Telemark? Is it easy? some people would say it’s a life time of learning, some would say you have to use the positive energy of zen…………………… yeah a load of crap!
Like any sport you have to put in the time to get the rewards, some people maybe quicker learners because:-
a) they have good cordination and balance b) they do a lot of sport c) they are not scared of falling on there arse d) they have the right equipment! e) they have the right technical input/good instruction f) and they are just damn right jammy gits!
So where do you start?
Get yourself a decent setup, leather boots and skinny skis are ok if you have 150 years free to learn and no other life outside telemark, however for those of us that like to drink beer and make things easy for ourselves then plastic boots and proper skis are the way forward:-
You Don’t have to go this beefy but if your a control freak go for it!
So now you’ve got the kit, what next?
Usually lots of falling over, but hey that’s telemark if you don’t like falling go back to your alpine ski’s.
Most beginer telemarker’s have come from an alpine background and we are going to base these tips on people that can alpine ski reasonably well.
First thing to do is to have a ski and see how easy it is to ski alpine on these babies, most people that try a freeheel set up for the first time are amazed that you can ski “normally” on them!
There is a couple of ways to tackle the telemark turn but the main thing is to get a good solid “Telemark Power Stance”, the telemark turn is a two footed turn or stance this means that you need to weight/pressure the front and back ski evenly throughout the turn.
A common mistake by alpine converters is to ski the front foot and just lift the heel of the back foot and not have any weight/pressure on it.
An Alpine skier just lifting the heel to try form a telemark stance this is unstable
A much better stance both skis are equally weighted/pressured forming a solid “Telemark Power Stance”
A good drill is to practice straight line telemark lead changes:-
Telemark lead change involves simply going from one telemark stance to another this involves lots of up and down movement flexing the leg joints but keeping equal weight on both feet, you may have a wobble on the rear ski this just means that there is an unequal weight issue, try just focusing on the rear ski if you are a competent alpine skier as the front foot will take care of it’s self. Try and squeeze the rear ball of the foot into the snow, a few tips:-
a) Push the front foot forward and push the rear foot back
b) Keep your body upright
c) Equal weight over both feet
d) keep your body or mass between your feet as they go forward and backwards
e) Keep moving no pauses or stopping (keep it flowing)
Once you’ve mastered straight running lead changing then it’s time to put some rotation into it, do exactly the same as straight running lead change but add a small amount of turning, not too much, keep the skis flat ish to start off with to avoid too much edge.
As you turn to the left it’s the left foot that goes back, start the turn as you begin to drop into your tele stance.
To get this right involves a lot of practice but this will give you a great grounding to getting your telemark up and running.
A gaggle of Telemarkers trying to learn, they are only smiling as the de-brief is in the Doo Bar!
remember enjoy it!