Telemark & Alpine tips – ALC how to ski series
Telemark and Alpine skills, tips & drills
A few years ago I started writing ideas down on Telemark and Alpine teaching points encouraged by clients. Recently I lost the publisher so decided to share it in bite-sized BLOGs all linked by the #ALCblogbook.
The musings of a cockney Snowsports instructor;
Free the Heel and Free the Mind-Fix the Heel and Fix the Problem
Telemark and Alpine Skills, Tips and Drills by Joe Beer
“Free the heel and free the mind” is a well known saying quoted by Telemark enthusiasts over the years and is almost a mantra or justification of why they partake in the sport. We consider it a freer but also more traditional cousin of alpine skiing.
“Fix the heel and fix the problem” is sometimes the retort from alpine skiers, almost a friendly attacking jibe at the old wooly jumper wearing, straight ski, leather booted-old timers. Being someone in both camps I see how they can both help each other but also love the banter that does occur, albeit not in the same league as it can be between skiers and snowboarders.
Come and try it and see what camp you’re in!
The ideas I have put I am sharing aren’t just my teaching methods or favourite things that I really like to do. They are the things that many clients have said have made a major difference to THEM. The ideas don’t pretend to be an answer to everything or every question you may have or to be a scientific treatise but I do hope they can help guide you to look at things differently and improve many aspects of Telemark and Alpine skiing. In this endeavour I’ll try to put the ideas over in either simple text or diagrams and pictures.
The book is split into different chapters that overlap/enhance each other and that are interlinked because of the nature of the sport:
Learning Curves: Understanding learning and how to get the most from your next lesson/holiday.
Stance and Balancing: It’s just leaning forward and keeping your hands forwards, isn’t it?
Telemark Stance and Balancing: It’s just alpine skiing with one foot back!?
Lead Change: Lots of drills and ideas to help your Lead Change become awesome.
Alpine phase: What may happen as our feet pass each other during a Lead Change.
Pole plant: Looks simple but believe it or not is very complex.
Tradition v Modernity in Telemark: Are you new school or a purist? There’s room for both.
How we turn: The Steering inputs, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
Why we Snowplough: Normal answer- to stop or slow down, find out other reasons.
Relating to Other Sports/Activities: How can my hobbies or other sports (i.e. snooker) help me?
Dealing with Fear: One of the hardest hurdles to overcome.
Racers Perspective: v a normal person’s: They’re the best, should we copy?
Equipment Issues: Struggling, not improving? It could be your kit.
Simple Biomechanics, Tips and Drills can be found along the way in most chapters. Words in Bold type signify a link to another chapter or part, or could just be a favourite word.
Some information giving you my background and experience in snowsports;
I have been teaching Telemark and Alpine skiing for the last 35 seasons in France, Andorra, New Zealand, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Norway. And have skied all over the world including Japan and USA as well as on dry slopes and indoor facilities in the UK.
A keen sportsman, firstly football like many Londoners, basketball for the school team, boxing training for fitness. I then got caught up into horse riding after meeting my then girlfriend, now wife, Babs and through this was talked into a ski holiday by some friends who went riding every Sunday in Essex and on other horsey trips to the New Forest.
On this first trip to Soldeu in Andorra I fell in love with skiing immediately on the first day and all the other sports fell by the wayside. Crying on the coach on the way back to the UK I mumbled to Babs “I can’t believe I’ve got to wait a whole year to do that again”.
As fate would have it I got made redundant from my then career as an Electrician for a big engineering firm. I knew exactly what to do with the £3000 or so I got as payout…skiing holidays. 8 more weeks wasn’t enough so the following winter we did a full season, intending to “get it out of my system” while working as waiters in a Catalan restaurant during the night and skiing every day. Then I got onto the “SPUDS” clinic, where the boss of the ski school would train some handpicked locals for a price too good to refuse, 4 hours for the price of one.
At the end of this season I asked that boss; if I did the entry level BASI course in Scotland would I get a job on ski school? Yes, no brainer I went to Scotland.
I spent 17 years in the Soldeu el Tarter ski school, progressed onto the management team, went to NZ where I ended up being supervisor so the boss there could have days off.
Since 2002/3 I have spent the time working and setting up Alpine Learning Curves, a small Telemark and Alpine skiing and snowboard school in Les Gets/Morzine/Avoriaz, Portes du Soleil, Haute Savoie, in France.
I have represented Soldeu el Tarter ski school, BASI and the Daily Mail in their respective demo teams at various skis shows in London, Birmingham and at the “Battle of the ski schools” as captain and coach to the Soldeu team in Vail Colorado, twice winning the combined division (Telemarker and Alpine skiers and snowboarders in one team). I represented BASI in team GB at the Interski congress, a meeting of the world’s ski instructors, 30 + nations, held every 4 years, first in 1995 in Nozawa Onsen, Japan on alpine skis, then 16 years later in 2011 in St Anton, Austria as the only Telemarker. I was also the stunt double for the Ford Maverick promo film when launched.
I was a trainer/examiner for BASI for 16 years and also 6 years on the Board of Directors as Telemark Director.
This may all sound impressive and I believe that along the way I have had some amazing experiences. I am the luckiest man in the world with the best job in the world, meeting and teaching real people to Telemark or Alpine ski.
I hope you enjoy the blogs and feel free to get in touch and share your experiences, opinion and feedback, Jose