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.