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Telemark newbie struggles

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hi all
First, thank you to those who chimed in regarding my parallel turns question. I have my gear: Scarpa TX Pro boots, NTN Freedom bindings, and for skis, the shop and instructor both suggested Salomon Q90 177's (I'm 6'1 180 lbs). My Alpine skis are Bonafides and Patrons (I like 'em wide even on hard pack), but the guys suggested slightly narrower and softer to learn telemark on. What I noticed right away was that my stance wants to be in a wedge/snowplow and I have to force the skis to run parallel. When doing parallel turns, the tips want to be closer than the tails. In the telemark turn, they also want to point in a wedge. Turning left isn't too bad, but when turning right my downhill/forward ski wants to turn uphill almost while the back ski is difficult to bring around so it isn't pointing downhill.
I am just wondering if this is part of the learning curve or if there is a misalignment somewhere (I am a bit knock kneed). I have taken a couple of short lessons and am just trying to work on the basics I have learned. Have been out 3 times now. Could it also be the skis? Maybe I need the width I am used to?
I'd appreciate any advice or info you may have. Despite all this, I am loving it and am determined to master it, whatever it takes.

post #2 of 3

a good instructor out to be able to diagnose what is happening--if it is anatomical, equipment, or style.  They often will use a video camera to record you skiing and show you what is happening--much more effective than words.  IMHO, when I was telemarking, I thought I was doing one set of things and the videos showed me I was doing things quite differently than I thought I was.  The wedge you refer to was actually necessary when people skied long skis without sidecut.  one drill to avoid wedges is to stand cross hill, unweight, and let the skis turn parallel downhill before exerting any pressure or posture change.  An old common meme was "steer with the rear" to make sure the rear ski was weighted and turning (leading the turn) parallel with the front (downhill) ski.  the "big toe (downhill), little toe (uphill ski) weighting" was of little use to me but thinking of unweighting the uphill ski and tilting it in to weight the downhill ski helps put both skis on edge; if your stance is wide you may have to actively slide the uphill ski next to the downhill; starting with a tight stance (skis and knees close together) helps avoid the wedge.  Instructors sometimes used to tie the knees toghether (loosely) with band to help the student feel what a tight stance is and what they were doing and to keep students from dropping the rear leg too far back.  In any case, a good PSIA instructor, particularly in weekend clinic with a class of around 7 students is really good--watching others beginners-intermediates helps you understand the dynamics and many people learn by watching, reviewing other peoples videos with instructor critiques is great, as well as viewing your own in the mix.

post #3 of 3
Mike and Allen's really cool telemrk book full of info, and drawings.
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