Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
👁 durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Telemark Skiing

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
At Masopa's suggestion I am starting this thread on free-heel/telemark skiing (although I hasten to add I am only what I would call low intermediate standard on telemark - perhaps some more experienced people can contribute).
First a bit of skiing history. This information is from an excellent book(ref ISBN 1-898573-54-9) called Free-Heel Skiing by the American Paul Parker (who is the guru of modern telemark skiing - respect! Cool ).The father of modern era skiing is the Norwegian Sondre Norheim, who in the late 1800s developed the telemark turn on the slopes around his town of Morgedal in the Telemark region of Norway. He demonstrated this at a jumping competition in Oslo in 1868, where he awed the crowd with a 76 foot jump Shocked followed by a graceful telemark turn to a stop. Quote:"This was a viable technique for the equipment of the day, which consisted of freeheels and wooden skis with no sidecut. In the telemark position one could wedge the forward ski slightly and have the effect of one long, sidecut ski. When properly performed the result was an elegant arc, most often a medium-to-long radius turn well suited to Norway's moderate terrain and deep snow."
When skiing moved to the alps the telemark turn continued to be taught and used, however by the 1920's Hannes Schneider's Arlberg Ski School at St Anton had developed the Alpine Technique where turns were initiated with a stem (the stem christie) which was more suited to the steeper terrain and equipment available, in which the heels were kept down on the ski. Telemark was officially dead - at least for alpine conditions.
In the 1970's in North America there was a revival of interest in the Telemark turn amongst back-country skiers on cross-country ski equipment who liked to tour off the prepared pistes. Crested Butte, Colorado was one of these centres of this revival in interest. I first tried Telemark equipment for a day at Crested Butte in 1988 - at that stage and for a number of years thereafter telemark skis were longer and narrower than the alpine skis and the boots were still leather. The binding used was the classic cross-country 3 pin Rotafella (Norwegian for Rat-Trap!) binding in which 3 pins on the base of the binding engage with 3 corresponding holes in the duck-bill toe of the boot. Being leather this meant that although the boots had the required fore/aft flexibility, compared to plastic alpine ski boots and fixed heel bindings there was very little side -to side torsional stiffness, which I found somewhat disconcerting. In the mid 1990's plastic telemark boots were introduced (which have a flexible bellows section to allow the boot to be flexed in the fore/aft direction) which give a quantum leap in torsional stiffness and control. At the same time a number of alternative bindings have come onto the market, and the length and width of the skis is now the same as alpine (in fact many telemarkers use standard alpine skis).This brings us up to the present.
You may ask - why bother with a free heel? I would say that with modern free heel equipment you can do all the usual alpine turns (snowplough, stem turns and parallel, plus you have the option of the telemark turn (which looks and feels way cool when done well Cool plus if you need to move on any flats its a lot easier and quicker to get along with the classic langlauf style).
A great US based website for more info is www.telemarktips.com


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Wed 25-02-04 21:18; edited 1 time in total
snow conditions
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Nice bit of history - thanks AP. I must confess that out of all "alternative" disciplines, free-heeling seems the most appealing. Certainly seems worth giving a go compared with ankle-rippers (sorry, blades) or learning to how sit on my backside (sorry - the main thing that puts me off boarding is going back to a complete beginner again).

The concern I have with telemarking is that a) I'm not a good enough alpine skier, so I still have loads to learn on this, and b) I've heard that telemarking is hard - VERY hard. Horror stories of whole seasons to lean how to turn properly have put me right off!

What's the real story - it looks so cool, and certainly is a bit different to see in most French etc. resorts.

And do I need to buy a pipe to suck on as I freeheel along the flats? Laughing
ski holidays
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
As an alpine skier I have never progressed beyond the "intermediate plateau", so I would say that any intermediate alpine skier has a sufficient foundation to try telemark. When you say you've heard it's hard do you mean its difficult to learn (which given some proper tuition I would say it is not - or no more so than alpine) or do you mean its physically hard (which being a sedentary office worker I would agree it is.) However when free-heel skiing you don't have to make every turn a telemark turn - when you are tired (or its too steep for you) you can always revert to parallel Wink
The link to telemarktips I posted above usually has some interesting videos of telemarkers - I have collected a few telemark video clips on my PC from various sources. One particulary interesting one is a recreation of original Norwegian telemark skiing style of the 1870s. Unfortunately I don't have my own website, but if anyone can host it (It's a mpeg1 file about 4.5MB size) I can e-mail as an attachment.
Anyway although I'm still getting my bodyclock back onto UK time (having come back from Canada a few days ago) its time for me to logoff and go to bed.
Bye!


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Tue 24-02-04 20:58; edited 1 time in total
ski holidays
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
I can host it - if you post it to me in work hours where I have broadband. check out my profile for my website and a link to my email address
ski holidays
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
It goes back to a fascinating article I once read on telemarking. The article discussed the pros and cons and basically it came down to the fact to be able to turn properly, you really need a LOT of practise. However, I don't know how capable the subject of the article was - for all I know, he may have been a muppet!

If it's not that difficult to learn, I might be tempted...
latest report
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Thanks for the info Alastair - really interesting. Something I've always wanted to know more about but think I have too much to do to still master alpine skiing before I try myself.

I saw a group telemarking in La Plagne earlier this year and thought they looked so graceful and smooth....
snow conditions
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Our guide in Ste Foy this year used teles. Reckoned that using the natural hinging action of the knee instead of lateral forces was much kinder to them in the long term. I understand a guy at Milton Keynes is running beginner courses. Here's a photo of a friend of mine after his first lesson Cool
snow conditions
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Weird - I'm sure I read your post a while ago Alan, but it appears to be new.

