My Teaching Philosophy for Telemark Instructors

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Hello Telemark Tribe,

 

I was contacted by CANSI, the Canadian Association of Nordic Skiing Instructor to write a paper to my fellow instructors. Unfortunately, it never got published so I taught I could share it here.

Here is what I wrote for my fellow teachers.

 

When I teach telemark skiing, my number one objective is for every student to retain a clear learning objective and to know precisely how to achieve it. 

Too many times, I have taken the wrong approach by trying to have my students find instant results with advice such as: “Do this, move like that…” Sometimes it works. But often, it does not.

As telemark skiing instructors, we want to give our students several tools to achieve a given movement. Our goal is for them to be confident in the way they improve.

Introduction— The Absolute Telemark Way:

Every time I meet with students, I want to know two things: What they feel good about (their Positives) and what they want to improve (Their Objectives).

 

The positives

First, I will ask them about their experience, their strengths and what they have improved on recently. My goal is to quickly assess their mental game, because learning starts in one’s head. I am looking for positive thoughts. I will ask about things that they feel good about:

  • Types of terrain (groomers, steeps, trees…)
  • Types of turns (short, long, speedy or not…)
  • Types of telemark stance (low, active, high…)

I only ask specific questions if they cannot seem to bring positive ideas. I want to know what makes them feel good before what they want to improve.

If they are new to telemark skiing, I will ask them about their skiing or snowboarding abilities, or other sports they practise. 

 

The Objectives

Subsequently, I will ask them about their expectations and what they hope to improve.

All this takes about three minutes. If I have a large group of students, I will shorten this part and go for a direct question:

“Describe your telemark skiing experience and comfort level.”

Once I have compiled everyone’s input, the lesson starts. 

I could go many ways from here, groups, first timers… But for this article, we will use the example of a one-on-one lesson with an experienced telemarker searching to improve.

 

Initial Approach

We start with a warm up run. I will lead for the first third of the way. Then, I will stop to see how my student is doing. I will then let them take the lead so that I may assess these points:

  1. What is making them waste energy?
  2. How is their body balanced?
  3. What path or choice of lines do they make going down the mountain?

I want to integrate the student’s requested areas of self-improvement to what I observe and apply it to a specific type of terrain. 

 

The Path to Improvement

People like to know promptly what you think of their skiing. I will often stop my students before the end of the first run to give them immediate feedback. If you both see eye-to-eye, their confidence in your teaching skills will be boosted.

Be forthcoming in your evaluation but, formulate it so that they feel their past efforts were not in vain. Remember to remind them that what they are doing is working for them. 

“If you do something and you feel it’s working, then it’s working. If you feel like you are doing something wrong, then it’s most likely wrong.”

It is that simple!

 

Then, introduce one thing that they could improve on. It has to be related to their learning objectives. It does not have to be directly related. But it needs to be brought up as part of their progression plan. For example:

“I see that you have good balance and that your telemark stance is solid. This is good because it will enable you to gain more rhythm, make tighter turns in the steeps like you talked about achieving. One of the keys to really improve your rhythm is how you use your hands.”

BOOM! 

 

You just reminded them of their positives, you have pointed out a possible solution for them to reach their goals. The direction: better rhythm, and the way to get there: your hands, are clearly pointed out. 

You now have their full attention. They will focus on doing precisely what you suggest, knowing that it will lead to them achieving their goals.

 

Building a Plan

This is the “easy” part. This is what we do as a telemark skiing instructor: Build a series of exercises that will get your student to discover new movements, thus getting them to where you think they should be.

Here are a few things that make a plan work regardless of the selected drills:

 

Share the Plan Before Doing the Exercises. 

Take a minute to explain to your student the expected outcome of your plan. 

What will they gain? If the exercise is about hand movement to increases pivot or rhythm, tell them. Relate it to the end goal; Hands = one step closer to their objectives.

 

Move Quickly From One Exercise to Another. 

Do not stick with one exercise, even if it is working. If it is working, find a variation. If it is not working, find out why and try to address it in the next exercise. 

Find “Ah! Ha!” Moments. 

If you feel that your student has had a great gain, celebrate it. Talk about the success. Try to integrate it to their skiing.

 

The Psychology of Learning

 

Remember the moment you learned something new and how you felt about your past struggles, your previous failures and successes? That is the teacher’s challenge!

