Flawless method to learning movement, telemark skiing


I can juggle five balls. And this blog is about telemark skiing.

I often meet people that are starting telemark skiing. One of the things I tell them is that they are very lucky to be beginners because they have so much to learn. The learning curve is fast and your milestones come every few days practicing. They then look at me, and go:

I’d like to be good now, ski the powder and rip through anything.

Goal is important but it is the mean that gets you coming back for more. It’s the fun part.

How to telemark then. I have a flawless method of learning movement. Skiing is just a combination of movements. So is juggling.

Ingredient one: get a tutorial method to learn the skill. Instructor, video, book… Anything. I learned juggling with a book that had all the 3 balls, 4 balls and 5 balls juggling tricks. Guess what, I can juggle 5 balls, not one more. Not because I can’t learn 6 and up. Just because I never got motivated in getting instruction for more. Make sure you have the tools to learn.

Ingredient two: Get a buddy as motivated as you. It will, in most cases, be the determinant factor to perseverance.

Ingredient three: Don’t wait to master a movement, try it on your weak side right now. We all have a weaker harm, a weaker kick leg, a weaker golf side. From juggling, I can tell you that you need both hands to catch and throw. Telemark is the same, you need to turn both ways. Practicing the weak side right away, you will master the skill FASTER on both sides. Spend a little more time on the weak side, and the good side will learn it in a flash.

Ingredient four: Don’t wait to master one skill before trying to do another one. Move on and come back. This will keep it fun.

Ingredient five: If you can’t do it instantly, don’t panic. You just need more practice. Keep it simple and make sure that you finish practicing that particular movement on a good note. your brain learns movement. It’s called proprioception. And it learns movement from resting in between practice session. I don’t know anybody that can juggle 5 balls the first time. Every time you come back at it, your brain have learned as assimilate more, and one day, it will just happen.

Bonus tip: Executing movement is more than an on/off switch. Learning is ongoing. Technique will always improve and future generations will always be better. I guess that’s why we can fly to outer space, or ski down climbing routes. Never take for granted that you know something, look around and learn from others.

Bonus Video:


Don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

And have fun…

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  • http://gravatar.com/over50skier over50skier

    Really good info. I am going back to telemark after about 8 years of alpine only. I was only an intermediate tele skier at my best, and remember the learning curve distinctly. I would have progressed faster if I just used the weak side idea, as I favored my strong side and my weak side stayed, well, weak. I will let you know how it goes. Hopefully I got all of my faceplants done back then!

    • http://www.absolutetelemark.com rene_martin

      Faceplants are parts of the fun I guess. Make sure to keep me posted. Thanx

  • Sylvain

    Thanks for the reminder! I have been tele- skiing for over 15 years now and each season, I feel like I am a beginner again. This year, I got myself a brand new kit (TX-Pros, Freedoms and DPS 112) and I know – more than ever – that I will need to adapt my technique and learn how to turn again. Thanks for your tips! I will, also, keep you posted!

  • Deb Wong

    I am gravitating more towards tele, I think I am one of those rare females on NTN gear.

    I started alpining 19 years ago after attempting tele on leather boots and Kara xcds with partial metal edges and fish scale bases. Decided I needed to get to an intermediate level of alpine skiing enforce attempting to tele again and got the alpine bug.

    Several seasons ago, I got “promoted” from being an alpine instructor to a host at my at the time, local ski hill in Maine. I found myself on the beginner hill mainly and decided to spend more time on my teles and got the tele bug back.

    So now am instructing at my previous ski home on Mt. Hood and luckily am being allowed to give alpine lessons on my NTN gear.

    Due to sore tips of my toes, decided to try the Scarpa TX and see if I can spare them as well as not advance the recent frostbite I got. Am also checking out the Freedoms, which I understand are lighter and seem to have more of a traditional flex as opposed to the earlier generation.

    Am taking as many clinics as I can and may instead try to advance my instructor certification in tele instead of alpine, we’ll see…

    • http://www.absolutetelemark.com rene_martin

      Hey Deb,

      Nice hearing from you. This is very similar to my story, except that after ski instructor, I became a ski patrol. Something I don’t regret one bit. Now I still teach telemark at festivals or on special occasion and it’s the perfect mix.



    • Phil H Norris

      Hey Deb, I also tried tele a few years ago and didn’t get very far into it. But I think I’m going to try it again in the back woods of Blue Hill.

  • Luca Spadola

    I began to telemark beginning from this year, after 20+ years of snowboarding…I had little alpine ski history. I am still struggling. I have a major weak point which is the right to left curve….and especially the left front feet traverse which I can’t find the right balance…frustrating. I was thinking it’s possibly related to my “goofy” stance on a snowboard for so many years. However I am not abandoning and it’s true learning is the fun part! Thanks for this website! Greetings Luca

    • http://www.absolutetelemark.com rene_martin

      Hey Luca,
      Great to hear from you!
      Obviously, trying a new sport as got some challenges along the way. Keep at it and have fun. A dedicated tutorial will address this issue, but it is not ready yet :) We will let you know for sure when it is.
      Abso team

      • Luca Spadola

        Looking forward for those tutorials….hope to learn from them before end of season…..;-)

  • Jay Cooperman

    After 20 years of alpine skiing, I feel like an expert skier in most situations. Looking for something fun to challenge myself when skiing local resorts at home in Pennsylvania. Looking forward to trying out a new setup, when I finally figure out which bindings to get. Approaching 60, having avoided knee injuries so far, I’d like to continue injury free. Was very sorry to hear the Voile CRBs are out of production. I got Scarpa T4 boots because they look nice and lightweight, and I only need them for inbounds skiing–nothing too gnarly. I’m not having much luck finding a releasable binding that’s compatible with the boots. Thanks for any advice you can give me!

    • Rene-Martin

      First off, telemark skiing is safer for your knees
      Release bindings is not a definitive must have and they have not reduce significantly knee injuries in the past, or at least, their is no evidence.
      One of the factors contributing to knee safety is boot stiffness, so the T4 is not actually the best choice. Light is good but control going down is not to be past by. For inbound skiing, I would not go for anything less than a recent T2 or it’s equivalent.
      You have to know that the boot manufacturers have keep the same names but have dramatically increased the stiffness over the year. So a 2013 T2 is probably equivalent to a 2005 T1.
      In conclusion, change the boots to a recent, stiffer version, and get any binding to go with it. That’s the safest route for your knees.
      Let us know what you went for and have a great season

  • Paula D

    Hi Rene – just started getting your newsletter and following your videos – love the tips! they have helped! I used to get stressed if I couldn’t tele every turn and now realize as long as you are having fun it doesn’t matter how you get down the mountain! So most of my turns are tele but then will alpine a few if needed….(and sometimes just point them straight! )

    • Rene-Martin

      Hi Paula,
      This is great. I’m glad this helped. Don’t go straight for too long! :)