Tutorial on how to Carve on Telemark Skis
I’ve been delaying this tutorial for a long time.
Mainly because it’s the most technical and refine technique to master.
To master telemark carving is a process and maybe a life long endeavour.
What is Carving?
To carve is to put your skis on edge and to reduce sheering or steering the most possible. It’s not necessarily 100% sheer free depending on terrain, turn radius and speed.
We could say that the goal is to control speed with constant arch turn, leaving clean tracks behind you.
You can carve alpine skiing or snowboarding.
Where to start?
You should be an intermediate skier that is comfortable skiing difficult groomed run in parallel.
You should also be able to vary turn size and be able to ski at different speeds.
Because yes, one of the main differences for carving is speed.
In the 7 flaws of telemark, I talk about edge pressure in flaw #6. The way to load the front ski into the turn is the number one problem I see people make. You need to put more than 70% of your weight on that front leg right from the start of the turn.
On alpine skis, they will sometimes put 100% of the weight on their outside ski. On telemark, because of the telemark squat, we can’t do that. But overloading the front ski will really make the ski edge bite into hard packed snow.
To do this, practise your lead change bringing the front leg forward on a low incline slope, such as a cat track or a VERY easy green run. As soon as the lead change happens, load the front ski and edge. You will feel how strongly the ski wants to bite into the snow and how strongly it wants to carve.
COMMON ERROR -»
Not loading the shin into the boot tongue. You need to feel that you are pushing your tibia into the tongue of the boot.
This is the key to load the ski edge into the hard packed snow
You need to feel that the shin is working the boot flex. And you need this on BOTH shins. This is a great way to create constant action between your body and your skis. It will activate the most mysterious part of your body that need to work, your ankles. It’s like if you’re connecting your whole body energy to your skis.
Chin over outside ski.
The second tip focusses on your upper body being dissociated from your lower body. These movements are called angulation. At slow speeds put your chin over your outside boot to create a C-shape from your upper body. This will enable you to edge better and to start to carve at higher speeds and in hard-packed conditions.
There are two movements from the upper body that you can play with in order to balance yourself.
One is to have the shoulders square to the bottom of the slope. This is called counter rotation.
The other one is to create a separation of the upper body, having your shoulder over your skis. This is called angulation. I often refer to this as creating a C-shape.
Still on that cat track or green run, Focus on bringing the leg forward in the lead change (TIP#1) then focus on keeping your inside shoulder staying on top of your front ski. If you think about this, it will help shift your body weight on top of the front leg and your upper body will stay forward.
COMMON ERROR -»
If your hands are not always forward, especially at the end of the turn, you will reduce the efficiency of this movement. Every time you feel out of balance, it could be you can’t stay in a telemark squat position at the end of the turn, that your skis loose an edge or think about your shoulders and hands were . Are your shoulders centered over your outside ski? Are your hands forward and attacking the turn. The Elvis exercise found here is a great way to feel that.
To increase the edging you need to increase your ability to edge. One way to do this is to angulate more. At a certain point using the inside knee to edge more is a GREAT way to unlock knee angulation. This will enable you to increase your ability to angulate more from the hips as well.
Focussing on the inside knee will also give you a second edge to increase the direct opposition to the slope. Althought this makes sense, this tip is not about increasing this inside ski edge as much as it enables other body parts to move to create more carving.
Movement. This is the key to readjusting balance if snow conditions change. On hard packed snow especially, there is a constant battle called dynamic balance.
Keep your body moving. At all time throughout the turn. I would say this is the hardest to put into action. It’s tiny movements all over.
1. Keep your hands in movement -» small movement (as seen in Elvis exercise)
2. Keep your feet moving into the telemark squat -» I will increase the telemark squat as the turn progress starting from a small platform (almost alpine like) moving and ending the turn in a real telemark position. I see a lot of telemark skier making the lead change all in one instant movement and then traversing the rest of the turn in a deep squat.
3. Keep your C shape / angulation moving. Increase the amount of C in your upper body as the turn progress.
I take this to the extreme.
I will often release air in my lungs as I finish the turn in order to increase the space between my hip bone and my rib cage in order to increase movement.
Common error -»
If you take your leg backwards at the start of the turn, it often creates a really big C-shape that doesn’t allow for movement throught the turn. This is bad as you get stuck in this position that doesn’t allow for dynamic balance.
Video coming up later.
Vocabulary for these tips:
- Front leg is also the outside leg from the center of the turn.
- Inside Shoulder is the shoulder opposite to the front leg
- Weight pressures are just refference numbers. Just put a lot of weight on your front ski.
- C-Shape is angulation. This is a way to describe the upper body movement that allows the upper-body weight to stay on top of the edge to increase the pressure.
I hope these tips helps.
If you have any questions, please ask away
I will add sections to this page as I produce more tutorials.