Author Archives: Freedom Snowsports
So, Telemark Skiing, What Is It And Whats The Advantage?
Telemark skiing is the original. It is the equipment that skiers used to walk, climb, and ski in all directions in the same state. Up, down, and around, all in the same un-altered free heel state. It is not the same as modern Alpine Ski Touring equipment. Where the skier can put the binding into walk mode, then lock the heel in place for alpine downhill mode. Telemark is a technique of skiing where the binding remains free at the heel. Those folks you see lunging their way gracefully (most of the time) down the mountain. Telemark skiing originated in the Telemark region of Norway (yes, its obvious when said like that). The technique allowed skiers to move from walking on their free heel equipment to making controlled downhill turns at high speed. It was the hybrid of Nordic skiing and downhill skiing.
As with all skiing, equipment has advanced a long way. And brings with it easier access to the skills within the sport. And while Telemark skiing is a smaller, lesser known discipline. Overshadowed by its much larger Alpine brother. Telemark will always be around, and is something that every skier should try. you can get in touch with us or check or check our Chamonix private ski lesson availability and book a Telemark lesson with Ollie.
Really, Whats The Point, And What’s The Advantage?
Well there isn’t really a significant advantage, there are some small advantages I’ll mention in a moment. If you’ve ever watched a telemark skier flow past you on the mountain, it depicts the point. Those telemark turns feel just as good as they look. Yes telemark skiing is more difficult, but its not about charging at everything the mountain has to offer. Even flowing over a groomed blue run feels like a perfect fluid line. So much in fact, that you may want to ski that blue run again just for the feel of it. And you do not need to be an expert skier to try Telemark skiing, in fact its fine to learn as a beginner.
There may be some small advantages to telemark skiing. Much more comfortable boots for one (definitely a reason to try Telemark skiing). The equipment allows you to move up the mountain as well as down it. Accessing the backcountry in the same boots and skis you use on lift-serviced slopes. Adding only a set of skins that attach to the bottoms of your skis. Now that’s what I call freedom. A very real chance at a one ski quiver as someone pointed out. If you interested in trying Telemark skiing in Megeve or Chamonix, get in touch with us and we will make the arrangements.
So Why Should You Try Telemark Skiing?
1) Telemark Skiing Is More Fun
Everywhere you go on Telemark gear, you will find all other telemark skiers saying hi. Like being part of a wider club, and this is not imaginary. Similar to the mutual recognition between bikers. Regardless of language, style, level, or appearance. There’s a friendly telemark skier saying hi, or gesturing to acknowledge that mutual understanding; “hey, how good is this ride!” This is Something that you will only find out when you try it. Next there is the ride itself. And what I mean is that when compared to alpine skiing. Those easy runs that just connect to the next slope that you actually want to ski. When on telemark skis, those sections are just as much fun as the main event. The curves from one arc to the next, and the technique flowing; its just so damn exciting.
2) Telemark Turns Feel Better
So there is indeed a freedom of movement in telemark skiing that makes it feel so good. At first it can feel a little overwhelming, like a certain security has been removed. Well it has, but that’s exactly what gives way to this Freedom of movement. And when embraced it’s even better than the previously perceived ‘locked in feeling’ of Alpine Skiing. This will turn the tables completely, that locked in feel of alpine feels restricted. Instead that free heel of telemark grants a freedom of movement that makes every turn feel magical.
3) Telemark Legs Are Stronger
If you are lunging down the hill with every turn, the bonus is that you will most definitely be building up new strength. Now that’s not to say that you need to be super fit in order to telemark. Regardless of your current fitness, you will definitely develop more strength just by doing it.
Consider being in the gym make a smooth controlled lunge, pause briefly, then come back up in the same way. You have every type of muscle contraction in that movement; concentric, eccentric, and isometric.
In the gym that’s boring, on telemark skis you’re out there having an amazing time. So forget the fact that you are developing strength, and enjoy the ride. Bonus!
4) Telemark Boots Are Super Comfy
Every alpine skier understands the sweet relief of taking your boots off at the end of the day. Similar understanding goes for the ridiculous technique required when tackling stairs in Alpine ski boots. Now Alpine ski boots do their job on skis incredibly well (as long as they fit properly). Telemark boots on the other hand require flexibility to be able to bend around the toes. Allowing us to stride, move, and walk normally. This need for flexibility and movement has an extra special bonus: COMFORT!! Telemark boots are so comfortable it’s worth trying out telemark skiing just for that.
5) Develop New Telemark Skills
Everyone enjoys that sense of pride and satisfaction that comes with learning new skills. Its only the perceived obstacle before trying something new that stands in your way. Like everyone, once you try something and get the hang of it. There is realisation that the perceived obstacle was false. And instead learning the new skill was totally achievable. This brings with it an enormous amount of satisfaction. Which will very likely fuel a desire to encourage others to give it a go too.
So what are you waiting for? Come and put some Telemark skis (and boots) on your feet and give it a go.
