Why I almost shut down Absolute Telemark




Since the beginning of the Absolute Telemark project, I always felt like I was not giving as much as I first intended.

This has been a great adventure so far, but over the last weeks, I really thought of shutting down the website and all.


I’m really proud of the tutorials created so far and the answer has been great. The people on our mailing list knows just how much this is important to me. Telemark is my life.

But for me, learning Telemark is more then watching a few videos.


Around me, the Telemark scene is not as alive as it used to be. And it’s not because there are no Telemark skiers. It just seems that we are more diluted, that more alpine skiers are going in the backcountry. That the old guard, the first generation of tele bums, are not as implicated as they used to be…


I’d really like to know your opinion on this. What could be done to get the community to be more dynamic?

Still, I went to a really great telemark festival last weekend at La Reserve. Over 300 telemark skiers present, 170 took a lessons, 120 borrowed equipment and 22 raced. For me, the real interesting stat here is that more people took lessons than borrowed equipment! The interest is on the sport, the interest is about skiing and free heeling.

This reflexion has gotten me to think that Absolute Telemark is still a great way to reach people. And that we can do better…


Over the last two weeks, I’ve really been thinking about how I could do my share, how Absolute Telemark could really help the community. I’ve been working on “something”, a big project. I will share it with you shortly.

In the meantime, if you could tell me what you think about all this (It only have to be a short answer) in the comments below. (The big box right below)







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  • Ryan Mack

    I’m super stoked on this website and your blog as well as the videos. Howerver.. I have been frustrated with the fact that I have emailed twice with questions on purchasing your videos and have recieved zero response. I would purchase immediately and would be a fan for life if you could write me back. I’m a 1st year telemark junkie and hooked for life. I converted from snowboarding for 20 years. My Tele frineds are blown away how fast I progressed and I’m getting others interested in picking up the sport who are Alpine/snowboard folks. Would like to purchase the combo pkg video ASAP so I can have perfect form and shred mogus and ride Fakie. I have trouble keeping my posture forward and hands down hill at times. I would be super stoked to chat with you Rene-Martin.

    • Rene-Martin

      Hello Ryan, I’m very please to hear from you.

      That’s a bummer… I have reply to you, twice! Maybe my emails went to your unwanted mails?
      Make sure you clear info@absolutetelemark.com from you unwanted (spam) list. I will resend the email right now

      You can purchase our tutorials at http://absolutetelemark.com/telemark-lessons

      I’m very sorry about the trouble
      Thank you so much for your input,


    • Roch Picard

      Hello Ryan,

      The purchase of the video package is well worthed, money well-spend as they say. If you don’t have a telemark ski instructor close by and you prefer self-learning, that’s the package to buy. I bought it last December and I can tell you the videos are great, well explained, easy to understand and the exercises are a must. Don’t under estimate the importance of doing all the exercises, they are classic but also the basic of learning telemark skiing. Welcome to the gang. Enjoy…

  • Patrick Poirier

    Salut René-Martin.

    I’ve been alpine sking over 40 years and I decided to switch over to Telemark this year. Web sites like yours have contributed to free my heels…

    My personnal feeling, as a newbee, is that the migration of skiers from the resorts to the backcountry is a general trend, and Telemark is one of the different flavors of this trend. Alpine Touring is taking a major chunk of this tendency because it is easier to go out in a new environement with a skiing technique you are already mastering. On the other hand, Backcountry Nordic Touring skis are getting fatter and the booth stiffers, so the Telemark technique is a must with these gears.

    Hope this feedback is of any use for your inspiration… See you at the Massif

  • Gérard (gerry2doux)

    Bonjour René-Martin

    Comme tu dois le savoir pertinemment, la pratique du Ski Télémark tout comme ses adeptes ne sont pas une tendance majeure dans la pratique du ski ou des sports de glisse, celle -ci englobant le ski nordique, et la planche à neige et l’énorme bassin de skieurs alpin. Avec ce dernier , impossible de rivaliser, sport de masse et équipements de masse par l’industrie qui inonde le marché de PUB et de belles images.
    Toutefois, malgré ce fait, je remarque une certaine tendance apparaître et c’est sans aucun doute pour le mieux de notre sport. Il n’est plus exceptionnel de croisé un adepte ou «converti». C’est selon moi une réelle augmentation de la présence de télémarqueurs sur les pistes en stations et aussi en hors-pistes.
    Du moins dans notre région, la Montérégie (Sutton, Bromont).

    Bien sûr le «Alpin tour» demeure une avenue plus accessible pour plusieurs. Moins compliqué selon ceux-ci. Probable. Mais , il n’ont pas le plaisir d’avoir la sensation de liberté que procure le talon libre. Ça ne s’achète pas, c’est une manière d’être, un état de proximité avec la neige.

