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Tele Advice

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm a long time skier, both alpine and x-country. (35+ years)

I'd like to try Tele skiing now. I have a few friends that have been doing it for years and love it. I'd like to start out slow, with reasonable gear (read: cheap) I can't justify spending much on "another" set of gear for skiing. If I like it, I'll move up to better equipment down the road.

Any advice on what type of equipment to look for? What to avoid? Where to find reasonable gear?

Any/all advice would be great!

Thanks!
post #2 of 26
Can you use your friends' old stuff? Cheap used alpine skis are easier to find than cheap used telemark skis and will work fine. Voilé CRB bindings are reasonably priced and support joint health. It may be hard to find cheap boots. Ask at Telemarktips.com to reach more telemarkers although a lot of people here at Epicski telemark.
post #3 of 26

tele

check for some used demos.

Also, be sure to pick up "Allen & Mike's Really Cool Telemark Tips" by Allen O'Bannon & Mike Clelland. While a book can't substitute putting in the turns, it's a really GREAT book that will definitely help. Small and great illustrations.

Just please don't get the "look at me...I'm a telemarker" attitude. We're all skiers!

Good luck!
post #4 of 26
The World-famous TelemarkTips TeleTurnAround forum:
http://www.telemarktalk.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=4

For boots look for something like a Garmont Ener-G or Syner-G or a Scarpa T1 or T2, depending on fit.

For a ski, something like a K2 World Piste or G3 Baron - with a 80mm-ish waist and moderately soft flex.

Most telebindings are fine. Anything by Rottefella, G3, or Hammerheads will be good.

Poke around http://www.telemarktips.com/ and http://www.telemarktalk.com/phpBB/. Here's a good place to start:
http://www.telemarktips.com/WhatsTele.html
post #5 of 26
what do the tele gurus here think of the k2 super stinx that've been on steepandcheap lately for $160 as a beginner tele ski?
post #6 of 26
It took 25 whole minutes for t15 to respond to a post about telemark skiing? Something must be amiss with the Interwebs.
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post
The World-famous TelemarkTips TeleTurnAround forum:
http://www.telemarktalk.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=4

For boots look for something like a Garmont Ener-G or Syner-G or a Scarpa T1 or T2, depending on fit.

For a ski, something like a K2 World Piste or G3 Baron - with a 80mm-ish waist and moderately soft flex.

Most telebindings are fine. Anything by Rottefella, G3, or Hammerheads will be good.

Poke around http://www.telemarktips.com/ and http://www.telemarktalk.com/phpBB/. Here's a good place to start:
http://www.telemarktips.com/WhatsTele.html

Good advice but I think a narrower ski might be easier to learn on and more fun for a beginner. My assumption being that he will learn the telemark turn on groomed terrain where a wide ski might impair his ability to tip the skis up on edge. If he's like me, he will grab the fixed heel gear for powder days or big mountain skiing until his telemarking is dialed in.

I'm a strong advocate of safety release bindings, specifically the Voilé models. Perhaps a beginner would be least likely to experience any disadvantage of using release bindings.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ts01 View Post
what do the tele gurus here think of the k2 super stinx that've been on steepandcheap lately for $160 as a beginner tele ski?
Not a guru, my skiing experience is very limited when it comes to equipment. I don't buy gear often and I rarely try other people's skis. I did buy a pair of the Super Stinx mostly because the price and the inserts, which allow me to mount my own bindings (saves more $). They look like they will be best on groomers and bumps. Probably an excellent choice for a beginner, unless he expects to be going off-piste. In powder, a fatter ski would help anyone, especially a beginner.
post #9 of 26
I have been skiing some older Super Stinx for several years. They are a very good hard snow carver, bump, and crud ski, but as Telerod mentions they are really too narrow for powder, which is why I have also have a pair of Workstinx for deeper days.

The Super Stinx used to be the standard for a good all-around ski but tele skis have gotten considerably wider the last 5 years, which now leaves them in the lower end of "mid-fats". I would consider it a great east coast ski, but if I only had one tele ski and lived out west I would probably want to go a little fatter. Also, Telerod's comment about it being easier to learn on a narrower ski is spot on regarding carving, but initially the balance is weird and it's way easier to feel comfortable and confident on fat skis. I wish I'd had fatties all those years I was taking a beating on narrow alpine boards mounted with tele bindings and using the old soft boots.
post #10 of 26
thanks for the super stinx info. sorry for hijack but maybe of interest to the original poster.
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
All good tips and advice. Thanks guys.

