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Difference between randonne & Tele

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 
What is the difference between randonee and Tele-marking. Also is "AT" the same as "randonee".

I have always skied in-bounds. How difficult would it be for an advanced
skier to transition to randonee. do I need to take lessons "in bounds" before i go BC in my randonee skis for a day with a guide?
post #2 of 78
"Randonee" is French for "can't tele".
post #3 of 78
Thread Starter 
only serious responses, please.
post #4 of 78
randonee is the same as AT. It is the setup where the heal on the binding can release to allow for hiking.
post #5 of 78
Telemark is a different boot and (mostly) cable style binding that allows the heel to come up freely. The technique is quite different from regular alpine technique.

If Radonee is the same as AT, that could be a regular alpine boot with a binding that looks quite like an alpine binding on a pivot system that allows for the heel to come up when you want it and lock in place for downhill. When not climbing, technique is virtually the same as alpine.

There probably are, I'm sure, dedicated boots for AT/Radonee.

Thats my impression although I've never tried either form
post #6 of 78
Originally Posted by ZGskier
randonee is the same as AT. It is the setup where the heal on the binding can release to allow for hiking.
or be "locked In" for descent...with "Tele" your heel is free at all times.

post #7 of 78
I have used randonee style setups, they work well with skins. The bindings are usually slightly heavier than regular alpine bindings, but other than that you can "free heel" basically any ski you want to, its all about the binding. If you want to try something out I would recommend alpine treckers. You can put them into your current bindings and when you get to the top just remove the treckers and click into your skis!
post #8 of 78
Originally Posted by Marty
only serious responses, please.
Demanding, aren't you.
post #9 of 78
You should be familiar with your equipment but the AT set-up will ski similar to your regular alpine gear. You probably don't need lessons, just practice inbounds first. If you are struggling, get an instructor to help you make adjustments for skiing the lighter, softer boots. Modern AT gear is pretty supportive, shouldn't require much to make the transition from alpine. If you hire a guide for back country skiing, he can make sure you are safe. There is a lot to learn before you go into the back country without a guide.
post #10 of 78
You can get more knowledgeable responses by posting this question in the "Telemark, AT and Backcountry Skiing" forum.

But I can answer a few questions, as I just bought my first AT setup this winter. You do not need special boots for the AT bindings, you can use your regular alpine boots. However, if you discover that you really enjoy AT, you will probably want to eventually purchase AT boots, as they are lighter and more flexible, making it easier and more comfortable to do the "touring" portion of AT. For now, we decided to stick with our alpine boots.

You won't need a lesson to figure out how to ski on your AT set-up. Going downhill is exactly the same as on alpine gear. Even using the touring mode is not difficult. But you might want to practice so you can "get the hang of it" and feel comfortable. If you have a friend who ATs, he/she can show you the scoop. The first time my husband and I used AT gear, we were on a snowcat skiing trip in BC (last year). They showed us how to use the bindings, and how to slide our skis most efficiently. They also showed us how to use the climbing skins. It really didn't take long to make the transition.

I don't know what kind of shape you are in, but the thing that took us most by surprise was the physical exertion when we were in touring mode. We thought we were pretty fit, but boy were we wrong! This summer, we did a LOT more hiking and working out at the gym to be better prepared!

By the way, our friends who tele ski don't make fun of us or any of our other friends who are getting into AT. When you're off the beaten track, you're all having a blast. It doesn't matter what you've got on your feet, as long as you can keep up.

post #11 of 78
uhhh what?

I'll share what I know as an almost-newbie in AT who has many friends who ski tele and/or AT.

Randonee & AT are the very same thing, different names.

Telemark is a town and a style of skiing that uses a particular type of binding method -- the toe/ball of foot/boot is fixed to the ski, the heel is free to lift and drop (move vertically) and can deviate laterally somewhat... usually the heel is fixed horizontally through tensioned cable around boot's heel.

AT equipment -- Some AT binders are visually similar to alpine binders (Fritschi, Naxo, Silvretta) and emphasize the "alpine" part of AT, while others are unique-looking and almost bizarre yet very light and efficient for the "touring" part of AT (Dynafit).

Ski selection usually is similar for both in that the backcountry emphasis lends to lighter skis generally. also, since Tele is "free heel" there are a few tele-specific-designed skis that have a somewhat different flex pattern, since the skier's forces are directed to the ski over a smaller area than a fixed-heel skier's forces... or at least that's how I understand it. :

AT skis generally resemble their alpine cousins in most every way except weight, with lighter materials preferred for the "touring" side. Again as with the binders, some AT skis emphasize the "alpine," while some emphasize "touring" and others are a mix of the two.

Tele boots have a "duckbill" up front where the 3 pins of the binder pierce the boot for attachment and horizontal securing. The plastic models usually have an "accordian" or "bellows" shape at the forefoot to enable the boot to flex allowing the deep knee bends used with the tele turn technique.

