Telemark stance: high or low

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Telemark skiing is a fluid a dynamic movement.

I often related to it as dancing down the mountain. I like the flow and the freedom freeheel telemark gives me. And it’s all about that feeling.

Different styles can be seen and two skiers can easily approach the same terrain differently. One big question remain: Should I go down all the way or should I stay high in my telemark stance ?

Moguls telemark competitionMt Edouard-4

Above: high stance and low stance in moguls.

There’s no easy answer to that. It is generally said that a higher stance limits your efforts and gives you a quicker response should you lose balance. So telemark instructors have preached with a higher stance. Good reasoning. And that what I tend to do that.

But a lower stance also have lots of advantages:

  1. it’s fun;
  2. it lowers your center of gravity, making balance easier;
  3. it enable you to stay in movement for a longer period during your turn. I call this dynamic balance. If your in movement, dancing, you can stay with the rhythm of the song more easily. If, on the contrary, you pause and change rhythm constantly, making short movement, it will be much harder to stay with the music, especially if that music changes it’s rhythm unexpectedly. A lot of this happens while telemark skiing. The slope is not constant, other people around you are not constant, the snow is not constant. Keeping your body in motion is one key to staying balanced and in control. Telemark skiing offers that freedom more than alpine skiing or snowboarding because of the equipment, because of the freeheel. Momentum is an advantage.

Finally, telemark skiing is a lot about feeling. Stay up to save energy, respond quickly and get down in technical, unpredictable terrain.

And get some style for the show…

What’s your approach? Leave us a comment below

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  • Mahjabingbing

    Low stance just looks cooler :)

    • Rene-Martin

      I kinda agree !

      • Manu

        Yes but with my Rottefella NTM freeride it’s hard to go down. Is it because it’s a new material or because of this kinf of fixation or because I am to old or because I am to light ?

        thanks for answers.

  • http://www.snowchasers.blogspot.com Evans

    Apes are walking next to the ground!
    Evolution made up stand up!
    One vote for the high stance!!

  • Brian M

    There is no magic here, when I want to look good I go low, when my legs are on fire exhausted I stay high. From there it is a run by run call. To be fair most people will call me a low telemarker however I started in leather boots on skinny skis where low gave you more torque so I have had to learn high as my gear has improved and my legs have gotten older.

  • http://norrisnode.com David Norris

    I think it also depends on your build and body shape. I am 6’5″ and getting low with long levers creates a lot of torque in my legs. To stay compact and poised I actually need to ski mid to high stance. I have a good friend who is much shorter and compact in his build. He skis lower and it suits him. Having said that I generally go low at speed – long GS turns at full speed suit an aero stance. Plus, getting low in powder is fun – more face shots!