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should i learn to snowboard or telemark? - Page 2

post #31 of 43
Powdr, I have Silvretta 500 LSV w/T2Xs. The bale will accept any boot and hasn't busted yet after 4 years of abuse in all kinds of conditions and terrain. I put a riser block in front of the toe as an experiment so the duckbill would pressure the ski for pseudo tele turns and to minimize the door hinge-emarking. I actually could tele in bumps and powder pretty OK, but nothing like flexing the boot and pressuring the ball of the the foot on the trailing ski. It produced some substantial upward pressure on the bale. This image is from Backcountry.com. If you click on the icon at the bottom of EpicSki pages to make purchases, it supports EpicSki:

post #32 of 43
I don't understand why you are not considering using AT gear. Telemark ski equipment has been called "misery sticks" for good reason. Snowboarding requires that you learn how to slide downhill with your body in a totally different orientation to the slope, shoulder leading rather than shoulders square. If you want to skin and get into the backcountry, AT is the way to go.

But if you just want to learn something new I'd choose snowboarding, because it's more useful when the snow is wet and heavy, and more surfy when deep.
post #33 of 43
I've done a full circle now. I started alpine skiing, skiied for many years.

Probably about 15 years ago a borrowed an old Nidecker snowboard and hard plastic boots and played with that for a season. Back then there were very few snowboards out there.

Then it was back to alpine for a few more years.

Then came the monoskis. I spent probably 4 or 5 seasons monoskiing (they are a blast in the pow)

Then I took up telemark. I've tele'd now for 9 years I guess.

I just bought a set of Volkl AC4's and haven't skiied them yet. So here I am back where I started.

It's all good, but I gotta say I enjoy telemark more than anything else.
post #34 of 43
Thread Starter 
OK thanks everyone for the advices. I have some followup questions:
1. AT boots--what's the deal. Do i really need a whole new set of boots to do this type of skiing? It sounds fun but that's pricey. Can I use my regular alpine boots and give it a try with them, even if its less than optimal?
2. Do i need lessons or something for AT gear? I've never skinned, have no XC background, nothing.
3. Can I rent AT gear? Anyone know somewhere in Tahoe I could do this?

Thanks again, great to hear from everyone
post #35 of 43
First, AT skiing is like alpine with worse equipment. Also, if you are backcountry, you will have sometiems much worse snow conditions. The things to learn in AT are some basic avalanche skills, routefinding and wilderness skills. The cost of mistakes can be much much worse in the backcountry so be careful out there.

Skinning is easy to learn, just hard work.

Oh and about those telemarkers who look down on others. They are cheating if they have plastic boots and edges...hehe
post #36 of 43
AT? Hahaha, so much for learning a new way to ride. Fixed heel skiing is fun, enjoy.
post #37 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by alkupe View Post
OK thanks everyone for the advices. I have some followup questions:
1. AT boots--what's the deal. Do i really need a whole new set of boots to do this type of skiing? It sounds fun but that's pricey. Can I use my regular alpine boots and give it a try with them, even if its less than optimal?
2. Do i need lessons or something for AT gear? I've never skinned, have no XC background, nothing.
3. Can I rent AT gear? Anyone know somewhere in Tahoe I could do this?
AT is quite a leap from learning tele or snowboarding at as an area.

1. Someone else may know better that the 'rule of thumb' is that a pound on your feet is like a 6 pounds in your pack. Not only are AT boots lighter, but also have lugged soles and a hinge lock for the cuff. Lighter is better for the climb with some to no performance trade-offs for many. There is a whole range of options and choices for gear. I'm not entirely sure that aside from Dynafit bindings, alpine boots are generally compatible with the majority of the AT binding options. Conversely, there are only 3 or so AT boots that are alpine binding DIN compatible due to the lugged sole.
2. It's not the gear you need to lessons about it's about the inherent risks and real dangers and it's a whole different mindset and mode of operation. Consider guides, avi classes and improving your skiing skills in variable and less than optimal conditions.
3. I'd recommend renting the gear and giving it a try at an area. Here's an edited quote from an individual at Couloir (excellent magazine and online forum/resource):
Quote:
I love to spend my hard earned dough at The Backcountry in Truckee and Tahoe City. They're rarely the cheapest but I always leave there with confidence that I've made the right decision/purchase for me. Their employees actually use the gear they sell and they're fairly patient with dumb questions.The best I've found in the Tahoe/Reno area.
They also have rental gear and credits toward purchase when you rent.
Wildsnow backcountry blog is also a great online, BC resource.

I'm sure Cirquerider has good insights relative to Tahoe and AT.

HTH
post #38 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by alkupe View Post
OK thanks everyone for the advices. I have some followup questions:
1. AT boots--what's the deal. Do i really need a whole new set of boots to do this type of skiing? It sounds fun but that's pricey. Can I use my regular alpine boots and give it a try with them, even if its less than optimal?
YEs, you can use alpine boots with most AT bindings. A whole range of options in AT boots. Do you want lighter or stiffer? If you stick with alpine boots, remember that AT bindings are lighter and more minimalist. For what you're describing a Naxo nx21 would be a great binding, or a nx11.

