Well maybe it’s not all in the back foot but we could just ride around on the front foot all day and call ourselves alpine skiers! It’s a reasonably common mistake that telemarkers make by just riding around on the front foot whilst the back foot just acts as an outrigger at the back making them look like a cool telemarker but not actually being an effective cool telemarker?
So what does it matter if we ride around on the front foot?
A) Your legs will get knackered
B) You will face plant in the bumps
C) You will catch the back ski in powder and face plant
D) You will spin out on ice and face plant at some point
E) You will end up flipping over the front on steeps and taking a huge tumble and then face plant!
F) In the park and pipe you will just face plant!
Is this just a beginers Problem?
No is the simple answer, as we start off in our telemark path to enlitenment we tend to have common faults that stay with us throughout our telemark journey although they maybe very subtle in our performance they are lurking somewhere under the surface ready to pounce on us when we get in tricky situations for example:-
In sticky/lumpy horrible powder the back foot may get caught and taken away from us thus performing headplantusmaximus!
This is a common problem in advanced telemarkers who can perform well on most terrain but when the situation gets a bit sticky the back foot issue comes to the fore. A lot of people get confused at this point and it is common for people to say to me “I’m pressing as hard as I can on the back foot but still keep faceplanting”! And they would be right they are pressing as hard as they can but they are not pressing equally throughout the lead change?
Secret cause to the problem:-
During the lead change as soon as the back foot slides back past the front foot it is common that people go light on the back foot at this point but only for a miniscule amount of time and then they will put the weight back onto the back foot, however this is enough in tricky conditions to cause headplantusmaximus!
The video below shows a classic example of an awesome telemarker but has a light spot moment just before a head plant! time is between 0.24 to 0.31:-
How to fix the problem
Just don’t have a light spot on the back foot!
There are numerous drills to fixing this problem, I’m sure you can work it out however here are a few drills:-
A) Straight line lead changing nice and slow and try and feel for the light spot.
B) Try leathers and skinny skis you need to get the light spot sorted on these babies or you will be in head plant terrain!
C) During tele turns try and concentrate on the back foot crushing the snow into the ground as soon as it separates from the front foot.
Good luck and don’t tell anyone as this is one of the subtle secrets to becoming awesome!!