Stand and Deliver


Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Intermediate telemark skiers often get to the bottom of the hill huffing and puffing, their legs burning. Why? Because they got caught in the backseat, weight on their heels, and had to use too much muscle to propel themselves from turn to turn.

The key to efficient tele skiing is giving your legs a break and standing up to meet your next turn. As you change directions, rise up from the lunge position and reach forward with your downhill arm as if you’re going to shake someone’s hand. At this point you should be standing upright, feeling as if you’re barely applying any weight to your skis.

As you plant your downhill pole you’re in your most erect position. Next, drive your hips forward and switch your feet so your uphill ski becomes the downhill ski. Now sink into the tele-turn. The better you are at this smooth, light transition, the less work your quads will do.

Heather Paul
Age: 32
Height: 5 feet 4 inches
Weight: 125 pounds
Home Area: Mad River Glen, VT
Accomplishments: Two-time National Telemark Champion; 1995 bronze medalist in the FIS World Telemark Championships; second place at the 24 Hours of Aspen.
Worst Learning Experience: “In the 1999 X Games at Mount Snow, I was trying to ski as fast as I could in the qualifier. I got too amped and went all out. I hit the last jump carrying way too much speed and landed on my back. I came to a stop a foot before the finish line with my equipment all over the hill. That eliminated me. After that I learned to ski within my own limits and not worry about anyone else. It’s when I compare myself with other people and try to go too big that I get hurt. I’ve learned not to let the competition force me to do things I’m not ready for.”