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You see someone gliding gracefully down the slopes, and it’s beautiful. 

It looks like skiing, sort of?

It’s telemark skiing! Telemark skiing is known for its extreme gracefulness and beauty, which is the hook for many avid skiers to transition to telemark. 

How do you spot a telemark skier, other than by admiring their style?

Take a look at their heels.

Telemark skiers’ heels will be free, as opposed to being bound to their skis as they are in the traditional sport.

This allows your heels to mimic your natural stride and gait as you take on uphill slopes.

You actually use your skis to turn when participating in this fun take on skiing.

Telemark skiing gives you freedom! You can ski up, down, or across a mountain, unhindered by the movements of traditional skiing. 

Just add some skins, and you’re on your way!

In this article, we’ll explore some of the essential gear options to help you select the best ski pants for telemark skiing.

What to know about gear for telemark skiing

Telemark skiing is an extremely niche sport, which is perhaps why few people participate.

Yes, it is a tough exercise, but the difficulty in finding gear for this niche sport rivals the athletics required on the slopes! 

Telemark gear can be more expensive than traditional ski gear, so be prepared for increased prices before you begin shopping.


First, you will need a good set of skis.

Telemark skis have morphed over the years. They have transitioned from being easily recognizable as telemark skis to more closely modeling downhill skis.

Occasionally you will see sportsmen using alpine skis for telemark skiing, but this is a stretch. 

Alpine skis are best reserved for their own element. 

Always use a pair of designated telemark skis, even if they are more expensive than prices that you are used to paying. 

Telemarking is its own unique ski style; your weight distribution will be different than when you participate in other techniques. 

Your uphill ski needs to be able to support much more weight when you are telemarking, and downhill and Alpine skis are not designed to handle this.


Skins, also known as crampons, are synthetic covers that you slip over the tails and tips of your skis. They function to assist your skis in gripping the snow and make it much easier for you to climb mountains and other inclining slopes.

Hint: If you struggle with steep inclines when cross country skiing, try a set of skins!


Be sure to purchase boots that fit excellently. 

This may be apparent to you, but it’s important enough to mention, even at the risk of being obvious.

If your boots do not perfectly fit, you are in for an unpleasant ride. 

You need boots that allow you to maximize your performance when they are both bound and unbound. 

And, make sure that your boots are compatible with your bindings.

This is imperative for both your comfort and success in skiing.

Do not settle for subpar, ill-fitting boots!


Speaking of bindings, these are as essential to your gear as are your boots!

Telemark requires a very specific type of binding due to its need for flexibility.

Your bindings must be a good combination of sturdy and pliable so that you can embrace each quality at different points of your trek.

The unique styles and movements of telemarking require you to purchase high quality bindings.

And, your binding determine how easily you will be able to use certain techniques and motions.

Always choose bindings that work well with your boots and skis- test several brands before making your final purchase.

Before you go on a long trip, be sure to properly break in your new bindings.


Clothing for telemark is a different beast than clothing for downhill, Alpine, cross-country, or any other type of skiing.

You need strong, lightweight, waterproof gear.

Unlike downhill skiing, you need to be prepared to carry all of your clothing weight uphill.

Your clothing will also affect your weight distribution on turns.

Another important factor is the flexibility that your gear allows you to utilize.

For the twists and turns of telemarking, you will need maximum maneuverability. 

The heavy weight jackets and thickly insulated pants of other types of skiing will hinder your performance in telemarking.

Focus on thin layers rather than bulky outer coverings.

Thin layers of material will better retain your natural body heat, and they will minimize the weight you will have to pack uphill.

Choose material that is warm and sweat-wicking. 

Layer your clothing rather loosely- you will not want to be constricted by tight material.

Wearing multiple layers allows you to wear slightly looser clothing than if you were solely depending on one or two layers that would need to remain close to your body.

Ski pants are arguably the most important piece of your telemark clothing.

Since telemark requires you to do a great deal of bending, twisting, and turning, your pants must be very strong and durable.

As long as your outer layer is adequately waterproof, it will be sufficient protection for typical skiing conditions. 

Please recognize that extreme conditions will probably require a heavier set of clothing. 

Always check the weather conditions and consult a local expert in the area if you are unsure of the proper gear for the environment.

What to look for in ski pants for telemark skiing

A common complaint of telemark skiers is that the knees of their pants give out. The best brands will have reinforced knees that will still allow you to move freely.

Your pants will also be in contact with the snow and ice, so they must also be highly waterproof.

Pants that are tear-proof will take you much further than those that are not. 

You will scrape along ice shards, and if you fall, your pants will be the first line of protection for your legs.

Also, your lower extremities must remain warm when you are in the cold. Your pants serve as a barrier between the warm air against your skin and the outside moisture that tries to creep in. 

However, you also want pants that allow you to remain cooler during uphill climbs. 

Look for pants with vents that allow some heat to escape while blocking snow.

Opt for pants that are windproof, waterproof, durable, and pliable.

Also, think about the convenience features that are most important to you.

Perhaps you like to carry a good amount of gear on your trips. 

In that case, you will need large pockets. The best pockets are securely closed while offering you large openings for easy access.

If you like belt loops, make sure that the pants you buy include them. A lot of telemark ski pants include removable belts, but some do not. 

Consider the way that the pants fasten around your boots, too. Some brands include zippers in the hem to assist with this.

Best ski pants for telemark skiing

There are a number of ski pants options that could potentially work well for your next telemark adventure. Make sure to consult an industry professional before using any new clothing or equipment.

If you’re looking for the best telemark skin pants, he following options may work well for use with telemark skiiing.

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Pant – Men’s

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Softshell Pants are made for all day tours as well as for day-in, day-out backcountry skiing. 

You can also use these for telemarking! They are constructed using a blend of nylon, polyester, and elastane.

These pants are ultra breathable yet durable. You get the best of both worlds, all in one.

Even better, they are designed to move as you move!

The four-way stretch fabric is double woven with a DWF finish that will protect your legs in the toughest conditions.

You will not have to worry about rips, tears, or snags with these durable pants.

The material used was chosen to provide you with excellent temperature control as you travel uphill, which is essential for telemark. 

How does it work? 

Mesh backed vents help to cool you down while blocking any snow or mist from breaking through the outer layer of material.

A variety of convenient features are included with these pants.

And, if you are not fully satisfied with your purchase for any reason, Black Diamond offers free repair, replacement, or refund with no discussion or charge to you.

View at Amazon to learn more about how these pants may work for telemark.

Pros and features:

  • 2 zip thigh pockets 
  • 1 key clip
  • Offset mesh-backed venting
  • Belt loops with a removable belt
  • Snow gaiters
  • Boot-access zippers
  • Keprotec instep patches
  • Four way stretch fabric
  • Seat gusset
  • Bluesign approved primary fabric
  • Sizes S-XL

Black Crows Ventus 3L Gore-Tex Pant – Men’s

Black Crows Ventus 3L Gore-Tex Pants are made just for adventurous skiers!

They are ready to take you on your most rugged mountainous journeys.

These pants are a great choice for telemark because they provide the highest level of mobility as you trek uphill for hours or as you dip down into steep gullies.

They give you extreme protection from the snow and storms and are durable enough to power through the backcountry.

As you can see, these are lightweight ski pants that will serve you well for telemark.

They even boast an ergonomic design that allows you to access your full range of motion on turns and twists.

Black Crows’ design gives you large pocket spaces with equally large openings so that you can quickly grab any item that you may need.

And, outer thigh vents release warmth as you travel uphill to reduce the danger of overheating.

To add to the convenience, dual loops are available to hold ice axes and screws if you participate in mixed climbing.

The bottom hems are designed with easy to use zippered openings so that you will be able to slip them over your boots. Two snaps are also installed so that you can customize the fit.

View at Amazon for more information on how these pants may work for you.


  • Lightweight, durable protection
  • Allow you a full range of motion
  • Semi-fit ergonomic design
  • Two way side zippers
  • Adjustable waist with belt loops
  • Functional pockets with large openings
  • Outer thigh vent releases
  • Dual loops to secure ice axes and screws for technical assistance
  • Easy access bottom hems with zippered openings and two snaps

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