The U.S. Telemark National Championships return to Whitefish Mountain Resort March 18-21. Kelsey Schmid-Sommer, four-time women's champion, will be defending her title.

Schmid-Sommer has won the overall championship for the past four consecutive national championships. Drew Hauser, the 2009 Junior World Champion and 2009 U.S. National Champion, will also return to defend his title. Reid Sabin, two-time World Champion and the first American to win a World Cup, has been training to re-enter the race scene for the event.

The four-day event takes place on Hibernation Run, which bounds through demanding terrain to challenge telemark racers while providing easy spectating. The Don K Chevrolet Giant Slalom is scheduled for March 18 with its two run format totaling time and adding penalties for gates missed or passed out of a telemark stance.

The Karbon Classic, the downhill of telemark racing, runs March 19 down a course that bounces through giant slalom gates, a jump, a 360-degree turn, and a Nordic skate section. "What's cool is that all of the action is visible from the bottom of Ed's run," Linda Hobbs, event organizer for the U.S. Telemark National Championships, told OnTheSnow.com.

The final two events consist of races with two-run formats. The Big Sky Brewing Sprint Classic, a shorter version of the Classic, happens March 20, and the Don K Subaru Dual Slalom, a head to head competition, is scheduled for March 21.

The U.S.Telemark National Championships are different from other championship events. Elite divisions vie for titles, but other classes requiring no previous competition experience are open to juniors, citizen racers, and masters. "Sometimes we get people we've never heard of before who just want to come try out a race," said Hobbs.

Whitefish Mountain Resort has a long tradition of supporting telemark racing. The resort last held the national championships in 2006. Earlier in the decade, the resort hosted a World Cup and two World Championships at a time when most of the U.S. National Team lived locally and trained at the resort.

"We're really glad to be bringing the U.S. Telemark National Championships back to the mountain that has supported telemark racing for years," added Hobbs. 

More information. Or call 406-862-2910.