Telemark Diagnostics 1

AKA, you’ve got 99 problems and the pitch ain’t one.

Most of the problems encountered by the novice free-heeler are directly related to trying to do the wrong thing at the wrong time, and for the wrong reason. Much of this has to do with prior ‘learning’ experiences in alpine skiing.

(Not to say that all new telemark skiers come from alpine skiing, but that is often the trend.)

One crucial aspect of telemark, is providing similar inputs to both skis at the same time. Otherwise, each ski will be doing it’s own thing, and that leads to unpleasant situations.

Granted, it’s a good idea to use both skis effectively in alpine skiing, but the equipment allows a lot of room for error without dope-slapping the athlete. Telemark gear, on the other hand, will quickly let you know that you’ve done something wrong.

The big issue tends to be standing too much on the lead ski, and too much toward the front end of the front ski. This leads either to a spin, followed by falling on one’s face, or sometimes just the falling on the face part, without the spin.

Most of this can be traced back to the following suggestions common to the ski teaching industry:

Get forward.

Weight  on the downhill ski.

Stand on the ball of said foot.

Push your shin into the tongue of the boot of the outside(downhill foot).

Keep your shoulders facing down the fall-line.

Counter with your hips.

Keep your hands in front. Like a zombie looking for work.

And of course the part where your inside foot always wants to be ahead of the outside foot. That reversed lead thing can be a real bugaboo.

Most of this is useless within the confines of alpine skiing, but that doesn’t stop people from teaching it.

So, if you forget all the stuff you think you’re supposed to do while making alpine turns on alpine gear, you’ll resolve most of the difficulty faced in learning to telemark turn.

Go for what feels solid. Treat the skis as equals, regardless of where they are front to back, and the odds are good you’ll find some semblance of peace.