Don't worry about me developing the "tele" attitude. I don't ski to prove something, I do it because I enjoy it. But, I do know what you're talking about..

I'm going to give it a shot this year. Who knows? Maybe my old knees will actually be able to handle it.

What about the difference in tele bindings that "lock down the heel" and those that don't? I'm a patroller and think locking heels might not be a bad idea for running toboggans and such.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ts01 View Post
what do the tele gurus here think of the k2 super stinx that've been on steepandcheap lately for $160 as a beginner tele ski?
Fine as a beginner ski, most people want a wider ride pretty quickly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
Good advice but I think a narrower ski might be easier to learn on and more fun for a beginner. My assumption being that he will learn the telemark turn on groomed terrain where a wide ski might impair his ability to tip the skis up on edge.
Looks like he's a patroller and a pretty good skier already. My experience is that narrow skis are best for never-evers - someone with a good alpine background almost always wants wider skis sooner than later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
If he's like me, he will grab the fixed heel gear for powder days or big mountain skiing until his telemarking is dialed in.
Thanks for the opportunity to make my case that IMO the biggest obstacle to becoming a proficient tele skier is keeping your fixed heel gear for the challenging days. Tossing my fixed heel gear (over 20 years ago) was the best thing ever for my tele skiing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
I'm a strong advocate of safety release bindings, specifically the Voilé models. Perhaps a beginner would be least likely to experience any disadvantage of using release bindings.
I think release bindings for tele skiers are way over-rated - YMMV and all that. But I pretty much never see ripping tele skiers use them, and rarely see any serious tele skiers using them. The only exceptions would be maybe the 7tm and the new NTN. Plenty of discussion about this in Ttips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mnskibum View Post
What about the difference in tele bindings that "lock down the heel" and those that don't? I'm a patroller and think locking heels might not be a bad idea for running toboggans and such.
The difference is that the tele bindings that "lock down the heel" don't exist. There aren't any.

FWIW, I'm a patroller exclusively on tele gear and it's harder running toboggans with free heel gear, but it's totally do-able. There was a thread about this recently on Ttips:
http://www.telemarktalk.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=37684
post #13 of 26
I agree that very few hardcore tele skiers use release bindings, but I know more than one tele skier that has torn their knee up. My knees definitely don't release, so my tele bindings do. I am a big guy, tele ski pretty agressively in most conditions, and have had very few problems with my bindings releasing when I didn't think they should. OTOH, I am a former patrolman and if you are running sleds with a tele setup I think you probably would have prerelease problems, which is not something you want to deal with while strapped into a sled.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
Alpine skiing did not prevent me from becoming a proficient telemarker.
I didn't say it prevented, I said it was the biggest obstacle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
I don't think anyone should decide whether or not to use releasable bindings based on what you saw ripping and/or serious skiers using. YMMV.
For now let's overlook your getting personal with the "what you saw." That observation is just part of the premise that releasables are overrated - the validation, if you will. Note that I didn't say that they are wrong or useless or whatever.

Have you seen any studies (or anything like that) that show that releasable tele bindings are demonstrably effective at preventing injuries? I can get anecdotal about how the only thing I've experienced is that I've been glad when my tele bindings stayed on and I don't like the loss of performance with releasables, but the only studies I've seen have been on this site:
http://faculty.washington.edu/mtuggy/telepag1.htm

That site indicates that the current crop of releasable bindings don't do much to prevent the most common knee injuries, though the available data suggests that it might be a good idea. And that's why I say that releasables are overrated.

And mudfoot makes an interesting case above concerning working on tele bindings.
post #15 of 26
The truth is I began telemarking on Karhu GT, a xc ski with steel edges and Asolo Snowpine II boots, single boot, leather with laces. I'm glad I experienced the sport this way and it would be remiss for me not to recommend this approach to others.

If you're serious or want to rip, you should get modern gear, but if you want to experience the soul of telemark, maybe double camber and leather is the way to go.