Very strange!
latest report
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
you've a quick eye masopa Laughing yes I was trying to change the link and messed it up so I started again. Forgot to say Alastair that I can host your video too (provided you have the rights to show it Smile )
latest report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I can see why someone might want to telemark if they have already tried and got bored with alpine skiing, snowboarding, monoskiing and snowblading. That's a big if!

I have used either alpine trekkers or Diamirs for touring to get away from the crowds, and it's great, precisely because your very quick, safe, efficient and fun normal technique can be used for the downhill bits. Surely telemarking is a bit obsolete nowadays, and just an artificial way of introducing more difficulty to an already challenging-enough sport?
snow report
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Plake
Hi Little Angel
I don't quite follow your argument that you have to be bored with all the other methods of getting down the hill before trying telemark - I still greatly enjoy alpine, my Kneissl Big Foot on piste (Precursor of snowblades to those who don't know them) and even an occasional day's langlauf. It's just another platform/technique - surely the more the merrier?
As regards being an artificial way of introducing more difficulty to an already challenging-enough sport, I can think of other sports where there are alternative ways of doing things and some people prefer the "harder" way e.g although I know nothing about rock climbing, I believe in that sport there is a group of people who like to climb without mechanical aids such as the steel screws etc which are sometimes fixed into the rockface. Anyway I would argue that the difficulty of telemarking is compensated for by the pleasure you get from doing it well.
Different strokes for different folks etc Smile
Thanks to those people who have offered to post my video clip - Alan has raised a good point about rights, so I have sent an e-mail to the people who produced it and am awaiting a response (It was produced as a promotional video file by a telemark binding manufacturer). Hopefully they will say yes.
snow report
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Hi Alastair. I have posted your clip here . For some reason I couldn't convert it to wmv so I have left it in the original mpg1 format. On my system it downloads first and then opens in Realplayer.
snow conditions
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
nice vid - Alastair do you know what year was it?
snow conditions
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Alastair, scary stuff on those skis, rather you than me...
Alan: loved the 'trip' clip...
snow report
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
What on earth are they carrying in their hands - chunky poles? Confused
ski holidays
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I think it's just one big pole Tony - used for steering, braking and who knows what else - no doubt Alastair will enlighten us! PG - keep pestering Lorraine, we need that table clip Little Angel
snow report
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hi Folks!
Many thanks to Alan for hosting the video clip - I'm pleased that people like it. To cover the points raised:
No, I do not appear in the video Madeye-Smiley . The video was released about 3 years ago by a Telemark binding manufacturer as a promotion for telemark when they introduced a new binding called the Skyhoy. This video is a recreation of early telemark skiing using old style wooden skis and bindings (the introductory part is titled Morgedal (see my first post) 1860-1890.
The single long wooden pole they are using is called a lurk. As Alan says, early skiers used this to help with turning, braking etc. It was an Austrian army officer, Colonel Bilgeri who introduced the use of 2 poles about 1910. This so upset the traditionalists that he was challenged to a duel Exclamation by another Austrian ski pioneer Mathias Zdarsky - fortunately it never took place.
Some modern telemarkers have taken to using a lurk as a bit of "retro" style - during one telemark lesson I had about 2 years ago in Wengen the instructor got me to try using one. It is quite good fun - you no longer use it for braking, but for turning - you hold it in both hands in front of you, and when you want to turn right place the RH end into the snow and turn around it (a bit like you turn around a pole plant). If you do a series of connected right and left turns in this way the arm movements are then a bit like a kayakers arm movements as he paddles - do I make myself clear or have I confused everyone? Confused
snow report
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Hi Alastair - I have posted the second clip now (same link as above). Server space isn't a problem but bandwidth might be if you convert the masses Exclamation Wink
What stops the skis flopping down when you take big air like that? One of my biggest problems on touring bindings is falling (usually by missing the track on an uphill kick) and then finding the skis flapping around everywhere as I try to arrest my subsequent rapid descent.
snow conditions
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Great videos, Alistair Very Happy

Is there any evidence that the chaps from the 19th century got up to those 'gnarly' tricks?
latest report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Alan
When you take big air on telemark skis (or for that matter are sat on a chairlift!) the rear of the skis are slightly separated from the rear of the boot. You can see this effect with "proper" ski jumpers (rather them than me Exclamation , whose enormous skis still use a free heel binding. You probably know that when they land in order to help absorb the impact they go into a telemark position - on which they also get marked for style.
As regards Alpine Touring (AT) bindings if they are in the touring mode and the skis are lifted off the ground I would expect the rear boot/ski separation to be greater, since AT bindings are pivotted a bit in front of the boot whereas with telemark bindings the toes are held firmly in contact with the ski and the pivot is further back at the ball of the foot. This difference in pivot positions is incidentally why it would be virtually impossible to do a telemark turn on AT gear - you would be on tip-toe with no control of the ski.
Ian - I think the 19th century chaps confined themselves to ski jumping, but that takes more bottle than I've got Smile
latest report
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Ooh. They're rather good, aren't they?

Thanks for the videos Alastair - telemarking looks excellent, although not so sure about the accompanying "Christmas present jumper"!
latest report
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
In Norway there is a company called Dale (pronounced Dahle) who make "Christmas present jumpers" for skiers. The best type are lined with Gore-Stop which is a breathable fabric but which stops any wind, and they are quite warm enough to ski in in reasonable winter temperatures. The choice of pattern is of course up to you Wink
latest report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Thanks Alastair - that explains things. I may give this a try!
latest report



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy