(Or why not try Telemark or Freeheeling?)
Have you reached a point in your skiing/boarding life where you need something new, a new challenge? Why not try a new way of getting about the mountain?
If you and your partner are at very different levels then spending time together on the slopes can be difficult. One of you is inevitably bored out of his/her mind and you seem to spend most of the day arguing!
One solution is for the more advanced person to switch to another discipline, re-discovering the challenge of learning through another avenue whilst the other is suddenly delighted to see you struggling and or falling over as much as he/she is!
Lots of people go down the snowboarding avenue for this reason but why not switch to Telemark?
Telemark is the oldest form of modern skiing; you are attached only by a toe binding, so it challenges your balance in a totally different way from alpine skiing. Because you get no support from the front of the boot or binding it’s a great way of finding your centre. The lunging style of the sport makes it physically demanding, so great for fitness. Remember though, some people call it free heeling or downhill cross-country because you don’t always have to Telemark – you can alpine on the kit too! No need to curtsey!
If you already alpine ski finding your way around the mountain is relatively easy provided you don’t mind falling over a bit. But if you want to develop into a real Telemark skier please get some lessons, So many times I’ve seen people struggling about on their own trying to get it and oh dear! They are leading with the wrong leg!!!
Think of the feelings you get when you’re skiing/boarding down your favourite slopes and the way it felt being challenged to get where you are on your normal kit. You’ll get the same rewards and buzz out of learning to master this new discipline – at any level, novice or expert; bumps, steeps, powder and carving on this new kit. The skis are doing a very similar thing to alpine but the skier is totally different.
I started to Telemark as a new challenge – also because the kit is lighter it’s good for ski touring. Now however if given the choice, No, I don’t think I can choose between them, they’re just so different and yet the same. The same buzz, the same skills, same skis – just different aches! (Which reminds me to say Tele boots are so much more comfy.)
There are two popular sayings amongst the ski fraternity which sum up the opposing attitudes between the two camps. ‘Free the heel & free the mind’ boast the telemarkers! To which the alpinists retort ‘Fix the heel & fix the problem!’ Why not give it a go and make up your own mind which camp you are in!!!
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