There is a reason for the saying “tele till your smelly”. Doing hundreds of lunges down the hill is hard work. Hard work make you sweat, thus tele’rs sweat a lot while skiing or skinning but freeze rapidly once the action slows down.
Dressing for tele is in between dressing for skiing/snowboarding and aerobic winter sports like randonee or cross-country. At times, you will be ripping a bump line and other times riding freezing lifts with the wind giving you a free facial, so your clothing layers need to adapt accordingly.
For a base layer next to the skin, my ultimate choice is thin wool. I am a Smartwool fan because it has great style, along with warmth and comfort. That way, you don’t need to change for après. Wool doesn’t get as smelly as polyester, and when wet, it is warm instead of clammy. Don’t even think about cotton. In a rainstorm, you would be warmer naked than wearing cotton. Tell that to security the next time you streak at a game.
The next layer for your upper body should be a light fleece or wool layer. This will also keep you warm when sweaty and easily stashes in you pack on a warm day.
If the weather is blistering cold, an intermediate down or synthetic vest layer is perfect for keeping your core warm while letting your armpits do their thing. Bergans of Norway makes some really nice vests with their Birkebeinerbeer logo, a painting of the first Norwegian King, Haakon, being recued on telemark skis.
For a coat and pants, shell is the way to go. With pants, if you want to tap into the telemark hippy steeze, Totem Telemark makes some vent-equipped hemp pants. For the jacket, a powder skirt (you will get more face shots), well fitting hood, and long pit zips are something I would never go without. Sure, unzipping your shell entirely will get air circulating, but after you fall and spend the next hour picking snow out of your waistband, you will regret not having pit zips.
Little things make a big difference as far as comfort and safety goes, so keeping your knees warm and protected is something you won’t regret. Accidently dropping your knee onto your ski or hitting a snow covered obstacle can ruin your day. Kneepads, along with keeping your patellas intact, keep your knees toasty and prevent them from stiffening up.
Even though you are working harder than any alpine skier, putting your hands in the snow to put on or take off your bindings will leave your hands much colder. Glove liners and overgloves are some of my favorite accessories for that conundrum. Glove liners also work well while taking photos, always a great excuse for a rest. Chaos even offers an innovative glove liner that works on cell phone touch screens when your buddies call to meet up on the mountain. I can stuff liners and overgloves in my pocket when I don’t need them, and they always come in handy when a buddy forgets their gloves. Add some HotHands into the mix, and every day will feel like a sunny day.
Don’t be a goon then overheat, then freeze. Welcome to the 20th century; maintaining your core temp is easier now that gators are out of style. And there is always the best recovery drink waiting at the end of the day: beer.
- Lorin Paley is a National Telemark A team member. She won 2 silvers and 2 bronzes on the World Cup in 2010 and won two gold medals at the Junior World Championships in 2009. To check in on how this season is going, go to lorinpaley.com.