Where to look when we telemark is crucial in our ability to analyze the terrain and react.
Simply said, looking in front is a good start, of course. But there is more to it. Not only is it one of the most important skill to develop but one advance skier can become an expert by changing the way he looks at his surroundings.
Ski new terrain often
When you do, your mind will become better at analyzing the landscape, the details, and everything will fall into place. Try to see the terrain with endless possible tracks and setting your course is a choice, not an obligation. This is a state of mind and you can get at it be practicing. if you feel confident with the terrain and its possibilities, try to be very precise about where you want to ski. Try and determine the exact point where you want your ski to go.
How to do it
Try to observe one and a half turn ahead. One and a half? In fact, scanning the terrain, looking a bit further and looking closer in is the key. This is because our mind can analyze and anticipate what is going to happen in the next moment, and react to it. If you look too far ahead, you won’t have a good feel of what’s coming up and will lose balance or at least efficiency. Looking too close is a general mistake made when the terrain gets challenging. Our mind focuses on our technique rather than our surroundings, then technique becomes insufficient to master the terrain.
Looking one turn ahead is where it all happens, our analysis of what is coming up will transfer in direct action, so we can ski it efficiently. Problem is that if you only look at your next turn, the moment will happen too fast, and chances are your attention will come back to technique instead of terrain. Scanning between the next turn and two turns ahead will allow for best adjustments, best choice of line, best creativity.
Once you set your mind in do so, telemark skiing will not only be an awesome knee dropping freeheel sport, it will become a dance with the mountain.
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Select terrain accordingly
When telemark skiing, it’s important to experience failure and success to know what’s working. In this exercise, try to select a slope that is easy for you so that you can be confident. Focus on your surroundings, on where to look. Then, try doing the same in a slope that is harder, that is challenging, but that you’ve skied before. Then try it easy slopes in places you’ve never been, where you don’t know what’s coming up. And finally, try it all over.
Snow conditions and other stuff
Remember that terrain is only one of the criteria of difficulty in telemark. Snow conditions for one has major impact on it too. Don’t underestimate any details, don’t get frustrated if you don’t see result on the first day and come back at it from time to time. No one I know can have a 100% focus on where they look all the time. But it’s a habit worth developing.