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Rig opinions, advice, suggestions, etc...

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Telemark skiing is very popular at the ski area I frequent - I've been intrigued for years watching all the folks doing it, but never had the chance to try it out.  I finally hit a demo day last year, and really liked the sport.  I didn't have a clue what to do technically, but pretty much just copied the tele-turn body position I saw everyone else doing, got real low, and it worked (although I think was drastically over-weighting my front ski - who knew it was supposed to be 50/50?)  I took 4 runs that day - beginner run, intermediate run, then expert run (all groomed), then took an intermediate a mogul run - had a few biffs, but pretty much did it and got fairly comfortable - for a grand total of about 3800 vertical feet or so in 45 minutes.  My legs were completely smoked for the entire rest of the weekend.  I was sold, and planned to switch to tele for this upcoming season.  I figure after a season on the things, I'll be able to kick through a car door.

 

I am (historically) a fast and aggressive expert mogul skier that also likes to hit snowboard-park big airs on occasion.  I'm 5'10" and an athletic fat guy of about 210-215#, and do about 25 days/season.  Unfortunately, my advanced age (50) coupled with an advanced waistline and an old college hockey injury has resulted in a knee that has pretty much turned to rubble.  I've been working on trimming the waistline (tele skiers seem to all be beanpoles - I am not built that way, but working on it) and am hoping that all of the quad work will ultimately help my knee.  My orthopedic surgeon thinks that switching to tele is a great idea, especially after what will be my 4th operation on the damned thing next month.

 

I suspect that technical prowess in telemarking will come quickly, and expect to be able to ski fast and hard on telemarks before too long (as long as my legs hold up), including woods and moguls.  I have no plans to ever tour or climb if I can help it - call it 99.9% lift served.  I've been bargain-shopping for equipment for months, and ended up buying a new pair of Garmont Prophet boots, new Rottefella NTN Freeride bindings (blue springs @ 3-4), and pair of used-but-decent 177cm Volkl Karma twin-tips.  I'm going to use normal ski poles w/o the adjustable length thingie on them.  I went NTN for the pseudo-release feature - with my knee, a non-releasable binding seems a bad idea.  I considered the BD Push or Custom with a 7tm (?) or similar releasable binding, but came across a bargain on the Prophets, so went the NTN route (even though I think the BD boots might fit my foot shape a little better).  Does the Garmont/NTN/Volkl set-up sound like a reasonable rig to get started with?  Any relevant hints or suggestions regarding equipment choices?

 

I haven't been able to find much to read on technique on-line.  The 50/50 weighting was a revelation, and I think I can get away with way less knee bend once I know what I'm doing a little better.  I've watched a few videos, but that's about as far as I've been able to go on pre-season instructional materials.  Any suggestions on stuff to read?  Any suggested drills or on-snow exercises?

 

thanks - JayC

post #2 of 16

JayC, pick up Paul Parker's 'Freeheel Skiing'. Honestly, the skis sound short for your weight to me, but the NTN is a good choice for you.  Where are you skiing? Something more piste biased, the Rossi E-88 (among others) can work . Blizzard Bhama looks like it'd be nice as well if you're staying in the 80' somethings.

post #3 of 16

Yes that sounds like a decent setup - might prove short but good for learning purposes and at least it's on the stout side for a twintip. 

 

Along with the Paul Parker book, this: http://www.amazon.com/Allen-Really-Telemark-Revised-Better/dp/076274586X

 

And a good video: http://www.telemarknato.com/movies.html

 

Even better, if you're anywhere in the northeast, sign up for one of these clinics: http://www.telemarknato.com/schedule.html (or watch this space: http://www.telemarkeast.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=4&sid=d31a081e93e8129743a27b7605ebe848)

 

YMMV but for self-instruction, I got the most value initially from the Allen & Mike's book - very simply illustrated concepts and techniques.  But nothing beats extended time with good tele skiers and instructors like the NATO clinic or whatever other telefest you can find.

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post
 

JayC, pick up Paul Parker's 'Freeheel Skiing'. Honestly, the skis sound short for your weight to me, but the NTN is a good choice for you.  Where are you skiing? Something more piste biased, the Rossi E-88 (among others) can work . Blizzard Bhama looks like it'd be nice as well if you're staying in the 80' somethings.

 

I have a season pass at Crotched Mountain in NH - my house is about 15 minutes from the mountain.  It's a little place (1000ft), but skis well and you can easily do 35,000 vertical feet in a day if your legs can hang (mine can't).  A good 40% of the skiers on the mountain telemark.  It's kinda bizarre to see.  I'm planning on pumping all of the good ones for technique tips once the season starts.

