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 ?
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’s what I tend to do.
But a lower stance also have lots of advantages:
- it’s fun;
- it lowers your center of gravity, making balance easier;
- it enable you to stay in movement for a longer period during your turn. I call this dynamic balance. If you are moving, dancing, you can stay with the rhythm of the song more easily. The analogy relates to the terrain dictating the technique. We have to adapt to it. If, on the contrary, you pause and change rhythm constantly, making short movements, it will be much harder to stay balanced, especially if there is an unforseen obstacle that creates an unbalance. 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. Getting low sometimes gives you the extra motion you may need.
Getting low, staying high, both have advantages. There is no one way. I teach to stay as high as possible when you can and to get as low as possible when you need. Also, a common mistake is that people will try to stay high all the time and have never experienced to go low. You need both in your tool box.
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…
Oh by the way, the guy with the green pants is by far the fastest telemark skier I’ve ever seen in moguls
What’s your approach? Leave us a comment below