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Ski type and length for lift-served Telemark?

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

I am an advanced skier - 50, 5'10" @ 200-210#, I do about 25 days a season, and exclusively ski the ice and boilerplate of Southern New Hampshire.  I like to ski moguls fast and hard - I ski 178-180 length high-energy all mountain skis (Nordica SUV14 last season until they broke with 2 days to go).  I also like to launch off of the jumps in the snowboard park, but I think I have to give that up - I have a bad knee that was screaming by the end of the season.

 

I'm planning on skiing primarily telemark for the first time this upcoming season, and I've been trying to figure out what type of skis to get - I'm planning on getting used or leftover downhill skis and new boots and bindings.  I did a demo day last year and was able to do the turns fairly well right off the bat (didn't expect that), and was even able to ski some intermediate moguls that first day, so I suspect that I will be skiing fast and hard without too much of a learning curve - I want to get skis that will stand up to the job.  Don't know about binding type yet either - I like the traditional 75mm telemark over NTN, but with my trick knee, I'm afraid of it's lack of release.  On the fence there...

 

Anyhow, I'm thinking that I want a softer and slightly wider ski than I normally use, and probably go with a twin-tip.   I want something that has outrageously obnoxious graphics, but short of that I'm fairly clueless.  I have absolutely no idea what to look for in length.  Should I stick with a 180ish length, or go shorter or longer?  Are there any specific ski characteristics that I should look for that will prove beneficial, or that I should shy away from?  Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Also - I am not going to do ANY touring or such - it will be 100% lift served skiing, and only going downhill.

 

Thanks - JayC

post #2 of 41

Ski what you would for alpine. Do the NTN binding system if you have the $$$. If doing the 75mm duckbill, do the 22 designs 'vise' binding or Hammerhead. IMHO, the lack of release isn't that big a deal... with the heel free, the torque forces on the knee are much smaller than an alpine set up. If it's a worry, do the NTN and call it good. You'll want a stiffer, higher boot as well. Like alpine, it's all about the fit. Same rules apply as an alpine boot.

post #3 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Ski what you would for alpine. Do the NTN binding system if you have the $$$. If doing the 75mm duckbill, do the 22 designs 'vise' binding or Hammerhead. IMHO, the lack of release isn't that big a deal... with the heel free, the torque forces on the knee are much smaller than an alpine set up. If it's a worry, do the NTN and call it good. You'll want a stiffer, higher boot as well. Like alpine, it's all about the fit. Same rules apply as an alpine boot.

^What you would call 'good advice.' The OP sounds like a perfect candidate for NTN.
post #4 of 41
Thread Starter 

NTN really isn't much more expensive, all things considered.  I haven't tried many boots yet, but from what I've read regarding fit and in comparison to what I've tried, Black Diamonds appear to be my best bet (wide toe box, average forefoot and volume, narrow heel).  If that is so, they don't do NTN.  If I turn out fitting a boot brand that does make an NTN boot, I will likely go that way.

post #5 of 41
You may be in luck - Scarpa's NTN boots have a very wide toe box (wider than BD's 75mm boots) and a snug heel. Check 'em out.
post #6 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

You may be in luck - Scarpa's NTN boots have a very wide toe box (wider than BD's 75mm boots) and a snug heel. Check 'em out.


This^^^ 

The Scarpa NTN boots are much different then their 75 mm boots;  75 mm Scarpa has always fit my narrow heel and low volume foot, but in the last few years my toes were beginning to suffer - switched to their NTN boots and toes are much happier.  In fact, the Scarpa NTN boots fit me better than any ski boot ever has. For the skiing you describe, I'd recommend the NTN Freerides; if you start heading into the woods, consider the Freedoms. 

post #7 of 41
Thread Starter 

Interesting info on the Scarpa NTN fit.  I checked the website of the shop I plan to use, and they appear to only carry one Scarpa NTN - the Terminator X Pro.  If nothing else, I like the name...

post #8 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayC View Post

Interesting info on the Scarpa NTN fit.  I checked the website of the shop I plan to use, and they appear to only carry one Scarpa NTN - the Terminator X Pro.  If nothing else, I like the name...

