The speed suits and NTN do look a bit out there but that's the direction racing goes. Before the Olympics were in Utah there was a vote at the Telemark World Championships as to whether wider skis with sidecut would be allowed. At the time most were competing with cable bindings but everyone was on 3 pin before that, particularly because of the brutal skate. At the World's at Whistler some were still in leather boots and the jump was over 60'. More than a decade before terrain parks were invented the Canadian Nationals at Silverstar had a jump well over 90' to a hidden gate set on a fall away turn. Some guy on alpine gear poached it, thinking it was "just for telemarkers". We saw the patrol take him out (unconscious) on a sled on our way to the start gate.
The races are (or were?) unbelievably difficult. The alpine coaches at Whistler loved it, saying it was like the downhill used to be (desperate). The telemarkers at the Utah World's were all former National team skiers from alpine, cross-country, mogul and ski jumping. Courses are partly anaerobic so collapsing at the finish line or throwing up was not unusual. I highly recommend anyone with solid skills enter a Classic, even if NTN makes it easier (not sure if you can enter the same races anymore mind you. They just used to move one gate and send you down the World Cup race course after 50 guys rutted it up).