Of course there was no way I could do my job of teaching skiing on that backcountry set-up and when I went on vacation in Jackson Hole, I was glad I hadn't thrown away my alpine stuff. The toughest run I attempted freeheel was one of the Expert Chutes, which I slid from top to bottom on my ass, having fallen close to the top and oblivious to the concept of self-arrest. Very hard to reset your edges when the skis are significantly narrower than the boots. After five years and an upgrade to japanese telemark racing skis and leather boots (plastic stiffeners inside, I believe) with laces AND buckles, I could teach alpine skiers up to level 8 and didn't ski alpine anymore. I continued to use my alpine ski boots for snowboarding, but when they wore out I got Burton hard boots for that. By that time, I was using 4 buckle plastic ski boots, alpine skis and release bindings. I had regressed to something so close to alpine that a fixed heel set-up would have been redundant. I've never skied anything as extreme as the runs at JH that ended up being my alpine swan song.

I don't know how long it will take you to be able to patrol freeheel. Learning on modern gear will make the process a lot faster. I thought you were thinking about starting slowly on cheap gear and upgrading to performance equipment when you are ready for it. This makes sense to me and I stand by my recommendation of narrow skis unless you are in Colorado. I was guessing you are in Minnesota. I don't know how much powder your hill gets.

Bob Lee, I deleted that post before your response appeared because I felt it was a defensive reaction and added nothing to the discussion. I'm glad you feel validation for your choice. Voilé bindings release in every possible direction making them safer than any binding fixed or free since Cubco. I do not experience any loss of performance with them, in fact the CRB three pin Hardwire is considered to be an active design and is very popular among posters at Telemarktips.com. I'm hoping mnskibum will not be hauling a sled until he has dialed in his skiing and his bindings. I don't experience pre-release. When I said a beginner might be less concerned with the possible disadvantages of release bindings, I purposely did not add that I believe there are no significant disadvantages to safety release binding for any skier.
post #16 of 26
i agree with T-rod15 going with the old soul gear really works for solid technique. I still go out the first day in my old supercomps, nothing like leather to get your balance centered, and backcountry powder is more of a blast. However for learning I always tell people to get some cheap skis from a swap usually alpiine skis, most tele skiiers have some extra old bindings and or skis they will give up or loan for someone to learn on and then just rent some plastic boots, until you decide if you really want to tele.
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mnskibum View Post
I'm a patroller and think locking heels might not be a bad idea for running toboggans and such.

There are a lot of patrollers at Mt Bachelor in Tele boots. They all do fine with toboggans, and the boots are easier for walking around in. Have not seen as much of it in Canada, but the few there are have no problems. Many use AT boots for the ease in walking and unlockable hinge.
post #18 of 26
Just to clarify, I was suggeting that running sleds with releaseable tele skis is a bad idea. There are many patrolman that do it in regular tele bindings, but you are putting sideways forces on the binding that it was not designed for, which are probably handled better by alpine bindings.
post #19 of 26
Alpine bindings don't release sideways?
post #20 of 26
I found they do. I was doing a good sideslip, not snowplowing, just the way they insisted in toboggan school when I sideslipped over a stubble of brush. Clicked out of both bindings and ended up hanging from the sled handles with both skis stuck under the toboggan. Sort of disconcerting for the kid on board with the broken collarbone.

Now if I don't sideslip until I have the speed to set a good edge.

I guess with non releasable tele bindings I'd have had my legs under the thing too. I've seen it happen.

(Disclaimer: I have not said where and when this happened. I have not had, nor have I seen, a patient injured in transport)
post #21 of 26
Great! Have fun learning to tele. Use an old or cheap pair of alpine skis. Get good boots that fit. My foot fits Garmont the best, but I think scarpas are also good but not for me. There is no tele binding that I know of that locks the heel down. Those are probably AT bindings and won't work for tele. I don't like releasable bindings, I don't know any really strong tele skiers around here who have used them in the last 10 years or so. There is a safety issue in avalanches with tele gear because of this, don't use leashes in the backcountry. I ski a lot at JH and on steeps you will want a ski wide enough that there is no binding overhang which causes washout. Beyond that its personal preference. I like mid fats and don't have any thing wider than 99mm underfoot. I am a ski patroller and started out working on tele gear. It can be done quite well, but I now prefer to work in alpine gear as I generally have to take my skis on and off a lot during a shift and don't like messing with the leashes. Also I like having a brake on my work skis so that I can focus on working wrecks with out worrying about my skis taking off. My first tele setup in 1989 was a pair of old(even then) Olin MK3 with the original Rainey binding which used surgical tubing to hold you heel in. My point is that you can learn on almost anything if you have desire and fun is the most important aspect to all skiing. Come out to the Tetons this winter and I will be happy to show you around. Good Luck, Be Safe, Have Fun
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post
I don't like releasable bindings, I don't know any really strong tele skiers around here who have used them in the last 10 years or so. There is a safety issue in avalanches with tele gear because of this, don't use leashes in the backcountry.
This is a safety issue in the frontcountry too. The hills are alive with the sound of ligaments popping. ACL rupture is a very common injury among skiers.

