Telemark Skiing: Free Your Heel, Free Your Mind

by Paul Lallement

If you are like me, you get bored with things easily. The urge to expand your skill set once a previous ability has been mastered is standard for human nature. The same drive goes for skiers as well.


I hung up my race suit and retired from competitive ski racing after graduating from high school. Over the next year, I had become increasingly bored with the same skiing that I was doing since I was 5 years old. I thought to myself, “How is the very sport that kept my adrenaline running my whole life now boring to me? This can’t be!” So I decided to try something new: telemark skiing.

In the past, I viewed telemark (or tele) skiers as goofy burnt-out old men who wanted to stand out from the skiing crowd. After discussing tele skiing with some actual tele skiers, it became clear that tele skiing was actually something greater than the sum of its parts. It was about the feeling that comes with carving a tele turn and accepting the challenge of doing something unknown to most people. As a result, I bought the equipment necessary, and within a year I was tele skiing.

One of the main differences between tele skiing and alpine skiing is the weight distribution when turning. The basics of the tele turn is to bend your inside knee in the arc of the turn while keeping your upper body square, facing down the fall line. In achieving the proper tele turn you must put your weight towards the middle of the ski and focus on leaning back. This is contrary to turning while alpine skiing where you keep your weight forward to make the turn.

At Appalachian Outdoors any ski in our lineup can be a tele ski with the exception of the system skis. Our qualified ski technicians can work with you to make sure your ski can work with a tele binding. Currently we carry the  Vice Telemark Ski Binding by 22 Designs. This is a good binding to begin tele skiing with because you can customize the pivot position to the kind of snow you are presented with.

vice telemark ski binding

If you are already an alpine skier, you are well on your way to learning how to tele ski and expanding your skiing skill set. It only took me about one season to feel comfortable tele skiing, so it should be no trouble for you. You’ll soon discover the awesome sensation and experience of tele skiing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>