Telemark Turning Tips

Telemark Turning Tips
Telemark skiing uses skis that have a binding that connects the boot to the ski only by the toes in a fashion similar to cross-country skiing. In telemark skiing, the downhill ski leads the turn and the uphill ski trails behind with a dropped knee. Weight is kept equal over both skis rather than shifted from ski to ski like an alpine parallel turn. There are some things to know when learning the telemark stance and working into the telemark turn.

Shuffle Exercise for Learning the Telemark Stance

The shuffle exercise is great for getting comfortable with the telemark stance necessary for making a telemark turn. On flat ground, start with your feet directly under your body and parallel to each other. Flex knees and ankles and sink into telemark position. Slide the right ski forward and then drop the left knee while maintaining equal weight on both feet. Make sure your weight is on the ball of the left foot rather than the toes and keep the hips centered between both skis with the back knee below the hips rather than behind the body. Then slide the skis together, stand tall and lower into the position with the left foot forward. Shuffle back and forth alternating which foot is leading, getting a feel for the telemark stance and getting used to one ski leading. Progress to sliding downhill while practicing the shuffle exercise--shuffle in and out of the telemark position making sure to keep equal weight over both feet.

The Mono Telemark Turn

According to Urmas Franosch at, the mono telemark turn is the best exercise for developing good telemark turning technique. Get into the telemark position with weight distributed over both feet equally and keep the back foot below the body, making sure not to drag it behind you. From the telemark stance, push off downhill to move into a turn. The mono telemark turn is basically an alpine style turn in the telemark stance. Without changing your feet, keep them in the same telemark position and make alpine styled turns keeping the telemark stance throughout the turn. This exercise teaches the skier to make turns with the legs rather than by rotation of the hips as a result of dropping the back leg. Repeat the drill with each leg forward, making sure to stay flexible rather than upright and tight.

Linking Telemark Turns Together

Now that you have gotten comfortable with the telemark stance and practiced the mono telemark turn, you are now ready to link the telemark turns together. Begin like you are practicing the mono telemark turn, yet this time after making a turn with the uphill ski trailing, shift into a position with the opposite ski leading (similar to the shuffle exercise) to prepare for you next turn. Continue down the hill changing which ski is leading before making the turn on that side.

Article Written By Wren Mcilroy

Based out of Salt Lake City, Wren Mcilroy has been writing outdoor recreation and travel-related articles for 3 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and biology from Winona State University in Minnesota.

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