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Backcountry practice and its effects on frontside technique?

Euler

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I've gotten out a few times this year on my Alpina Lite-Terrain Skis on some sloping pastures. The first time was in some light powder at the end on December and I pleasantly found that I could make a telemark turn. Then, last Tuesday evening I got out for an hour and the snow was a couple inches of wet, fairly grabby snow on top of a frozen base. I had a had time making tele turns so I tried for some parallel turns and found that I could make parallel turns on this gear as well. I had a blast making laps up and down the hill for an hour or so. What I noticed, though was that my parallel turns required a LOT of up-unweighting and rotary force which I've come to think of as bad technique on my alpine gear. I'm wondering if the weird technique I use to make the free-heel parallel turns happen might bleed back in to my skiing when I'm on my alpine equipment? The question's moot for a while now...no skiing in the meadows after last night :(
 

AdironRider

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Uhh dont let it then? This seems like a non-issue unless you let it become one.
 

Cannonball

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I found parallel turns on tele gear to improve my alpine skiing. If anything it helps you identify ways in which you might not be weighting, edging, and carving optimally. You can get away with a lot more poor form when your heel is locked in.

But what the f do I know... I'm just a snowboarder.
 

Scruffy

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I found parallel turns on tele gear to improve my alpine skiing. If anything it helps you identify ways in which you might not be weighting, edging, and carving optimally. You can get away with a lot more poor form when your heel is locked in.

But what the f do I know... I'm just a snowboarder.

What he said ^^, except the snowboard part :)
 

Cheese

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I'm not a tele skier but I am curious about how this translates to alpine skiing. Assuming the radius of any ski is far greater than any turn radius we are willing to wait for the ski needs to be flexed smaller than the natural radius and I don't understand how that is accomplished with a free heel.

As an example I'm on a quick turning 13 meter slalom ski. Using the radius of the ski, a full 180* turn would take 26 meters or 85 feet. Popular fat skis and likely tele skis as well have a larger radius therefore the minimum natural turn is north of 100 feet. Most alpine skiers want at least 3 times more turns in that same 100 feet so we're forced to flex the ski smaller than it's natural radius. The only way I know to flex that ski is with forward lean but with a free heel, how can that even happen?
 

kingdom-tele

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I'm not a tele skier but I am curious about how this translates to alpine skiing. Assuming the radius of any ski is far greater than any turn radius we are willing to wait for the ski needs to be flexed smaller than the natural radius and I don't understand how that is accomplished with a free heel.

As an example I'm on a quick turning 13 meter slalom ski. Using the radius of the ski, a full 180* turn would take 26 meters or 85 feet. Popular fat skis and likely tele skis as well have a larger radius therefore the minimum natural turn is north of 100 feet. Most alpine skiers want at least 3 times more turns in that same 100 feet so we're forced to flex the ski smaller than it's natural radius. The only way I know to flex that ski is with forward lean but with a free heel, how can that even happen?

IMO (never having alpined skied) it doesn't seem much different. Railing skis with a parallel stance
is the same in either binding. You can still feel your heel and the weight of your whole foot engaging the ski with free heel bindings. The forward lean is the same, both feet in either binding are in full contact with the ski. If anything a free heel connectioin makes the sensation of to much forward lean more apparent (losing heel contact), it might enhance your perception of what a centered stance and ski pressure feels like. I would assume the big difference occurs in the transition from one turn to another, it won't matter in big GS sweeper turns, but quicker transitions might take a little longer without the benefit of a locked heel swinging the ski. Although with more modern tele binders(NTN) it might be pretty minimal.

same reason euler is having to change the technique , have to unweight to swing, it will be even more pronounced going slower because you can't use the enegy of the turn to spring you, you have to create the spring to transition to the next turn
 

Scruffy

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I'm not a tele skier but I am curious about how this translates to alpine skiing. Assuming the radius of any ski is far greater than any turn radius we are willing to wait for the ski needs to be flexed smaller than the natural radius and I don't understand how that is accomplished with a free heel.

As an example I'm on a quick turning 13 meter slalom ski. Using the radius of the ski, a full 180* turn would take 26 meters or 85 feet. Popular fat skis and likely tele skis as well have a larger radius therefore the minimum natural turn is north of 100 feet. Most alpine skiers want at least 3 times more turns in that same 100 feet so we're forced to flex the ski smaller than it's natural radius. The only way I know to flex that ski is with forward lean but with a free heel, how can that even happen?

Well, bending skis is a long confusing subject when bring tele into it. Here is some short answers.

First, you will flex your ski "some" ( decamber ) with weight alone, if the snow is soft, where tele shines, you can get more flex than ice.

