/ Telemark Turns
I can ski on normal downhill fixed bindings, and touring skis with cables and heel clamps, and have often fancied trying to learn to telemark.
I'm a reasonable downhill skier and did a 2 hour lesson on telemark kit a few years back.
By the end of that lesson I could link tele turns on easy (blue run) slopes. On steeper stuff I reverted back to skiing parallel. To me it seemed quite easy to pick up the basics but would require a lot of practice to get good at it. I spotted my instructor doing tricks in the park on tele kit later that day and have seen someone going backwards down Le Face (a black run) in Val d'Isere. Done well it looks damn good!
My legs were more trashed after a day on tele kit than they've ever been on downhill kit.
> I'm a reasonable downhill skier and did a 2 hour lesson on telemark kit a few years back.
> By the end of that lesson I could link tele turns on easy (blue run) slopes. On steeper stuff I reverted back to skiing parallel. To me it seemed quite easy to pick up the basics but would require a lot of practice to get good at it.
> My legs were more trashed after a day on tele kit than they've ever been on downhill kit.
same here, alot of the tele 'rules' go quite against the 'rules' of downhill so takes a while to tune in. After that it came to me ok? Considering I only did an afternoon (1 half hr lesson then a few hrs playing). Though never quite worked out what if any benefit it has other than looking cool when you can do it and looking an idiot when you are learning!
Funnily enough the 'boots are more comfy' benefit was shot to pieces as the tele boots I hired were the most painful things I have EVER worn
I found it very hard, even though I am a goodish-intermediate skier (with 30+ years experience) on downhill skis. Telemark skis felt somewhat like cross-country skis with 1960's downhill bindings - i.e., very little control! I made the mistake of doing a two-day backcountry trip in the Canadian Rockies in the depths of winter, with a 20-lb sack on my back, without any practice beforehand on telemark skis. Of course, in really deep powder one can't tell what the skis are really doing, or what one is going wrong. I ended up falling on almost every bend going downhill, and it was a real pain to get up after each fall because the snow was very deep powder - so this required taking off the sack, plunging a ski pole down into the snow up to the shoulder, standing up, getting snow out of goggles, cleaning glasses...).
What I should have done, and would recommend to you, is to practice using telemark skis on groomed downhill pistes for several days until you have the basics down. Telemark skiing is pretty different from both ordinary downhill skiing and cross-country skiing. Trying it out in deep powder in the back-country is not the way to go.
Maybe others have more natural talent on telemark skis! Perhaps your experience with touring skis will stand you in good stead.
It would most likely be easier to learn on piste tele gear rather than on Nordic touring gear. A common problem for Alpine skiers converting to tele is the "fakemark", where your skis are in tele position but all your weight is on the outside ski, instead of more-or-less evenly distributed.
> It would most likely be easier to learn on piste tele gear rather than on Nordic touring gear. A common problem for Alpine skiers converting to tele is the "fakemark", where your skis are in tele position but all your weight is on the outside ski, instead of more-or-less evenly distributed.
Thats the bit that got me for a while, then I solved it, then I got tired and it came back!
The kit I hired was modern tele kit (i.e. plastic boots with a bendy foot and 80cm waist twin tip skis). I think modern kit is a **lot** easier than skinny skis/leather boots etc as it's easier to balance.
I've tried leather boots/skinny skis too and never succeeded in linking tele turns, in fact I could only turn one direction and remain upright, attempting to turn the other way just resulted in comedy fall after fall.
Same as some above, easy to learn the basics, hard to master. I did a day, and wondered what the point is. I talked to a French ski guide who was well into Tele and he said that you tend to start learning because you're bored skiing the same sloped every day but went on to say that when to get good, the feeling of telemarking fresh powder is unrivalled freedom and exhileration.
Telemarkin' is stupid, just so you know.
And no, can't do it with alpine binders... or even alpine touring binders. You'll need telemark binders and boots... skis, well those can stay the same.
On nice even slopes fake-a-marking is easy, and for a competent alpine skier it takes less than few hours to achieve. Getting actual telemarking tuned might take a bit longer, it really depends.
But worth having a lesson (or at least skiing with a good telemarker for a while)
Best advise I got and was to think "Big toe Little Toe"
In a turn, you need the weight, or pressure, on your inside little toe, and outside big toe to pull you round. The weighting/un-weighting is the bit I struggle with.
