• Advertisement

Fundamentals - the lead change

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

Fundamentals - the lead change

Postby Williamtele » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:05 am

32 Degrees is a magazine that comes out 3-4 times per year. Its banner reads The Journal of Professional Snowsports Instruction so it’s a pretty good bet that there aren’t a lot of its followers drifting through this forum. I read it because every once in a while, there is a meaningful article about telemark. The Fall ’17 issue was pretty awesome if you’re into the minutia of technique and teaching principles. Greg Dixon, a national team member (and former Eastcoaster) penned an article about telemark skiing fundamentals. These are the components of every turn that you make, whether you know it or not. All snowsport disciplines have fundamentals and regardless of what you ride, they are remarkably similar. The acronym BERP was one of the first things that they used to teach instructor wannabees. Maybe they still do. It stands for Balance, Edging, Rotation and Pressure. Everything that you taught to students was related to one of these fundamentals. Of course, it’s more complex than that but BERP was, and still is, a good place to retreat to when you get too deep in the instructional weeds.

Telemark has one additional fundamental to call its own: lead change. Most of us do it reflexively depending on terrain, snow conditions, speed and myriad other factors. Everyone has their favorite way to do it but I’m suspecting that there is a tendency to stick with what makes you comfortable. That’s fine and I won’t preach that you have to experiment but I do want to explore variations to lead change that you might find helpful.

Sticking with four letter acronyms, there is a relatively new one for tele: DIRT. How appropriate. Not as in DIRT-bag, but as in Duration-Intensity-Rate-Timing. These are four control adjustments that will allow you to fine-tune your lead change to adapt to any situation. Quoting from Greg’s article:

“Duration has to do with deciding whether to make the lead change all at once over a short distance through the turn or spread the movement throughout the entire turn.” Do you rush through the lead change in order to maintain balance or can you make it progressive with the ski tips passing at any point in the turn?

“Intensity of the lead change relates to how much force the skier puts into the movement, with snow conditions being a major factor.” Deep snow or crud may involve more intensity than groomed corduroy.

“Rate relates to how often the feet pass each other.” A higher rate would pair with a short turn radius. With longer turns the rate slows.

“Timing relates to the point in the turn the skier decides to start or finish the lead change.” Telemark racers perform their lead changes very early due to the high g-forces and their constant battle for balance. Mogul aficionados might opt for a later lead change to shorten their “footprint” in tight bumps.

Regardless of whether all this sounds new or not, you should remember that BERP and DIRT are things that you already do. Bringing it into your stream of consciousness while you’re skiing may allow you to make on-the-spot tactical adjustments that can take your skiing to a higher level.
Posts: 448
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:38 am
Location: NH on weekends

Return to Telemark Instruction

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest