What creates a great telemark community

Moguls telemark competition

Telemark skiing, unlike main alpine sports, have the opportunity to have a strong community. This is a subculture, a community of interest. A telemark community is like no other.

If you haven’t tried telemark and would like to, one thing you need to know is that there is absolutely no advantages to telemark. Technique is harder, equipment is as heavy or heavier and it’s more strenuous to name a few.

But once you try it, it’s a whole new story. The fun, the feeling, the flow are just out of this world. And the community is different.

Recently, at a telemark festival I attended in La Réserve, I met some newbies. Smile on their faces told the day they just had. They told me just how incredible the people were, sharing tips, helping them as they go. After so many years in the community, I had forgotten that it was something other riders don’t have. Perhaps the Freestyle Park Rats have the same, I honestly don’t know. But telemarkers really have a way to make it happen, to be accessible.

Then I looked around me. It was a telemark festival I had never been. I didn’t know most of the people around me. I realized that I had skied the whole day meeting people, going in crazy places, having fun without a second thought on this being normal or not. That moment, I really had a special feeling about all this: being a telemarker, sharing the sport I like.

The next week, two of my good friends were just back from a ski trip in Utah. The spark in their eyes was intense, the ski had been good. But far more, the people they met, where they got to go with locals, just because they were on tele, really stood out from their stories.

It made me remember my trip last winter to the Alps. The people I met were just incredible, the telemark scene was small but everybody knew each other, told stories, invited us for apres ski… I never thought French skiing would be like that. The mountains, the food, and most of all, the people I met.Nanou smiling on tele

Last weekend was the Rendez-Vous Telemark at my local mountain, Le Massif. It was my turn to welcome people. You then realize that you want to give back as much as you can. Get people to have a great experience. Unfortunately this year, mother nature was not on our side and the skiing was not the greatest. But the weekend was still great. What really made the difference was this community, the warmth of the people at the event, the awesome after party. People shared more than the daily experience and they were easy to speak too. And again I met some folks who weren’t used to all this. It was my turn to smile.

I can’t wait for the next rendez-vous, Absolute Telemark will be at a few more during this season.

What is your favorite cultural story on telemark? Share it below.

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Telemark tutorials

Absolute telemark3_16-12-12

Absolute Telemark is in the process of making a tutorial on telemark skiing.

HD quality, well conceive by more than 15 years of teaching experience, each lesson will be 12-20 minutes long and available for pc/mac, Ipod/Ipad, Android tablets and phones

These tutorials will cover subject like:

  • Basic telemark; a series of 3 tutorials will cover everything a beginner needs to know to get started. It even include a fast forward method for alpine skiers or snowboarders, eager to get rippin’ fast.
  • Telemark freestyle; a series of 2 tutorials will cover the new style telemark: switch telemark, snowpark jumps and modules.
  • Mogul telemark, a series of 2 tutorials will cover all the know how from the fundamental to all the advance stuff.
  • Powder telemark, a series of 3 tutorials will cover how to travel the backcountry, tree skiing, and of course powder turnspowder 1

These tutorials will be release for the 2013-14 season.

Just register to our free email updates below. And make sure to visit our telemark tutorial page

Telemark in the trees

Telemark skiing in the trees is

  1. So much fun
  2. Always as fresh track left somewhere
  3. Less prone to avalanche (still subject to and one should always evaluate risk accordingly)
  4. Less wind packed, less windy, warmer, just great place to be in a stormy day (like in the video below)
  5. Tight (trees hurt, I know from experience)

Here is what I mean in this old edit

 

Telemark market, survey

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Absolute Telemark is in the process of creating a new video tutorial, Please take a few minute to fill up this form. It takes about 6-7 minutes and it really helps.

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5 questions for 5 top telemarkers: Evans Parent

In the series of interviews Absolute Telemark asked the same 5 questions to 5 top telemark skiers.

Today, telemark skier is Evans Parent,  ski bum, in a ski bum world. When ski bum life isn’t cool anymore, when sacrifices are made, year round for years to live the passion. When cold can of beans is luxury, when camping in cold damp is everyday consolation for powder turns around the world. When you see Evan ski resumé, you e end of tthink he’s so lucky to have skied so much, in so many places. When you read the story behind it, not everyone could do it, and very few would actually enjoy it. See his blog’s address at the end of this post. Continue reading »

First day in the slope this year? 5 things to do

It’s time to finally get back to what we love best: telemark. You’ve train for three months to be ready for this?

This time of the year, we usually hit the local ski area for a few warm up runs. The snow quality and quantity might not be excellent but, hey, we go anyhow.

here’s my to do list for that big day:

1. A few days before, gather all equipment and inspect it carefully

I know you say: it was all good last year, why check it? First, make sure you find everything back.

A quick inspection will make you feel confident on the first run. Are your boots still comfortable? all buckles good? any mouse ate your Powerstrap (has happened to me!)? Are your bindings well screwed? (just tight them back with a screwdriver, if nothing moves, good, if it does, see your ski tech) Make sure the bindings are still adjusted perfect. Check your skins (clean, glue, straps…) Check that your adjustable poles still adjust (ask my friend Piteur, who came to me for is ski test for a job as ski patrol and could’t get is pole to move. I almost turned him back!) Check your helmet, your goggles, and of course check your skis (base, edges and chips, cracks…)

2. If you got new equipment, make sure everything is well adjusted to you.

Boots are the most important. Liners can be molded, Cuff alignment (canting angle) can be changed, forward lean is also available on certain models. More and more people buy their gear online, make sure you read your boot manual, search the web and ask questions.

Bindings need to be adjusted to your boots. This is much more simpler than on alpine gear. Again read manuals and search the web. Good tension on the cable is key to safety and performance.

If you need to install a binding, I strongly suggest caution on who you trust with this. Telemark bindings have much more stress on each screws than alpine binding (that’s why most brand have increased to 6 the total of screws on their binding). Also, on a lot of alpine gear, the binding are set on rail tracks which don’t require mounting. It seems fewer technicians are good at mounting bindings these days. You can mount bindings yourself, it isn’t so hard. But if the job is not 100% perfect, you might rip the binding from the ski somewhere through this season.

Check everything else, like jacket, underwear, socks, kneepads… Name it, if it’s new, make sure everything is dialed perfect.

3. the Big day, what to expect

Check weather report, check your ski area report, and check avalanche report. If backcountry is not your goal on the first day, make a habit to check avi reports anyway, it will give you an idea of the season’s coming. The start of the season can be crucial for snowpack stability trough out the season, just check the 2012-2012 Utah backcountry review.

4. There it is, your first run.

Make sure you warm up before going down on your skis. I know, it look silly, but I’ve never seen a pro skier not warm up before going down. On your first run, take it easy, and take an easy run for your level. Dial your balance, play around with different turn shape, telemark, alpine, stop on both side and so on. I always like to telemark fakie or backwards from the get go. This is something easy for me and it help me gain confidence. It is normal to feel a bit awkward at first but just enjoy the moment.

Telemark skiing, like any technical sport, is all in our head. And our head don’t remember the movement as good if it hasn’t practice for a few months…

5. Progress

Don’t wait for Christmas to get better. If you’ve train this fall, if you’ve check your gear, if the snow is good, if all is in place, do what is necessary to go towards your season’s goals right now

Here are my goals for the season:

  1. a 360° cab. (start and land backwards)
  2. Hand plant on our new wall at Le Massif
  3. Improve my carving (which I’ve negleted the last few years for tree skiing and bumps)

What are your goals on telemark this season?

video of telemark bumps

video of telemark tree skiing

Feels free to leave comments below…