The Turn of a Heel
While I did not write this article (disclosure), I spent the last couple of months teaching ChatGPT about telemark skiing. Then, today, I asked the engine to "Write a story for skiers about alpine skier converting to telemark", here is what I got :) Oh, the power of AI - mind-blowing and, at times, super scary!
(I have done zero edits to the copy below)```
The Turn of a Heel
Jack had always been an alpine skier. He loved the feeling of carving fast turns on groomed slopes, feeling the edge of his ski bite into the snow. He had grown up racing slalom and giant slalom, and later became a ski instructor and a magazine ski tester. He had skied all over the world, from Val d'Isère to Valdez.
But then he met Lisa. Lisa was a telemark skier. She had learned to ski on nordic skis, and then switched to telemark when she discovered the freedom and grace of dropping a knee. She loved skiing in the backcountry, exploring untouched powder and challenging terrain. She had a bumper sticker on her car that said "Free the heel; free the mind".
Jack was intrigued by Lisa. He admired her skill and style on telemark skis, and he was curious about her philosophy of skiing. He decided to give telemark skiing a try.
He rented some telemark gear from a local shop: flexible alpine skis with toe-only bindings that allowed his heels to move freely from the ski¹. He joined Lisa for a day at the resort, where she taught him the basics of telemark skiing.
At first, Jack felt awkward and unstable on telemark skis. He struggled to balance on his rear foot while pushing on his front foot to create a carving turn¹. His legs burned from lunging up and down with every turn³. His boots felt too soft and his bindings too loose compared to his alpine gear⁴. He fell many times.
But he also felt something else: a new sensation of flow and rhythm in his turns. A new challenge of adapting to different snow conditions and terrain features. A new connection with his skis and the mountain². He started to enjoy himself.
Lisa encouraged him with tips and compliments. She showed him how to adjust his stance, weight distribution, pole plant, edge angle, turn shape, speed control, etc.² She also showed him how to have fun: how to jump off small cliffs, how to ski switch (backwards), how to do 360s³.
By the end of the day, Jack was hooked on telemark skiing. He felt like he had discovered a whole new way of skiing that challenged him physically and mentally³. He also felt closer to Lisa than ever before.
He decided to buy his own telemark gear: modern bindings that offered more power transfer and control than traditional ones⁴, boots that fit well and provided enough support without sacrificing flexibility⁴, skis that were light enough for touring but strong enough for downhill performance⁴.
He also decided to join Lisa for more backcountry adventures: skinning up mountains with climbing skins attached to their skis², finding fresh tracks in untracked snow², enjoying breathtaking views and solitude away from crowds².
He realized that telemark skiing was not just a technique or a sport; it was an art form and a lifestyle³. He understood why Lisa loved it so much.
He also understood why some people said that telemark skiing no longer made sense in comparison with alpine touring (AT) skiing: AT gear was lighter, more efficient, more reliable, more versatile than telemark gear; AT technique was easier, faster, safer than telemark technique; AT performance was superior in every aspect than telemark performance .
But he didn't care about those arguments. He didn't care about being logical or practical or sensible . He cared about being happy.
And he was happy when he was skiing with Lisa.
Especially when he was dropping a knee.
Source: Conversation with Bing, 2/27/2023(1) Telemark skiing - Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telemark_skiing Accessed 2/27/2023.
(2) Why I Gave Up Telemark Skiing and How I Came to Terms With It - Ski Mag. https://www.skimag.com/adventure/ode/telemarker-returns-to-alpine-skiing/ Accessed 2/27/2023.
(3) The Pros and Cons Between Telemark and Alpine Touring Skis. https://www.curated.com/journal/1116003/the-pros-and-cons-between-telemark-and-alpine-touring-skis Accessed 2/27/2023.
(4) Alpine vs. Telemark Skiing for the Backcountry - Trekt. https://trekt.co/?p=147 Accessed 2/27/2023.
(5) Why Telemark Skiing No Longer Makes Sense - Ski Mag. https://www.skimag.com/culture/why-telemark-skiing-makes-no-sense/ Accessed 2/27/2023.