 

They use the same last across the Scarpa NTN line, so if you're interested in the Scarpa Terminator X or the Terminator X Comp, you can expect the same fit if they have to order a different model for you.  FWIW, Scarpa's inventory is really low right now - expect it to get a lot better in the fall.  But the Terminator X Pro is a really nice boot, just a bit softer than the Comp.  

post #9 of 41
Thread Starter 

So, back to the skis.  Should I really look for the same kind of ski I use for alpine?  A Volkl AC30-like ski comes to mind - I've been wanting a set of those for a bump-bashing rig for a while (not that I could mount tele bindings on them anyway).  It still seems like I'd want something considerably softer for telemark though... am I wrong?

post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayC View Post

So, back to the skis.  Should I really look for the same kind of ski I use for alpine?  A Volkl AC30-like ski comes to mind - I've been wanting a set of those for a bump-bashing rig for a while (not that I could mount tele bindings on them anyway).  It still seems like I'd want something considerably softer for telemark though... am I wrong?

 

Yeah, basically you'd want something only slightly softer - if at all - than what you'd use alpine, especially if you're not touring.  And especially for hard snow eastern-type conditions.  IMO/IME anyway. Maybe someone here can recommend a flat ski that's like the AC30.  

 

I tele like 95% of the time and my daily drivers are things like Volkl Nanuqs and Blizzard Kabookies, but I'm out west and I tour on my stuff fairly often and I like softish skis.  

post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayC View Post

A Volkl AC30-like ski comes to mind - I've been wanting a set of those for a bump-bashing rig for a while (not that I could mount tele bindings on them anyway). 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

Maybe someone here can recommend a flat ski that's like the AC30.  

 

The Volkl Kendo is a flat ski that is similar to the AC30.  I skied the AC30 as my primary bump/all-mountain alpine ski for a couple years, then switched to the Kendo when it came out three years ago.  The Kendo is a similar but much more versatile ski.  The extra width is nice for pow and crud, but it is still quick in bumps and absolutely rips groomers.  

 

It's been a decade since I've been on tele skis, but I think the Kendo fits the "great all mountain alpine ski" profile for a lift served tele board.  The 2013 Kendo was a slight improvement with the tip rocker, but the prior two years were great too.   I bet you can find leftovers/used cheap.   

 

I just scored some used AC30's off craigslist for $80 w/bindings!  Keep your eyes out for some for alpine bump boards.  My AC30's are 170 so they are now my bump specific ski.  The 177 Kendo is my all-mountain/bump ski.  The Kendo and AC30 ski similar in length.  I'm 5'11" 180.  At your weight you'll either want 177 or 184.   The shorter length Kendo/AC30 are easier to turn and still have plenty of edge grip for speed, but just not the float of the longer ski for powder.

post #12 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post
I just scored some used AC30's off craigslist for $80 w/bindings!  Keep your eyes out for some for alpine bump boards.  My AC30's are 170 so they are now my bump specific ski.  The 177 Kendo is my all-mountain/bump ski.  The Kendo and AC30 ski similar in length.  I'm 5'11" 180.  At your weight you'll either want 177 or 184.   The shorter length Kendo/AC30 are easier to turn and still have plenty of edge grip for speed, but just not the float of the longer ski for powder.

 

Dang - I've been looking for an AC30 deal like that forever...

 

Kendo's eh?  I'll look into those.  I've been skiing a 178 for the last couple of years - I hated to drop into the 70's, but it's about as long as I can handle in the tight eastern bumps (everybody is skiing mid 160s these days it seems), although I probably outweigh the length by a bit.  I am going to try to drop some tonnage before the season - the extra weight is going to kill me doing lunges all day.  Maybe that's why I've broken 4 pairs of skis in 4 years :).  I did try an Atomic M11 Ti in a 170 once.  They broke after 4 hours on their 2nd bump run - and they were small intermediate bumps.  Sheesh.  Powder isn't a concern - it is so rare out here that it's ridiculous to make any hard-snow compromises for it.

post #13 of 41

If you're looking for new tele boots and bindings in New Hampshire you might want to call http://www.telemarkdown.com/ .  I don't know where they're located in NH but they have new and new old-stock gear and provide good advice and service. 