Secondly, with modern plastic tele boots you can drive pressure down through the cuff, not exactly the same way you would with Alpine locked heel; you have to get your weight over the tongue of the boot and deep flex the ankle to drive your weight down through the boot. It doesn't pressure the fore body of the ski as much as an alpine, but you can carve.

Third, if your talking carving, once the skis are tipped and centrifugal forces are in play, the skis will bend regardless.

All this assumes one is carving on tele skis, which can be done, but most tele skiers just skid around, or wash out the bottom half of a carved turn anyway.

As far as parallel turns on tele gear improving your alpine, it is more about understanding your balance, pressure and finesse at the beginning and throughout the turn than it is about shortening up the ski radius. When you don't have that locked heel to lean on you need to make all the subtle adjustments yourself. Once you get it, then go back to alpine, you rip like no tomorrow. There was a story that circulated around back in the 90s of some alpine race coach making his team ski in leather boots and free heel bindings so the team could understand the subtle movements needed to make the ski react without the aid of a stiff boot and locked heel. Don't know if it was true, but made a good story.
 
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Scruffy

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IMO (never having alpined skied) it doesn't seem much different. Railing skis with a parallel stance
is the same in either binding. You can still feel your heel and the weight of your whole foot engaging the ski with free heel bindings. The forward lean is the same, both feet in either binding are in full contact with the ski. If anything a free heel connectioin makes the sensation of to much forward lean more apparent (losing heel contact), it might enhance your perception of what a centered stance and ski pressure feels like. I would assume the big difference occurs in the transition from one turn to another, it won't matter in big GS sweeper turns, but quicker transitions might take a little longer without the benefit of a locked heel swinging the ski. Although with more modern tele binders(NTN) it might be pretty minimal.

same reason euler is having to change the technique , have to unweight to swing, it will be even more pronounced going slower because you can't use the enegy of the turn to spring you, you have to create the spring to transition to the next turn

What your missing, having never alpine skied with modern alpine boots and bindings is; think of a pry bar, that locked heel and forward shin pressure can really leverage a lot more pressure into the fore body of the ski and tighten up the turn radius. You just have no way to do that with the hinge that is the free heel.
 

Cheese

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same reason euler is having to change the technique , have to unweight to swing, it will be even more pronounced going slower because you can't use the enegy of the turn to spring you, you have to create the spring to transition to the next turn

Lets look at it from this spring you mention. Assuming the spring is the length of the ski, then extending the spring is done by pulling the middle of the ski down while the tip and tail remain in the same position. Assuming the boots are mounted to the ski so that the ball of the foot is over the mid point, applying weight to the meat of the foot should be the most effective at flexing the ski. However, balanced skier weight would only take the ski to it's natural radius. The tip, middle and tail pass through the same point in the snow but it's at that 100 foot turn diameter. In order to get the ski to flex beyond that natural radius in a balanced weight condition the tip and tail pass through a point in the snow but the middle needs to sort of slide out beyond that radius. An alpine skier doesn't want the middle to slide out. Instead they shift their weight forward, flex the front of the ski beyond the natural radius, tip the ski on it's edge and follow the new radius through the turn. It's this forward movement where pressure is added to the middle point of the ski and likely even some lift from the heel of the boot that's dramatically bending the ski that I don't understand in the tele world.
 
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Cheese

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As far as parallel turns on tele gear improving your alpine, it is more about understanding your balance, pressure and finesse at the beginning and throughout the turn than it is about shortening up the ski radius. When you don't have that locked heel to lean on you need to make all the subtle adjustments yourself. Once you get it, then go back to alpine, you rip like no tomorrow. There was a story that circulated around back in the 90s of some alpine race coach making his team ski in leather boots and free heel bindings so the team could understand the subtle movements needed to make the ski react without the aid of a stiff boot and locked heel. Don't know if it was true, but made a good story.

Yes, I can definitely see how tele could be a great exercise in balance and even learning and controlling edge grip. It was more carving turns and getting beyond the natural turn radius without the pry bar you mentioned. 100 feet is a long a$$ turn.
 

kingdom-tele

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because its not there cheese. scruffy said it more clearly than I did. tele connection just won't have that ability to manage the ski pressures that locked heel can create. The spring I was referring to was our own though, not the ski and boot dynamics. It would be interesting to see an alpine arc adn a tele arc overlayed, as you shorten the turn radius up I would think you would see more up and down motion from the tele skier. not having the luxury of the pry bar as scruffy describes would mean the spring has to be generated my the movement of the skier.

you can feel this if you ski a tele binder that is routed under foot vs say a simple 3 pin attachment or even cable binding that wraps the putside of the boot
 

Cheese

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It would be interesting to see an alpine arc adn a tele arc overlayed, as you shorten the turn radius up I would think you would see more up and down motion from the tele skier. not having the luxury of the pry bar as scruffy describes would mean the spring has to be generated my the movement of the skier.

I don't think they would be close and I'm really having a tough time grasping it's even possible to carve a tele ski. Even assuming that a tele skier is going to press the middle of the ski into the snow how much difference in the turn diameter is it really going to make? At the natural radius of the ski the entire edge is in contact with the snow. Pressing down further from there is going to be difficult if not impossible. I suppose by definition a 100 foot diameter turn could be a carve but I think general thinking would be something 1/4 that size so that as a minimum we can complete the carves staying clear of the trees on either side of the trail.

Sorry, I'm not trying to bash tele skiers. I'm just trying to understand the physics behind a tele carve.
 

kingdom-tele

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I don't think they would be close and I'm really having a tough time grasping it's even possible to carve a tele ski. Even assuming that a tele skier is going to press the middle of the ski into the snow how much difference in the turn diameter is it really going to make? At the natural radius of the ski the entire edge is in contact with the snow. Pressing down further from there is going to be difficult if not impossible. I suppose by definition a 100 foot diameter turn could be a carve but I think general thinking would be something 1/4 that size so that as a minimum we can complete the carves staying clear of the trees on either side of the trail.

Sorry, I'm not trying to bash tele skiers. I'm just trying to understand the physics behind a tele carve.

a tele ski isn't any different than an alpine ski, lots of people mount gs, slalom skis free heel. carving is carving. the down pressure and weight of the foot is dictated by the skier's body orientation. I must be misunderstanding something, the turn radius for each of my skis is different, how I get them to tip and rail is essentially the same, the radius of the turn is ski shape dependent. the OP's XCD ski has has straighter dimension than the downhill/shape ski, longer turn radius = need to release and unload to make quicker turns. maybe I need to try locking the heel down for a day or two to have this discussion.
 

Cannonball

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I don't think they would be close and I'm really having a tough time grasping it's even possible to carve a tele ski. Even assuming that a tele skier is going to press the middle of the ski into the snow how much difference in the turn diameter is it really going to make? At the natural radius of the ski the entire edge is in contact with the snow. Pressing down further from there is going to be difficult if not impossible. I suppose by definition a 100 foot diameter turn could be a carve but I think general thinking would be something 1/4 that size so that as a minimum we can complete the carves staying clear of the trees on either side of the trail.

Sorry, I'm not trying to bash tele skiers. I'm just trying to understand the physics behind a tele carve.

I think there might be a little bit of disconnect between the sides of conversation here. I see your point Cheese, about wide radius tele turns vs short radius carves on slalom skis. My original point however (that got this going) was about making parallel turns (not tele turns) with a tele binding. My tele skis were 102/65/91 w/ 16mm sidecut and Radius of 20m@181. So closer to carving ski than the tele skis you're describing. As the other guys have done a pretty good job describing, making a parrallel turn/carve on a ski like that, but with a tele binding, really forces you to focus on body weight placement, timing of weighting and edging, and overall form. You really can't 'cheat' on form as you might be able to get away with in an alpine binding. So when you com back to that alpine binding you've gained that refinement that you might not have noticed otherwise.

Edit: whoops, I see KT beat me to it while I was writing. Same point essentially.
 

witch hobble

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I wash out my turns, but I like to think I do it with style.

Now, washing out a turn on that motorcycle looks like it would probably suck.
 

kingdom-tele

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ohh, cheese are you talking about a carve in a tele stance vs parallel stance? then yeah, splitting the ski goofs up skis radii, the front ski carves according to the shape, the back leg ski usually can't lock up. ski manufacture's addressed it somewhat, scotty bob skis, G3, some others maybe built assymetrical edge radii skis for just that reason, they are quirky as hell to look at but, the shorter outside edge radius does make locking in and holding the carve way better
 
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Cheese

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I didn't assume a tele ski to be any different than an alpine ski. Cannonball's ski has a 20 meter radius. So, with the tip and tail on edge the middle will drop (flex) to form a non skid turn at 20 meter radius, 40 meter diameter or 131 foot diameter. It's the amount of extra flex required (without pry bar) to get his ski to a more usable ~5 meter radius that I'm not grasping.

Perhaps it's a very brief initial skid to decrease the radius followed by a strong carved finish?
 

kingdom-tele

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don't need those videos then.

in my mind the extra "pry" comes from the skier in either binding style. you want a quicker turn, early release, what have you, the skier generates the force, you compress, load your soft tissue and rebound to initiate the switch to the other side, it isn't so much gear oriented, the alpine leverage means the skier needs less body dynamics than a skier who deosn't have the leverage. at some point the tele connection will fail before the alpine, mainly becasue the transition time wil take longer.

should be some prime railing conditions this weekend.
 
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