Wednesday And Back On Snow With The Theme Of The Day: ‘Advanced Freeheel Teaching’. The First Session Was Presented By Søren Essendrop Of The Danish Ski Federation. Søren Focussed On The Concept Of ‘Dynamic Telemark Turns’ (DTT) And His Mission Was To Avoid Static Positions In Telemark Skiing. The DTT Is Well Described In More Advanced Skiing And In Racing Techniques, But The Danes Emphasise The Importance Of This Right From Beginner Level. As Such Søren Was Taking Very Much A Holistic View Of Ski Teaching And That Telemark Is Very Much To Do With ‘Telemark Movement’ Rather Than ‘Telemark Stance’ With It’s Very Static And Fixed Position Connotations. As We All Know, When Are Skiing It Is In Fact A Rarity Not To Be Moving The Skis And Our Limbs From Turn To Turn. Søren Highlighted These Areas As Useful Activities In Developing Telemark Technique:

  • A ‘Walking Telemark’ Approach I.E. The Telemark Lunge Is Very Similar To Walking. You Cannot Walk ‘Statically’!
  • Rather Than A Tele Position/Stance Think Of A Movement, The Look Of/Length/Height Of This Movement Varying Depending On Turn And Conditions
  • These Telemark Movements Should Be As Continuous And As Progressive As Possible.
  • More Focus On The Timing And Practice In The Vertical And Horizontal Movement. Try High And Low Movements.
  • Once More Confidence Is Established, Try Jumping Edge Changes/Lead Changes, For Example.
  • Leap To The Side During The Lead Change, Or Simultaneous Parallel Jumps And Lead Change
  • Practice And Develop Skating Skills; The Importance Of The Forward And Upward ‘Launch’ For Telemark Lead Change.
  • Likewise, Skating Step Turns
  • Dynamic Edge Changes.

All-In-All Søren Was Encouraging Lots Of Activity Which If Not Obviously ‘Telemark’ These Activities Were Certainly To Do With Enhancing Understanding, Versatility And Confidence On Skis Which Then Gives An Excellent Platform For Enhancing Telemark Specific Skills. Very Much A ‘Guided Discovery’ Approach To Skills Acquisition, A Teaching Approach That Typically Ensures A Strong And Lasting Understanding And Impact On A Student Skier’s Development.

We Also Managed To Fit In A Second Session In The Morning Which Was Hosted By Belgian Telemarkers Jo Burv And Maarten Gevaert – As You Will Notice, We Were Really ‘Ticking Off’ All The European Nations! As A Part Of Jo’s Introduction He Did Mention That As A Telemark Nation, Belgium Is Small (!) And, As A Result, They Had Chosen To Follow The Telemark Teaching Approaches As Used In Germany. We Divided Into 2 Smaller Groups And Then Jo And Maarten Worked Through 10 Common Mistakes Students Often Encounter When Learning To Telemark. As Planned This Was A Very Interactive Workshop Highlighting Typical Problems And Then Seeking Good Solutions From The Group – This Worked Almost Too Well (!?). There Was A Lot Of Very Engaged Discussion, Not Only About The ‘Problem’ (Is This Issue Actually A Problem? Or Is The Problem Actually Somewhere Else In The Student’s Skiing? Etc.) But Also About The Remedies Offered And The Wish To Try Them Out And Explore Their Efficacy And Usefulness. We Got Through 5 Of The ‘Common Mistakes’ As Follows:

  1. An Incomplete/Too Short Tele Position Or ‘Telellel’ As We Call It In BASI.
  2. Rear Leg Too Straight / Too Long
  3. Skiing Like A Duck J. Typically Lack Of Core Strength Means The Backside Goes Backwards And The Torso Folds Forwards At The Hip.
  4. Over-Rotation At The End Of The Turn.
  5. A ‘Parallel Pause’ During The Lead Change.

Many And Various Solutions Were Discussed And Tried And As Such Gave Us All More ‘Teaching Tools’ To Take Away To Use In The Future.

As Such This Is Very Much A List That Aspirant Instructors In The German System Work Through, Process And Seek Solutions To As A Part Of Their Instructor Training.

We Than Ran Out Time … So Maybe We Can Look At The 5 Other Problems Next Time?!

Wednesday Afternoon Was Devoted To Luca Gasparini’s Workshop And After His Absorbing Talk The Night Before, The Session Was Well Attended!  During The Afternoon We Did Lots Of Skiing (Always Good!) And Also Lots Of Skiing We Had Never Done Before! Much Of This Was Trying Various Activities Which Allowed Us To Understand And Take On Board Luca’s Focus On The Upper Body When Skiing. A Guiding Principle Was To Ensure Our Skiing And Body Management Was More ‘Skeletal’ Or Ensuring We Were Well-Centred Over Our Skis And Then Making Adjustments To Our Hips, Hands And Upper Torso To Initiate And/Or Enhance Our Ability To Make Turns. These Were Some Of Luca’s Salient Points And Activities:

  • Be Skeletal Rather Than Muscular
  • Upright Body Helps To Load The Rear Foot
  • Hand/Arm Activities To Help Centre The Body From Turn To Turn
  • Gentle Slope Situation – Drive New Ski Forward With Hip Rotation
  • Ways To Ensure Upper Body ‘Tension’ Which Then Facilitates Stability
  • Various Activities (Both Fascinating And Challenging!) To Further Emphasise The Importance Of ‘Well-Stacked’ Body Management And A Centre-Position Over The Skis.
  • Wedge To Initiate The Telemark Turn
  • A Variation Of A Wedge Or Plough Telemark To ‘Get You Home’ At The End Of A Long Day And/Or With A Heavy Rucksack With Straightened Legs For ‘Skeletal’ Strength
  • Never Teach Telemark Skiing With Telemark Traverse Activities!

To Finish The Afternoon, Luca Encouraged Us All To Relax And Enjoy The Run Down To The Tuxerfernerhaus, Skiing At Our Own Pace And In Our Own Space. I Stopped On The Way – To Rest! – And Luca Came Up To Me And Noted How Everyone Was Skiing So Much Better Now, Everyone Was ‘Freed Up’, Skiing With More Smoothness And Flow From Turn To Turn J.

The Wednesday Evening Session Had Been Allocated To Jakob Hertz Who Planned To Lead A Discussion Entitled ‘Quo Vadis Telemark’. Unfortunately As Already Mentioned, Coronavirus Prevented Jakob Attending – A Great Shame As The Subject Is A Fascinating And Very Real Discussion To Have. However, We Were Not Without Something To Do This Evening As The ‘Meet And Greet’ Session For The European Freeheeler Opening Was Scheduled At A Bar Just Down The Road And It Would Have Been Impolite Not To Attend And Lend Support To That Event?! J

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