sport is divided into two groups, those who have governing bodies that have a lot of money to work with, and those that absolutely do not! Unfortunately, Telemark Skiing falls into the later. But, this organisation, has something that I very rarely experience within governing bodies and the way they operate, British Telemark Skiing possesses an incredible spirit, that drives its massive aspirations for the future, which includes one day becoming an Olympic sport.
This spirit manifested itself in many shapes and forms, not least through the incredible and unique characters that are the beating heart of this sport and its governing body. This might sound a bit strange, but as I met one character after another from the Telemark team, it was like being part of a scene in a film about an incredible sporting story, I realised that the reason this British sport was quickly becoming a world leader, is simply because of the incredible individuals that are creating the solid foundations and driving its performance and reputation forwards and upwards.
Individuals such as Sebastien Mansart, the British Team coach, he is, without doubt one of the best Telemark Skiing coaches in the world, and a very interesting character, conversation with this man, is simply a delight and full of intrigue and surprises. And team Captain, Louis Hatchwell who is the sort of character you want as a leader. Andrew Clarke Telemark Chairman, he set up GB Telemark and was an athlete and team captain himself. And last, but definitely not least was Robbie Houstoun, a military man, through and through, and a current British International Skier, an individual who has brought an unbelievable and unexpected amount of support to British Telemark Skiing.
Its very difficult to put into words, but this cluster of individuals, for me, reflect why Britain is so very successful in so many sports, I got the sense of something very special happening, this group of individuals have such an open mind set, a bravery to take on the massive challenges of running a sporting governing body, with very little finance. And a strength, toughness and resilience surrounded with calmness and style that affected and motivated me in a very special way.
The highlight of the evening was listening to Jasmin Taylor. Jasmine is one of the athletes that flies the sporting flag, high and proud for Ipswich and the region, simply put, she is the best Telemark Skier ever to compete for Great Britain.
Jasmine delivered an incredible speech to the audience, telling us that the British Telemark team base themselves in Hintertux for pre-season on-snow preparation from September to December in the lead up to the first World Cup races. It was interesting to hear that they all work as an impenetrable unit, travelling, cooking, training and skiing together everyday, building massive team camaraderie. From December to April the team are then based in Les Houches, where they hire apartments within the same building complex so they can continue training and operating as a team, in and around all racing events. This was incredible to hear, and I believe why British Telemark Skiing training programmes, and the methods and principles that under pin them, are becoming the envy of the other international teams across the world.
Parents in sport are a massive part of ensuring Britain continues to be a force on the sporting global stage, so it was only right, that Jasmine finished by saluting her parents Karon and Mark, who have supported her through the many years of committed training that have made Jasmine a world beating Telemark Skier. I very much hope, one day, they reach their dream of becoming part of the greatest sporting show on earth, the Olympics!
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