Telemark, Alpine & Nordic skiing info

Free-heel skiing
Telemark skiing or telemarking
Alpine skiing or 'downhill' skiing
Nordic skiing
Ski touring & hut-to-hut touring


Free-heel Skiing


Free-heel skiing is any form of skiing where the heel is not fixed down as it is in Alpine skiing (commonly known as 'downhill'). It includes Nordic or Cross-country, Nordic Mountain Touring and Telemark skiing.

Free-heel bindings only attach to the front of the boot but are strong enough to allow no lateral movement of the boot. The bindings and skis become heavier and the boots higher and stronger as you go from Nordic track skiing through Skating and Nordic Mountain Touring to Telemarking. Compare these categories with cycling – light racing bikes in velodromes (made for speed), road bikes (stronger but all purpose), mountain bikes (for steeper, rougher terrain).

Continuing development in technique and equipment means more specialization and much higher levels, particularly in Telemark skiing. Each speciality has its particular appeal, as indicated above, and as your foot and lower leg are not held in a totally rigid system, as in Alpine equipment, there is a wonderful, natural and unrestricted feel to all kinds of free-heel skiing, even in the 'heaviest' Telemark gear. This is due to the heel not being clamped down as well as the sole and ankle flex of free-heel footwear. Using Nordic equipment, there is the special enjoyment of travelling on very light gear.


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Cross-country skiiers on track

Nordic or Cross-country skiing.
Photo: Tracks & Trails

Downhill skier

Parallel skiing on free-heel or telemark skis.