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Knees together or apart?

Have questions about telemark technique? We have invited seven professional telemark instructors to help out with any questions you may have. If you are a never-ever wondering how to start or an expert tele skier wondering how to polish up that mogul run, here is the place to look.

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Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby jayc » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:15 pm

Well - it has all become moot, and I rescind my previous glowing report of the NTN release feature, and so much for the "telemark is good for knees" theory. I had a fall in the moguls on Sunday, albeit somewhat gentle - and tore the f'n ACL in my f'n GOOD knee. Ski season is over, to be replaced by surgery and PT. I hate PT. Crap.
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Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby benny » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:28 pm

Wow.

That really sucks.
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Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby jayc » Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:23 pm

Yup - sucks donkey balls big time. Off to an MRI in 20 minutes...
Just to add insult to injury, after two snowless months, we're getting better than a foot today, and are supposed to get even more than that on Sunday. I must have killed a nun in a previous life or something... :cry:
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Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Biff » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:58 pm

Wow, that really sucks! I'm sorry for you. Interesting that you tore your ACL. It used to be that I would always tell people learning to telemark that the chance of them tearing an ACL is much less than if they were on alpine gear. That's not so much the case any more. I guess with the beefy bindings and big boots it's much more likely to happen now. Did you get caught on the back of your ski?
The only "normal" people are the ones you don't know.
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Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Brenda » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:32 am

Oh I am SO sorry. :( You're enthusiasm has been most welcome.

Ugh.
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Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby flyingcow » Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:50 pm

Oh Crap!

I have been happy with the NTN release, but damn! That sucks!
Far less perfect than Zim.
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Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby johnmtl11 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:46 pm

I've been reading a lot of threads and looking at pictures and trying drills in my living room, but finally got out for the first time today. Skied out west actually at Keystone, but conditions were skied off / wind blown / some very firm patches. I was having a really hard time separating my knees and staying in control. I was able to make it down some blues but I still don't feel very comfortable with the stance and turns - usually bail out and do alpine turns to skid speed. I'm 5'4", about 145 lbs, skiing 163cm G3 Ace skis with Voile 3-pin hardwire bindings and Scarpa T1 boots.

Whenever I really bent my knee down and boot almost vertical my rear ski felt like a noodle. How do you put your weight on the ski with that sharp of an angle on your boot? When I tried to pressure the uphill ski more, i found myself doing exactly what Brenda posted as one of the fake-mark pics. The more I separated my knees the more I felt like I was losing pressure on the rear and it would be skiddish and I was starting to over-rotate.

I almost feel like I'm driving a forklift vs a car and all my steering comes from the uphill ski and I flex my ankle on the downhill ski to stay stable. I also feel much more comfortable turning right than left which I'm assuming is because my dominant right leg can handle it better than my left.

I'm coming from alpine skiing, trees, moguls, etc. But I always saw myself as more of a muscle through it instead of a finesse skier, which is why I wanted to give telemark a shot.
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Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Brenda » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:19 am

Coming from alpine, it definitely feels completely different from what you're used to. It may take a bit of time to get the hang of weighting the back ski, and if it feels like a noodle, then you definitely aren't weighting it.

I'd definitely suggest trying a lesson. You'll get specific feedback about what you're doing well or not so well, along with things to work on on your own. Lessons really speed up the learning curve. There are specific drill to help you get the feeling of weighting, edging, and steering your back ski.

Be patient with yourself, and most of all have fun.
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Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby johnmtl11 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:12 pm

I figure the first day is just getting used to being in the different boots and bindings. I wanted to mess around for a few days on my own before taking lessons so I have some questions for the instructor. I'm pretty sure when the uphill ski feels like a noodle it's because I'm actually leaning uphill instead of putting weight on the ski, kind of like alpine skiing back seat and it's actually harder to turn in this position. We'll see how day 2 goes, hopefully this weekend.
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Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby johnmtl11 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:31 pm

I got 3 hours in this morning at Keystone again, conditions were drastically different maybe 6" fresh snow and as I expected I had trouble in all the powder and cut-up crud. I started to ski alpine style until some of the slopes were a little more skied off and then I practiced my tele turns again.

I'm getting closer to getting comfortable in the telemark stance, now I don't have problems with the uphill ski feeling like a noodle, but I know I'm not comfortable setting and releasing my edges. I caught myself today basically making fast turns that were not nice gradual arcs, but more like a lot of sliding. And in some turns my downhill leg is almost straight mainly when I would pick up too much speed and try to bail out skiing back seat. I take this as a learning lesson as I was trying to focus on weighing the uphill leg - eventually I'll put it all together. I definitely like the closer to the snow feeling with the free heel.
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Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Williamtele » Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:22 am

johnmtl11 wrote:I got 3 hours in this morning at Keystone again, conditions were drastically different maybe 6" fresh snow and as I expected I had trouble in all the powder and cut-up crud. I started to ski alpine style until some of the slopes were a little more skied off and then I practiced my tele turns again.

