Telemark arose from the natural need to move on skis in backcountry long time ago. There were not such technologies that are used today for the production of ski touring bindings. Only wooden skis and wicker bindings. No one thought of fixing the heel.
This system worked quite well for a few thousand years 🙂 Until skiing became a sports industry and practicality was surpresed by the need to become faster. Czech citizen Mathias Žďárský developed the first alpine binding with heel fastening and with it new skiing technique. Suddenly he was the fastest at the races and with the new bindings he could learn to ski even the biggest dummies.
This gave the telemark a real blow. Further progress turned skiing into a business that had to be sold to as many people as possible, and for that reason, alpine skiing was much better suited than telemark. People have forgotten why skis were created. It was no longer necessary to walk on them and enjoy the free movement in the mountains, but just to ride down the hills and take the cable cars. The telemark dark times have come..
Fortunately, there were several individuals who wanted to go skiing in the wild and high mountains. In the books, they discovered the old Nordic freeheel technique. They took the classic 3-pin touring cross-country skis and began to ride freeride and wander wherever they wanted. Telemark thus recovered in the 1970s in the USA.
Great tutorial video from the time when telemark in the US gained great popularity:
Nowadays more and more people understand the meaning of winter ski touring and its beauty. This resulted in a number of complicated skitouring bindings. However, a much simpler telemark binding is sufficient, without complicated and often non-functional ski / walk switches. Likewise, a telemark shoe can be significantly softer and more comfortable, and bends at the tip, which is significantly more comfortable for the foot. Do you want to enjoy skiing? Nowhere to hurry and rape a mountain at all costs? More and more people understand that they will find this peace of mind in free heel skiing. Telemark is on the rise and is still the most natural way to move on snow in any terrain. The FIS World Telemark Cup is running and Telemark is the candidate for the 2022 Olympics as a new ski sport.
Telemark has no limitations, as many people think. You will descend on it the steepest slopes, narrow couloirs. You can jump high drops, ride any freestyle. When you experience indescribable things when kneeling down the powder or absolute control of the telecarving turn, you will understand 🙂 In quick descents it is a bit like walking on a longline. Overall, it is a balancing exercise that will take you a bit further in the perception of skis. Since the telemark movement is much more natural, it is also healthier on the knee compared to alpine, whose ligaments on a fixed alpine heel often suffer a lot and tear 🙂
For many ski instructors, it may be a more interesting option for a second professional ski tool than a snowboard. For snowboarders, a free and more natural way to ski. It lies somewhere on the border between ski and snowboard, because from this beautiful technique started anything else.
If you are interested in anything in this article and want to know more. Let’s stop theorizing and meet on the slope 😉 Equipment is available at our rental. All you need is determination. You will be surprised at how easy and playful it is and perhaps you will never return to alpine skiing. You wouldn’t be the first or the last.
Honza “HanZiáš” Kyncl– Your free-heel skiing guide