 

One thoughts from another NE telemarker with a bum knee: Sure, the free heel takes some torque off the knee, but there's no reason NOT to ski releasable gear, especially for a lift-served skier where weight's not a concern. Sh*t happens.  7tm works great in 75mm world, NTN has worked out all the kinks and IMHO is the way to go, especially if you're buying new boots anyway.

post #14 of 41

At 200+lbs you might want to consider the Scarpa TX Comp over the TX Pro.

 

I'm 5'9" 175lbs and ski western Maine and New Hampshire about 50 days a season.  I've been on tele gear for the past 10 seasons.  This past season my Garmont Energys finally died so I decided to make the switch to NTN.  The Scarpa TX boots ended up fitting my foot well so I went with the TX Pro and after the bellows really broke-in they are soft almost a bit too soft.  I think if I was 20lbs heavier I would want to be in the TX Comp.

 

As far as skis go, I'm currently on Rossi E88s with NTN Freerides and I think that is a great everyday eastern setup.  Fun ski on the groomers, trees and bumps and it's got enough float for few times a season when I get to ski fresh snow.  Before the E88s I had a pair of Kendos (177) mounted with Hammerheads.  The Kendos loved to be skied fast and they were a blast for me on the groomers.  I did not particularly enjoy them though in the trees and bumps.  For me they were just too stiff....

 

An added bonus of the NTN binding is that you can buy a second ski kit (sub plate).  Then the one set of NTN bindings can be used on multiple sets of skis.

post #15 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ts01 View Post

If you're looking for new tele boots and bindings in New Hampshire you might want to call http://www.telemarkdown.com/ .  I don't know where they're located in NH but they have new and new old-stock gear and provide good advice and service.

That's my shop - they're close to my house and where I ski.

post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by meden View Post

I'm 5'9" 175lbs and ski western Maine and New Hampshire about 50 days a season.  I've been on tele gear for the past 10 seasons. ....

 

As far as skis go, I'm currently on Rossi E88s with NTN Freerides and I think that is a great everyday eastern setup.  Fun ski on the groomers, trees and bumps and it's got enough float for few times a season when I get to ski fresh snow.  Before the E88s I had a pair of Kendos (177) mounted with Hammerheads.  The Kendos loved to be skied fast and they were a blast for me on the groomers.  I did not particularly enjoy them though in the trees and bumps.  For me they were just too stiff....

 

 

I'm curious what length E88's you are on meden?  

 

The Kendo does have a pretty stiff tail, so go shorter for bumps and trees if you are mostly on hard snow.  A 177 might work for the OP at 200lbs. At 180lbs I've skied (alpine) the 170, 177 and 184 Kendos, and the 170 is really easy turning in the bumps and trees and still has plenty of edge grip for screaming fast groomers. The 177 is better in soft snow and crud where surface area matters.  The 184 is a bit too much ski for my tastes.   I really think them as three different skis, which I wrote about here:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/118415/volkl-mantra-vs-kendo-vs-blizzard-bonafide-please-help#post_1559424

 

I can see how the E88 or another medium flexing 88ish ski is probably better than the Kendo for tele.  There are lots of good 88ish skis to choose from, and most have been around for a while so deals and used abound.  Here's an older thread that compares a bunch of these skis:

 

http://www.epicski.com/a/2011-mid-fat-ski-reviews-by-dawgcatching

 

post #17 of 41

I ended up going with a 170 E88 and that's working well for me.

post #18 of 41
My east cost every day setup is a pair of Kastle MX88s in 168 - best, let me say that again, best ski I have ever skiied. NTN buindings with Green Crispi Evo's moving to XT Comps this season. Other two skis I would consider are Nordica Steadfast and Blizzard Bonifide - Have fun, you will not regret the move to NTN.
post #19 of 41
Should have been Blizzard Bushwhacker 88 underfoot is magic. FYI - I also have a pair of K2 Moto Comps (race ski) 174cm with NTN great carving on the hard pack not so much fun in the bumps.
post #20 of 41

Markojp gave you great advice in post 2.  

 

I like to find a used alpine ski of the type that I would ski with an alpine binding.  There have been a few years when I was alpining and telemarking on the same model ski.  I would go with the same length that you use for alpine or just a tiny bit shorter.  I believe that a good tele ski is a "bit" softer than an an alpine ski.  You will be putting weight on both skis and skiing more two footed on tele gear than most people do on alpine skis.  I also like a ski with a global flex....  Not too stiff in the tip or the tail, but even flexing through its length.  I have been using twin tips, but don't think it matters much.  My current tele ski is a 178 Line Blend with Hammerheads.  I like the Hammerheads.  I have also had BD 01 bindings that I liked almost as much.  The NTN seems good, but I don't want to switch boots and spend money.  I like Garmont boots because they seem to fit my foot the best, but think that Scarpa and BD also make solid boots.  TS01 bought a pair of my old boots years ago.  My current pair has a lot of miles on them and I have replaced the stock liner with an Intuition Powerwrap and installed a stiff Booster Strap.  I also use a high end footbed with a Hotronic element installed.  I love the nice progressive flex and the fit that I get from this boot setup.  There is a gear consignment shop here that has a large selection of telemark boots.  If I don't buy my next boot new on pro-deal, I will get a decent used boot and slap a footbed and a fresh or lightly used Intuition liner in it.  It won't cost much more than $200.  I bought the Blends at the consignment shop for under $100.  I turns out they were previously owned by one of our adaptive instructors and had been mounted for a time on a sit ski.  They were also a prototype from Line and I never have seen another pair quite like them graphically.  You might like their look as they are colorful and a bit garish, but too fat at ~100mm for where you ski.

 

Last season I skied over 80 days on the 178 Rossi E88 as an alpine ski.  I really loved this ski.  I think it would make an outstanding Telemark ski and might switch bindings onto it this year.  Every year in early December I attend the PSIA MTR event here in the Tetons.  It's a Nordic event that is attended by high level skiers and examiners from several divisions.  Last year several people had the E88 tele setup and all of them spoke highly of it.

 

Telemarking is a fun and healthy activity that is enjoyed by dozens of people every season.  Have fun with it and remember....  No one cares that you Tele!

post #21 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

 

Telemarking is a fun and healthy activity that is enjoyed by dozens of people every season.  Have fun with it and remember....  No one cares that you Tele!

LOL.  Thanks for the laugh.  I don't think I saw a single tele skier on the hill this year.  Glad you guys are keeping it alive.... and not me smile.gif

post #22 of 41
It's big here. We even have Tele race league and national events, plus a mountaineering race, separate group for AT and Tele.
post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xto18 View Post

My east cost every day setup is a pair of Kastle MX88s in 168 - best, let me say that again, best ski I have ever skiied. NTN buindings with Green Crispi Evo's moving to XT Comps this season. Other two skis I would consider are Nordica Steadfast and Blizzard Bonifide - Have fun, you will not regret the move to NTN.

 

Just curious: why are you switching boots?

post #24 of 41
I am switching from the EVOs to the Scarpa TX Comps to improve my fit and flex. I have a some movement in my EVOs (~120 days in them) and they have a hing feel in the flex. The Scarps fit me better and the flex feels more consistent and natural - that said I have 0 days in the Scarpas. I will need to ski them a bunch before I give up on the Evos.
post #25 of 41

Interesting: I was on the verge of getting a pair of the EVOs for a stiffer hard snow/groomer boot, but was worried enough about the fit (older Crispis didn't like my feet AT ALL!) that I decided to first try upgrading to a stiffer Intuition liner for my Scarpa TX comps. Bingo!  Still have the wonderful Scarpa fit, plus a big increase in stiffness, just for the cost of the liners!   If you like the scarpa fit/flex but find them not stiff enough relative to the EVOs, this might be an option for you.

post #26 of 41
Paul, Tanks for the guidance on the TX. EVOs have been and are a great boot. I am looking to take my skiing up a notch (next level of NSP qualification) so looking for better fit. FYI - I herd a rumor that Crispi is pulling out of the US - does not make any sense to me. If you are thinking of adding a pair of EVOs do it soon.
post #27 of 41

JayC:

 

I too am and an older big guy (6'5" 215 lbs) that alpines, but tele on-area about 30% of the time.  I have AT stuff for the backcountry.  I have been doing it for many years and started with alpine skis, 3-pin bindings and leather boots.  A couple things I have learned.  I have used releaseable bindings for the last 15 years, and most recently the 7TMs.  I find them to be heavy duty enough to handle anything I ski and they do not release when I do not want them too.  I have never tried  the NTN system but it seems like overkill to me.  I know many hardcore tele skiers that can rip anything and do not use NTNs, so I believe it is more a preference than a necessity.  If you want solid the Pit Bulls are enough for anybody I know.

 

If you are skiing on area you need a ski similar to your preferred alpine boards, but softer.  Cross-over alpine skiers tend to just use just the front ski to carve when they start tele skiing and think they are doing it right, but the real deal does not happen until you figure out that magic balance spot between your skis.  It is completely different in that with alpine you are always on a solid single ski edge, but with tele you are on both skis (but it feels like neither), and consequently you should never have all your weight on one ski, so you need softer boards so they bend appropriately.  Stiff tails are a real problem, particularly in the bumps.  I think the key factor is an even flexing ski.  Wider is easier for balance and learning, but too wide makes edging harder, particularly on hard snow or bumps. I dumped my two ski tele quiver 6 years ago and went to one pair of 94mm waisted skis for everything (Watea 94), including powder and I'm happy with the performance, although one slightly fatter and another slightly narrower would probably work better our west if I were skiing exclusively tele.  Slightly wider and softer is the right thought, but I can see no reason whatsoever to get twin tips, unless you plan on skiing backwards. It is useless length that only gets in the way (remember your tails are passing each other on every turn), but a slight rise in the tail mellows things out when you get all your weight on the back ski. 

 

The biggest equipment revelation for me was in boots.  I had skied the top line Scarpa Terminators and Garmont Ener-Gs, which worked but it always felt like a different connection to the snow than on my alpine gear.  A couple years ago I got some Black Diamond Push boots and it was immediately amazing. I am not sure what the difference is, but for me on the first turn I felt my skis carve like I was in my alpine boots and it was a "that's what I've been looking for" moment that changed my tele skiing.  It might be the absence of rocker on the bottom of the boots but they allow me to relax on my skis when letting them run and edge more easily than Scarpas or Garmonts.  The key to tele boot fit is having enough room in the toe box. A boot that feels great in the store may be a toe cruncher after an hour on the slopes, so I recommend fitting them slightly bigger than your alpine boots.

 

Hope this was of some value to you.  MF

post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post

JayC:

 

I If you want solid the Pit Bulls are enough for anybody I know.

 

You're thinking Hammer Heads, no? The BD Pit Bull was kind of a disaster and was only around for 2-3 years in the mid-late 90's. 

post #29 of 41

Yeah, Hammer Heads seem to be the ticket for the hardcore tele skiers around here.  I have never used either myself, but I think the Hammer Heads are the successor to the Pit Bulls and I have always thought of them as the same binding because of their looks.  Pit Bulls did have some serious issues.  Sorry about that.

post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post

...I have never tried  the NTN system but it seems like overkill to me.  I know many hardcore tele skiers that can rip anything and do not use NTNs, so I believe it is more a preference than a necessity.  

 

Arguably tele skiing is more of a preference than a necessity.  wink.gif  But I wanted to say a few words about some distinct advantages of NTN.  NTN bindings offers unsurpassed control, especially compared to 7TMs and especially for the rear foot.  Other advantages are that the brakes deploy when you step out, unlike 7TMs, and the ease of getting in and out of them is also unsurpassed.  The last point I want to make is that getting back into NTN after a release is also infinitely easier than 7TMs.  If that all seems like overkill, so be it.  

 

But yeah, many skiers rip on non-NTN bindings, but many skiers rip(ped) on narrow straight skis and or leather boots.  Like with wider shaped skis and plastic boots, NTN makes it easier to rip, IMO, IME, YMMV, IANAL, etc.  But I tele a lot and have for a long time.  

 

And Hammerheads (not Pit Bulls wink.gif) are excellent skiing cable bindings, but they don't offer a release feature, brakes, or EZ-in, EZ-out.  

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