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Will I have the b*lls to tele...

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Will I have the b*lls to tele...

Postby jayc » Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:39 am

Some might remember me - for those who don't: 2013-2014 was my first year on telemarks, and was interesting to say the least. I am a bit over-50 old fart who is an advanced aggressive and fast mogul skier (I overheard someone in a group of instructors once described me as 'an elderly version of Wayne Wong'...still don't know how to take that, being that Mr. Wong has to be 65 by now...). I was looking for some additional ski challenge - making the mountain steeper, as it were, and had always been fascinated and impressed by the one or two telemarkers I'd see on a mountain on a typical day. After getting season passes to Crotched Mt, where bizarrely a solid 40% of the skiers on a given day are on telemarks, I couldn't resist and absolutely had to make the plunge. I went to work shopping (skiing on a skin-tight budget is part of my hobby), and picked up a super-bargain rig: used Volkl Karma twin-tip skis, new Garmont Prophet NTN (soon to be Scott Voodoo NTN) boots, and new Rottefella Freeride bindings, all for under $500. I am the master of cheap skiing.

I picked up the tele-technique pretty quickly - lots of tele-skiers to pump for information at Crotched - and got in about 10 days through the first weekend in Feburary '14, though most days were limited to only 5-6 runs before my quads would give up. Even so, I progressed to where I could call myself comfortably advanced on the teles. I got many good tips along the way, most increasing 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 your butt onto the uphill 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.

Somewhat ironically, I felt I had a technique breakthrough the last weekend in January '13, where my quads weren't getting fatigued so quickly, and I was able to ski pretty much any terrain aggressively and fast, and stay on the slopes nearly as long as I could on alpines before succumbing to fatigue. I had a great tele-day that Saturday, but while my quads were feeling amazingly good, I had to quit early due to my bad knee (right side - 4 surgeries on it...so far...the last one 5 weeks before this ski season started) was hurting pretty bad. I skied on my alpine skis for the first time of the season 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 noticeably farther forward than usual (I tend to push forward pretty hard on teles, apparently) so my edge control was simply epic. All day was ludicrous-speed mogul ripping and flying around/through/over everything 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. I just started my 2nd run, and was just starting to kill it in the moguls when I had an accident - it was warm, the snow was soft, and the cover was a little thin. I was going fast, and my lead foot (right) hit a bare spot between two bumps, which yanked my leg back behind me and threw me well off balance to the rear - the tip of that ski hit the bump I was passing, I think, which pulled my right leg farther back and to the side. As I just had surgery on that knee a couple of months earlier, I was paying close attention to the position of my leg as it was being pulled behind me, but paid no attention to my left leg. Evidently, I fell back onto the heel of that ski as my butt was being dragged backwards by the other leg. This loaded up my left ACL via the pressure from the tail of the ski, then my butt was pulled to the right, snapping the ligament as I was put into a textbook-classic break-the-ACL leg/body position. I heard it pop, though it didn't really hurt, but I immediately recognized the position, and knew exactly what happened - torn ACL in my GOOD knee. Apologies to the children on the lift above me...rumor has it that my curses are still hovering in a cloud somewhere between Francistown and Weare. Sure enough, my knee was the size of a cantaloupe the next morning, so a quick call to my orthopedic (#2 on speed dial) plus 10 days and I was under the knife - thanks again to the dead guy who donated the spare parts I needed. Rehab followed, but I had to quit early to get another surgery to do a ligament reconstruction on a previously dislocated thumb, injured in a dirtbike accident during the previous fall (I really had a tough year in '13). When you don't have a thumb, incidentally, you're basically a dog...not cool at all. Tragically, that surgery got botched by the surgeon (not the same one as my trusty knee guy), which screwed up my return to rehab (dogs can't hold a weight bar), but I FINALLY improved enough to get back into the gym, and expect to have legs of steel by the time December rolls around.

SO - ski season is coming up quick (already turned the heat on in both houses, krike'). I'm really looking forward to getting back on skis, but though I will be strapped up with an extravagant custom knee brace, and should have a few months of intense dry-land leg training under my belt by then, I will admit that I am nervous about getting back on skis, and solidly a-skeerd by the thought of strapping on teles again. Any advice, words of encouragement, berating for being a girl, et al?
jayc
 
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Re: Will I have the b*lls to tele...

Postby flyingcow » Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:55 pm

Start slow and roll with the punches... That's how I have been hiking and skiing for the last four years with various injuries and neurological shutdowns interspersed.
Far less perfect than Zim.
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Re: Will I have the b*lls to tele...

Postby CIMA » Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:51 am

How about moving in to off-piste?
The flowing river never stops and yet the water never stays the same.
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Re: Will I have the b*lls to tele...

Postby Williamtele » Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:58 am

flyingcow wrote:Start slow and roll with the punches... That's how I have been hiking and skiing for the last four years with various injuries and neurological shutdowns interspersed.


If you can, stay on the groomers and for the sake of the children stay out from under any lifts. You might further consider revamping your hardware, either going to NTN or at least a releasable binding. Lastly, I think practicing and maintaining a nice high (and compact fore and aft) stance will help keep a lot of stress off your knees.
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Re: Will I have the b*lls to tele...

Postby jayc » Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:14 pm

Williamtele wrote:
flyingcow wrote:Start slow and roll with the punches... That's how I have been hiking and skiing for the last four years with various injuries and neurological shutdowns interspersed.


If you can, stay on the groomers and for the sake of the children stay out from under any lifts. You might further consider revamping your hardware, either going to NTN or at least a releasable binding. Lastly, I think practicing and maintaining a nice high (and compact fore and aft) stance will help keep a lot of stress off your knees.


I ski with NTN gear already, and run them on the soft side - didn't help with the ACL, unfortunately.
jayc
 
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Re: Will I have the b*lls to tele...

Postby flyingcow » Sun Sep 21, 2014 7:18 pm

jayc wrote:
Williamtele wrote:
flyingcow wrote:Start slow and roll with the punches... That's how I have been hiking and skiing for the last four years with various injuries and neurological shutdowns interspersed.


If you can, stay on the groomers and for the sake of the children stay out from under any lifts. You might further consider revamping your hardware, either going to NTN or at least a releasable binding. Lastly, I think practicing and maintaining a nice high (and compact fore and aft) stance will help keep a lot of stress off your knees.


I ski with NTN gear already, and run them on the soft side - didn't help with the ACL, unfortunately.



Yeah, their design will help prevent a tib/fib but not a rearward fall or slow twisting thing that will wonk an ACL. I skied with CRB hardwires for a while (loved them when they stayed put) but getting those suckers back together after a release involved several minutes of hard labor and a really big tree.
Far less perfect than Zim.
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Re: Will I have the b*lls to tele...

Postby Digger » Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:55 pm

NTN allows for a much higher stance. That will save your quads and I think is easier on the knees. They also allow you to make parallel turns with relative ease. I'll ski tele where the fore and aft balance matters and switch to parallel on the easy stuff like cat tracks.

You might also try Nordic skiing. It's great for balance and conditioning.
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