Now that your students have been working hard for an hour or two, get them back to something they feel good about: terrain, types of turns, body position…

 

Finish With a Positive. 

Find a way to reveal their original skills at the end of the lesson. Link the newly acquired skills to their original positives. If you did it correctly, your student will feel like they have improved one or more aspects of their telemark skiing technique. They will know what to work on to keep improving. They will associate their learning to you, the instructor.

The worst scenario is a student leaving the lesson more confused than before. They will feel frustrated because they just do not get it. 

Or worse, they will think that they have to learn something completely different because they had it wrong all along. This mindset will not lead to a quest for improvement.

 

Remind yourself the following:

  • Everybody learns at their own pace.
  • Everybody can execute something in the way their mind tells them to; But the mind has to send the correct instructions.
  • You are responsible for the message in their minds.
  • Practice remains the number one factor for improvement.
  • There is more than one road to progress. 
  • Remember that your taught approach is not the only way to success.

 

Finally, you have to remind your students the number one rule of learning:

“If it feels good, it probably is. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.” 

Because you finished the lesson on something that your student already felt like they were good at, the positive effect will create a good mental state to keep working and improving. 

 

But there is more to it… It is called proprioception!

I will talk about proprioception next time. In the meantime, you can Google it if you are curious.

That’s it for now,

René-Martin his a certified telemark instructor. He is the creator of Absolute Telemark. You can book a private lesson here

 

 

 

How to telemark in moguls

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Hey Telemark Tribe,

Here is a series on how to telemark in moguls. More videos will be added along the season.

I will try to explain my philosophy to understand the bumps like never before.

You will learn and get great tips along the way.

Skip the videos you don’t like but remember that this is more than pointers, it’s a concept that makes a whole.

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to full tutorial videos, I got a great deal for you, here:

Mogul Telemark

 

 

THIS SEASON: SKI WITH RENE-MARTIN

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Hello telemark tribe.

For this season, I have set myself some goals.

I do this every season.

This season, I want to experience the community like never before.

You have been so awesome supporting this website and I now feel that it has grown into something bigger.

During the winter, I get 20 or 30 emails a week specifically thanking me on how my teaching has changed your telemark technique. Most often, people will talk about how one of the 7 flaws has solved a lot of little bad habits.

This is great but this season, I want to experience something new.

I want to invite you to ski with me in Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

This is a mountain in Western Canada, and I have never been. I’ve heard a lot of great things from Cristina Gareau and Stephane Riendeau, two past guests on the Telemark Tips Podcast.

And so here we are.

Ski with Rene-Martin in Revelstoke

This is made possible by Gendron Travel, Quebec’s biggest ski travel agency.

I’ve partnered with them to organize one week of Telemark skiing in Revelstoke.

 

WHO IS IT FOR:

  • Strong intermediate and above, you have to be comfortable going down in a strong telemark turn and have experience skiing in powder. This destination is not for beginners. Much of the territory is composed of glades and alpine terrain. Expect moguls, powder and long runs.
  • 19 years old and older

WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT:

  • This is not a private or group lesson.
  • This a guided trip with teaching so that you can improve your telemark technics significantly. I will film you, teach you, give you tips, exercises to do BUT, in the end, expect more skiing and less than two hours of teaching a day.
  • Expect resort inbound skiing. No backcountry with the group, but you can always choose to leave the group and ski by yourself.
  • I’m not a travel agency, that’s why I’ve partnered with Gendron Travel. In the end, they will be responsible for putting together your trip, booking your insurance, taking care of cancellation if the need arises… Make sure you address all questions to them regarding these topics. Gendron Travel can also book your flight and offer advice.
  • I will take up to 11 telemark skiers.
  • The price does not include flight, equipment, meals and alcohol. It will include lodging, transportation, ski tickets and my services.
  • The Sutton Place is a 4-star hotel. So, Tele-ski bums are welcomed but will have to shower.

Want to join?

Easy.

All is explained on this page.

Price, what’s include, visit http://ski.voyagesgendron.com/en/2017/09/28/13768/

If it’s meant to happen…

This is my goal

Have a great season.

Rene

 

Repost: Training for the season

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Hey Guys,

This is the time of the season where you need to think about what will make the difference.

 

Telemark Training For The Season

 

This  is a blog post from last season and it’s still extra valid

Make sure you get the training you need, meaning, don’t just copy, make it your own and DO IT.