AT boots look more like alpine boots but have a rockered sole (the amount of rocker varies) and usually Vibram tread. they resemble hardshell ice climbing or mountaineering boots that use buckles instead of lacing. they run the gamut of stiffness and weight, with the "alpine" end of the emphasis spectrum coming fairly close to top alpine recreational ski boot performance.

that's about all I know about it.
post #12 of 78
Originally Posted by Marty
only serious responses, please.
Seriously...get a sense of humor.
post #13 of 78
he'd need some "humor" to sense.

OR, "jay leno just called. he advised to not quit your day job to start telling jokes."

Rul on a "Roll":


maybe i need a sense of humor to "get" your moronic crack about riding my girlfriend?
post #14 of 78
I picked up AT/Randonee skiing 3 seasons ago and haven't looked back. I'll try not repeat what's already been said above as there is good explinations of the difference between Randonee and Telemark (I actually believe Randonee is French for "smart enough to not want to tele"). I now use my AT boots (Scarpa Lasers) almost exclusively. I have two main AT set-ups, a powder/resort set up which is the K2 AK Launchers (an "Alpine" ski officially) with the Fritschi Freeride bindings (both my AT and Alpine boots work with these bindings) and a lighter weight pair of Atomic TMEXs with the Dynafit bindings. I use the latter for most of my real touring and love the performance despite the light weight.

As people have mentioned above, skiing in AT gear is essentially the same as skiing in Alpine gear. The gear may be a bit more flexible, boots less stiff, but I really haven't found that to be a problem with todays modern, shaped skis. I took a steep skiing course last year at Sugar Bowl and used the AK Launcher/Freeride/Lasers set up and had no problem at all keeping up with the folks on regular Alpine gear. The way I look at it, I got into AT so I could ski those steeper and deeper lines outside the resorts.

Skinning up is indeed an art form in and of itself. Friends that AT might be able to help, but I'd really recommend taking a course of you have the chance. I took a 3 day backcountry skiing course with Pro Guiding Services in the North Cascades 3 seasons ago and am very glad I did. Things like kick turns just don't come real naturally without a little guidance.

Also, please keep in mind that if you are heading out in the backcountry there is a whole new set of things you need to think about compared to the resort. Route finding, Avalanches, keeping warm (no lodge to take a break in). A course like the one I mentioned above covers all these things, I'd also strongly recommend at least a level one avalanche course. At the very least go out with some knowledgeable at first and ask a lot of questions.

5 years ago I thought "hiking" for skiing was silly, that's why the resorts are there. This season I'm looking to spend about half my ski days earning my turns. I think it's tons of fun, hope you do to!
post #15 of 78
I'm not sure whether some comments here are directed at what I said, so I will clarify something: I bought Naxo AT bindings, put them on regular alpine skis (K2 Phat Luvs) and am using my regular alpine boots (Lange Comp 120). That is perfectly acceptable. However, you can purchase AT skis and AT boots if you wish to buy an entirely new lineup of gear. And yes, there is a gamut of gear to choose from, depending upon whether you are looking to do more touring than going downhill. You should consider the lightness of your gear if you are going to do extensive touring. For people who do most of their skiing inbounds but want the option of doing some OB, the setup I've chosen is ideal. If you're not going to do inbounds, ignore what I said.

post #16 of 78
Originally Posted by irul&ublo
"Randonee" is French for "can't tele".
Bwahahahahaha. urul
post #17 of 78

Shecky Irul

Originally Posted by ryan
he'd need some "humor" to sense.

OR, "jay leno just called. he advised to not quit your day job to start telling jokes."

Rul on a "Roll":


maybe i need a sense of humor to "get" your moronic crack about riding my girlfriend?
Thank you very much...you've been a wonderful audience. i'm here all week...don't forget to tip your waitress.
post #18 of 78
now that's funny.
post #19 of 78
BTW....I want my burger; w/ fries and beer as I recall.
post #20 of 78
Telemark is soulful. AT and Randonee has all the soul of wet kleenex
post #21 of 78
Originally Posted by icancruz
Telemark is soulful. AT and Randonee has all the soul of wet kleenex
yeah right. as I've heard said, and as I've repeated to others, I have a fine reply to my friends who tele and love this comment:

Tele Skier:
free the heel, free the mind...dude!

and my reply, which I stole from AltaSkier:

Fix the heel, fix the problem!

the only "soul" that tele skiing possesses is the soul of the lunge, and I prefer to do my lunges at the gym with a barbell on my back, a kidney belt supporting my lower back, and a spotter nearby in case I weaken. why someone would want to replicate that move and then complicate the matter by adding skis that are attached ONLY at the toe is beyond me.
post #22 of 78
Originally Posted by gonzostrike

why someone would want to replicate that move and then complicate the matter by adding skis that are attached ONLY at the toe is beyond me.
Perhaps for the same reason a dog licks his you-know-what?

Because he can.

I've often said, a really good tele skier making great telemark turns in deep untracked powder is one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed in skiing.

So, Gonz, I think it's important that we AT skiers take the high road on this debate. We always do on the hill, anyway, so why not take the same approach in this discussion.

I greatly admire people who can tele well in all conditions. Some of my best friends are great tele skiers (and, luckily, I don't have a daughter so I don't have to finish that sentence).

