Have any Snowboarders here learned to Telemark?

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  • Have any Snowboarders here learned to Telemark?
  • Premier Icon alfabus
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    History:
    I skied for 1 day when I was 14, picked it up fairly fast and with the confidence of youth was blatting about in the afternoon with high speed snowplough and the beginnings of some scrappy parallel turns.

    Fast forward 10 years, and I started snowboarding in 2005 when I was in Wanaka, NZ for a month. Been boarding ever since, one or two weeks a year. I’d describe myself as a top end intermediate – confident on any piste, happy off piste but not going crazy, especially love powder, playing in the park on the smaller jumps, but no rails or big air.

    Now:
    Lots of my skiing friends have got bored of piste holidays and are getting into touring. Recent boarding trips go one of two ways – Good snow, brilliant trip; Poor snow, I find it quite boring and consider giving up.

    So… I’ve been thinking about learning to ski, as something to do if the snow is rubbish when I’m out in March, and also as a route into joining my friends touring.

    Or…. maybe I should go and learn to telemark, and that will put me straight into ski touring, and a bit of a different experience from all the herdes of skiists.

    So (finally) the question. Have any snowboarders learned to telemark without being able to ski first? Will I die?

    Dave
    (apologies for length and girth)

    Premier Icon OwenP
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    I snowboarded for years, season, instructor, all that stuff, then met my now wife, who was a novice / intermediate skier.

    As we were kind of mis-matched in what we liked doing when we went to the mountains in winter, i started hiring skis ‘for a laugh’ so i could learn something new and we could both enjoy doing gentler stuff.

    Picked up the basics of getting around very quickly, but in fairness it quickly becomes apparent that it takes a while to actually become competent and feel comfortable in the way you are probably used to on a snowboard. Love my skis now, but there have been (many) frustrations on the way.

    There are lots of techniques to pick up which takes time, skiing powder will still take a little while to get once you are competent on skis on piste, a transition i never found hard to make on a snowboard. On the plus side, your confidence, ability to read the snow and conditions etc should translate well.

    As for telemarking, never tried it but most seem to consider it a reasonably tricky form of skiing to master if you come from a good skiing background. Do you mean full-on telemarking, or using ski bindings which heel lift only on the climbs and lock down for descents? The latter would be much easier to adapt to IMHO. This was a big draw to skiing for me too, as (at first appearance) this is the one big advantage skiing has over snowboarding – easier access to places.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
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    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4w7sVSMbjyM[/video]

    Premier Icon MadBillMcMad
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    Most of the snow domes such as at the Trafford Centre do Telemark training sessions but they are not too frequent. Give them a ring or google your local club. They are often combined with the XC lot.

    Point to note. Hiring the kit can be tricky, but the clubs typically have second hand kit for sale.

    torsoinalake
    Member

    I quite fancy a go at telemarking. It does look to be the singlespeeding of skiing to me though.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
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    If you start learning to ski or telemark, you’ll be shackeled to the the resort for a while longer.

    Why not get a splitboard and go touring with your mates straight away?

    Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon nedrapier
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    torso, agreed. Beards definitely de rigeur.

    Premier Icon alfabus
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    If you start learning to ski or telemark, you’ll be shackeled to the the resort for a while longer.

    True, but I’m thinking of doing this as something to do if im in a resort and the weather is rubbish.. Touring would be a different trip, possibly in Scotland.

    Beards definitely de rigeur

    I could give that a go.. might take me a while though – Intermediate snowboarder, novice beard grower.

    Dave

    Premier Icon ahwiles
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    OwenP – Member

    …As for telemarking, never tried it but most seem to consider it a reasonably tricky form of skiing to master if you come from a good skiing background. Do you mean full-on telemarking, or using ski bindings which heel lift only on the climbs and lock down for descents?

    what he said, there’s telemarking, where your heels are always free to lift, and ski-touring, where you disengage your heel bindings so you can skoot uphill, and lock them down so you can descend ‘normally’…

    telemarking = uber hard.

    ski-touring = only quite hard.

