• Advertisement

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.

Moderators: flyingcow, Dirk, Williamtele

Knees together or apart?

Postby jayc » Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:31 pm

As a recent downhill convert, I think I'm keeping my knees too close together, but I'm not sure - not fore/aft, but side-to-side. I noticed some experienced telemarkers appear to drop their inside knee, forcing more independent ski action. Would you say that the two skis are controlled independently? I'm an old-school mogul guy, so I'm used to keeping my feet pinched together and moving my skis as a single unit - independent ski action will be a new technique.

I'm getting the fore-aft 50/50 weight distribution thing pretty well, but I think I might be off regarding lateral leg position. Should I be dropping my uphill knee (heel up leg) to the inside of the turn away from the other leg, to increase 'pinkie' edging on that ski, and to try and prevent my skis from hitting each other?

I heard a tip recently about 'squeezing and imaginary orange between your knees', which I'd say is how I naturally keep my knees, but that appears to make the inside ski tend to lay flatter than the outside one, causing the skis to press into each other during the turn - and I did have a fair amount of scuffing on the inside edge of my binding after my first day. I'm used to having my skis smash together all the time (pulverized by the end of the season), but is that good or bad as far as theoretical telemark technique goes?

thx
jayc
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:00 pm

Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Brenda » Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:26 pm

jayc, it's hard to say exactly without seeing you ski, but it sounds like you probably are keeping your legs a bit too close together side-to-side. Forget the orange, think cantaloupe, especially with today's wider skis. You will get some wear and tear on your boots, but you definitely do not want your legs pinned together. Think shoulder width apart. One drill to help with this is to ski like a cowboy--like you're riding a horse. Feels weird, but it may help with this issue. It will also get you on your little toe.

Another very common issue with alpine cross-overs is that they keep their thighs in parallel throughout the turn, which can make you think you are getting more weight on the back foot than you really are.

See how her thighs are pretty much in parallel? You can still pressure the back ski, but really only with your toes. This is called a fake-a-mark, and it's a pretty standard stop on most alpine skier's progression to full-on tele.
Image

Here's another example--you can really sit on that back leg and get your skis to turn, but this is not tele:
Image

Note the separation here--this is more what you are looking for:
Image

Image

All photo credits to yad.
Brenda
 
Posts: 709
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 12:01 pm
Location: Boston

Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Biff » Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:53 pm

Nicely put Brenda. The pictures really help make your point.
The only "normal" people are the ones you don't know.
User avatar
Biff
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3403
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:22 am
Location: Maine

Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Yankee Snowman » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:17 pm

That is one of the best articulated (word and pics together) telemark tips I've seen in my many years of seeking tips. Thanks, Brenda.
User avatar
Yankee Snowman
 
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:13 am
Location: Third boxcar, midnight train, destination: Bangor, Maine

Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Dirk » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:56 am

You really put that together well, Brenda. In all these years, it never occurred to me to use relative thigh position as a teaching tool. Nice!

Maybe you should start BrendaTips.
Dirk
 
Posts: 1360
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:50 am
Location: Orange, Vermont

Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Brenda » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:23 am

Gosh thanks! I picked it up from someone along the way--can't remember who. Whoever it was talked about "femoral separation" which always makes me laugh.
Brenda
 
Posts: 709
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 12:01 pm
Location: Boston

Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Yad » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:13 pm

I think I brought "femoral separation" back from Japan - Ross Matlock coined the phrase (or repeated it) and I've used it ever since.

Excellent use of the photos Brenda!
Yad
 
Posts: 284
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2006 10:15 pm
Location: Boston

Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby jayc » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:19 pm

Thanks for those pics, Brenda! Gives me something to work on. I do think I have the non-parallel thigh thing though - I've been laying into the tongue of the uphill boot, feeling the pressure during the turn, but do I think I've been holding my uphill knee in too close - I think I've been closer to tucking it in behind the down hill knee, as done with old-school downhill (I'm old). I had knee surgery not quite 6 weeks ago, so I found I was tentative committing to the bend on the downhill side with that knee last weekend. Once I forced myself to drop into the turn, they felt pretty good - I was getting it toward the end of my short day - 7 or 8 runs and my legs were smoldering cinders.
jayc
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:00 pm

Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby freedan » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:44 am

I might offer a contrarian point of view. The person you say is fake a marking and the one who is sitting on the rear foot look like tele to me. Just because PSIA has decided what it thinks is real tele doesn't mean squat. Learn lots of different styles and use whatever technique works best for the conditions. Tele is dynamic and not static poses. Some days I ride low with knee almost to ski, others butt on the heal, sometimes completely upright with little knee bend and utilizing hip angulation and even alternating tele turns with p-turns just for fun. **Disclaimer, I am not an instructor, or PSIA certified and not about to drink that koolaid.** Watch the telers that really shred and you will see all kinds of variations on the "correct" tele form. Everyone says telemark is a type of turn, I think of it as a type of binding - how you turn with it is up to you.
freedan
 
Posts: 387
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 8:56 am
Location: Upstate, NY

Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Brenda » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:21 am

Freedan, I completely agree--tele is dynamic, and I also agree with using different styles and turns depending the the snow conditions, terrain, and heck, even mood. But I'd be willing to bet having seen pictures and video (I think) of you skiing, that when you sit on your back foot or get your knee to the ski etc., your weight is centered over your skis pretty equally. What I am talking about is when someone has 90% of their weight on their front ski and almost nothing on the back. Believe me, you know it when you see it. These pics are to help demonstrate. When you are learning tele, it helps to have examples that are very broad--hence my "this is not tele" comment. The finesse stuff comes later.

Here's a picture of Matt skiing really low, and yes, his thighs are almost in parallel, but there's no question he is centered over his skis and in total control:
Image

Compare that to this fellow:
Image

Big difference.

Of course, these are pics taken at a fraction of a second, and yes, I am cherry picking for the best examples I can find. But this is the instructional forum, so it's for a purpose. Also, no disrespect at all anyone I'm featuring here--I'm guessing they are pretty fine skiers.

Again, all photo credits to yad.
Brenda
 
Posts: 709
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 12:01 pm
Location: Boston

Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Grant » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:37 pm

jayc - some of the older style of tele lessons have not transitioned well to newer wider gear. The tucking of a knee behind the other is a prime example. Instead of this, stick with focusing on 'big toe, little toe' and let your uphill knee follow the little toe to help pressure the outside edge of that ski.

Oh and since I'm not PSIA, you can trust me. :wink:
User avatar
Grant
 
Posts: 1041
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 8:13 am
Location: So Vt

Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby benny » Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:32 am

Grant wrote:jayc - some of the older style of tele lessons have not transitioned well to newer wider gear. The tucking of a knee behind the other is a prime example. Instead of this, stick with focusing on 'big toe, little toe' and let your uphill knee follow the little toe to help pressure the outside edge of that ski.

Oh and since I'm not PSIA, you can trust me. :wink:



The knee tucking advice never made any sense to me as it seems to be exactly the opposite of what the emphasis should be.

**I am not an instructor. Feel free to ignore my comments.**
benny
 
Posts: 397
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:02 pm
Location: NY

Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Breck » Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:58 pm

Focusing on turning while you pretend you are riding a horse is a great exercise. I have a very bad habit of letting my thighs be very close which feels stronger but in the end it is not. The biggest benefit I noticed is that "cowboy/girl" style lets those surprise icy spots be places of sliding if the edges don't engage rather than a wipeout because the skis are right next to each other.

Another benefit is that my legs are much more independent in dealing with terrain.

Breck
User avatar
Breck
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:50 pm
Location: New York City, Sugarbush VT

Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Bern » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:38 pm

This is where a mustache for skiing comes into its own. Notice that Matt is showing very nice tele form and his mustache is parallel to the slope. Were this not so, considerable asymmetry would enter the equation and the entire picture would appear out of balance. With the mustache parallel to the slope, gravity as well as coriolis force are in alignment.
Life is complex - it has real and imaginary parts

You can observe a lot by looking. Yogi Berra
Bern
 
Posts: 1007
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:04 pm
Location: R.I.

Re: Knees together or apart?

Postby Brenda » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:14 pm

Brilliant! :lol: :lol:
Brenda
 
Posts: 709
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 12:01 pm
Location: Boston

Next

Return to Telemark Instruction

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest