When to Drop a Knee

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FourthCoast
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When to Drop a Knee

Post by FourthCoast » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:21 am

Hello,

I am very new to tele skiing. I hope to get out and do some touring but most of my skiing will be at hills with lift service.

I am surprised by how much I use my quads in every single tele turn compared to alpine turns. The upside, so far, is that my knees seem to take much less impact and do not hurt as much at the end of the day.

As you all know with a plastic boot and the Switchback X2 that I have I can just ski making alpine turns, which is what I end up doing after my legs start feeling like noodles.

I guess I have a really basic beginner question. Is there any clear technical advantage to a tele turn? I think it is fun and it is neat to have one more way to play around on the hill so I am going to keep it up. I am wondering if there is more that I am missing?

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Andy M
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Re: When to Drop a Knee

Post by Andy M » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:13 am

Ha, you ought to get a lot of responses to that question!

IME, there are several situations where a tele turn has an advantage. For example, going over a roll and into a compression, I find it easier to soak up the compression in a tele turn than in an alpine turn, as you can sink as low as needed. And, as has been discussed on another thread, the tele stance is a great way to land after catching some air, as it provides better fore and aft stability, and, again, you can soak up the compression easier. Also, on steeps, I find it slightly easier to make tele turns, mainly as it is easier to bring the uphill leg down lower and in a bit more stable position.

And, yes, at the area, it can be a quad burner -- someone once commented to me at the area that it looked like telemarkers were doing squat thrusts all day long, and I thought that was an apt description. I also I mix in alpine turns, especially depending on the terrain, e.g., I use alpine turns on flatter parts, and I use the tele turns where they are more fun, e.g., nice rolls and slope irregularities.

But, in the end, I telemark more because it is fun and the feeling that the movement gives, e.g., like a dance, than because of any technical advantage it may give.

One thing to keep in mind is that the telemark turn developed a long time ago when it was a clear technical advantage over other techniques with the gear at the time, e.g., long skis w/o much sidecut and bindings w/o a fixed heel. Someone else can probably add much more detail on this aspect.

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Re: When to Drop a Knee

Post by MSU Alum » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:24 am

When you are using telemark gear, there is very little resistance to tipping forward because, obviously, your heels aren't held down. If you are just messing around on easy terrain, dropping a knee isn't going to be "technically easier". But, as you get into more demanding terrain or conditions, the act of dropping a knee creates a longer base between your two feet and will give you better control of fore-aft balance.

Of course, the whole point of telemark skiing isn't to have a technical advantage over alpine gear/technique. It's an aesthetic all its own. I'm sure you know that, otherwise you wouldn't be taking up the sport.

Many of the people on this board are committed to 3 pin bindings, leather boots and narrower skis for the same reason. It's their passion. It's not a choice they are making because it's easier, that's for sure.

Your strength will improve, but more importantly, so will your technique and that will make it so that less strength is needed. Tele-pine turns (or whatever you want to call them) are just fine for taking some of the effort out when you're beat, but the reward will be better - especially as a beginner - if you try to drop a knee as much as you can.

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Re: When to Drop a Knee

Post by FourthCoast » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:21 pm

Thank you for the replies. The suggestion of going over rolls and steep terrain brought back a memory from learning alpine skiing and racing. You can get away with skiing in the back seat and/or in a wedge (snow plow) until you get on something steeper or less consistent. That is when you either have good technique or take a fall.

I have been on the blues and greens teaching my daughter to ski. I expect if I get out on some steep stuff I will learn quickly what I am doing right and wrong.

The tele setup has been helpful for teaching on the greens and blues. It is a lot easier to kneel down to help someone else with a boot buckle or pick something, like a mitten, up off the ground.

I think Andy M answered the question I should have asked. He said, " ... I use the tele turns where they are more fun, e.g., nice rolls and slope irregularities."

The real question is I wanted to ask: What are some fun things I can learn to do on Tele skis that I can't do on alpine gear?

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Re: When to Drop a Knee

Post by lowangle al » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:28 pm

Hi forthcoast, I think the reason your thighs are burning is because you have too much weight on your leading ski. When you are properly centered it doesn't put too much weight on either leg.


The tele position gives you for/ aft stability to prevent you from going over your tips and it probably helped initiate turns on the older gear, especially if you don't have good alpine technique or control over your edges.


My suggestion is to ski on easier terrain and work on being centered. In addition I don't think of tele in terms of "dropping a knee". I try to stay more upright and keep my knees together similar to alpine. My knees only get low to absorb impact or for added stability in challenging condition. When I want to ski low it is my butt that I lower for a lower center of gravity and I try to keep my knees relatively together. If you can keep your knees together you won't get too spread out helping you get enough weight on the rear foot.

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Re: When to Drop a Knee

Post by Lo-Fi » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:43 pm

MSU Alum wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:24 am
... the act of dropping a knee creates a longer base between your two feet and will give you better control of fore-aft balance.

Of course, the whole point of telemark skiing isn't to have a technical advantage over alpine gear/technique. It's an aesthetic all its own. I'm sure you know that, otherwise you wouldn't be taking up the sport.
Fore-aft balance. Aesthetic.

Telemark equipment and the telemark turn allow for complete skiing: Near perfect continuity between flats, uphills and downhills.

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Re: When to Drop a Knee

Post by MSU Alum » Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:35 pm

FourthCoast wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:21 pm
The real question is I wanted to ask: What are some fun things I can learn to do on Tele skis that I can't do on alpine gear?

Well, that would be dropping a knee. Can't do that on alpine gear!

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Re: When to Drop a Knee

Post by FourthCoast » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:08 pm

MSU Alum wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:35 pm
FourthCoast wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:21 pm
The real question is I wanted to ask: What are some fun things I can learn to do on Tele skis that I can't do on alpine gear?

Well, that would be dropping a knee. Can't do that on alpine gear!
Its so obvious! Now I just need some snow.

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Tom M
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Re: When to Drop a Knee

Post by Tom M » Wed Nov 27, 2019 5:14 pm

Sometimes the skiing is so great and scenery so beautiful its a good idea to genuflect out of respect. Alpine skiers can only bow. :)
Tom telemarks on Ruth 2.jpg

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Re: When to Drop a Knee

Post by phoenix » Wed Nov 27, 2019 5:23 pm

I switch up my turns as my mood, and/or conditions, dictate. I've switched from tele to parallel mid turn (hit an icy patch, where I find parallel much more effective).
There is one particular tele technique which I find particularly satisfying (It's hard to explain, and best for very experienced skiers combining parallel and tele technique), otherwise, I just do what feels best at the time.

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