- 9,561 Posts. Joined 10/2011
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Ski type and length for lift-served Telemark? - Page 2
I cannot disagree with anything Bob said, but buying bindings and boots based on how easily they go on after you release seems like the wrong criteria. From what I can tell the vast majority of tele skiers do not use releaseable bindings, and I believe the OP was talking about on-area skiing. I hit it pretty hard all over the mountain and have only released from my 7TMs a couple of times in 3 years. The free heel gives enough movement that it eliminates the need to release in most falls. The NTN is a bombproof system, but part of tele skiing for me is the lightness and freedom of movement, both of which are somewhat reduced with that system.
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
Last year I saw I guy come ripping over some intermediate terrain backwards doing tele turns. Just when I thought I'd seen it all some guy pushes the envelope in a new way. I've seen videos of some rail sliding, flips and wild tricks on teles, but never anyone actually doing knee bending tele turns in reverse. Sounds like you've got a good set up to go both directions.
As an alpine skier it takes a while to get used to the feeling of balancing between your skis instead of on them. In the beginning you can feel the magic spot as you pass it with your weight going forward and back, and then eventually you learn to trust it and use it, and can just live there. When you can ski bumps without feeling off balance you know you've got it. A bonus is that practicing all that independent leg action will make you a better alpine skier.
Good luck. I hope you have a great season. MF
As for your ambitions, talk is cheap, so we'll wait for your video. Ripping intermediate groomers is one thing, but when you can take your tele act into the crud, bumps and variable snow conditions then you've got it down.
This one was where we used to spend the month of March:
And a couple of a friend. First vid skinny sticks and all...
Second vid, big skis.... er, long skis:
Some more stuff.. no poodle:
and some more Euro trash: