The smooth style of telemarking is unmistakable
dave norona photo
Aytime you’re in the mountains these days you can watch in awe as someone tears up the hill, telemark style. The low stance and knee bend is unmistakable, and the smooth, rhythmic carving turns of a good telemarker will entice you to give it a try.
My good friend John Syslak is one of those awesome telemark skiers who I often stop to watch. His smooth style looks effortless as he attacks the steep and deep slopes, carving it up and burying himself in the deep snow.
I telemarked for two seasons when I first started backcountry skiing and enjoyed learning the extra balance and strength it takes to hold a solid carving turn. Although I have resonated back to my downhill roots, there is nothing I love more than watching my telemark skiing friends carve up an open bowl.
Telemark skiing is one of the oldest forms of skiing. It was based on necessity back in the day when people strapped long wooden skis to their leather boots. With only a front attachment, the tele position allowed these explorers to get low and make their overly long skis turn. Soon their style was the envy of the hill and everyone was out to emulate the tele ski turn.
In the early ’70s, telemark skiers were the first ones heading off into the backcountry to get away from the crowded slopes and lift lines. The unique front attachment of the tele binding allowed someone to walk up a hill without having to alter their binding setup. By attaching climbing skins to the bottom of their skis, they could cruise up uncharted terrain and enjoy deep snow and beautiful terrain all day.
Today, with the advancement of plastic boots, strong telemark bindings and short, easy turning skis, the tele turn is much easier to learn and perfect. Companies like Genuine Guide Gear (G3), based here in Vancouver, are constantly developing new innovative products that make it easier and more fun to enjoy telemark skiing.
If you would like to experience telemark skiing then check yourself into Whistler Mountain’s telemark lessons. The professional instructors will guide you through proper technique and have you carving it up in no time. Do it during Discover Whistler Days during March and April and you will save up to 40 per cent. For details, check out www.whistlerblackcomb.com.
If you’re looking to rent then check out Mountain Equipment Co-op as it has an excellent rental fleet and it is a perfect way to try before you buy. See ya on the slopes!
Rottefella NTN Binding
Description: This brand new NTN binding features superior lateral stability and new spring technology for improved telemark and alpine turns. Free pivot mode to reduce forward flex, releasable, and is semi step-in for easy on and off functionality.
Price range: $395
Where to find it: www.bcaccess.com
Osprey Switch 26 Pack
Description: This backcountry snowsports pack will carry your skis/snowboard, all you safety gear and even has a separated area for wet and dry gear. Superior comfort, huge hip pockets for quick access to food and other essentials and an insulated channel through the shoulder strap to keep your hydration hose flowing in cold weather.
Price range: $165
Where to find it: www.ospreypacks.com
Smartwool Light-Cushion Ski Socks
Description: Smartwool socks wick moisture away from your skin for better warmth and comfort. Flat-knit toe seam, thin construction for a better fit, and light padding in the foot and shin for added protection.
Price range: $25
Where to find it: www.smartwool.com
Salomon Women’s Angel Pant
Description: Salomon’s Angel pant is highly water repellent and breathable. The ClimaPRO fabric with actiLOFT insulation is ideal for moist conditions and handy inseam vents provide additional air circulation. Super stylish, five huge pockets, and polytricot lining at the knees and bottom reinforces these heavy wear areas.
Price range: $249
Where to find it: www.salomonoutdoor.com