    Lors de ma dernière sortie à Tremblant vendredi dernier 2014-01-31, il y avait une belle et bonne présence de télémarqueurs. Était-ce à cause du «festival de talon libre» pour le lendemain à la station La Réserve? Je ne saurait dire. Je crois bien que ce festival fut un grand succès.

    De la à espérer un mouvement de masse vers cette technique cela est utopique.
    Cela demeurera probablement un sport marginal car prétendument trop difficile techniquement et trop exigent. Selon moi il n’en est rien. Il faut effectivement une période d’apprentissage et bien de la pratique. Si l’on nous avait dit lorsque nous étions des bébés que d’apprendre à marcher serait bien difficile et que nous chuterions fréquemment plusieurs sans doutes auraient dénoncés et ramperaient encore aujourd’hui…

    Personnellement j’ai appris auprès d’un excellent instructeur du Massif de Charlevoix. Celui-ci à su me communiquer sa passion et son savoir.
    Je tente de faire de mon mieux lors de mes sorties, lorsque quelques curieux, intrigués ou personnes intéressées me demande des renseignements.

    Les différents festivals sont de bons moyens de se faire connaître et d’obtenir de la visibilité.
    Il faut reconnaître que nous sommes les meilleurs ambassadeurs de ce sport, mais soyons réalistes et continuons de nous amuser et d’aimer notre passion.

    Je te le souhaite ardemment.

    • Rene-Martin

      Great Comment Gérard,

      I encourage every one to use Google translate if they do not speak French.


  • http://Notthevenuetolistmytech-supportweb-site. David Archer


    I telemarked for the first time many years ago in BC. Have only tried (and loved) it again recently at La Cordée’s equipment show-trials this winter. Your site (and mailers) will probably be the reason I get back to it again sooner rather than later.


    — David

    • Rene-Martin

      wow, that’s awesome.
      You make my day

  • http://Absolutetelemsrk.com Bengt Persson

    Hi I hope you will have the strengh and motivation to continue, your webside is very giving me a lot of motivatin for free heal skiing until I die with the skiis on.
    Please keep on going.
    Absolurte Telemark is my favorite and a lifline for me.
    Thank you so far.

    • Rene-Martin

      Hi Bengt,

      I will definetly try not to let you down.
      Thanks for the pep talk


  • Luca

    I’ve also snowboard for many years, I still do, and started telemark last year. And I love it, even that I’m far away from looking cool at doing it…
    What made you do the switch? How are you progressing? I also have some vicious body position with my arms especially when I have my left leg forward and I think it comes from snowboarding from so many years, I cannot think of another reason…
    please don’t shut down this. You made a very good job. Your material is very original compared to the one I saw over the internet.
    I dunno about helping more the community. I maybe too newbie to answer to this. However telemark is fun but I think there aren’t shortcuts for learning it. It takes time and practice.
    Take care,

  • Devon Wright

    Don’t give in!! I have been thinking about this lately as well. Being here in Utah I can understand the allure of alpine for many people. The style of skiing taking hold and being put forward by the industry favors less finesse and is more about having the biggest balls and dropping the biggest cliffs. The essence of Telemark is so different than this. The reason we tele is to experience the terrain in a different way. To find more intimacy with the mountain. Tele feels good becsuse its hard, it’s about the experience and the personal challenge. I find so much stoke in watching others tele no matter the style. Even in racing the styles are visibly different even to the casual observer. That’s the beauty of Telemark. It’s the aesthetic of the turn.

    We too often compare ourselves to alpine. But the mission is different. There is a reason we free the heel to free our minds!

    Let me know how I can help!

  • Éric Gagné

    Ne lâche pas mon ami on te suit, te lis et partage ton info…un plaisir de te voir le week-end dernier et bien hâte de faire des virages en ta compagnie

  • Tom Vollbrecht

    Hey Rene!

    You already know that I’m a huge fan and supporter! Anytime you start something new, it is always harder than what you probably anticipated. I think you’re doing a remarkable job with Absolute Telemark, and I encourage you to keep going with it. I run a business incubator for startup companies in Utah, so I understand what you’re going through.

    However, the industry numbers don’t lie. Telemark participation is increasing while nearly everything else is on the decline. I’m not sure why the increase is happening… a new challenge, the fluid feel and style of tele, the cool factor (yeah, right!) or something else altogether. So long as you feel passionate about it, I think you have an opportunity to build a great online community.



  • David B

    I hope that you keep up the website, I have enjoyed it very much. It helps telemark to have beacons such as this as there isn’t much of a community where I live (in the upper midwest). Most of the big telemark festivals are on the East coast or in the Rocky Mountains, and there isn’t even a retailer any more in my community that sells or demos telemark equipment. You are fighting against a languishing market where the manufacturers don’t have the resources or interest in risking ventures in areas that can’t guarantee a solid return on their investment. Please keep up the good work.

  • http://www.benjamingagnonphoto.com Benjamin Gagnon

    Longue vie à Absolute Telemark! keep it up bro!

