Edge Change Before Lead Change

» Telemark Technique Tips » Drills - Improve Your Carving » As Featured in Fall Line Magazine Autumn 2014.

Edge Change Before Lead Change

Welcome to season two of our telemarking technique series. It's for all you soul skiers out there looking to free your heel this season. Some of you maybe diehard telemarkers already; some may be planning your first foray. Either way, you're not afraid of hard work – after all, telemarking is no walk in the park. It demands dynamism, balance and commitment. This series should help you with the first two, the rest is up to you.

Here's Ben from Tele Tracks with an essential drill broken down into manageable steps, to help you improve your carving.

As with all performance telemark skills, the inside ski plays a fundamental role in helping the telemark skier maintain control. This role can be broken down into three elements called the 'steering elements’; they are: edge, pressure and rotation. Without them, you won’t be able to turn.

For that smooth-as-butter carve, which leaves two clean lines in the snow, it is essential to control these three elements. Here’s a drill that will focus your attention on the effectiveness of your edge, pressure and rotary movements on the inside ski, while it transitions from front ski to rear ski. Get it right and you’ll stick anything, even sheet ice.

If you found this useful - share the love....

Fall Line Skiing Magazine Cover

This is an awesome drill. It will improve your stance, edge control, balance and posture, control of rotation and your timing and coordination...

Like a banked corner on a roller coaster, nothing beats the thrill of carving on teles. Here is an easy-to-follow drill for getting those two clean lines in the snow.

Drill Introduction

The Task

Instead of making a lead change in the first third of your arc, wait until you’ve crossed the fall-line. In other words, you’ll have to change edges and steer both skis into the fall-line in a reverse telemark stance, then finish the turn by making a lead change in the last half of the arc.

Step 1

Initiate Your Turn

Finish your last turn in a classic telemark position. As you press on the front foot to initiate your next turn, you need to release the big toe edge on the front ski to flatten it. ( IMG 7692)

Step 2

Control Your Lateral Movement

Use either a lateral knee movement or a full body lateral inclination to achieve this. Focus on either of these two movements until you can accurately perform them, both are fundamental to good ski technique. (IMG 7695)

Step 3

Edge the Little Toe

Once flattened, actively tilt the front ski over onto its little toe edge while still steering it into the fall-line. Lateral balance here becomes key, if you over incline you’ll lose pressure on the outside ski, but not enough and you won’t initiate the next turn. (IMG 7697)

Step 4

Patience is a Virtue

Love the fall-line, don’t rush this phase of the drill or be tempted to twist your feet to get round. Cross the fall-line with both skis on their new edges and let the skis take you around the arc. Keep your telemark stance on the outside ski to maintain pressure control. (IMG 7701)

Step 5

Lead Change Slowly

Make a smooth lead change. Try to control the rate of your lead change, remember speed masks performance, so lead change with a slow impulse and challenge your balance, timing and coordination. (IMG 7704 + 7708)

Step 6

Finish Your Turn

Once you've made the lead-change, continue finishing the turn as you would normally.

Step 7

Then Continue

Now practice the other side, initiate your next turn by changing edges and steering into the fall-line, before making the lead change...

What Does This Drill Do for Your telemark Skiing?

Edge Control

It ensures that you’re actively and effectively changing edge while keeping the inside ski on the snow (rather than picking it up and placing it on its new edge), it’s amazing how often this trips-up even expert telemark skiers.


It will help you fine-tune your lateral balance, reducing any excessive lateral movements and highlighting how balance affects pressure control (notice how still pro telemarks keep their upper body).


It forces you to fine-tune rotary movements, reducing any excessive twist during the turn which causes skidding, encouraging patience through the arc.

Timing and Coordination

It will challenge your conscious competence of lead-change timing and coordination, giving you more choice over when and where you make your lead change and improving lead change accuracy.

Give it a go..

Get out there and give it a go. Find some nice easy terrain and start with big open turns, keeping your speed down. This will emable you to concentrate on your timing and coordination. Once you're comfortable with the timing of the drill, then you should progressibely up your speed.

If you keep plugging away, it will definitely improve your telemark skiing.

If you found this useful - share the love....

photo reel of a telemark skier practicing image of
We Work with the Best...
What our Clients Say

I have attended courses on many subjects but have never come across such an enthusiastic and skilled trainer as Ben. Skilled in his subject and as a communicator. Many thanks for a fantastic week. Paddy Norman

More Tele Technique Tips

Check out our other technique articles featured in Fall Line Magazine...
We have the Telemark 'How to' Series and the 'Drills for Specific Skills' Series.

The Telemark 'How to' Series

How to Carve

Learn how to carve or improve your telemark carving with our article on Carving Telemark Turns

How to Telemark Couloirs

Learn how to ski couloirs or improve your couloir skiing with our article on Telemarking Couloirs

How to Telemark the Bumps

Learn how to ski bumps or improve your bumps skiing with our article on Telemark Skiing the Bumps

How to Telemark Switch

Learn to telemark switch or improve your free-heel switch skiing with our article on Telemarking Switch

How to Tele Powder in the Trees

Learn how to tele powder in the trees with our article on Telemark Skiing Powder in the Trees

How to Make a Telemark Slash Turn

Learn how to smash a telemark slash turn with our article on the Telemark Slash Turn

How to Telemark the Steeps

Learn how to ski the steeps otr improve your steep skiing with our article on Telemarking the Steeps - Coming Soon...

How to Escape the Intermediate Rut!

Learn how to escape avoid the biggest mistakes intermediate telemark skiers make Coming Soon...

'Telemark Drills for Specific Skills' Series

Telemark Carving Drill

Improve your telemark carving with the Edge Change Before Lead Change Drill...

Telemark Rails Drill

Learn how to do rails on telemark skis with the Telemarking the Rails Drill...

Free Heel Powder Drill

Improve your powder skiing with the Pink Panther for the Powder Drill...

Telemark The Steeps Drill

Improve your steep skiing with the Heels Up for the Steeps Drill...

MonoTele Drill for the Bumps

Improve your telemark skiing in the bumps with the MonTele Drill Coming soon...

Rate and Range for the Lead Change

Smooth out your lead change with the Rate and Range Lead Change Drill Coming soon...

Fancy Skiing with us? Check out our Telemark Courses

Find out More...

Who on Earth are Tele Tracks? Find out who we are and what we do...

Why Ski With Us?

Find out what makes us different... Specialist Telemark Coaching

Telemark Courses

Find out about our Telemark Group Lessons

Private Telemark Lessons

Find out about our Private Telemark Lessons

Telemark in Val d'Isere

Find out more about Telemark Skiing in Val d'Isere

Telemark in Tignes

Find out more about Telemark Skiing in Tignes

Tele Touring Courses

Find out about our Telemark Touring Courses

Try Tele Days

Find out about our Try Telemark Days