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Starting Telemark - Have some questions

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I will be starting telemark skiing this year. I live in Ontario so it's not likely I'll be seeing much powder although I'd like to get out west. I have a few questions before I jump in.

 

  • What order should I buy my equipment in? Should I buy my boots based off of my binding choice and then my skis off of those choices? I really want a release binding to protect my knees. How are these: http://www.backcountry.com/scarpa-ntn-binding

These bindings have different cartridges (power tubes) ranging from extra soft to medium. I'm 6'6" and 185 pounds currently but I plan to pack on a little weight to about 210-220 pounds. I have been skiing for about 8 years but haven't skiied the past two. Which power tubes should I choose?

 

  • Also, will I benefit much from an instructor or would watching good instructional telemark videos and mimicking the moves suffice?
  • A final question not really related to telemark. I see all these videos of big mountain skiier tearing up the powder. Is this all pro skiers you see doing this or is it a realitic goal for anybody?

 

Thanks, I appreciate the answers.

post #2 of 8

Since you're just starting off and you want releasable bindings, give a hard look to NTN.  I've been skiing them since they came out, and I'm a big, big fan.  Releasable, EZ-in/EZ-out, brakes, etc.  But read this:

http://www.newtelemarkguide.com/wiki/Main_Page

 

But especially this:

http://www.newtelemarkguide.com/wiki/Main_Page#New_Telemark_Norm_.28NTN.29

 

You should find the answer to your cartridge question there, but to cut to the chase you should get the red ones, based on your weight.  

 

Of course, lessons are better than videos, assuming you get a good instructor, but videos can help quite a bit.  

 

To answer your final question: if you're good, you can ski well.  cool.gif

post #3 of 8

My advice- Unless money is no issue, I'd start with a relatively cheap tele setup.  If you want to go NTN you can usually find the bindings used, although boots will be tougher to come by.  New NTN boots are very pricey.  I'd look into Hammerhead bindings.  THey're great for learning the turn as you can adjust the pivot point in 5 different positions.  Definitely take a lesson with a good instructor.  These guys are generally thought of as the best in the Northeast - www.telemarknato.com.  Although you're in CA so not sure if they have any clinics near you.  Telemarking is ulitmate powder skiing.  Tele-ing in 6in of fresh snow feels like alpine skiing in 12+.  Ripping in powder is a realistic goal.  Depending how often you ski it'll be a season or two to become competent & probably a lifetime to master.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

I do have telemark lessons somewhat near me(about 2 hours). They are offered by CANSI which is the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors. I'll be going to a presentation at an outdoor store. Hopefully I'll get a little bit of knowledge from it.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by farlep99 View Post

My advice- Unless money is no issue, I'd start with a relatively cheap tele setup.  If you want to go NTN you can usually find the bindings used, although boots will be tougher to come by.  New NTN boots are very pricey.  I'd look into Hammerhead bindings.  THey're great for learning the turn as you can adjust the pivot point in 5 different positions.  Definitely take a lesson with a good instructor.  These guys are generally thought of as the best in the Northeast - www.telemarknato.com.  Although you're in CA so not sure if they have any clinics near you.  Telemarking is ulitmate powder skiing.  Tele-ing in 6in of fresh snow feels like alpine skiing in 12+.  Ripping in powder is a realistic goal.  Depending how often you ski it'll be a season or two to become competent & probably a lifetime to master.



 

post #5 of 8

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by farlep99 View Post

My advice- Unless money is no issue, I'd start with a relatively cheap tele setup.  If you want to go NTN you can usually find the bindings used, although boots will be tougher to come by.  New NTN boots are very pricey. 

 

New NTN boots aren't any more pricey than 75mm, and there are used NTN boots on Telemarktips all the time, and sometimes on TGR.  

 

And the problem with relatively cheap tele setups is that you can get a terrible outfit if you don't know what you're doing - skiing skis, floppy boots, weak bindings, mismatched overall, etc.  If you can get good - and I mean good - information/guidance on the cheap items you're looking at then by all means...

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have just found that there is another type of releasable telemark binding that is made by voile. The voile CRB is what I'm looking at:

 

http://www.telemarkski.com/voile_hardwire_crb_release_tele_binding_608_22_c_p31003.htm

 

There is also the 7tm binding system which seems pretty versatile as well:

 

http://www.backcountry.com/garmont-7tm-power-tour-releasable-telemark-binding

 

http://www.backcountry.com/garmont-7tm-power2-step-in-binding

 

Which one would be a better option for me starting out in telemark? Is the cost of the NTN binding worth the features?

 

 

Also just to be clear, any binding can be mounted on any ski. Is this true?

 

Thanks


Edited by liamcanada - 10/28/11 at 4:31pm
post #7 of 8

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by liamcanada View Post

I have just found that there is another type of releasable telemark binding that is made by voile. The voile CRB is what I'm looking at:

 

http://www.telemarkski.com/voile_hardwire_crb_release_tele_binding_608_22_c_p31003.htm

 

There is also the 7tm binding system which seems pretty versatile as well:

 

http://www.backcountry.com/garmont-7tm-power-tour-releasable-telemark-binding

 

http://www.backcountry.com/garmont-7tm-power2-step-in-binding

 

Which one would be a better option for me starting out in telemark? Is the cost of the NTN binding worth the features?

 

The Voile CRB has no tour mode.  Not a problem if you don't plan to tour, but if you do...  Not as easy to get in and out of as the NTN.  Also reassembling it after a release is a complete PITA and the brakes don't deploy when you step out - only when you release, which may or may not matter to you but it does to me.  It does release in a backwards fall, which is unique among tele bindings (and uncommon in alpine binders).  

 

the 7tm tour is pretty much as expensive as the NTN and as heavy.  Brakes deploy only on release and I hate the way it skis (biggrin.gif).  Not as easy as the NTN to get in and out of.  Reassembling it after a release is a major PITA.  

 

The 7tm has no tour mode and the brakes and reassembly issues are the same, and I don't like the way it skis either.

 

You may disregard my preference about the way the 7tms ski as just my opinion because that's all it is, but keep the other issues in mind.  For me, the cost of NTN is worth it...YMMV.  

 

One other thing about NTN boots is that there is no duckbill, which is nice when you're booting it.  

 

Edit: Those bindings all have their proponents and faithful users, but that's my take on it.  You can always check the forum at TelemarkTips.com for more blah-blah-blah than you can shake a stick at.  

 

Quote:
Also just to be clear, any binding can be mounted on any ski. Is this true?

 

Yes sir.  

post #8 of 8

Liam, I'v owned both the bindings below:-
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by liamcanada View Post

I have just found that there is another type of releasable telemark binding that is made by voile. The voile CRB is what I'm looking at:

http://www.telemarkski.com/voile_hardwire_crb_release_tele_binding_608_22_c_p31003.htm

 

There is also the 7tm binding system which seems pretty versatile as well:


The CRB is a good solid driveable binding.  The 7TM I think was a mistake, and only really good if you are going to do touring, or are not wanting to ski super hard.

 

I sort of know the situation you are in - I'm from the Australia, so I spend my time tele on hardpack and artifical snow - if we are lucky we get a day or two of pow. 

 

Boots

My advice, don't wimp out on the skis or boots, thinking you need to need to go soft boots or anything like that.  Go out and buy yourself some good heavy tele boots (T1's, EnerG's or CXR's) - get footbeds and get them fitted and everything.   I wouldn't drop below a T2 for hardpack - and I bought something at that level, and upgraded after only a year - so that was cash thrown out the window!  Leave your binding and ski choice until you have settled on your boots. 

 

Skis

Then have a look for some cheap skis in the bargain bins from last year - go for a good mid range all mountain ski, with no base.  No need to go for a telemark specific ski - they tend to be built a little lighter for a bit of touring.  I personally find them to be floppy and useless on hardpark.  In reality, the progression in tele will be the same as with Alpine.   My quiver of skis is some Public Enemies with T3's (which badly need replacing), Fischer RC4 WC's with Hammerheads, and K2 GS skis also with Hammerheads.  Race skis are awesomely fun on tele bindings.   Would I go early rise?  Hell yeah, it will make transitions much easier.  Would I go reverse camber?  The jury is out on that one.

 

Okay, the bindings:

7TMs - release well, not active (does not help flex the boot), prone to ice up, a bit fiddly to get back into if you come out.

Voile CRBs - release well, not active, look ugly, work really really well.

Rottefella Corbras - not active, clean and simple and lightweight (you can get a release plate for these)

T3 - non releaseable - not active, are clean, simple and lightweight, do  the job

O2's - non releasebale - kind of active

NTN's - haven't been on them, I have heard from other people that are the stuff - but you need to get boots to match.

Hammerheads - non releaseable - easily the best bindings I have been on.

 

Releaseable vs non releaseable:

I have come out of the 7TMs and CRBs when I was learning.  Realistically, they are to stop those slow twisting falls - but a lot of the falls you have that do the real twisting just get the boots to flex.  Most of the time you will fall and end up with a weird position with skis and poles and stuff all still attached, but set in a way that makes you look like some kind of deranged snow-octopus.

The high speed stacks will cause even non releaseable stuff to release.  Last year I ran over a slalom gate with my SL's+Hammerheads with race spings and the boot came out.  The cable is spring loaded and normally with enough spring to come out.

 

Hope that all makes sense and is helpful.  

 

Happy gear hunting!

 

 

 

 

 

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