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Basic telemark techniques

Basic telemark techniques
Serial Heelers © Yves Thollon

Telemark is a ski sport characterised by a unique downhill technique, where the skier bends one leg forward to form a kind of "knee-bend", while the other leg remains straight back.

How do I get started ?

This technique allows for greater freedom of movement and stability in turns, which is why telemark is often considered the most elegant form of alpine skiing. If you want to start telemark, here are some basic techniques you should master :

  • Starting position

To start, place your skis parallel and bend your knees slightly. The inside leg should be bent forward while the outside leg stays straight back. Keep your weight centred on the inside leg, which will give you better stability. It is important to keep your shoulders straight and parallel to the slope, and to look forward with your head held high.

  • Changing direction

To change direction, bend the inside leg while turning the skis slightly in the desired direction. Then transfer your weight to the outside leg by stretching it backwards to prepare for the next turn. It is important to maintain a constant pressure on the edges of the skis for optimal control. The transition between the two legs should be smooth and continuous, to avoid loss of speed or control.

Remy Maisonnave Siberia Photographer change position telemark

  • Braking

To brake, bend both legs and point the ski tips inward. This will create friction that will slow your descent. You can also use a snow brake by placing both skis across the slope, or by making a sharp turn to reduce your speed. It is important to maintain a stable stance and control the pressure on the edges of the skis, to avoid losing balance and falling.

  • Climbing

To ascend a slope, use the "telemark step" technique. Bend the inside leg and put the heel of the outside ski on the slope. Then transfer your weight to the heel of the outside ski while moving the inside ski forward. This technique will allow you to climb steep slopes and maintain good stability. It is important to keep your shoulders straight and parallel to the slope, and to look forward with your head up.

Remy Maisonnave Siberia Photographer climbing

  • Tight turns

To make tight turns, bend the inside leg towards the outside of the turn while keeping the outside leg straight back. This technique allows for faster, tighter turns. It is important to maintain constant pressure on the edges of the skis for optimum control, and to keep a stable stance to avoid losing balance.

  • Speed

To gain speed, bend the inside leg while keeping the outside leg straight back. This will allow your skis to glide more easily over the snow. Be sure to maintain a stable stance and keep constant pressure on the edges of the skis for optimal control. It is important to keep your shoulders straight and parallel to the slope.

Remy maisonnave Joel hardy goes fast

Telemark is a ski sport that can be very rewarding once you master the basic techniques. By maintaining a good starting position, making smooth changes of direction, controlling your speed and mastering the climb, you can enjoy the activity to the full. Remember to practise regularly to improve your technique and to take the necessary precautions to avoid injury. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced skier, telemark can be a unique and challenging experience on the ski slopes. So strap on your skis, grab your pole and get going!

To learn or perfect the telemark turn, we recommend reading "Le télémark, du virage à l'élégance" by Lionel Condemine.
https://inwildoutdoor.com/en/products/gift-ideas/book-le-telemark-du-virage-a-l-elegance

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