Telemark skiers... - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-09-2009   #1
bobbuilds's Avatar
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Telemark skiers...

I was hoping some of you would elaborate on how it's done. the turn, weight placement, how to ski etc. I have noticed some times it looks like alpine with the heel down, but am wondering if that is right? Are there variations? are there times where it will be necessary to lean on the heel?

Derk, if your reading this please drop some knowledge on me, maybe we can get after it, I don't have much but I am learning.


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Old 02-09-2009   #2
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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The heel is down if you are being lazy!

In a nutshell, your downhill ski has the weight on it and stabilizes you. Your uphill foot actually turns you. Think pressure big toe on downhill ski and little toe on uphill ski. It is that simple and your normal ski reflexes are the same as alpine.

Some stand tall, but I am of the deep knee bend variety. easier to get face shots when you are lower!
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Old 02-09-2009   #3
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
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best tip I was given was to imagine driving your pinky toe of your back foot into the snow, pretty much what snowhere said...

and when i start getting squirrely, it's usually because i'm not putting enough weight on my back foot has some pretty good instuctional vids and lots of chatter on the forums
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Old 02-09-2009   #4
Palisade, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
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weight should be even between front and back Jay, it all falls apart when I depend on only the front/downhill ski, which is a natural tendency. Helps me to think about driving my downhill/front heel down...theres also a cartoon/graffic book out there full of good drills and things to think about...
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Old 02-09-2009   #5
Silt, Colorado
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Try getting the book "Allen and Mikes Really Cool Telemark Tips." Its a great book with a little humor. You could probably get it for under $10, well worth it.
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Old 02-09-2009   #6
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B.F.E., Wyoming
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Do it and never go back!
The reason I started was that I got bored snowboarding the little dink of a area we have up here. Tele looked to be a challenge and it was.
Its tough to get started, alot of the movements feel counter-intuitive sometimes. But once you hit powder or even breakable crust it all seems worth it. The joyous feeling of floating feels so natural. Plus like snowhere said its much easier to get face shots. I ski a mainly low to medium stance so when you hit a good patch of snow it just sprays around you.
And if you can't make tele turns you can always make p-turns when you get tired.
Oh and don't get stuck in the NTN hype if you are learning. Too pricey.
Long Live The Duckbill!
Depending on your dimensions I might have a pair of skis that are great learners.
PM if interested...
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Old 02-09-2009   #7
Join Date: Jul 2005
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I greatly appreciate the praise, but I'm no pro. I just taught myself when I was bored, so I'm sure my form is terrible, but I have fun (<-- Best tip anyone can give you; keep it real, no matter what you're doing).

For me, the hardest part transitioning from downhill was dropping the uphill leg back (beyond just bending the knee). When you're standing upright and you've got your weight evenly balanced on both feet, it's hard to drop the leg back when it's still providing a significant amount of support. For this reason, you've got to figure out how to unweight the leg that will be uphill when you are transitioning from one turn to the next. So basically, it goes something like this:

1. As you're switching, unweight leg as it's moving from downhill to uphill ski.

2. Drop leg back and knee down.

3. Smoothly replace this weight on the ski so you are roughly evenly balanced (50-60% downhill ski, 40-50% uphill ski).

All this happens between the transition and before the apex of the turn. The tip that most helped me with this was thinking about tucking the uphill leg behind the downhill leg and squeezing your thighs together. But like I said I'm pretty much self-taught other than 1 or 2 lessons, so take with a grain of salt. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm way off base or if that style is no longer "cool." Peace.

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Old 02-10-2009   #8
ftc, Colorado
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like a wise man named happy gilmore once said its all in the hips. I think this is part of the reason kayakers take to it so well, every transition between turns is kind of like switching from left brace to right brace and vice versa. Also one thing that really helped me was grabing a piece of bamboo and using that instead of poles, great for the balance.
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Old 02-10-2009   #9
Aspen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Apr 2008
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I've got a couple of pointers. Try to keep your torso upright, and don't look at your skis or feet (don't know why, many do). Like alpine, shoulders downhill, but try to touch inside hand to outside knee. Not literally, but really twist the hips. And lastly, make sure your outside ski is ahead of where you would weight it alpine skiing. This will give you proper weight distribution (60/40 approx.)) front to back. If you are skiing with your outside foot right under you, you are doing the fake-a-mark turn which is an alpine weighted turn with a lifted rear heel (super gay). If you face plant a lot this is probably the reason. The tele position is fairly stable front to back. Pole plants are the same as alpine with huge style penalties for double pole plants. For the ultimate gaper tele look, wear a camel back outside your jacket.
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Old 02-11-2009   #10
boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 32
i've been making tele turns for 7 or 8 years now and think i have a pretty good understanding of how it's done and i agree with parts of what everybody has had to say. to simplify...
1- 50 / 50 weight distribution on both skis.
2- your driving with that front ski out in front of hard with your big toe! back foot little toe??? i find it hard to concentrate on two things at once.
3- pole plants is where i see most beginners get confused. i like what somebody said about pole plants are like a kayak brace. make that a low brace where your hand doesn't come back any further than your hip! if the timing seems awkward to you...go pole less or with the bamboo idea.
4- be bouncy and don't try to hold onto a turn for too long. telemarking is hard work....if you are stiff and making big sustained turns you will get tired and your form will suffer.
5- low dip vs. upright is a personal preference. i find that i will lower my center of gravity in bad snow conditions and will stand much more upright when the snow is good.
6- have fun and make lots of face plants! if your falling back or to the side your not trying hard enough!

it's all about the face shots!
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