Ski: Alpine or Tele equipment? Questions you never asked about what is different between alpine and tele and why you should free your heel right now. By Mikhail Pichugin

Ski: Alpine or Tele equipment? Questions you never asked about what is different between alpine and tele and why you should free your heel right now. By Mikhail Pichugin

As this blog is all about self development, I thought to share some time saving, well researched information shared in a post by a friend friend Mikhail Pichugin.

Vadim Turcanu blog ski michail pichugin alpine or tele equipment

As this trip is proving mighty exciting in all sorts of ways, I have been testing out a bunch of different alpine and tele equipment, so that I can answer all the questions you never asked about what is diffent between alpine and tele and why you should free your heel right now.




You can put alpine bindings on any ski and you can put tele bindings on any skis that fit an alpine binding. Although tele bindings will look stupid on some race models with a built-in rail for bindings.
What you would do differently is that for any situation you would be going for a slightly longer and fatter ski with tele than you would with alpine – you can afford the extra gliding / floating ability due to the greater leverage afforded by tele stance.
You would also avoid skis with extra aggressive sidecut as a telemarker because you don’t need it to make sharp turns and would rather have more ski under your boot for those powdery days.


You would never want to put on alpine boots again after you tried telemark. Tele-boots are light, have rubber soles (for easy walking on ice and parquet) and, most importantly, they bend, so you can walk normally and dance on the table like a pro. And because your foot actually works in a tele turn, you have warm feet even at -20 and can ski on while your alpine mates ate queuing for thos foot warmers.

Christiania turn.

The classic parallel turn used by alpine skiers of the old. A bit less so now that beginner skis with soft flex and titanic sidecut have hit the market.
although it requires both skis to be fully uploaded, it works on both alpine and tele bindings, although it takes a little extra balancing with tele
Works both on and off piste

Parallel Carve.

With this one you don’t need to unload the skis that much, so it works almost identially on both tele and alpine. however on tele you cannot cheat by shifting weight forward as it will mean a nose dive. Not that you would on alpine skis if you have the technique right.

Tele carve

tele carve is the most beautiful turn that can be executed on a groomed piste. you just cannot do it on alpine. On tele skis you can gracefully carve down a slope switching between long, sweeping turns and sharp, short carves on the fly, without going back to the shop for a different sidecut geometry.

Overall skiing experiance:

For a telemarker, going back to alpine is like switching from a powerful, sharp motorcycle, where the rider is not just in control, but lives though every motion of the vehicle to a toyota prius or some large hybrid SUV with automatic gears, steering assist and 360 parking cameras because you cant see anything from the seat. Its easier. It feels lke the skis do everything for you and you just hand on as an appendage, occasionally sugesting a direction. Very boring. you try going really fast, charging the slopes and raising clouds of snow dust, but even that, without the stopwatch and competition is only fun for about two runs before the hollowness of it really hits you.

Learning curve:

Anyone with intermediate alpine skill can rent a set of tele equipment and be skiing from day one.
You start with paralel turn and ski like that until you have your balance right (you will know what I mean). should take a day or so.
Once comfortable with the balance, start practicing the tele lunge and tele turn on smooth slopes. watch other telemarkers (if any) to pick up the moves.
Telemark learning curve is long, but never too steep, you just keep improving every time you ski. and if you do try alpine skis again after a few day tele you will feel like you’ve done a degree in skiing, you will have improved that much.
in general, an intermediate skier can pick up telemark without falling behind friends on a skiing trip by just learning as you go along. Especially if you take a day with instructor, though even that is optional.

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Shared by Vadim Turcanu, written by Mikhail Pichugin

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