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Photos: Alexander Klun

Tomas Annerby introduced us to a ripping tele skier named Susanna. She comes from Alabama with a banjo on her knee. OK not really.

Descender: Why did you start freeheeling?

Susanna: It was kind of a coincidence that I started freeheeling. I was tired of alpineskiing and wanted a new challenge. That was 1995. I did my studies in Östersund, next to the skiresorts Åre and my homevillage Vemdalen (also called WhoValley). By that time telemark was really popular and about the coolest thing you could do. I had a lot of freeheeling friends, so I tried and I'm still a tele-girl.

D: What are you favorite types of terrain to ski?

S: To ski in different types of terrain, makes the skiing more interesting and you progress much more. You don't always have the opportunity to choose the snow conditions. In Sweden we are not really spoiled with powder skiing. So as a Swede and former racer I kind of like hard slopes and I enjoy the speed. I really enjoy a day of adventures, challenging skiing and hiking in company with good ski friends. The experience of the nature is also important. Of course I love powder skiing, it gives me big smile so it's good for the health.


Engelberg. Photo Alexander Klun

D: What are your favorite resorts to visit?.

S: I've spent a lot of time in France, Switzerland and Italy. I always return to Chamonix, a great town with a big pulse, I like skiing on Aiguille du Midi and over the border to Italy. La Grave in France and Alanya in Italy are my favorite off piste ski resorts. In Sweden it's nice to go skiing in springtime in the very north and the desert at Riksgransen. I've been in North America, Utah, Colorado and Montana though mostly for competition. It would be nice to come back for more freeskiing.

D: Tele girls seem much sexier than alpine girls! Is the secret in the hips?.

S So you think Tele-girls seem sexier than alpine girls, lucky me, I should stick to my Garmont boots then. But I'm not the expert, you should be the one who gives me the answer. I'm eager to know. But If you ask me what I think, The secret is not just in the hip, it's the whole package.

D: What is your telemark gear set-up?

S: Boots: Garmont energi g-fit
Bindings: G3
Skis: Volkl
Goggles, sunglasses and helmet: Cébé
Clothing: Tenson
Pretty often back and knee protection


Riksgransen. Photo Alexander Klun

D: More women are starting to learn tele in the States, how popular is tele among women in Sweden and the rest Europe?

S:There is a lot of women freeheeling in Scandinavia. So except for the cold, dark winters, Sweden should be like paradise for you guys. But the alpine trend is getting bigger for the moment. Many good tele skiers has abandoned their tele skis for the alpine skis. The kids are discovering new upcoming trends and telemark is not really one of them. It is still common in Scandinavia but not exotic like in central Europé. France has not a big, but a very enthusiastic group of tele skiers. In Italy, Cortina and Livigno are big Tele resorts. Engelberg in Switzerland has many tele skiers. But there are not so many practicing girls. Anyway, were ever there are Scandinavians you can see tele skiers.

D: Why haven't you done more shooting with Tomas? ;)

S: Tomas Annerby is a well-known Swedish photographer. But I have just seen Tomas hanging in the bar so far! No... we've been talking serious business and hopefully I will make some good action- images this winter. I'm looking forward to it.

D: Any advice for girls starting to teleski?
Some advice for female teleskiers:
- Skip the gym and start teleskiing instead. Move your hips and go for it.
- Get yourself good gear.
- Have fun and hang around with people you can learn from.
- Girls are not bad skiers, but has often worse self-confidence and less courage than guys. So start to push the limits a bit more. The limits are often in the head.
- Try to ski in terrain you are not used to ski in and you will be a better skier.

D: What are your plans for this season ands beyond?

S: My plan for this winter is to spend 3 month in the Alps. I will have my base camp in Courmayer, Italy. But I will travel around to some favorite ski areas and discover some new. Some spots I would like to visit are The Pyrenes, Corsica, the Dolomites. To go skiing in South America is in the plan. Maybe this fall. Improve my skiing and keep on skiing as long as I think it's fun.


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