In the heart of Telemark is Morgedal, the birthplace of modern skiing, thanks to the persistent Sondre Norheim, who in the 19th century perfected his skis and bindings and practiced jumping from his roof. His innovations included bindings that close behind the heel and skis that narrow in the middle to facilitate turning. In 1868, he took off for a 185-km (115-mi) trek to Oslo just to prove it could be done. A hundred years ago skiers used one long pole, held diagonally, much like high-wire artists. Eventually the use of two short poles became widespread, although purists still feel that the one-pole method is the "authentic" way to ski.
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