Jasmin Taylor raising awareness of Telemark through her performances

“I always love coming back to the plastic,” explained Jasmin Taylor, Britain’s most successful Telemark racer, “as it reminds you of why you started in the first place.” There is no doubt that Taylor wears her heart on her sleeve and is a shining example of if you want something, you work for it and work how to overcome the obstacles that try and stop you in reaching your goal.

Taylor found her niche after competing first in Alpine and then Ski Cross before discovering Telemark. It is in this discipline that she has excelled all the way up to the World Cup where she is one of the leading women racing.

Taylor has not forgotten her roots, she returns to coach at Suffolk Vikings when she can, “It is great to see that there is such an appetite for dry slope skiing and that people are skiing so well,” she explained after helping out at the recent ERSA regional race.

Last season for many sports was very difficult. Telemark was no different. When competing against other sports for slope time, coverage time and attendance time, Telemark made a brave call in having their complete World Cup season in two blocks. What did Taylor think of this plan?

“I quite liked having two blocks as you can have a bit of a reset but when you are in the block it is exhausting. We were lucky to race and they did group more races in each region to make up race day numbers.” Taylor continued that blocks of four and five days of competition was really tiring.

Logistics of the season aside, Taylor admits that she did not have the season she had hoped for, “It was not exactly where I wanted to be but I did have one of two good results that I feel proud of.”

Taylor is quite a deep thinker and likes to look at how her life is going and when the results come it, no matter what the result, she likes to pause: “Whatever you are dealing with in life, it manifests in the racing or the results of your skiing somewhere so it forces you to have a closer look at yourself and see where to go next.”

It is this outlook on life that saw her transition from alpine racing with the British Ski Academy to trying Ski Cross and then finding her home in Telemark. It helped that one of the leading icons of Telemark and who ended up being her coach, Sebastien Mansart, lived in Les Houches when she was at the BSA.

Taylor looks back at last season and when asked what she feels was the highlight of last season, she thinks and then explains that her runners up spot in the World Cup in Germany in the Classic discipline was the highlight: “This was one of my best performances in the Classic event.”

“The Classic is one very long run and it is difficult to pace yourself and pick the right momentum. It takes a lot of time to get the right experience to know how to do it right,” Taylor explained.

Like many top athletes, Taylor also admits that there were other runs that she was very happy with but putting it all together for a race result was hard.

With the various different disciplines in Telemark, Taylor is now more in tune with the Classic discipline rather that the head to head or Sprint races. As one of the leading racers on the tour, the rising athletes have nothing to lose in racing against the higher ranked racers, Taylor explained. The more experienced racers are thinking a few runs ahead about which course to choose and so strategy comes into play for the more experienced racers.

“Fitness and experience comes into play and you have more control in the Classic,” Taylor explained.

With the three elements of Telemark, the giant slalom, the jump and the skate, Taylor recognises that her skate and jump “are normally pretty good,” and sometimes she just does not know why her skiing is not there. Having said this, she does feel that she is one of the racers that the younger, less experienced racers look to, to improve their own technique. Quite a compliment for an athlete that started skiing on dry slope.

Taylor is not the first athlete to compete on the World Cup for Great Britain in Telemark but she has worked tirelessly to raise the image and profile of the sport. Battling to get Telemark into the Olympics, still yet to be achieved, but working to expand the appeal of not just a sport dominated by the military in the UK through social media.

It was this dedication that appealed to Maier Sports to support GB Telemark last season and kit the team out. Taylor is a model professional for the brand and they have been delighted with the association.

Taylor is keen to explain that it is not just her but that there is a whole team involved in bringing the sport forward. With her success it has encouraged more athletes to take park and as the saying goes, success brings success. Covid and Brexit will prove to be challenges Taylor believes but “the generosity of sponsors and people helping and supporting, just being positive and kind all helps. It is not always easy. Although it is enjoyable, it is not always easy.”

Telemark has certainly evolved since Taylor started in the sport. Being one of the smaller elements of FIS has allowed the sport to maybe be a little more innovative in a more open way. It is certainly not tied to the media contracts that Alpine and Nordic are restricted by. This has allowed them to try and appeal to more people through free to access live streams of their events.

When asked what her goals for the future are, Taylor has dropped making definitive goals and has bought into the Telemark cliche of “Free the heel, free the mind.”

Taylor is a strong believer in being here to enjoy her skiing and explains that “the goal is to get back to enjoying it, to see really what I can do performance wise, I believe on my day, I can do it.”

When she needed a support network in place, Taylor approached the University of Suffolk “by offering myself up as a kind of guinea pig for any scientific type testing that they wanted to do with any physical type exams. Off the back of this I had a strength and conditioning coach, a psychologist, a physiologist and I managed to build my own programme through a different route to many other athletes.”

Taylor is proactive in when she encounters a blockage in the programme to look to how she can get round it rather than complain.

It is the follow-on benefits of this link with the University of Suffolk that Taylor is very grateful of. “Dr Emmanouil Georgiadis, my sports psychologist has honestly changed my life and any athlete at that level understands that it is everything to keep your head on straight. He has put me on with studying and it is through that that I was able to do a degree part-time. It is credit to these guys that I have managed to study and compete to the highest level I possibly can.”

Taylor is a sponsors dream. She talks positively; she works tirelessly and wants to help others on their competitive paths. She is looking for positives all the time.

Taylor ends our chat with “British skiing has a lot to offer and it is an exciting time to be a part of it all.”

We agree with Jasmin Taylor!

GB Telemark squad announced Link to GB Snowsport Website

Headline picture by Guillaume Borga

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