There are a few tele-er's who can ski any d*mn thing on any d*mn hill and put almost every alpine skier in the world to shame. Good for them. Wildly generalizing, however, it takes such innate athleticism and so many miles to get to that point that it never appealed to me (and I probably would never have had the skill anyway). There are, however, many conditions where the tele turn simply isn't very efficient, and in some conditions for many practicioners it might be downright unsafe.

To me, it's a little like watching someone dancing with a pig - you really do marvel at the wonder of the pig dancing, but some part of your brain has to wonder why.

Andrew McLean has compared tele and AT to flyfishing versus throwing hardware. If I'm out on a spring creek on a picture-perfect day and the bluewing olives are hatching and the trout are busy sipping, then a fly rod is a marvelous tool for the activity. If I'm going after sharks in a howling gale from a pitching boat in the middle of the ocean, however, using a fly rod is an exercise in stubborn adherence to a principle that really doesn't apply to the situation.

So, all you tele-er's... good on 'ya. It's an admirable pursuit you've chosen. Drop those knees.

post #23 of 78

dirt bag tele skier

AT stands for After Tele. I started to tele in 79. What was available in AT at that time was in Europe. Only a cult like group was tele skiing when I started. It would be kind of expensive to switch now, besides, I don't do a lot of back country.

Bob is right about the athleticism. It takes more than alpine or AT. After all these years I am not likely to switch and not all tele skiers smoke the funny stuff.

When on tele's I ski alpine turns about 80% of the time. Alpine turns on tele are superior to the tele turn in almost all conditions. They just don't look and feel as cool SO, it is the sole of tele that keeps me doing it.
post #24 of 78
Well you can't fall in multiple dimensions like one can on tele skis. An AT cartwheel isn't half as graceful as a tele spin of destruction

Try that on AT gear.

Seriously though, I cannot describe how amazing it feels to do a tele turn in deep powder. Skiing powder on my alpine gear feels so so plebian in comparison!
post #25 of 78
[quote=LeeLau]Well you can't fall in multiple dimensions like one can on tele skis. An AT cartwheel isn't half as graceful as a tele spin of destruction

Try that on AT gear.


Great photo, LeeLau!

That extended front ski does seem to set up a really impressive whiplash effect sometimes. Much more dynamic than the standard parallel turn double-heel-eject.

Well done.

post #26 of 78
If you can make it work on tele more power to ya. No question, someone charging on tele gear through the pow looks amazing. So does someone on Alpine and/or AT gear. No way my bumb knee would take it. And I'm more then happy to wait and laugh (sorry couldn't resist) at my tele friends as they stuggle down the slope in the breakable crust. Although, in all seriousness, the best skier who is willing to ski with me is as teleier and he charges faster and more gracefully then me through anything. The whole AT vs Tele thing seems so silly to me, it's like mint vs. regular dental floss, whatever ya like, more power to ya.
post #27 of 78
in all seriousness, I dig at the tele skiers for several reasons... all are in good spirits:

1) many of my skiing friends are tele skiers
2) many of Missoula's youngish folks, late 20s-mid 40s, who are interesting people and fun to hang around, are tele skiers
3) I know it takes more athleticism
4) I would take it up if I were 20 years younger OR did not have two ACL-recon knees that don't need and certainly wouldn't be happy with the extra strain tele turns put on the knee, but won't now
5) I think it looks dorky, even the good tele skiers
6) because it's fun, especially when teasing Missoula's super-uptight teleheads at Snowbowl, or any place else apres dorky turns
post #28 of 78
One reason to get into backcountry tele or at skiing is that you can ski all year around if you live near some good mountains (like the Pacific Northwest). I got some skins and alpine trekkers to use with my pocket rockets (kind of a heavy setup). Then I trekked up onto Mt. Rainier on a bluebird day with fresh powder. That was a lot of work and a lot of fun!

... and here is a nice little video of that bluebird day on Rainier 11-28-04: http://home.comcast.net/~jw-photogra...sta%20west.wmv In this video there are both Tele and AT skiers.

Here is a link to a site called Turns All Year: http://www.turns-all-year.com/index.html

Might as well throw in that there is a nifty item called a split snow board that can be used to skin uphill like a ski and then re-assembled for snowboarding downhill.

Another site with lots of BackCountry ski videos: http://www.alpineslider.com/chrono.htm

I still need to get some avy gear: Avy Beacon and Probe.
post #29 of 78
Originally Posted by Ruxpercnd
I still need to get some avy gear: Avy Beacon and Probe.
In most cases, these items (along with the appropriate training) should come long before the purchase of skins or even the question of whether randonee is better (or even different from) than tele. Folks around here detest "gapers in the backcountry" not only because they put themselves at danger, but because they put other skiers at danger as well.

And from 25 years experience at telemarking and alpine touring, I can find no "soul" differences between the two. And after 25 years, I can honestly admit there is a reason to tie that heel down. It's called control.

Remember, free the heal, plant the face.
post #30 of 78
Those that know, know. Tele is more soulful. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, because they don't get it. Once you nail some decent tele turns, you never look back.


P.S. the powder is always deeper w/ tele turns.
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