 

177s in a twin-tip is a little short, I'll admit - they even look funny when I stand on them - figured a little shorter is better though, being my first year and all.  I ski about a 180 all-mountain ski (R~17-18) normally, but I like very stiff skis and don't use twin-tips.  I've also broken at least a pair a season for the last 5 years or so, so there IS that...  I start running into tail-catching problems sometimes in the tight moguls if I run longer than mid 180's - bumps are hard, slick, and tight here in the great North East - it seems that whomever is actually making the bumps is skiing 150's-160's these days - rotten parabolics and their short length myth.  OTOH, I'd rather lighten myself into a shorter ski this year then stay fat and go longer (down to ~205# so far - aiming for 190#).  I was originally looking for a mid 180's twin-tip for my tele rig, but ran across the pair of 177s for $40, so I HAD to buy them.  I built my whole tele rig including new boots and bindings for under $500 (I take pride in my shoestring ski equipment budget).

 
As for instruction - finding a clinic and/or instructor is all well and good, but I need something to read and study NOW...I've got skiing on the brain already (I'm usually OK until Thanksgiving).
I'll check out the various links and book suggestions - thanks!!
post #5 of 16

PSIA youtube 'go with a pro' has some teaching video clips as well.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-toiTdjGv84      bumps

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN-U2v8fX2Y    lead change

 

and this one... this is important: stand tall.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciAsr9B7Gco

 

 

drill? This one:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjqFvHURbc8

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFfZeOGuELM&feature=c4-overview&list=UUb82_nafpNcnByt5_FtQb8g

 

 

etc... etc....

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post
 

PSIA youtube 'go with a pro' has some teaching video clips as well.

 

Kewl - I think I'm on top of most of that.  Last link was best with the multiple lessons/drills.  What's that Mono turn used for?

 

Gaaaa...now I REALLY want to go skiing.  I'll never make it another 12 weeks...

post #7 of 16

properly weighting both skis, edge, and pressure control

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

OK guys - I started sizing up my ski/bindings mount locations (which is a topic for another discussion someday) this weekend, and I've got to say that those 177 Karma are f'n SHORT!  Man - I didn't realize how much running length you lose with a twin-tip, not to mention the center arc being forward of a typical alpine (I mount ball-of-foot at the center of the edging arc as per contact points while pressed onto the edge).  On top of all of that, the Volkl's 177 measurement is pretty generous - they're more like 175s or so if you ask me.  They look like 160s when I'm standing on them looking down at the tips.  I should definitely be running something in the mid to upper 180s.  Oh well - next pair will be longer :).

post #9 of 16

If your mount is totally centered you might want to move the NTN's to the furthest back position on the mounting plate to get yourself a little behind the line, which might make it feel a little longer.  

 

IIRC the three mounting options are neutral and +/- 1.5 cm.  See the three sets of holes along the center line of the pink plate, here -- http://www.scarpa.com/ntn-freeride-binding-plate-heel .

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ts01 View Post
 

If your mount is totally centered you might want to move the NTN's to the furthest back position on the mounting plate to get yourself a little behind the line, which might make it feel a little longer.

 

What I do for alpine mounting location is a variation of the running surface technique.  I put the ski on its edge up at ~45 degrees on a hard floor, and press the ski down into it's natural arc.  I mark the spots where the edge just loses contact at the tip and tail.  I measure and mark the center of the two end marks, which is the exact center of the natural arc of the ski, as defined by the edges.  I locate the binding so the ball of my foot is at that center mark.

 

I mounted two pairs last year - the factory boot center mark corresponded perfectly with my technique on one pair (Solomon), but the factory mark was a good inch behind my location on the other (Nordica).  The Nordicas skied like crap using the factory mark, and I almost trashed them.  Once I moved the bindings using my technique, however, they skied great and I ended up using them as my primary ski last season, at least until I broke one of them.  I've been using the edge-center to ball-o-foot method for 25 years, and I'm very confident that it generates the best location of all of the methods, at least for alpine.

 

I don't know if telemark technique pressures the ski at the balls of the feet though - it seems that the front foot pressures more mid-foot to heel, and the rear foot pressures up by the toe.  That might support a slightly rearward mount position, but I'm not sure, since I haven't learned enough about the technique yet.  Most advice suggests mounting telemark boots using the same techniques as done for alpine, but again, I'm not sure either way.