I'm getting closer to getting comfortable in the telemark stance, now I don't have problems with the uphill ski feeling like a noodle, but I know I'm not comfortable setting and releasing my edges. I caught myself today basically making fast turns that were not nice gradual arcs, but more like a lot of sliding. And in some turns my downhill leg is almost straight mainly when I would pick up too much speed and try to bail out skiing back seat. I take this as a learning lesson as I was trying to focus on weighing the uphill leg - eventually I'll put it all together. I definitely like the closer to the snow feeling with the free heel.


Hi John,

This won't be all encompassing but just a couple of things to consider. Try a tele "stance" where you can look down and see both of your knees. The idea is to keep that uphill foot tucked in under your butt for better pressure control. Try it in a traverse before you incorporate it into a turn. Secondly, really try to slow down the lead change (again, do it in a traverse first). A slow lead change challenges your balance but makes you keep pressure on both skis throughout the turn. Thirdly, learn to love the monomark which is a turn without a lead change i.e. begin and complete the turn with the old downhill ski staying in the lead. It's the aspirin of tele drills. It forces good turn initiation (moving forward and laterally across the downhill ski) which is connected to better edge control which is connected to better turn shape which will help you live a longer and happier life. Lastly, try to keep that downhill leg flexed by pressuring the cuff of the boot. For left hand turns, pressure the cuff at 10 o'clock...for right hand turns at 2 o'clock. For beer, 3 o'clock.
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Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby johnmtl11 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:16 pm

Thanks for the tips. I've already read a lot about doing mono-marks from search threads and they definitely helped on my 3rd day. I don't feel anything awkward now when I turn left, still need to work on my right turns. I also caught a few edges just with my ski tips (fully cambered ski) so I think I'm going to increase the base bevel in that area while I'm in my learning phase. I'll probably keep skiing on my own thru the end of this season and then start off next season with some lessons. Thanks everyone for the advice
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Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby jayc » Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:17 pm

Brenda wrote:Oh I am SO sorry. :( You're enthusiasm has been most welcome.

Ugh.


Thanks for the comment. I sure WAS enthusiastic. Yea - I got about 10 days in, and progressed to where I could call myself comfortably advanced on the teles. I got some good tips, most increasing violence and aggression in my skiing - I initially had a lot of trouble holding an edge on the steeps as the classic tele-turn position prevents deep angulation. I skied with a guy who described his technique as 'dropping down' into the turn - basically dropping the butt onto the rear ski, using vertical momentum to jam the edges into the snow rather than glide gracefully into position. Worked great. Many tout grace and smoothness and lack of violence for proper tele technique, but I don't roll that way. Ironically, I felt I had a technique breakthough the weekend before my injury too, where I suddenly wasn't having my quads get fatigued so quickly and was able to ski pretty much anything fast and aggressively and go nearly as long as I could on alpines. I had a great tele-day that Saturday, but did have to quit early anyway since my knee (the bad one - not the one I injured) was hurting pretty bad. I skied on my alpine skis the next day to see how my knee held up - I will say it was the most fun I had on skis in years. After getting used to that sloppy tele-rig, my alpines were like lazer-beams with my skis never more than a scant millimeter from where they belonged - I also found myself farther forward than usual (I tend to push forward pretty hard on teles, I guess) so my edge control was epic. All day was mogul ripping at 100MPH - a crazy day.

Anyway, the next weekend, I had a good albeit short day of telemarking that Saturday evening, then went for a few quick runs on Sunday morning (Superbowl Sunday) before heading home for an early dinner. I just started my 2nd run, and was just starting to kill it in the moguls when I had my accident - it was warm, and the snow was soft, which is like cheating in the bumps, so I was going fast. Unfortunately, my lead foot (right) hit a bare spot between two bumps, which yanked my leg back behind me - the tip of the ski hit the bump I was passing, I think, which pulled my leg back and to the side. I fell back onto the heel of what was my uphill ski (left) which was now pointed straight downhill, which loaded up my ACL via the pressure from the tail of the ski, then my butt was pulled to the right by the other leg, snapping the ligament. Classic break-the-ACL leg/body position.

So - off to the ortho the following tuesday, MRI on weds, back to the ortho on friday, then surgery to get a new (reconditioned) ACL the next thurday.

I posted my latest wicked cool 2014 ski outfit. The yellow is what used to be my bad knee's custom sport brace - never wore it once. The black is my post-op brace ($21.50 on ebay) for my newly bad good, but made good, good knee...uh, I think that's right.
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