Having spent some time enjoying ski mountaineering and ski touring in Chamonix at Freedom Snowsports. We decided to take 10 days for a ski mountaineering trip. Which took us through the Bernese Oberland (Bernese Highland) in Switzerland, starting from Lauterbrunnen. The many 4000m+ peaks that abundantly surround the ski touring routes are a perfect pairing. Read More…
Now before we get going, this is not supposed to be a physics lesson. Just simple, useable information to make it easier to select a ski for an intended purpose. So you can enjoy getting more from your skiing.
On most piste skis a regular, positive camber covers the entire length of the sidecut. Along with the skis stiffness, this characteristic provides the most edge grip possible on hard packed piste. Mainly because the ski is under more tension and “bites” back down into the snow. Therefore most piste focused skis, Read More…
Ski Area Map
Here is our handy google resort map for Chamonix. Enable location services on your phone and use it as a GPS piste map to guide you around the ski area and our meetings points for Chamonix ski lessons. Alternatively click through to our meeting point piste map for Megeve, St Gervais, and Les Contamines.
Hint: click on the icons to see its details, phone numbers, and directions.
Argentiere Ski Area
Argentiere village is at the Northern end of Chamonix and starts at an altitude of approximately 1,250 metres. The ski area is located partly on a glacier that spans three mountain areas (Argentière, Lognan and La Pendant). Argentiere and the Grands Montets provide Chamonix skiing on groomed pistes and Chamonix off piste, or freeride terrain. It is famous throughout the world of skiing and snowboarding because of its long challenging slopes and massive terrain. With some amazing Chamonix skiing available, book your lessons with our Chamonix ski school.
Le tour is one of the best ski areas in the Chamonix valley for beginner and intermediate skiers. The bottom of Le Tour holds three drag lifst and an ideal beginners area. There is also plenty of off-piste terrain over the back side of the Balme at Le Tour. So this ski area does have something for everyone. But it is also the furthest to reach and getting there from Chamonix centre requires the bus or driving but it is worth it.
Brevent / Flegere
Brevent ski area is accessed from the centre of Chamonix by the Plan Praz Telecabine. Alternatively the ski area can be accessed from the Flegere Telepherique at the North of Chamonix. The Brevent is the sunny side of the mountain and there is a beginner’s area at the bottom and also the mid station. But there is a step up in the difficulty level of the terrain after that. So it is advised to progress under the guidance of a skilled instructor. There is plenty of terrain choice for all levels of skier from intermediate skiers, right up to pro skiers. The Brevent also hosts some of the World Freedride Tour competitions as well as other notable events.
Les Houches is at the south end of Chamonix and offers lots of tree lined skiing. Superb for giving better visibility on days that have some cloud cover. There are two good beginner ski areas and progressive terrain available in Les Houches. Access from the centre of Chamonix via the free ski bus.
Psychologists have studied the rationale for skiing. Skiers speculate about it. Ordinary mortals shake their heads in dismay over it. There is an ambivalence to this sport. There are no scores or points to skiing. But the beauty of movement that gives a self assurance that is better than winning a game. It is a sport that brings escape from the cares and tensions of daily life. Skiing brings an awareness of the grandeur of nature; an exhausting exercise for most people, yet no other sport gives such a feeling of satisfaction and healthy vigour. Why do we ski? Words cant explain it. You have to experience the hours and days and weeks of skiing. You have to meet the people who ski, the individualists, the non-conformists. You have to see the beauty of the snow covered mountains and valleys. You have to participate in this moment of truth. Why do we ski? You have to become a skier to know! So join us for some Chamonix skiing.
New this season we are running some Women’s ski coaching groups. Designed to coach and develop piste performance skills in a women only group. Coached by one of our elite female instructors. The main difference being that all people, from the instructor to the group participants. The entire group dynamic and coaching environment is entirely female. Intending to give a supportive environment for women to develop their skills in the sport of skiing. And hoping to attract more female skiers to improve and develop their skiing skills with us.
The sessions will develop piste performance skills in all turns and all pistes. And while this training is focused on the piste, these skills will enhance your all round skiing performance. These coaching sessions are suitable for skiers comfortable on piste with a variety of turn shapes (on all red runs). But would like to develop more performance, skill, and control. These sessions will give you more choice over how to tackle different types of turns and terrain. Read More…
Our Teaching Approaches to Snowsports
Our teaching is based around the individual students that we are with. This is not just based on a skiers level of ability. It’s about identifying which learning styles and communication methods their progression favours. What this means is that our teaching model is about understanding different phases and styles of learning. We adapt our teaching styles to get the most out of an individual person’s development. We also understand and adapt to people when they are in different stages of skill development. So our instructors are trained to find, recognise, and adapt to these attributes in people. Augmenting their teaching styles to better suit the needs of different people.
Ski Bus Timetables in one place
We thought that considering we cover the whole evasion ski area, it might be useful to have all the ski bus timetables in one place. Therefore we have put all the free ski bus services over the whole evasion ski area right here, and you can save them to your phone for later.