    telemarking seems for people who find ski-touring just a bit too easy. it does look very cool when you see it done well though πŸ™‚

    highlandman
    Member

    I’m not a snowboarder but transferred to Telemark about 6 years ago from an experienced skier background, seeking the new challenge.
    As mentioned above, it is a bit like riding a steel-framed hardtail, run singlespeed. It is harder than is absolutely essential, but equally telemarking is very rewarding. In most Alpine resorts you’ll find a ski shop that carries a more ‘Mountain’ oriented range of kit and there’s a fair chance that this shop will rent tele gear. Lessons help and skiing experience also helps but lots of either is not vital.
    Up here in the not-particularly-frozen-north-this-week, Braemar Mountain Sports and Mountain Spirit in Aviemore both have tele gear, as does Ancrum Outdoor Centre in Dundee.
    Two main things though- skiing teles at any kind of speed is way more physical than regular alpine skiing and the extra technical demand of reduced control and balance also make life tough. But if you’re up for a challenge, do it. Telemarkers use the snow much more like a snowboarder than like a regular skier does, carving much wider arcs across the hill; it’s a very rewarding way to be on snow.
    It leads easily into backcountry touring, as all you need are skins and safety kit, all tele gear ban be toured on. There’s quite a community of touring telemarkers to be found up on the Cairngorm plateau, among the reindeer…
    Don’t confuse telemarking with xc skiing or Nordic touring, these are gentler sports, conducted in the forests and on lower mountains, populated by strange bearded types who wear sandles and lycra.

    Tribes, eh..?

    Premier Icon alfabus
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    I was thinking of going the whole hog, and free heeling it up and down.

    Of course, at the first hint of powder, I would ditch the torture contraptions and get my board out πŸ™‚

    Dave

    messiah
    Member

    Of course, at the first hint of powder, I would ditch the torture contraptions and get my board beard out.

    I started tele’ing when my feet became too knackered for proper ski and snowboard boots. Few things in this world better than Telemarking through deep powder… especially in leather boots and old skool skinny planks. You don’t surf on the top; you sink into the snow… so when you assume the stance the snow peels off your forward shin and hits you straight in the face beard. Face-shot-freshies on every turn :mrgreen:

    Worst thing about Telemarking is that it’s addictive… you may as well sell your other gear now if your going to try it.

    Premier Icon cobrakai
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    Been telemarking 10 years now. It’s a very rewarding way of cutting around the hill, but coming from snowboarding bi-passing alpine is going to create a few problems.

    1. The technique is vastly different, so it’s pretty much starting from scratch again. Finding your centre of balance, muscles you never use on a board etc.

    2. As already stated, it can be tricky to find stuff for hire in some resorts and I’ve checked the ski schools for instructors. They can seem thin on the ground.

    3. The equipment is expensive.

    Saying all that though, it’s absolutely brilliant when you have it nailed. I ski in the telemark club at hemel when I can. Most indoor slopes have a telemark club that will meet up once a month. Very friendly with a couple of spare bits of kit for u to try. Most of these clubs have a Facebook page so you’ll be able to get most of your answers there.

    Alternatively, if you like your knees in good condition, there’s always alpine touring bindings. πŸ˜‰

    Split board or snow shoes?

    Premier Icon alfabus
    Subscriber

    few mentions of split boards…

    what the deal with touring on them? everyting I have read about them is about using them to skin up stuff; can you use them for longer flat stuff, and for undulating ups and downs without going back to ‘board mode’?

    Still tempted by telemark, for the challenge πŸ™‚ although maybe I should do a week on downhill skis first to get up to the parallel turns stage at least.

    Dave

    Gotama
    Member

    Another skier to telemark but then back to alpine. Been skiing for 17 years and relatively good at it, also enjoy ski touring. Started tele as my girlfriend at the time was only a beginner skier and it made it fun for both of us. First thing is that tele is physically exhausting, far more so than normal skiing. I would say i was relatively fit when i started being a late twenties regular biker and climber. A few days back to back in resort destroyed my thighs. It is however one of the best feelings in the world ever when you get low down on one knee in a nice wide carve/turn. I have now gone back to alpine as, for my two weeks skiing per season, my legs couldn’t cope with a whole week of tele and karting both sets of gear was too much aggravation.

    Second thing is that if you intend to use it for touring then tele in powder is probably not the easiest thing to master. When i had a go on a board i found the changing snow conditions relatively easy. With skis it is harder, although less so nowadays. Get a nice tricky crust layer and skis want to go separate ways which if you’re a relative beginner to skiing will be tricky. Try that on one knee as a relative beginner and you’ll be in all sorts of trouble.

    If you like charging through crud/powder/piste it is a LOT easier on normal alpine gear. I never got to that level on tele but i’ve skied alpine with some very accomplished tele skiers and they had to work a lot harder.

    Alpine ski tech has changed massively since you had a go. Maybe worth trying that as the new gear is a lot more fun than the old narrow long skis.

    Lastly, these days there is very little in it for efficiency when touring with alpine compared to tele. Gone are the days of heavy boots and bindings.

    If you’re still keen have a look at telemarktips forum. Absolute gold mine for info and some top top skiers on there.

    Gotama
    Member

    Worth learning to parallel ski even if you do go the tele route imo. On a lot of the newer tele bindings you can parallel turn if you sit back a bit in your stance and use the spring resistance. Its a good get out of jail card for a tricky situation, difficult snow conditions or tired legs!

    Premier Icon footflaps
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    Reminds me of the age old joke: How man skiers does it take to do a Telemark turn?

    10 – one to make the turn and nine to stand around going ‘Great turn’…

    Gotama
    Member

    Yeah but it does look cool if you can do it well….

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=_RQdbpZ-Nz4[/video]

    greyman
    Member

    Thinking about giving it a go this year.
    Never skied for 15 years after discovering snowboards in the early nineties, but recently got back into it a bit. Now have a few pairs, inc some dynafit equipped touring skis plus skins.

    But I’ve never attempted a freeheel Telemark turn – eek !

    Anyhoo, might just grow the beard and join in !

    I snowboarded for several years, and was lucky enough to do a winter season in Chamonix. This opened my eyes to the fact that although snowboards can be fantastic off-piste, they are far from ideal for accessing off-piste.

    Upon my return to Scotland, it was clear to me that I would struggle to recreate the experiences of boarding in Chamonix, and that I needed s New challenge if I was to remain interested in snowsports.

    I decided to start telemarketing. I bought a full modern plastic boot set-up from Braemar Mountain Sports with literally NO experience. As I drove home I didn’t know which foot led through the turn.

    I read Paul Harper’s book avidly and practiced lying on my back. This sounds ridiculous, but Parker writes about how it should feel when you get it right, and this is what I looked for when on the snow.

    6 weekends, starting on the Glencoe rope tow got me to the level of easily participating in the advanced intermediate class at the Braemar Telemark Festival.

    It has just been progression from there. I would consider myself to be a good Telemarker, and there is a growing scene in Scotland. The movement is natural, and aesthetically pleasing. On modern gear any decent skier could ski on Tele gear, paralleling if necessary.

    I do not think it is that hard, and Tele opens up the hills for touring and off-piste like nothing else.

    Do it.

    hexhamstu
    Member

    Buy a split board? Best of both worlds.

    Premier Icon Digby
    Subscriber

    few mentions of split boards…

    what the deal with touring on them? everyting I have read about them is about using them to skin up stuff; can you use them for longer flat stuff, and for undulating ups and downs without going back to ‘board mode’?

    Splitboard technology has come on leaps and bounds in the past few years, so there’s much less of a drop in performance when comparing a splitboard to a normal board.

    Anywhere a ‘ski tourer’ can go a ‘splitboarder’ can go. They are absolutely fine on long flat stuff, undulating terrain and the odd down! (although I did have a ski lesson last season so I could improve my snowplough & turning technique a bit).

    dab
    Member

    Alfabus
    If you get the right kit and some good lessons then you’ll be fine
    Fitness wise it’s harsh, the chicken leg will visit even the fittest skier

    Equipment wise NTN ( semi step in ) is the way ahead

    Mountainman might say nay but he’s just old school
    ( waves to Sean – it’s Dave b πŸ˜‰ )

    X’scape at MK has a good tele scene indoors
    But up in Scotland it’s all on the hill

    Mike Gale @ g2 is the man to hook up with
    If you wanna learn new school style properly in the uk

    Do it !!!

    Premier Icon nedrapier
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    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdxTjP8rrjw[/video]

    Premier Icon chickenman
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    The Glenmore Lodge staff on their days off used to Telemark down Grade 1 gullies in the ‘Gorms making a point of showboating to their collegues taking punters up on winter skills courses! πŸ™‚

    Spin
    Member

    My mate who has skied, boarded and telemarked to pretty high standard thinks that telemarking is technically no harder than skiing but physically a bit harder.

    There seems to be a bit of confusion in this thread regarding Telemarking vs Alpine Touring kit. You cannot do a proper tele-turn on Alpine Touring gear – the ‘free-heel’ mode is for uphill only. The Dynafit stuff is seriously light and impressively tough though.