This is a good reference book:
I have only done it on skinny old school kit with leather boots. It was very light kit, but it was desperate off piste.
I found by the end of the day i was re- writing the mantra from "Free the Heel and Free the Mind" to "Fix the Heel and Fix the Problem".
This experienceon lod kit was a world away from modern kit, but then with that weight is added and part of the benifit lost (other than looking cool of course).
Only ever been skiing once, for a week.
Took a couple of days to learn, but i did also have one of Norways best Telemarkers as a teacher.
Today i would probably fall right on my face before even getting up to a speed where i could turn.
I know a man who can. And switch too.
Good way of wrecking your bindings if you aren't competent, though!
> I have only done it on skinny old school kit with leather boots. It was very light kit, but it was desperate off piste.
Me too, old 3 pin bindings and nordic skinny skis. Usually make the effort to try every winter but don't even come close.
Good at skiing big zig-zags across a bearing tho :)
> Good way of wrecking your bindings if you aren't competent, though!
I doubt you'd be able to do this without being competent.
> I know a man who can. And switch too.
To the road?
I've tele-ed last 13yrs after alpine for 15 before.
Good quality modern kit makes learning easier than skinny old skool stuff.
Maybe a lesson or 2? I am self taught and although advanced now I'm sure i picked up some bad habits.
Always better on good quality snow (not icey hard pack) and untouchable in powder.
Quads and knees take a pounding until you get the rythmn and fine tune edge/foot control.
PS: "How many tele markers does it take to change a lightbulb?...10...1 to do it and 9 to say "Nice turns dude!"
if you fancy it than go for it.
Modern kit does make it easier, but then most modern stuff is targeting downhill and fast. Is it what you want?
Why not hire a set and get on pisted slopes to get a hang for it before then heading out with more nordic style?
It is physically more demanding, but technically not that much more, than normal downhill?
It will stretch you, you will curse them planks when the snow gets crusty... but deep down if that's what you fancy doing you'll never look back!
Do not believe a word that us ukc pseudo telemarkers say, get out there and enjoy! And we do ever cross paths I'll teach you how to fall efficiently (most important skill for a free-heeler!).
The basic problem I have is my overall competence as a skier, not as a telemark skier. I am way too rigid and need to flex and press a lot more, true for both alpine turns and tele turns.
Many people, including me seem to suffer from the outside leg almost bracing and the inside leg basically trailing, like the guy in the split board video above. Back foot pressure! One day I will nail it!
I am actually skiing on alpine gear this weekend so it will be interesting to see if it's much easier for parallel.
> I have often fancied trying to learn to telemark.
Hi, in four words - "Paul Parker, Freeheel Skiing."
Thanks all. I can actually ski quite well off piste using parallel technique with a 40lb pack, and did the Haute Route using fexi cable bindings in the 1960's. Rigid heel for downhill, flexible heel for skinning up hill.
Then I didn't do it for about 25 years before getting back into occasional off piste on skinny GS skis, which are very hard work!!
I've only just converted from 2m plus skinny GS downhill skis on piste (they proved too long in moguls) and have only recently started skiing on carvers which although easier aren't as stable at speed on piste, but easier off piste than my old GS ones. I've yet to try modern off piste planks.
It's just that telemark turning, done well looks so graceful, but I'm worried if my old knees will cope?
The thing is there is no such thing as "telemark skiing". It's all skiing and the fundamentals are the same. Telemark is just a turn which requires different gear.
> The thing is there is no such thing as "telemark skiing".
correct; but Nordic skiing, as apposed to alpine
eeer - Freeheel Skiing?
So what about if I'm doing telemark turns at a Nordic alpine ski resort? Indeed, most of my ski mountaineering, on tele gear, I do in the Lyngen Alps! OMG! - Am I nordic alpine telemark ski mountaineering? I'm SO confused!
You wouldn't want to see my new ski-thingies, they're sort of telemark snowshoes for going cross country on. HELP! My brain is going to explode!
(basically ski mountaineering on freeheel gear)
Will be teaching my 11 year old to telemark next week- could be interesting- the worry is that he will soon be better / faster than me...dammmmmmm
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