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TELEMARK SKIING – WHERE DOES THE NAME COME FROM AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT TO ALPINE SKIING
Telemark is named after the village by the same name in Norway. This is where the technique originates. A while later, telemarking was replaced by alpine skiing, meaning now, the heel was attached. Along with the skiing boom, telemarking was almost forgotten. Until, in the 70’s, some young Americans brought it back to the slopes! Today, telemarking is a popular alternative to regular skiing, by far not as common but still constant. Especially those, who find regular skiing a bit “boring” are great fans of telemarking!
The great difference is in the technique. Since the heel is detached, one foot will always be farther in front, which is why the back knee is strongly bent.
THE TELEMARK SKI IS IS NOT MUCH DIFFERENT TO REGULAR SKIS
Generally, telemarkers and alpine skiers are using the same skis. As with alpine skis, the choice of ski depends on where you want to go with it. Meaning, one can chose lightweight, touring oriented skis, or heavier, wide freeride skis. Or anything in between – allmountain skis or twin-tip skis. Basically, all options are open. What is important however, is that the ski can hold the binding.
THE BINDING IS WHAT MAKES THE TELEMARK SKI SPECIAL
When having found the right ski, you need to get your bindings. Because these actually are the ones that make your ski a telemark ski. Generally, there are two different systems. The 75mm, which is the classic binding which we already used 100 years ago (obviously, it has been improved and developed further). And NTN – which stands for New Telemark Norm. In the end, both systems have the same function, however they differ in their binding receptacle. As of this, it is very important to choose a binding that actually fits your boot. Some telemarkers swear by either one or the other. Others say “find the best telemark boot and get the telemarkbinding that fits it”.
Also, the right boot is important. Because if the boot does not fit properly, the movements of telemarking can easily lead to pain when too small or blisters when too large. These days, the telemark boot is built of plastic, carrying either 3 or 4 straps. What is important is the right fit and stiffness.
Also relevant in your choice of bindings and boots is the area in which you intend to ski. Because these skis can also be used as touring skis. But for this to work, the binding needs to have touring functions and the boot be accordingly. Furthermore, there are some bindings that open in case of crashes and rough hits as alpine bindings, others do not. Also, the right additional gear is needed. When intending to go into the backcountry, needs some safety equipment: avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe. Also, helmet, protector and telemark knee pads are good to have!