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Telemark skiing is the universal language that says,


"Don't need no training heels."

But seriously folks there is truth in that statement. Using a binding that allows the heel to be free is a natural completion of the cycle of learning how to move over and through snow.

Central to telemark skiing is the ability to stand one forefoot of a bent leg while the other leg is extending in front. The common mantra, "Big toe, little toe." speaks to this.


Can you stand on the little toe side of your foot with your heel raised off the ground? Yes, cool! Now extend your other leg forward and gently place your big toe down.


Repeat this and walk through the room in a low crouch taking care to not allow your heels to touch. Begin each step forward with a weighted  big toe and as you lift the little toe of your now trailing foot transfer your weight from your big toe to your little toe.

This is a great dry land exercise for telemark skiing.


If one wants to approximate what bump telemark skiing is then have a friend drop a twenty to fifty pound bag of rice or potatoes on your shoulders each step.

Just as alpine skiing requires proper weighting of the heels so does telemark skiing. The big difference is that at no time during a telemark turn are both heels weighted unless a telemark skier is making alpine turns, which are appropriate in a variety of situations.

Only three things are required to telemark turn.

1. Look where you are going.

2. Step where you are going.

3. Smile!


I was taught this by Ned Ryerson and firmly believe it to be true after teaching a variety of people; be it first day ever on skis or professional instructors wanting to learn how to ski steeps, moguls, or trees so they can pass their level 3 certification.

Whenever I'm with someone who is overwhelmed by the situation due to the terrain or information overload I always take a moment to say, "Remember there are only three things you have to do, what were they?"

This question breaks them from their "mental terror" and when I reinforce the final answer "Smile!" people tend to smile and relax. After a deep breathe they invariably proceed in a positive manner.


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