Originally Posted by Cgrandy
I have little experience with tele, so can some of you "pros" help with a recent discussion I have had with my 15 year old daughter? She is a returning "Ski school assistant" at the local mountain. She can not understand why anyone would tele. Her view is that since DH equipment is the only logical evolution of skill building ;-) why would anyone waste their efforts learning to tele. Now I thought that even a beginning skier might progress well if started on tele gear.
The boots are way more comfortable and the total kit can be much lighter. Simple skills like poling, walking, skating, lift line management, etc could be developed more rapidly with the more natural flexibility of the tele boots (My opinion) Then there is the reality that "bad habits" such as "getting in the back seat" are difficult to develope in tele gear.
I will qualify my position that all "learning" takes place on slopes that do not instill fear. I think tele technique on difficult terrain is more difficult than DH.
Now, all these "expectations" of the benefits of learning on "soft" gear might be a bunch of jumbo, but what do you think?
The biggest reason for switching to tele from alpine at a resort is boredom. Here in the flatlands, tele is a welcome shift for all this short run alpine. Another reason for some is their friends do not know if they are skiing poorly or not. Even an intermediate tele skier looks good to most alpine skiers.
There are pros and cons to Alpine, AT, Tele and Touring. They all have there place and best fit conditions. I like alpine and tele both for different reasons.
Thigh burn in telemark skiing is an indication that something is wrong. Its your bodies way of telling you to change something. Thigh burn should be very minimal if things are right.
Things that will cause thigh burn are:
Improper fore and aft alignment in the boots
Some bindings are more prone to thigh burn than others
Bindings mounted to far to the rear of the skis
Sticky wax or bottoms
Wrong length of poles
Sloppy oversize boots and/or loose bindings.
Any one of these will cause back seat skiing in telemark. BUT the idea that back seat skiing is not part of telemark is a myth. Back seat skiing is common and caused by both equipment and poor technique.
As far as efficiency of turns. Alpine turns on telemark gear are more efficient than telemark turns on telemark gear. Also, alpine turns on telemark gear are superior to telemark turns in both edge grip and edge to edge speed. That would also include steep inclines. I suppose that is why 90+% of my turns on telemark gear are alpine turns. I much prefer alpine turns to telemark turns in bumps on telemark gear. I much prefer alpine turns to telemark turns on steep icy conditions on telemark gear.
If we are rippin steep moguls that are solid blocks of ice the size of VW's with trees and rocks all over the place expect me to be in full alpine mode when on telemark gear.
That said, there is nothing like telemark turns to make a foot of powder seem like three feet of powder. There is also nothing like a good tele turn to really feel the upper and lower body separation feel. Tele carves are also way cool on blue/green groomers.
In Sierra Cement or broken crust, give me a pair of alpine boards.