Buying gear? Please use these links to help

More info...

Other ways to help...

New skier question....

Info, conditions and gear related to skiing or riding Colorado Peaks, including the 14ers! Ski/Ride Trip Reports
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 5:51 pm
Location: Colorado Springs

New skier question....

Postby dlcrow » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:40 pm

I've never skied, but want to learn to tele for some backcountry. Any advice on how to get started? Should I learn some basics with a downhill setup or go straight to tele?


Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 5:51 pm
Location: Colorado Springs

Re: New skier question....

Postby dlcrow » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:47 pm

well, I wanted to free my mind, and I was told I needed to free my heels to do that. Is that true?

Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 5:51 pm
Location: Colorado Springs

Re: New skier question....

Postby dlcrow » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:54 pm

all of mine are mostly gone anyway, so its no biggie :D

I'm not opposed to AT, its still an option, but those tele turns are calling my name. Either way, I just want to get out into the backcountry.

Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 5:51 pm
Location: Colorado Springs

Re: New skier question....

Postby dlcrow » Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:03 pm

definitely, Avy training is on top of the list before any true backcountry experience for me.

Good luck to you and maybe we'll see you out there,

User avatar
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:50 pm
Location: Chama Valley, NM

Re: New skier question....

Postby skiwall » Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:13 pm

I think the most important thing is to go for what you really, really want yourself... I wanted to do tele, and my friends convinced me to learn alpine first, and now it's hard to take a day off of ripping more gnarly lines to teach myself to tele! I think if that's what you really want, you'll learn just as fast.

For sure get Allen and Mike's Really Cool Telemark Tips. It's got lots of really helpful advice, like try to poop on your heels. :D
"A good woman knows her place is in the backcountry." - PW '08

User avatar
Posts: 280
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:37 am
Location: Dillon, CO

Re: New skier question....

Postby jrsummit » Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:24 pm

First off, telemarking is stupid.
Now that you might as well learn. Get a pass and go ski at the resorts ALLOT. I have been solely tele for about 3 years now and it never ceases to amaze me how much I suck. But with patience and practice I hope to get much better this season. Give yourself plenty o time to learn before you get to the backcountry. Uncontrolled areas are an entirely different animal than the safety of the resort...and I believe that your skiing should be very strong to be out there for your safety and the safety of others.
Get your pass and take lessons, lessons would have saved me from many days of bad habits which are becoming increasingly hard to break.
Try for tons of info and newbie supportive community.

Equipment wise...there are tons of options and that becomes very much personal preference. My best advice would be to go and demo some gear. Loveland, Wildernest Sports in Dillon, and I am sure many front range locations carry different skis for demo, find your favorite.

Check Abasin and Loveland websites for tele clinics.

And of course find someone who will exchange beers in turn for and little tele initiation :iluvbeer:

User avatar
Posts: 1293
Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 12:18 pm
Location: Lower Highlands/Denver, CO USA

Re: New skier question....

Postby Rockymtnhigh69 » Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:40 pm

IMO... Tele clinics at ABasin are top notch...
On my first take-off, I hit second gear and went through the speed limit on a two-lane blacktop highway full of ranch traffic. By the time I went up to third, I was going 75 and the tach was barely above 4000 rpm....
And that's when the Ducati got its second wind. From 4000 to 6000 in third will take you from 75 mph to 95 in two seconds - and after that, Bubba, you still have fourth, fifth, and sixth. Ho, ho.

~Hunter S. Thompson, Song of the Sausage Creature


Re: New skier question....

Postby Bean » Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:42 pm

Start off on alpine/AT. Tele is fun but it's an excuse to suck. I picked it up quick but still lock the heel because it's so much more powerful. If you have to, look into Loveland's 3-class pass deal.
gdthomas wrote:Bean, you're an idiot.

User avatar
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:31 pm
Location: Holland, MI

Re: New skier question....

Postby on_belay616 » Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:35 am

you wrote>> I... want to learn to tele for some backcountry. Any advice on how to get started?

So I decided I wanted to learn Tele to go exploring in Michigan's non-ski area hills, and because it seems beautiful when watching Tele skiiers in Colorado. Last year was my first year on pins, and I have some pretty specific things I learned. (I'm a long time alpine skiier who's comfortable on blk / double blk diamond in-bounds in CO.)

1. You can learn Tele skiing on groomed runs fairly quickly if you were an alpine skiier before. If not, I'd suggest you spend a season and plenty of lessons to get tele figured out. The modern equipment is damned good and you'll learn to carve turns quickly... but be prepared to fall plenty, and know that after 3-4 hours your legs are going to be aching, unless you already have massive leg strength. I went from a non-skiier to reasonably proficient in 4 or 5 lessons when I was a teenager; picking up tele took a couple more lessons. I'd go straight to tele if I were you.

2. Taking tele from groomers out into powder, crud, and bumpy terrain (e.g. backcountry prep) requires a lot of power, and in my case more lessons. I have a guy here that has complete mastery of Tele in any terrain and snow conditions - but I figure it's going to be a while until I get to that skill level. I found that if you learn only on groomed trails, you're probably going to develop habits that only work on groomed terrain. Case in point, my best tele friend puts his back leg waaay behind his front because he's always on-piste but once your off trail, you have to tighten up your stance so you can drive power into the skis more quickly for control. As you get decent on trail, get your instructor to take you into the crud, the woods, etc.

3. There is a spectrum of Tele equipment from cross-country skis with a little extra camber, through steel edged skis with fish scaled bottoms, or skis that are very similar visually to shaped alpine skis (this is what my favorite tele skis are - K2 World Piste), and finally big powder cruising boards that you probably don't want to climb in. There are also boot choices that complement those skis - generally discussed in number of buckles, more buckles meaning that the boot is stiffer and made for deflecting the ski in a more controlled way. Two buckles means you're a cross country guy who wants flex so you can go a long distance, four buckles means you're skiing a very stiff or wide ski. Your ski shop will help you figure the combo out.

4. Tele requires a lot of leg strength, is very aerobic, and will tire you more quickly than alpine skiing. The desire to tele is making me reach for better fitness. I think I took off 20 lbs last year learning ... and a lot of my 14er climbing this summer is tele prep in disguise.

Getting off-piste is my next challenge. I've been in trees and crud, and haven't done well ... yet! But I will. And then it'll be off to Ave class so I can do hut to hut in CO safely.

Tele skiing is one of the most beautiful experiences when you get it. It involves your whole body in a way that alpine barely touches. Long flowing turns feel good, look good; and I've seen tele skiiers do all the terrain alpine guys do. But it comes with a longer learning curve, and is less forgiving of sloppy skiing... so I've started leaving the Jaegermeister behind on tele days :-) If you simply want to get backcountry, these guys are probably right - AT will get you there faster and let you ski more powerfully... but us silly romantics can see our family tree from the 10th Mt Division all the way back to Telemark county, Norway where we blew up Hitler's heavy water plant, and even saved the king from mauraders in the 11th century. Skoal!

Good luck and have fun!
A favorite tele video:

Holland, MI
"Well ... you can't fall past the floor!" - overheard overhead in a misty bar

User avatar
Posts: 280
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:37 am
Location: Dillon, CO

Re: New skier question....

Postby jrsummit » Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:31 pm

Rockymtnhigh69 wrote:IMO... Tele clinics at ABasin are top notch...

I read that as "IMO... Tele CHICKS at ABasin are top notch..."

User avatar
Posts: 825
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 12:49 pm
Location: Fort Collins

Re: New skier question....

Postby George James » Wed Nov 05, 2008 2:44 pm

I've been going back and forth with my tele-tubby roommate on this topic (talking trash to your friends is good times :D ). Like others have said, it's really just a matter of preference, and if you really want to telemark then go for it, but definitely consider an Alpine Touring setup too...

Lou Dawson: "I've seen free-heel telemark skiers do amazing athletic feats. I've been out with split-board snowboarders who handle wilderness snow with elegance and skill -- but after seeing it all, I'm certain that AT gear is still the most fun, efficient, safest, and best tool for glisse alpinism backcountry skiing."

Here's the article I took that from, it's pretty interesting...and here's a slightly more pointed argument for AT over Tele :lol:...

...It's all sliding down snow in the end, and you can't beat that! :mrgreen: I plan to try out my roommate's tele gear once or twice this season, just for kicks. Good luck dlcrow! :D
- A mountain is not a checkbox to be ticked
- Alpinism and mountaineering are not restricted to 14,000 foot mountains
- Judgment and experience are the two most important pieces of gear you own
- Being honest to yourself and others about your abilities is a characteristic of experienced climbers
- Courage cannot be bought at REI or carried with you in your rucksack
~ The Baron Von Bergschrund

User avatar
Posts: 2710
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:22 am
Location: Glenwood Springs, CO

Re: New skier question....

Postby cheeseburglar » Wed Nov 05, 2008 3:17 pm

If you have to lock your heel onto your ski to keep from falling then you really aren't that great of a skier.
Of course, I ripped a quad tele skiing early last season and ended up locking down my heels until I recovered.
If you want to be a bad ass you pretty much have to tele.
Or you could randonee ski really crazy, dangerous, ridiculous big mountain lines.
I haven't got around to reproducing or freezing my sperm yet, so I need to avoid dangerous activities.


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests