23 Feb 2021
Engineering Brothers Compete in Telemark World Cup
In February 2019, we produced a news item in respect of one of our Aeronautical Engineering students, Alec Dixon, and his brother, Colin, participating in the Telemark World Cup. The two have been training hard since then and have shared with us, their current Telemark experiences:
"My brother Colin and I represent Great Britain at the Telemark World Cup and respectively study Mechanical and Aeronautical engineering. The complications caused by the COVID pandemic has made it difficult for us to prepare for this current winter season. However, we eagerly waited for the opportunity to race in the French leg of the World Cup Circuit.
Telemark is a form of skiing where the athlete must drop the inside knee when making a turn.
The World Cup in Passy-Plaine Joux took place less than a week after the end of our semester 1 examinations. Training on snow immediately started after our exams – of course with adequate PPE. The International Ski Federation (FIS) is the organisation which oversees most winter sport disciplines, their “covid protocol” ensured that all athletes remain safe during these complicated times by imposing masks and social distancing rules throughout the week of racing.
(Image right - Alec during the sprint event)
The entire event consisted of 4 races held over 4 days. Two races in a “sprint” format and two races in a “classic” format. The sprint format incorporates Giant Slalom (GS) turns, for which the athlete can be given a time penalty if the inappropriate Telemark position is performed. Within the GS the athlete will have to complete a jump with a minimal jumping distance (in the case of this world cup the line varied between 25-30 meters). If the athlete does not jump far enough and/or does not land in Telemark position, a time penalty of up to 4 seconds will be added to the athletes race time. At the end of the GS the athlete enters the “loom” which is a highly technical 360° banked turn where a lot of time can be gained or lost. Many impressive moments happen at this point as it pushes the balance of the athlete to the limit.
Once the loom is completed, the final obstacle is a cross country skating section which tends to “finish the racer off”.
Unlike the “sprint” discipline which is in two runs, the classic is simply one run but can double in race distance and in obstacles. The “classic” is typically considered the “queen” of all Telemark disciplines.
The official training day is the day the athletes test the jump and the “loom”. It was also a nice day to catch up with fellow athletes we had not seen since the previous season.
To summarise Colin and my performance, the sprint course was very technical. It was a challenge to make it to the bottom. However we achieved this and managed to reach 24th and 23rd place for Alec, Colin had to skip the first race because of a University presentation and finished 25th in the second sprint.
The classic was equally as technical but was much longer. A second loom and cross country skating section was added to increase the challenge. Sadly the lack of training was evident but still completed in 23rd and 29th place for Colin and 22nd and 27th for Alec.
We are looking to hopefully complete some races towards the end of March, if the COVID situation allows us to do so! In mean time, Colin and I are fully concentrated on our degrees (especially as we are each in our final year)."
The Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering offer their congratulations to Alec and his brother upon their accomplishments - it is recognised that it is no mean feat to compete at World level and undertake a degree at the same time. We wish them all the best in their final year and look forward to hearing about their sporting achievements in the future!
Top Image - Team GB with sponsors Leggett Estate Agent: From Left to Right: Tamsin Beaube (Leggett), Tim Gough, Alec Dixon, Colin Dixon, Sissi Compton, Jaz Taylor (Team GB Athletes), Andrew Morgan (Leggett) Photo by Will Powell