How To Parallel Turn on Telemark Skis

Telemark skis have one stark difference from alpine ski equipment. On telemark equipment, the skier’s boot is attached to the skis only at the toes, and not at the base of the heel. This reduces the stiffness often associated with being attached at both ends, and Telemark skis enable the skier to kneel while doing a turn.

Doing a parallel turn on Telemark skis will involve some skill in distributing one’s weight towards different parts of the feet, and therefore different points on the ski.

What you need:

  • Telemark ski equipment
  • Gradually-inclined slope

Telemark skiing is best done over gradual inclines. The steep inclines of Alpine slopes would usually require alpine equipment for best performance and stability.

Weight distribution. When doing a turn on Telemark skis, you apply the weight of your outer heel on the outer ski. You should focus your weight on the inner-part of your feet—that is toward your big toe and your heel. The inner leg, meanwhile, should be in a kneeling position, with the heel raised. During a turn, much of your weight would be on the toe part, whether on the outer or the inner ski.

For example, to turn left, lead your right ski to the front, and bring down your right heel. Bring the left ski inward, and bend your knee, such that you are almost kneeling.

To turn toward the other side, repeat this on the other side. For example. Bring your left ski forward and trail it with the right ski. Bend your right knee, such that you’re almost kneeling.

To finish turning, extend and straighten both legs. This will equalize the weight distribution and bring you on a straight path once again. Or, you can continue turning left and right until you reach the base.

Staggering. Parallel turning with Telemark equipment is often considered to be a staggered one, since the inner and outer ski are often arranged in a staggered fashion. For instance, the leading ski will be a bit forward, in relation to the inner ski. This will also depend on the skill and preference of the skier. Some would prefer standing more upright, with only a slight bend of the knee. Some will prefer to kneel lower, therefore lowering the center of gravity. This will depend on your skill and preference.

Stance. When doing parallel turns on Telemark equipment, keep your torso vertically oriented, with your stance pointing downhill, rather than laid back. This will give you more stability, and will enable you to respond to any obstacles better. Keep your hands in front, whether you are holding poles or not.

Some reminders. Be sure to attend a skiing clinic before attempting any kind of skiing. Going down the slopes without basic training is dangerous and can be fatal. Also, only attempt using Telemark equipment on slopes that are appropriate to such. Otherwise, slopes that are too steep would be too difficult to ski on without alpine-type equipment.

Skiing might look easy, but it’s actually a difficult sport. You need to be physically conditioned and trained in the basics before attempting any slope, equipment or style. Using Telemark equipment might be a bit different from what alpine skiers are used to. With practice and the right tools, however, you can easily master parallel turning on Telemark skis.


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