Avoid injuries, make the most of your season from day one, get to the next level, WHATEVER your age or health.

If you train right, it will make a difference.

 

 

021 – Chris Valiante from 22 Designs and the new Outlaw Telemark binding

Outlaw

Building a new NTN binding is a mission 22 Designs set out to do.

The Outlaw, most anticipated binding from the small Idaho company is sure to make some noise.

I had wanted to talk to Chris for a long time. This true step in, simple and though binding have received great critiques and 22 Designs has managed to keep the weight down.

Let’s hear more about this well established Binding company run by Chris and his partner Collins Pringle.

Show Notes for this episode:

the Outlaw and 22 designs Website

Telemark skier Chris is looking up: Paul Kimbrough

Rainey Superloop binding (note from earnyourturns.com)

In 2005, 22 Designs purchased Rainey Designs and continued producing the binding with very minor adjustments to the binding through 2012. They created a free-pivoting version of Hammerhead called Axl that maintained the same underfoot cable routing with easier to adjust power pivot points. The spring system was different than Hammerhead and in an effort to streamline sourcing costs the Vice telemark binding was created, effectively ending production of Hammerhead. It is one of the few, true, legendary telemark binding designs that had an effect on nearly every telemark binding design since its inception although its inventor, Russell Rainey, would be quick to point out even Hammerhead borrowed from other, less successful designs (the Pitbull), only with a better execution.

 

 


Telemark Training For The Season

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Get ready to get down!

Train for your telemark season.

The season is about to start and it is the perfect time to get motivated to train and be in the best shape before the season.

The goal here is simply to share  my training on a 5 day a week program.

I do the same things over for one month and it’s worked pretty good for me.

Remember to train according to your capacities. I’m not a trainer and if you are not sure if these exercices are good for you or not, please ask your physician. This is just me sharing my method that is working for me.

Have a great season!

Here it is






 

Fast track to telemark

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Telemark Lessons Fast Track to learn Telmark skiing for alpine skiers and snowboarders HD

here is a new trailer for our web tutorial series:

This tutorial is for intermediate alpine skiers or advanced snowboarders that are transitioning to Telemark.

Our experience have showed that the knowledge developed skiing or snowboarding is  going to make a positive difference in learning Telemark.

This comprehensive course will enable you to progress faster and better. We will go from beginner to intermediate skills  and even how to get started in moguls.
This is a step by step tutorial, with drills for every skills shown along the way .
This is also THE tutorial for telemark skiers that are stock in their progression with an Alpine like position. It will unlock the skills to go in harder terrain such  as steeps, powder or moguls. Note that this is NOT a tutorial on moguls, steeps nor powder. We develop here the skills that will enable with to approach this types of terrain.
Never before a tutorial as been set up like that. We skip the classic approach and give you the best for your buck package.

This tutorial will be available November 8th 2013. Preorder your copy now in our Telemark Lessons section

This tutorial is part of our tutorial video series. If you would like to learn specific thing about telemark technique, leave us a comment below.

Big news, follow us, subscribe to our mailing list, a special Webinar event will take place for our November 8th launch. Sign up below

Telemark South America: All you need to know

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This is the complete guide to choose your ski destination in South America

Today we meet with Serge Berthiaume, A French Canadian living and skiing in South America. I first meet Serge more than ten years ago; ski bumming his way all over North America. I was not surprised when I heard Serge’s plan to ski South America over the summer; it was a bit of a shock when I heard he would go back every year. Saving money, working winters back home just to go back to ski the Southern Winters. After all, most of us were doing the opposite. Serge now lives full time in Chile and skiing is still his main occupation.

Tell us the story behind a Canadian who lives and work in the ski industry in South America

It’s been 10 years since we started our history here in Chile, that was in 2003. When we arrived to Santiago after saving up our money (for a
 whole winter), we understood that what we did was the 
best choice, skiing 30 inch of fresh snow on our first day.

The first days were hard! Trying to figure where the best lines were, the best happy hours, the best restaurants…
well, the best setup for us! Two months after our 
return to Canada we realized that we loved our trip so 
much that we didn’t’ spend a day without talking about it!
 It was done: we were addicted. We had to come back, we never miss a ski season in Chile ever again!

What’s so special about skiing in South America?

943253_10151695118028900_556224209_n Continue reading »

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