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Learning to Telemark

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I am a level 6 downhiller and would like to learn a new discipline - telemark skiing. How does this differ in technique and what would be your guess to my learning curve??
Many thanks! :
post #2 of 5
Learning to tele is really easy. Get plastic boots (at least a T2/Veloce), a nice midfat shape ski, a strong binding, and go ski. You will find that you can probably do alpine turns much the same as on your fixed heel set up. Learning the tele position is easy, as is blending it into turns. The most commen error I notice in new tele skiers is the tendency to really exaggerate the lead, and get way too low. Yea, the local hotshot may get super low, but he would be even better if he didn't. Alpine people also tend to not weigh the rear foot enough. Many people actually find tele to be much easier than alpine. This is often do to people never getting alpine boots that really work for them(ie;nice flex, good stance). The free heel turn really helps to take this out of the equation. Remember it's just skiing, and lots of fun. Oh yeah, all great tele skiers can and frequently do lots of parallel turns. Tele is all about using the turn that is best for the situation.
post #3 of 5

I had nordic ski-ed a lot as well as alpined and I took to tele-ing in about three turns. It was great! The Scarpa T1's were super comfy. I loved the freeheel feel of agility and mobility.

Bumps were superfunky cuz none of the moves were hardwired as they are on alpine boards. I felt like a puppet with it's strings cut. But it was fun trying to figure it out.

If you have a nordic background you will most likely find the diagonal stride to be very similar to a tele turn. I'm not sure about the exact mechanical similarities and differences but it enabled me to figure it out quickly. Otherwise you may want to take a lesson so those moves can be pointed out to you.

Obviously, your heel will lift off the trailing ski which, if you have not done it before, will feel strange and maybe unstable. The balance/weight distribution is different from alpine as you lift your heel cuz your trailing foot will be weighted on the ball, the front of the foot while you are weighting the more of the entire length of forward foot. But if you do it right you can create a long stable turning edge using both skis.

Anyway, Spinheli is right...you can ski with alpine turns all day if you want to so just try to get the proper gear and go play.

Have fun!

(Hmmm...now I want to go buy myself a tele setup after recalling how much I liked it. I'll add it to the list.)

post #4 of 5
Went telemarking for the first time last week (downhilling for 30yrs, level 8/9). Went pretty smooth, was comfortable on groomed blues by the end of the day. The biggest difference for me was that while you want to feel pressure on the front cuff of your downhill boot, you can not presurre the tip of the ski or you will end up on your face (never did, but came close a few times). When downhilling, I sometimes pressure the tip to much when in trouble (better than getting in the back seat I guess)but this will not work on tele's.

It was a blast, and will be doing it again!

Have fun..
post #5 of 5
Hi LisaHardt,

Russell Rainey, tele-binding maker, has this advice for alpine skiers seeking to make the switch: hire out a good set of modern gear (plastic telemark boots, shaped skis) and start out just doing the same parallel turns you know how to do. Then when you are feeling confident having a free heel, you can try a telemark turn when you feel like it.

If I had any advice regarding technique:
1. Weight equal on both skis, not focussed on the outside ski;
2. Keep upper body very "square" to the fall line, this brings on a counter-rotation in the hips that lets you weight those skis equally. Some people feel themselves leaning their inside shoulder toward the tip of the outside ski to achieve this.

The learning curve is easy for experts because they know what controls their skiing - they just make the necessary changes and go on. Intermediates can find it hard because they can't break habits - eg weighting the outside ski. The real problem is they don't know what to change, so lessons will help a lot!

Have a look at www.telemarktips.com for much more good advice.

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