Let’s get something straight: There’s not really a right or wrong way to make a telemark turn. Keep that caveat in mind when you have the urge to scream something about me being a blaspheming jackass while you’re reading this. The turn is a dynamic and fickle mistress that’s adaptable to terrain, conditions and personality. Whether you get wicked low and smell like patchouli oil spilled on the floor of a brothel or you fancy skin suits and precise edge bevels, there’s a unique way the turn will fit your needs. So we’re not going to get too technical here; instead we’ll focus on a few concrete concepts that apply to almost anyone.
If you’re a beginner just finding your way to the enlightened freeheel realm, these tips can help speed up your learning curve without a bunch of PSIA-inspired, brain-busting bull$%!^. Or if you’re a telemark Zoolander with an aversion to going left, these basics will transform you into an ambi-turning legend. Best of all, you only really have to remember two things:
1. A strong telemark stance is all that really matters.
Capable telemark skiing lives and dies in a powerful telemark stance. There’s more than one way to do it, but the key lies in being able to quickly get into your comfortable telemark stance and drive down the fall line. I’m not too dogmatic on what a telemark stance looks like, but there are a few things I think help out a lot.
A good drill is to traverse a relatively flat groomer and while getting into and out of your telemark stance on one side. Go from the right side of the run to the left while practicing your left turn stance (right foot forward). Go all the way across the run smoothly engaging and releasing from your strong telemark stance. Turn and repeat on the opposite side. Drop your poles so you don’t have anything to cheat with, and just focus on achieving a good solid base in one motion.
2. Ski the fall line.
Skiing the fall line makes everything a lot easier. Usually when you feel like you’re fighting your turns, you’re doing something to cross up the fall line, and it’s straight up harshing your mellow.
Example of Garbage Techinque for Garbage Skiing:
Example of Strong Fall Line $%!^:
There’s your rocket surgery. Keep you stance compact. Get into your stance quickly. Keep your upper body and turns moving down the fall line. Now get out to a demo day, a freeheel clinic or any other event where you can show folks what you’re made of.
Here's how to tele in Whistler Blackcomb, plus where to eat, sleep, and après.
Between the recent Friends of CAIC Benefit Bash and this new snowfall finally kicking off the season, we are stoked to get back on our BMF/Rs and into the side- and backcountry. But... safety and education first!
Scott Schell first dabbled in backcountry skiing back in high school; now he's the program director of the Northwest Avalanche Center. He provided some insight into safe sidecountry skiing tactics.
Caffeinate thyself and check out our 5 best tips for getting a good start!