Quote:
2. Do i need lessons or something for AT gear? I've never skinned, have no XC background, nothing.
As said above. Take some avy safety workshop, and go out with experienced friends. If you are new to an area, a shop selling BC stuff, or the place that teaches avy safety might be able to put you in touch with someone who will take out a first-timer. This cannot be emphasized enough. Take a class; never go alone.
[/quote]


Quote:
3. Can I rent AT gear? Anyone know somewhere in Tahoe I could do this?
Yeah, you can rent it. Rent it with the goal of trying it at a ski area first. Then you might not need to rent a shovel, probe, and beacon.


AT skiing ("rando" in Europe) has come such a long way in terms of gear, bindings especially. For a skilled skier, this is a great way to expand your on-snow experience. Have fun with it.
post #39 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by screwedonedges View Post
First, AT skiing is like alpine with worse equipment.
AT gear *used* to be inferior to Alpine gear. Not so anymore. With perhaps the only exception being that that bindings aren't as burly as Alpine stuff (if you are hucking cliffs, maybe you should use Alpine gear).

Quote:
Originally Posted by screwedonedges View Post
Also, if you are backcountry, you will have sometiems much worse snow conditions.
Yes, but more often than not (at least in the Wasatch) the BC conditions are far better than in bounds. That's the point.

Powdr
post #40 of 43

How appropo is this video for this thread?

This is a crack up and touches on everything in this thread. I can relate:

The Dark Side

(Note rough language and large download, 50MB).

Also, new this year are free pivot tele bindings and there is rumblings regarding new nordic tele norm.
post #41 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr View Post
AT gear *used* to be inferior to Alpine gear. Not so anymore. With perhaps the only exception being that that bindings aren't as burly as Alpine stuff (if you are hucking cliffs, maybe you should use Alpine gear).


Yes, but more often than not (at least in the Wasatch) the BC conditions are far better than in bounds. That's the point.

Powdr
Powdr, I am an ex racer, ex racing coach. AT gear does not give the same result as my alpine race gear. I do agree that it is outstanding stuff, but it definitely is not as good as full on alpine gear at speed, on ice, and in bad conditions. But thats not the point of AT gear is it? If it were as good Bode might be racing on AT gear, no?

Face it. Utah skiers are spoiled. I ought to know. I lived 9 miles from the Bird form 1972 to 1989. I used to ski the backcountry on lousy XC gear. I do agree that is the point of AT gear to hit the good stuff. For the last 10 years I have lived in the PNW and the backcountry is not near as forgiveable as it is in Utah. Anyone asking about what gear probably has not experienced sastruggi, breakable crust and those other wonderful things that a grooming machine takes care of.
post #42 of 43
Screwedonedges,

No one is comparing AT gear to race (stock) gear. Apples and oranges.

The current generation of AT gear is certainly on par with most alpine freeride gear in performance, and exceeds it in other functions (e.g. lightness for skinning). AT gear will always be a design compromise: the consumer chooses which compromise suits his/her needs (whether more "A" or "T"). But, given the level of performance of AT skis/boots/bindings these days, I'm not surprised to see more and more skiers in AT boots and bindings on alpine boards. For the 70/30 on-/off-piste skier, it's a perfect set up.

FWIW, I'm an ex-racer, too. I'd never take my race stock Fischer GS boards on an AT trip, nor would I try to run gates on my AT skis. That would be like taking Schumi's Ferrari to Dakar or trying to win Monaco in a rally car.
post #43 of 43

It's all relative

Good points on making a distinction between racing and alpine specific versus AT gear and on-piste gear versus off-piste, where you ski or board, the conditions of the day or in general. Also, what a person is into and also simple timing.

In my case I prefer soft snow and if it's breakable crust off-piste or bullet proof on-piste, I'll tend to tour or skate ski instead rather than go at all costs or simply make do just fine with what I have and mix it up with tele or alpine turns. The other day before our latest storm on hardpack and working on carving, I kept wondering if I ought to pony up and get a high performance alpine rig, but I don't see it changing the fun factor substantially and am fine with the versatility of my set up. I do intend to demo some this winter just for grins and check it out as it has been a while. It's all good as far as I'm concerned.

FWLIW but having said that, I ran into an alpine racing coach bud the other day, who I skied fast with last day, last season at Telluride on sweet corn down a steep groomed run right with him. He was lamenting to another bud, that I was right there with him on my 'fricking' wimpy bindings, tele boots and skinny skis! : If it was bullet proof I would have been scared to death at the same speed, without absolute control and he would have been waiting or me at the bottom, giving me grief.

Interestingly, coupled with tele bashing (like the above video), there is a current discussion on the Couloir Forum, where rugged touring skis are being considered 'wimpy' versus 'bomber' backcountry AT/Tele skis for turning. By comparsion, I guess that would make alpine race skis something like a Hummer compared to a Subaru. :
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