  • Philippe Jutras

    Salut René,

    here is my experience with the community, skiing from 3 years old to 16 and snowboarding from 16 to now…
    last year I met a tele ski patroller on the chair in Sutton I was very curious about the patrol and about tele and ask him a bunch of questions his answer was that I should definitely try both …this year I’m a patroller on snowboard… got some telemark boots from a working colleague who also use to be a tele ski patroller in trembant, he told me that tele was a lot of fun and complete discipline he encourage me and help me find decent skis and binding to start …I was a little bit anxious the first day I tried as snowboarding was my thing for the last 25 years… after watching a few utube video I put the gear on awkwardly :) got the feeling of the free heel thing right away, must have been fun to watch !! manage a few kiddy run to get the feeling and the basics and decide to go higher on the mountain. As I reach the chairlift I saw this older man with a big beard making a very nice and stylish telemark turn… My luck! I took the chair with him … Lester saw my setup and started the conversation right away, He did 2 runs with me and gave me a few pointers and exercises to work on he was very generous of is time and experience… Now I found you site, your tutorials which are awesome by the way, cant wait to go practice again and meet more people of this community.

    This community need site like this and people like you.

    Thanks and keep this alive man!


  • Jamie Huber

    I grew up and still live in a small, Pennsylvania hillside town that has some of the best technical singletrack available for mountain biking. I grew up riding and maintaining the trails, and the locals consider ourselves trail riders rather than mountain bikers. Over the years, I have ridden and guided the various types of mountain bikers that now saturate the mountain bike scene, and one thing is for sure, the people that come to ride with me are always looking at my riding style and trail knowledge to better themselves. It’s all about helping to cultivate the scene you want to exist in! I also telemark ski and think that this site is doing just that, carving out a niche for the love of the free heeling.

  • Calcagnolibero

    Hi Rene Martin, I’m living in the italian Alps ( Dolomites) ex alpine skier amd mountain skier, i have been just telemarking 70-75 day per season for the last 7 years. Your site rocks!!!! Keep on with the good work!!! Worst thing in tele worls is that telemarkers and teachers themselves when asked by a alpine skier or snowboarder if tele is difficult they say yes. Telemark is easier and more natural then alpine and snowboard. Just has to be taught the right way
    Ciao Giovanni

  • Jon Myklebust

    Strange no comments. Hang in there Rene. Your initiatives and passion are important to us who are still out there. Your 7 Flaws is the best summary I have ever seen and after been Telemarking for 25 years I picked up many great tips. In general, being a good telemark skier do require more skiing time, more fitness and stronger passion. So, for many it is too hard. With AT gear matching Tele in the BC we are “losing” the advantage we had as Tele was more versatile inbounds and out of bounds. I prefer to be unique and strong, motivated to train before ski season vs take the easy path to Alpine or snowboarding. That we can do anyway, but others can’t do what we do. So lets take that, we are admired for our graceful turns, our strength and willingness to work at it. Thank you for what you do for us.

    • Rene-Martin

      Hey Jon,
      There was a bug with the comments, so there few more now…

      Thank so much for the kind words. It’s been a while now and in my head I’m FAR from that moment. I’m really glad to have done the 3 part solution that I had set at the time:

      1. The 7 flaws to really help people to get to the next level
      2. Elle Telemark, to get people (ladies in this case) psyched about telemark
      3. Organizing an event a year to gather the telemark community.

      I’m looking to do a lot more from year to year, with the help of the Telemark Tribe. And the podcast is something I’m really thankful for the support of the community, the interviewees usually loves the moment and so do I.

  • Niels

    great work René. Just went back to do my second powder run today after 10 years of abscence. (injurded my back back in 99) klicked onto your web site to see how things have envolved. great stuff. Yes Jon is right, fitness and physique ist mandatory, but i keep skiing to a morning session and that works for me. and it is so much fun! New Skis and boots are ordered and are on their way!

    • Rene-Martin

      Hey Nils,

      Agreed. Fitness is import in any sport, an telemark is no exception. Plus the fact that the average telemark skier is out there only 14 times a season means that it’s usually very hard to become fit doing it.

      I say only 14 times on average but it’s good to know that alpine skiers are on the slopes an average of 5 times a year. Telemark skiers ROCKS

  • cp

    Its all good. Great site, great podcasts, great reviews, great videos. What more can a telemark skier ask for other than snow, good backcountry weather, and telemark women. Your passion for telemark is our passion for telemark. You are building a great legacy within the telemark community. This is my go to for telemark info when I want to find out the latest. Keep it up.

    Can’t wait to see more reviews about the Meidjo binding….and boot selection. I wish there was a Meidjo supplier in Canada.

  • KRad

    Please Rene-Martin, do not quit! The Tribe needs YOU! Cheers Pemberton B.C. And come on out any time you want to ski Whistler i can show you around. Cheers