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Your inside half

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Your inside half

Postby Williamtele » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:35 am

This is my second in a series of dragging alpine concepts into telemark technique tips. The notion of the “inside half” gets discussed a lot relative to the role of the uphill or inside part of your body in any given turn. For many beginner/intermediate alpine skiers, the inside ski simply goes along for the ride with no real pressure on it and in some cases limited contact with the snow. In telemark, the inside (trailing) ski may not be steering OR controlling speed, leaving the skis on convergent or divergent paths and the skier completely dependent on his downhill (lead) ski. The pejorative term for this is “fake-a-marking.”

Having what is called a strong inside half will exploit the potential of your trailing ski by engaging it early in the turn and keeping it engaged which will allow for better control over varying terrain. So the question is…what is a strong inside half and how do you get it? It’s easier to describe than achieve. Generally a strong inside half implies a body position that has the uphill ski playing an active role in the turn. It means sufficient weight and appropriate pressure to engage the uphill edge and keep the ski tracking in a parallel line with the lead ski. Visually you will typically see the uphill hand, shoulder and inside hip leading their counterparts into and through the turn (check out the picture of Matt from Brenda's post). Ankles, knees, and hips are flexed evenly and the body is “stacked” or “aligned.” The outside leg gets extended through the turn and the trailing leg gets shorter but forward pressure is maintained on both boots.

A strong inside half may take a very long time to learn and to recognize, and the precise movements are going to vary depending on speed, turn size and shape, and terrain. Here are a couple of ideas to think about next time you’re on the hill…..can you see your inside hand in your peripheral vision throughout the turn? Can you see either hand? Try a run where you keep both hands in view (but don’t forget to keep looking down the hill). Vary turn shape and size within the run. If you can see your hands all or most of the time, that’s good. As you initiate a turn keep that new inside hand leading the charge. Your shoulders and hips will hopefully follow. Second thing…where do you do aim your pole plant? Is it at the tip of the lead ski, down the fall line, or somewhere in between? Try aiming in the direction that your body is moving when it initiates the turn. That should keep your hands, shoulders, and hips properly aligned with your lower body and will set you up for the turn with a “strong” inside half. Again, try a run and experiment with different pole placements at varying speeds and over different terrain. Poling on a groomer and poling in bumps obviously require different tactics but the desired result is still the same.

Telemark technique is a very personal thing and I’m not implying a right or wrong way. The very notion of sharing teaching concepts with the alpine discipline will be untenable to purists. But the strong inside half is a useful technique for those who want to take their skiing to the next level. For others, the inside half can simply be the part of the day spent at the bar or in the hot tub.
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Re: Your inside half

Postby Bern » Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:57 am

I can see the value of what you refer to, I believe, as a strong inside half. On occasion, especially early season when I'm somewhat hesitant initiating turns, I've had trouble with the rear ski, the inside ski, spinning out. This is due to not enough weight on that ski. This year I've been doing lunges with dumbells to strengthen the quads and at the same time putting lots of emphasis on that ski also. In fact, I think about initiating the turn with the rear ski. Maybe this year I'll be a better skier.
Life is complex - it has real and imaginary parts

You can observe a lot by looking. Yogi Berra
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Re: Your inside half

Postby Go Fish » Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:48 pm

Very nice writing.

For me the "strong inside half" is all about my hips. When my hips are perpendicular to the fall line, my inside ski participates. When I whimp out with my core (abs and back muscles) my inside hip drags and my inside ski is useless.

Leg strength is important but so is general strength.
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Re: Your inside half

Postby mptelemark » Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:49 pm

see my post on learning alpine w tele skis. Practicing alpine technique w tele skis will help solodify your inside half . By concentrating on the inside edge w alpine turns will translate to early edge change and strong inside half on tele turns .
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