A (dumb?) question about telemark technique

ausrandoman

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I have had a couple of private telemark lessons, different instructor, different mountain. They plain flat contradict each other.

Instructor A
Swap leading skis while you are at a diagonal to the fall line. Go through the fall line in the tele stance. Rise, swap leading ski, sink, turn, rise.

Instructor B
Ride at an angle to the fall line in the tele stance, rise, start to turn, transition, sink and continue the turn. At the point when your skis are pointing straight down the fall line, you are upright with neither ski leading.

I found I could do both.

Method A enabled me to use my weight to force the skis around.
Method B needed less effort but felt more like a parallel turn with the bother of having to get up and down in between each turn. In fact I could parallel better than tele method B

So, gurus, please tell me the pros and cons of each method.
 

telecat

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My understanding is that where you commence your turn is indicative of your ability as a tele skiier...transitioning through the entire turn (more like method B) would show more skill than a lead change then turn (A) - maybe I'm misunderstanding but that just looks weird when I play it in my head! Turns (like alpine turns) are made by use of pressure, edging and steering. Chuck in a lead change for tele skiing and you have the whole shebang.

Method C - great for bumps/snappy turns...moving backwards to the turn rather than forwards and taking up more space
 

TeleTom

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Method A - big, high speed, opened up carving turns
Method B - fast, snappy, short radius (left, right, left, right) turns

If you're not going fast enough with method A, you'll full over because there isn;t enough pressure reversing the camber in the ski and giving you a bank of snow or 'rail' to oppose forces with.

That's how i picture myself skiing. i use both, if i understand your description correctly.

there's no one way to tele. the best skiers have a bag full of tricks and their style will change dramatically depending on the situation.

i ski with what ever feels good! (that's why we do it, right?) and the way that feels good is usually the way that looks sexy too (if that concerns you... and lets face it, we all get off on knowing we are making it look sexy, it's part the charm of skiing).
 

TeleTom

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the more i think about it (having just looked through a bunch of my photos of folk turning) the transition point (easy to see from the tracks) is more on the diagonal than pointing down the full line. ie. method A.

Method B sounds a bit weird.
 

Telemark Phat

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Not a dumb question, just an indication of how technique is evolving, how different instructors will interpret your skiing differently and unfortunately less than perfect communication amongst Australian Telemark instructors.

Ideally telemark should be a movement and not a static stance i.e. your feet should always be smoothly moving forwards and backwards. This ideal allows you to keep constant pressure on your skis throughout both the turn and the transition. If you have a quick lead change, be it during the transition or during the middle of your turn you will lose pressure and control of your skis, especially the rear ski.

Method A will always involve a loss of pressure in the transition. Your description of Method B will only move the point of pressure loss to the middle of the turn. If you extend Method B by trying to smoothly change leads throughout the turn you'll be better able to maintain constant pressure of the skis throughout both your turns and transitions and ski with more control.

But Method B is a good stepping stone to the ideal of Telemark as a movement rather than a static stance.
 

Ziggy

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Yeah, I was taught A way back when but at the Buller turn-fest the instructor had us doing (or trying to do) B. When he did it, it sure made for the nice seamless flow that TP mentions.
 

Telestrom

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I agree with what TP wrote.

When I'm doing very short fast turns on relatively flat groomed runs, there's pretty much a continuous motion of the feet. Sorta like doing moon walking.
 

telecrag

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The Phatsta has it. Transition is where alot go wrong, and where instability begins. Lifting your weight into transitions usually results (unless you are advanced and doing jump turns, or mucking around) in an unweighted rear foot, bad. Much better when starting out to keep the weight on and use your edges. Keep the skis moving from lead to lead, knees apart (some people drop their rear knee like on a bike to force the edge) using the edges. On steeps I "moonwalk" dropping the rear foot back, everywhere else I drive forward.

Keep that upper body still. Use the legs to unweight if you have to. Dont drop the shoulders, keep your hands in view almost like driving. Weight should be always centred. As to transitioning, I like fall line skiing, so I do it anywhere I like in regards to the fall line.

Its such a new/old sport that style is incredibly varied, but physics dictate how a ski works.

Instructors are definitely better now, and improving all the time, probably a good idea to try a few, even if the messages seem contradictory. Thats my 20cents worth.

Keep on tele on
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Ian

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I like Telemark Phat's explaination.

The various instructors I've had suggested specific exercises for individuals to try which put your body into various unusual positions so you could better 'feel' what you were supposed to be doing.

The extreme 'motorcycle knee' and pressuring the little toe on the rear ski did it for me. I'm sure I wasn't intended to ski like that all the time but it sure helped me 'feel' what I was supposed to be doing.

Of course then you have to learn how to modify that for all the different kinds of snow and how to swap between them in a fraction of a second in the variable conditions that prevail backcountry.
 

Telemark Phat

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Telecrag, the problem isn't so much with individual Telemark instructors, rather the problem is due to there being so few of us. For most of us our training only consists of a "Recall" examination every two years. In comparison Alpine and Snowboard instructors recieve training throughout each season and are much more likley to be up to date.

The "Gorilla Stance" can be usefull for helping people learn how to edge effectively with their rear ski, but you will ski even more effectivley if you can edge just as much with the front ski as well. If you have your front ski you might as well use it.

Graham was back at Perisher this winter. I'm not sure where he will be next winter though. Graham, like many of us is working on keeping the amount of angulation of both skis the same these days.
 

telecrag

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TP I had two lessons this year with two intsructors. I thought they were both excellent, but I appreciated their slightly different teaching styles. Thats why I think its good to get intsruction from more than one instructor. It is probably the same with Alpine and Boarding.

From my experience this year I think its just going to get better, all we need now is for people to get some lessons! I really dont understand why so many people think you have to figure it out for yourself (like many of us had to so many years ago!) these days you can pick it up much quicker with quality instruction. And if your like me, with decades of self taught tele behind you, it is still amazing how much you can develop.

Thats another 20cents worth.
 

Ziggy

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Just a digression: in Vic the old Dept of Sport and Rec ski camps at Howman's Gap used to include tele instruction. That was about 16 - 17 years ago.

Still remember Chris H saying forcefully 'don't skid, carve!'. Still learning.
 

Ziggy

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Dunno whether this helps but to add:

In our group clinic at the Vic Telefest, Dave at Buller had us working on a couple of things to achieve what I understand B to be about.

1. Just cruising down a modest slope without trying to turn, to practice lead changes by rising on our toes as the skis swapped position under us and sinking back again. Smoothly, over and over.

2. When finishing a slow turn, to keep the downhill ski forward and try to initiate the next turn keeping it there. That one messed with my mind.

Maybe TP can explain 2. ... we were a group btw who's started the clinic staying low for the lead change and, best I can explain it, kinda trying to steal the lead change.
 

Ian

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telecrag said:
..., all we need now is for people to get some lessons! I really dont understand why so many people think you have to figure it out for yourself...

I second that...

I occasionally see people at Charlottes trying to tele, with virtually no weighting on the back leg, so far none I've asked confessed to having had a lesson.
 
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ausrandoman

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Thanks for all your comments.

Now that I have had time to experiment and think about it, I'd like to add a further hypothesis for discussion:

If you are skiing on modern resort tele skis (long enough to reach your eyebrow, 90+ mm wide, smooth base, lots of sidecut) you are going to like method B, because you can get them to turn by weighting the inside edges.

If you are skiing on old style touring skis (long enough to reach your upraised wrist, 70- mm wide, pattern base, minimal side cut) you are going to prefer method A because you need a lot of force to skid them around.
 

TeleTinbum

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One of the beautiful things about tele is there is no 'one' way to do it, everyone has there own style and technique. It is all about feel.

I find it great to get input from different instructors and viewpoints and skier, and trial them all.

But at the end of the day my, height, stance, lead change and weighting are done according to what feels good for me. Which may or may not work for skier B.

definetly not a stupid question.
with method b, to say there is no leading ski, and to be upright pointing down the fall line....sounds like an explanation of gaper style straight line alpine skiing....
the only real time, (whilst teleing) that there should be no lead ski, would be a moment, during lead change, when both skis are unweighted (both heels slightly raised) as they slide past each other.

i always find it interesting when describing teleing to use rise, fall, and upright in the description, i have always thought that ideally my stance would stay around the same, with a slight compression up and down in my legs through the turn, but nothing radical. thoughts?

edit* im sure most people have checked it out, but i always found the little instruction vids, demo's and drills at TTips great reading/watching and thought provoking
 
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telecrag

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TeleTinbum said:
i always find it interesting when describing teleing to use rise, fall, and upright in the description, i have always thought that ideally my stance would stay around the same, with a slight compression up and down in my legs through the turn, but nothing radical. thoughts?

Totally agree, body should not be used to turn, or unweight.

Is Tinbum about going low? I was mucking about the other day, going real low, with my knee resting on the ski, and my bum on my boot, fun, interesting lead changes.
 
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Telemark Phat

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Ziggy your instructor by asking you to delay your lead change until after the transition was trying to get you to maintain pressure on your skis throughout the transition. If you keep pressure on your skis you maintain control over your skis, most skiers who do their lead change only during the transition loose pressure on their skis and temporarily control. Next if you can make slow lead changes throughout your turn you will get even more control over your skis.

TTinbun, are you describing a fast lead change in the transition and holding a fairly static telemark stance throughout the turn?

I think Urmas is good, he has a slightly different angle to telemarking to Australian Instruction, but most of what he says agrees with what we say. What I like most about him is how well he presents to camera, which is a hard thing to do well. This Urmas Video describes method B well.

TCrag I often ask student to turn with their bottoms touching their boot heels to help them get a feeling of just how much pressure they can apply to the rear ski, and how much control that pressure gives them over their rear ski. But you can apply just as much pressure with a taller stance and ski with the same control whilst using less energy.
 
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Ziggy

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Many thanks TP. Appreciated.

By transition I guess you mean crossing the fall line?
 

Telemark Phat

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The transition happens between turns i.e the time between the completion of a left turn and the initiation of a right turn. Of course when skiing well your transition should be one motion but it is a usefull concept. I would describe crossing the fall line as happening in th middle of the turn, or when you are facing straight down the fall line. Clear as mud?
 

Peagreenboat

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...this is still a really useful post!
Can someone kindly enlighten me to the difference between old school and new school techniques. I wasn't getting a clear picture on the net other than differences in weighting and gear.
 
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