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Tele with speed

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Tele with speed

Postby Breck » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:11 pm

I would like to ski faster because I feel like staying slow burns up energy and
limits how well I can handle varied conditions. I can do groomers in good conditions
at ok speed--I can almost keep up with my alpine buddies. but
get bogged down in varied conditions and can be faster than them in bumps.
Any ideas on how to keep the speed up other than "go faster?"
I slow down largely because I want to be in absolute control and something
about the conditions is making me defensive.
My approach so far is:
1) Ski comfortable, low consequence conditions at the level of discomfort
speed wise. Get used to the discomfort.

2) Do not push speed when tired. I find that freshness of quad dominates
my tolerance for speed.

3) Pick the right ski for the job--race skis for hardpack, crud busters with float
for lots of other stuff etc.. I want to get my mind used to moving as fast as
possible in the conditions.

4) Pick the wrong ski for the job to better understand what the ski brings to the
game and get out of ruts technique wise--try to go as fast as with the right ski or at
least faster than my "defensive" approach. Pays to have fresh quads, mogul skis on 4" of
fresh cement was "insightful".

5) Ski with skiers faster than me. I have to moderate this but it has made me way faster.
One thing that makes a huge difference in my comfort is matching the ski
to the conditions.

6) I am part of a race club but get no coaching--not that kind of group.


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Re: Tele with speed

Postby Breck » Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:29 pm

Just to be clear--I am asking for advice here. I don't think my current approach is working
all that well.


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Re: Tele with speed

Postby Williamtele » Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:05 am

Hi Breck,

I think speed is mostly mental. To ski faster, you train your brain to not freak out when the trees get blurry.

My quick answer is to get on YouTube and watch footage of telemark racing. Then get some used GS skis and load them with Hammerheads and join a beer league.

My more thoughtful answer to to ask yourself why you need to ski faster. If it's just to impress your friends I think you need a better reason. There's a fine line between skiing fast and skiing beyond control. Trees, lifts, terrain and other skiers are all conspiring to put you in the hospital.

But try racing. If you have a need for speed, it's a great solution.
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Re: Tele with speed

Postby Breck » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:43 pm

Thanks for the reply. I do not have a need for speed in any way, shape or form. But
fear of speed does some bad things to my technique--as best as I can tell:

I am defensive and scrubbing speed too much in challenging conditions. This leads to
more energy spent in turns and an inability to get the skis "on plane" to better do what
they are designed to do. I have a vision of sacrificing speed control in parts of my descent
in return for reserving energy for when I really need quad power to handle something.

I guess I want to ski difficult conditions at closer to the speed that I ski the same drop
in good conditions.

A classic case is heavy powder on skinny skis--go slow and it is
either jump turns or leaning back--exhausting and begins the quad death spiral.
I am told that going faster will get the skis floating but I don't know this personally--I got
me some 112 under foot pow skis so no longer an issue.

Another example is varied icy bumps. I can get very "speed limited" which ups my energy
levels, keeps me defensive and over edging where as if I can open it up a bit speed wise
the bumps flow better and are easier.

I am in a beer league at Sugar Bush and have slalom, gs and even downhill skis (the last
two were hand-me-overs from a friend who is very amused that I will put Hammer Heads
on anything).

I probably need to just focus on the fundamentals and bang out a lesson or three. With
skills will come comfort which is what this is all about anyway.

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Re: Tele with speed

Postby hhtele » Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:56 pm

Pick short stretches with easy runouts to ski fast. For example, ski the last 50 yards of a steep trail. and let loose. Pick a spot that, if you do end up out of control, there are minimal consequences. This strategy helped me learn steeps.
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Re: Tele with speed

Postby Brenda » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:49 am

Hi Breck,

I think I understand where you're coming from. I remember at one point thinking I needed to learn how to be more comfortable skiing faster for much the same reasons you expanded on in your second post. No one would say I'm a really fast skier at this point, but I keep up with most of my friends and faster alpiners/pinheads willing to wait a few beats at the bottom of the lift. So a few thoughts-- although I think you've already hit on several things that will help:

The right equipment. Sounds like you have it. Getting beefier boots and stiffer skis helped me a lot.

Ski with faster skiers. I enjoy chasing a friend who is a former alpine racer (who is now Mrs. Metsky, for those who know Dave/yad :D) and it has definitely upped my speed.

Be willing to ski parallel turns on tele skis. No, you don't always have to tele. I switch back and forth all the time during a single run depending on terrain, how many other skiers there are, snow conditions, etc. Also, why waste your legs on flat greens as you approach the bottom of the mountain?

Fitness. The better shape you are in, the more confidently you'll ski. You'll also have to stop fewer times during a run.

Lessons. I asked a friend who raced on tele for a few pointers a few years back (Dana from Ttips), and we spent a few hours at a local hill working on really carving my turns and feeling that back little toe. Go when there are fewer skiers on the mountain or choose lightly used trails. He loaned me some GS skis and I got going fast enough to scare myself a bit. But it was fun and his advice helped me learn how to ski faster and in control.

More lessons. Probably the biggest thing that has helped me feel more comfortable and confident skiing faster is continuing to work on my technique. The more fluid your turns are, the more easily you can switch from tele to parallel to monomark turns, the less you'll get "stuck" in a turn which is a sure-fire speed and confidence killer.

Most of all, be safe and have fun!
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Re: Tele with speed

Postby BushWhacker » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:21 pm

Hi Breck,

I feel the same way, and mostly want to be more competent to be able to keep up with my friends. I'm at the Bush as well, and can kind of keep up on a lot of stuff, but not bumps and probably not powder (wouldn't know unfortunately :( ). Sunday I was in a group led by Egan that was all alpiners, and I was worried I'd be slowing them down, but think I did ok. So you are right that being with faster skiers encourages you to push it a bit more, and forces you to learn.

I know I'm doing something wrong, as my legs are burning way too quickly. I've been waiting for MRG to open up to take some lessons there (privates at SugarBush are way too expensive). Alternatively, it'd be great to get a group lesson periodically at the Bush, if there was enough interest.

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Re: Tele with speed

Postby Rene-Martin Trudel » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:53 pm

Hi Breck

I have to agree with Brenda.

The defense part means you are out of your comfort zone. Lessons can help a lot there.

As for the lessons, one of the key to improve on tele, you have to practice your Weak Side. On my tutorial series on how to telemark, I put a lot of emphasis on that. Remember when you started, you had one side that was harder than the other... It's still there. But we don't notice it as much. Practicing your weak side a lot is the key here. And there is not better place than moguls to experiment dynamic balance than in the bumps.
So I would bring you in an easy moguls run with small moguls.

...I was going to describe my strategy here but instead, I made a short video for you. I wanted to do it for a while so you kinda got me motivated.


If interested, I will post more videos like this


"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right" Henry Ford
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Re: Tele with speed

Postby Brenda » Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:29 pm

More videos! Yes! :)

I love the idea of practicing your weak side. I've been working with a personal trainer, and that has helped. But wow was it obvious when I first started working with her. So it's still there, even though I don't notice it as much when I ski.
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Re: Tele with speed

Postby Digger » Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:54 pm

There is also a difference between skiing fast and skiing quick.

Making high speed GS turns is about a stable stance, stable skis, and relaxing.

Skiing quick is about looking ahead, making good transitions on the edges, and keeping square to the fall line.
Both come with time. Skiing with faster buddies helped me.

A drill I use to improve quickness is making short swing turns on groomers. I then take that to variable terrain.
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