 

I am aware of the +/- mounting positions available on the plate.  I've decided not to bias my mount and center the binding on the plate to start.  I was thinking of mounting onto the front hole, which would allow me 1.5" of rearward movement (can't imagine I'd want to go any farther forward), but I think I'll stick with center and if I figure out that I should've mounted the things and inch back, I'll just re-drill and move the whole shebang.

post #11 of 16

You're way ahead of me on this stuff. Shame you missed telemarktips, in its heyday a post like that would've generated 20 pages of detail I couldn't follow.

 

My practice is tele boot center to mfr's boot center mark for alpine - always seems good enough and the +/- NTN feature is enough tweakage -- only moved back never forward though.

 

One thing jumped out above though.  This:

Quote:

I don't know if telemark technique pressures the ski at the balls of the feet though - it seems that the front foot pressures more mid-foot to heel, and the rear foot pressures up by the toe.

 

I've never thought of pressuring different points on the front and rear foot - sounds complicated, and "tippy toe" on the rear ski would risk underweighting and the dreaded "poodling" or fakeamark turn.  Perhaps more experienced tele instructors would have a view on this.  I just think ball of foot front and back.

post #12 of 16

I'm not an instructor, but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn ....

 

In so much as the rear foot almost invariably has the heel raised, while the front generally does not, I suppose you could say that there's a different foot balance point between the two, but I would guess that it's probably not a good idea to actively focus on it: might lead to serious poodling.  One could even argue that the objective is to minimize (but never eliminate!) the difference with an optimally tight stance.  Better to focus primarily on body weight distribution between the front and rear skis/boots.

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

So - what's 'poodling'?

(Sounds like something I might've tried back in the 80's)

 

I wondered if you're supposed to be pressing with the balls of your feet, regardless of front/back foot position - most athletic endeavors require that you're up on the balls of your feet.

 

I accidentally ran across the manufacturer's mid-boot mounting recommendations for my skis for both freeride and jibber stances yesterday, so I have something to compare with my measurements next time I'm playing around with them.

post #14 of 16

Jay C... go to the gym, the squat rack specifically. Put a couple of 45's on the bar. Move your feet femur socket width apart, then slide the front foot up about a foot. Drop the rear foot back about a foot. Now do a squat with your weight centered between your feet. Did you notice that you didn't tippy toe on your back foot, but used the ball of your back foot? And that your weight on the front foot was evenly distributed along it's length? Time to prep for squat #2. Now skooch your front foot another 14" inches forward, and your rear foot another 12-14" back. Now do that squat again. It feels more like a lunge, correct? Which was easier? Which was more stable laterally? Which was easier to balance the weight? There's your answer. The second squat demonstrated the poodle...a 'lunge' spread out fore and aft with space between your legs when viewed from the side that a standard poodle could run back and forth through them while your skiing. Poodling takes huge strength, makes it impossible to properly weight the ball of your back foot, and and severely limits mobility. About 75-80% of all telemarkers poodle to the detriment of their skiing, but it they're happy, so am I.

post #15 of 16
Never heard of poodling, but know the look. And it looks bad. And performs worse. Back in the day, it was necessary to maintain fore-aft stability. Noodley skis, leather boots, and cableless bindings forced it. Those days are long gone. You can achieve incredible precision and power from today's boots and active bindings. And it's opened the door to a wide range of effective techniques you can deploy at will, at speed, and as the terrain and spirit move you.

Jay, I'm also an NE skier and been on Volkls for years. They're made for our conditions. I'm currently on Kendos, which I think would be an excellent all mountain choice for you too. As you're just starting out, don't fret over the equipment. You'll get the most bang for your buck by getting into a solid aerobic and lower body workout routine. Any weight you shave will make those 177s ski longer. For the record, the rest of my kit consists of Garmont Voodoos and Hammerheads.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replies, especially the ones regarding 'poodling'.  Pretty funny.  What an "avalanche poodle" is supposed to be I'll have to figure out someday.  I do get the excess exertion with the wide stance - surely exactly what I did during my demo day.

 

I got the factory 'freeride' and 'jibber' measurements and transferred corresponding marks onto my skis.  My center-edge / ball-of-foot measurement puts me between the two, favoring the jibber mark, which makes sense.  I usually end up an inch or so ahead of the standard factory mark with most skis.

 

Unfortunately, I smacked a tree with my motorcycle this past weekend during a time trial, and dislocated my thumb (had to put it back myself...disgusting at its best).  I'm currently splinted up, so it'll be a little while before get my boots set up and break out the drill to mount up my bindings - since setting up a ski rig is pretty much a two-thumbs-required activity.

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