My name is Jasmin Taylor, but most people call me “Jaz”. I compete for Great Britain on the FIS Telemark World Cup tour. Since my time as an athlete in Telemark, I have achieved 45 World Cup podiums and 4 World Championship medals which is a British record.
I started skiing on the dry ski slopes in England, and used to compete in the dry ski slope race series before I got spotted by the Director of the British Ski Academy who invited me to train away on snow. I skied on snow for the first time aged 11 but didn’t start training until I was 13 years old. During this time, I was an Alpine skier, and it wasn’t until we had a trial week at the academy (some years later) in Telemark skiing that I got the bug for this niche discipline.
I’ve been so lucky to compete on the FIS Telemark World Cup tour since I was 17 years old. The races are mainly based in Europe and Scandinavia with the occasional trip to the USA every few seasons.
I particularly love competing in America, I get this feeling of being there purely for fun and as a result I tend to ski well and perform better in races. I won my first World Cup in Suicide Six in Vermont, USA.
My first skiing holiday, and first time I skied on snow was in Whistler, Canada. When you learn to ski on a plastic brush covered hill in the UK, it is a huge shock how slippery snow is; I just remember thinking how effortless it was to slide and how much I loved that feeling. It was the most magical place I had ever been.
Throughout my years competing I have had a blast, enjoyed myself and learnt a lot but times are not always easy. When racing is going well, it’s great, but when it doesn’t go well it can be stressful and difficult to find the flow again once you’ve lost it. Telemark is all about trying to keep your balance, and in a lot of ways, it’s like slack-lining. I find it’s a good metaphor for life too. Just stepping off the slack-line, taking a breath and going again can be enough to nail a move the next time… At least this is true if I apply the same experiences I’ve had in ski racing to slack-lining (where I am certainly no expert).
I have enjoyed slack-lining during the summer months, sometimes I go to the park and play about with different positions and exercises, sometimes I use it as a way to warm up for a gym session, or to cool down. I have performed certain exercises assigned by my physiotherapist as a way to “prehab” too. The slack-line is, in my opinion, a great tool for skiers because it throws you into positions where you need to recover your balance (and if you were skiing, you would either recover position or potentially crash out). It’s also a lot of fun, you spend time outside, and it forces the mind to be fully focused and present.
Thank you to Slackline Industries for the awesome kit I received to practice with this summer!
I practice single leg hip hinges, golfers lifts and aeroplanes on an almost daily basis in the gym but trying to achieve these movements on the slackline is still a big challenge!
I feel that slackline is a great cross training exercise for telemark skiers because it challenges your balance in unique ways. It can develop your reactions, and train you to recover your balance quicker.
A few exercises I try to attempt are;
- Walking forwards
- Walking backwards
- Walking sideways in each direction
- Forward walking lunges
- Backward walking lunges
- Hip hinges
- Golfers lifts
Using the kids’ line to support balance whilst getting to grips with these helps a lot! I wouldn’t attempt these exercises if you don’t feel comfortable but hopefully it gives you some ideas for what has helped me in telemark skiing.
Follow Jasmin here.