As Featured in Fall Line Magazine

» Telemark Technique Tips » How to Telemark Powder in the Trees».

How to Ski Powder, in Trees - on Telemark Gear

Fed up of waiting for the perfect blue sky powder day? Instead of holding out for the storm to clear, wrap up warm and head into the trees to grab some freshies while everyone else stares out of the window in anticipation of a break in the clouds.

Forests can offer exciting terrain to those telemark skiers brave enough to venture into the trees. Even in the height of a storm visibility is always good and the snow usually light and deep being sheltered from the wind.

Tree skiing isn’t all plain sailing though, you need to be able to turn where the trees dictate and maintain flow. If you miss-time a turn then straddling a tree isn’t something you’ll easily forget. Wear a helmet, know your limits and be aware that avalanches still happen in forests.

The key to powder skiing in the trees is planning-ahead, maintaining flow and skillful rotation. Here’s how:

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If you miss-time a turn then straddling a tree isn’t something you’ll easily forget. Wear a helmet, know your limits and be aware that avalanches still happen in forests...

How to do it - Six Essential Steps to Floating Through the Powder, Whilst Slaloming Through Trees, on Telemark Skis...

Step 1

Plan Ahead

Find some well spaced trees with a clear channel to slalom through, look up and always plan two-three turns ahead. Accept the acceleration in tighter spots as you increase your arc length to squeeze through gaps but maximise open sections to close your turns and reign in your speed.

Step 2

Adapt your Stance Length

No room for one-trick ponies in the trees, you'll need to constantly adapt to the ever changing environment. Try using a short telemark stance in the tight spots when making quick tighter turns and adapt to a longer stance when space allows in bigger more closed turns. The short stance will enable a quicker lead change and more effective back foot pressure while the longer stance will increase breaking and help slow you down.

Step 3

Keep your Flow

Maintaining flow in an environment full of obstacles like trees is not easy! The key to maintaining flow however, is controlling your speed. Break sharply and you'll lose flow making your next turn hard to initiate, while sharp acceleration causes obvious problems. In the powder there are only two effective methods of speed control; use of snow and control of line...

Step 4

Use the Snow!

Use of Snow - the resistance in good powder snow is always consistent, and it slows you down, so let your skis charge through the deep stuff as much as possible. Maintain flow by anticipating the resistance of the snow and make adjustments to your line and telemark stance accordingly.

Step 5

Control of Line

The trees are always irregular, so it’s important to be able to vary your turn radius to avoid the trees and adapt to changing terrain. Skillful rotation is essential for controlling line, and since the trees impose a narrow corridor it’s necessary to separate the upper and lower body. Keep the torso floating down the fall line while the legs rotate under the body. In a tighter radius, this can translate to an aggressive counter-rotation of the upper body into the fall line as you initiate the next turn.

Step 6

Shoulder Swingers Beware...

If the upper body swings round to follow the skis then the skier won’t be able to stay in the narrow corridor, maintain flow or potentially follow the well planned line through the corridor. Shoulder swingers beware, get yourself a cricket box!

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