Telemark Tips is the first and thus far the only video based teaching App on free-heel skiing. It has been created from scratch by Benjamin Jay, an experienced Ski Instructor and Bi-athlon competitor based in the French Alps. The ‘Telemark’ turn, first developed in the mid 19th century, remained one of the dominant styles of downhill skiing right up until some 30 or 40 years ago. All of that changed when technical developments in bindings permitted the rear heel of the ski boot to be safely attached to the ski. This simple but momentous change, plus the numerous subsequent advances in ski structure and shape, made downhill skiing much easier to learn and master and gave rise to the huge popularity of ‘Alpine’ skiing that we see today.
So why would anyone want to step back 50 years? Well if you’re still wondering, then just spend a few minutes watching someone doing perfect Telemark turns down a slope. Its not only the most graceful sight on the mountain but its by far the coolest. And if you’re looking for some sport out of your chosen sport then Telemark is going to work muscles you never new existed – as an all round aerobic and anaerobic workout, it takes some beating. Back country or off-piste tourers too will appreciate the greater freedom that Telemark enables. The equipment manufacturers have also noticed the ‘old kid on the block’ and most are now developing modern boots, bindings and skis in the Telemark style while in most of the major skiing countries you can now find Telemark groups, festivals, competitions and other events throughout the winter calender.
As with the rest of the series the App comprises 25 individual lessons, each of which is designed to develop or enhance a particular element of skiing technique.
The Exercise Section is structured in a progressive way to enable you to build your technique from session to session. Each Chapter deals with a particular key group of techniques. Work through the Chapters as your expertise develops or as your competence returns.
Each exercise is presented from three media perspectives. A ‘Text’ instruction gives you a textual and contextual description of the exercise; a ‘Video’ Clip shows you how it should be done; and finally an ‘Audio Loop’ talks you through the exercise as you actually ride. Since you will have to put the device into a pocket after pressing the Audio Loop button, we have designed a number of controls to ease the process. A ‘delay’ provides a 1 to 10 second delay before the Voice-Over begins, while a ‘Reps’ setting allows you to choose between 1 to 10 repetitions of the same exercise. You can also ‘lock’ the device during the Audio Loop so that you don’t accidentally stop the player when tucking it into a pocket. You can also vary the audio volume. The various controls can be selected using the ‘Settings’ feature on your device.
We have also created a ‘Play All’ function, where you can watch the video clips for any particular Chapter or watch the entire App, just as you would watch a DVD. Watching a specific chapter in its entirety provides a valuable insight into the whole context of that chapter and thus reinforces the purpose of an individual lesson or exercise.
This App is targeted at anyone who has had at least a taste of Alpine skiing and is looking for a bigger challenge. It has been created to be used as both a self teaching aide and as a supplement to lessons. If you are having lessons, we recommend that you watch the app before your lessons & then use the app afterwards to practice what you were taught during your lessons. If you’ve already started Telemark skiing then you’ll find the App invaluable in getting you back up to speed and then taking your skills forward to the next step.
You can learn to ski Telemark from scratch without ever having been on a ski slope, but in practice much of the early tuition is very similar to that for Alpine skiing, so we have chosen to focus on the real elements of Telemark and thus maximise the experience. As a starting point you should at least be able to negotiate easy to intermediate slopes on Alpine skis, execute the wedge or snowplough turn and be able to do a basic parallel turn. But whatever your level of Alpine skiing expertise you should spend at least a few hours just clumping around the nursery slopes with your telemark skis, getting used to the different feel of the binding arrangement and appreciating the different degrees of movement.
Telemark Tips is structured into 5 Chapters each of 5 lessons, working progressively from first timer right through to expert Telemarker. Since each chapter builds on the previous one, be sure to master the lessons in each chapter before moving on to the next level.
In the first Chapter we introduce you to the basic equipment you’ll be using and we walk you through the basic techniques and preparations you’re going to need to get started on the slopes. Telemark skiing is very much less forgiving than modern Alpine skiing and your position on the skis, your weight distribution and your basic stances are critical elements in mastering the Telemark turn. In Chapter 2 we work on a number of exercises which focus exclusively on these core elements.
The classic Telemark turn can be quite tricky to learn especially if you have a strong Alpine background, so in Chapter 3 we break it down into three elements and work on a particular
exercise to reinforce the timing. In both these chapters we also present the common faults to avoid.
Building on the classic Telemark turn we then start to build real control into your skiing. Chapter 4 works on three very specific turns that you’ll need to handle all of the different slopes and conditions that you’ll encounter on the pistes and teaches two great exercises for developing close control and balance.
In the final chapter we introduce you to the advanced techniques of Telemarking including High speed carving, freestyle and powder skiing.