    I personally find the movement very similar to snowboarding. Think about the tuck of the rear leg and the dip of the knee and the lift of the heel, especially on a toe-side turn.

    I have moved on to NTN gear and it is great for speed and control, but the Freeride bindings are a bit heavy for touring. The Freedom binding is lighter, but unproved in terms of toughness – the Freeride binding has not been without fault either, but newer stuff should be OK.

    Modern fat skis can float better than a board and are more versatile, especially in a touring environment. When I boarded I was once involved in full-burial avalanche incident. The guys on skis had a much faster response time in deep soft snow, able to move about and probe/dig with skis on (bear in mind this was on a downhill section). On a board I was useless as I couldn’t move around as well, and by the time I’d binned the board and put my snowshoes on the lucky fella was found and dug out. If we’d all been on boards it would not have been so good.

    Spin
    Member

    However much fun boards are, skis are the tools you need for travelling in the mountains.

    martinxyz
    Member

    I learnt (in the local golf course) how to board in 91. Got bored of Cairngorm with lifts etc and I used to walk onto the plateau,Fiacaill ridge etc more often than buying a pass nearer the end. I haven’t been up much over the past 5 year but just finished building a splitboard last week.

    It’s free heel climbing on voile skins so not exactly telemarking but a step in the direction that’ll give me an idea of what it’s like. Not that I’ll turn to telemarking.. like someone said above, two wrong’s don’t make a right.. only in splitboard territory, it might just do ;O)

    Can’t wait for another dump to try it all out.

    Edit: To answer the original question, No.. but the owner of Bothy Bikes in Aviemore is the only person I know that has snowboarded and also tele’d. Can’t think of anyone else.

    dab
    Member

    Spin
    If it was all about efficiency we’d all be on dyna fits πŸ˜‰

    Tele is just a great feeling, kinda blends the best of boarding and ski
    Sometimes I miss the board ( big powder days )

    Troutwrestler – agree re NTN , pisses me off no harchiesen ( ski crampons ) are available
    And while I’m at it my scarpa tx comps don’t even have a walk lever
    But I’m spoiled by the control & power

    martinxyz
    Member

    The Glenmore Lodge staff on their days off used to Telemark down Grade 1 gullies in the ‘Gorms making a point of showboating to their collegues taking punters up on winter skills courses!

    I’ve boarded down Alladins Couloir with a telemarker. I took the safer option and said ‘after you’ or something along those lines with head movements/facial expressions!

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    Don’t confuse telemarking with xc skiing or Nordic touring, these are gentler sports,

    πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    mickdundee
    Member

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsFN4kcO3T8[/video]

    I took up Telemarking in addition to Boarding in 2007 and would give the following wisdom:

    1.Steep Learning Curve
    2.Carve is remarkably similar to boarding carve. Boarders on teles should find the rythmic weight transfer to link the tele-turns is almost identical to carving edge to edge on a board.
    3. If you only tele occasionally it will hurt more than a singlespeed.
    4. I still tele but am either not good enough/not fit enough/or the bare truth is once I’d ascended I always craved my board for the powder descent 😯 so bought some MTN Approach Skis instead of a splitboard. Not cheap but bonus is I get to take whatever board suits the conditions.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    Anywhere a ‘ski tourer’ can go a ‘splitboarder’ can go. They are absolutely fine on long flat stuff,

    But a lot slower than tele kit, let alone proper Nordic touring kit – there being a whole range of stuff in between depending on where you want to compromise between downhill and flat performance. I certainly can’t think of anywhere I’d choose to use a split board rather than some form of free-heel kit.

    I am a snowboarder who learned to tele. Though I should clarify that I was an advanced to expert skier before I ever boarded, and had done quite a bit of XC before I took up telemarking. Went from having a go at boarding on a week’s downhill skiing, doing half and half boarding / alpine skiing, full weeks boarding with a bit of tele to half and half boarding / tele. If I went to a downhill resort again I’d just do tele (as it is, the odd hours I’ve had on downhill slopes have been all tele). I suppose it depends on your perspective – with my background I didn’t find it all that hard to pick up. I reckon coming from boarding it’s a lot easier doing tele off-piste than it is using alpine kit.

    We should all stop fannying about and get Teleboards!

    Premier Icon aracer
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    …but then I am a unicyclist, so may not have the most sane and sensible opinion on such things.

    Unicycle AND Tele?

    Only one thing for it

    πŸ˜‰

    Blindfold Unicycle Tele?

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