My Voilé CRBs have brakes, not leashes, which addresses the reasons you give for not patrolling freeheel. I know there are valid reasons to choose a non-releasable binding, but the fact that the strong skiers around you are using them shouldn't be one of them. I think the reasons for using releasable bindings fixed-heel or free greatly outweigh the reasons not to.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post
Great! ... I don't like releasable bindings, I don't know any really strong tele skiers around here who have used them in the last 10 years or so. There is a safety issue in avalanches with tele gear because of this, don't use leashes in the backcountry. I ski a lot at JH and on steeps you will want a ski wide enough that there is no binding overhang which causes washout. Beyond that its personal preference. I like mid fats and don't have any thing wider than 99mm underfoot. I am a ski patroller and started out working on tele gear. It can be done quite well, but I now prefer to work in alpine gear as I generally have to take my skis on and off a lot during a shift and don't like messing with the leashes. Also I like having a brake on my work skis so that I can focus on working wrecks with out worrying about my skis taking off. ...
<thread drift>The new NTN binding system by Rottefella may change all this - releasable (allegedly), step-in (more or less), and brakes. I'm getting a set and will probably try patrolling in them once there's enough snow that I can put the rockers away. I'll put up a report after some testing. </thread drift>
post #24 of 26
The video from Rottefella showing the NTN binding as the boot heel is lifted showed very little flex at boot bellows. The boot goes up on it's toes, like an AT binding in tour mode. That gave me a very bad impression. I need the ball of my foot to stay down on the ski. It is not marketed as a release binding. I do not think it will release with any consistency. Is there an adjustment for skier weight and ability level?

I have not heard one negative comment from anyone who has used NTN, so maybe it's great, but I'm not at all interested in this system at this point and fear it might replace the duckbill boots and three pin bindings that I have enjoyed so much.
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
The video from Rottefella showing the NTN binding as the boot heel is lifted showed very little flex at boot bellows. The boot goes up on it's toes, like an AT binding in tour mode. That gave me a very bad impression. I need the ball of my foot to stay down on the ski.
Actually, I'm willing to bet a case of virtual beer that, unless you ski leather, the ball of your rear foot doesn't really stay on the ski - it just feels like it does. Go check it out and get back to us. What you're talking about is actually the ability to pressure the rear ski. At least a couple of the people that have skied it (in a pre-production model) didn't seem to have any problem pressuring the rear ski. I'm interested enough to give it a shot. Based on my shop test the Scarpa Terminator X is very stiff at the bellows when new, it's likely to soften up but it could possibly be an issue. The Terminator X feels a lot like my Bumblebee T1s in the shop, but with a better liner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
It is not marketed as a release binding. I do not think it will release with any consistency. Is there an adjustment for skier weight and ability level?
Um, actually the Rottefella web site says:
Quote:
NTN offers a unique sideways release mechanism placed in the center under the foot.

Release:
The sideways release system of the NTN binding is not certified according to the ISO standard. The release values will depend on the choice of the compression springs and the tightening of the cable. Though the release mechanism may help to reduce injuries in a bad fall, Rottefella does not guarantee any certain release or retention value. Approximate release values are indicated in the tech. manual.
There is an adjustment, though Rottefella uses weight as a guide for adjustment and doesn't address ability at all. I mounted a pair on a new pair of M-Rocks the other day - it looks like it should release well and I can't wait to ski them. Personally, releasability isn't a deal-killer for me. I've been skiing G3 Targas w/o release for years. But I think this looks promising.

Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
I have not heard one negative comment from anyone who has used NTN, so maybe it's great, but I'm not at all interested in this system at this point and fear it might replace the duckbill boots and three pin bindings that I have enjoyed so much.
If the NTN isn't good enough to replace the 75mm duckbill, then I highly doubt that it will. If I like the NTN system enough, I'll be glad to sell you my old duckbill setups, which I have enjoyed so very, very much. What size do you wear?

It's funny because I'm not typically an early adapter for new tech, but in this case I'm willing to be a crash-test dummy.
post #26 of 26
Bob, Thanks for replying to my concerns about NTN.

I just tried on one of my Squadras and put it in a Voilé 3 pin w/ Hardwire binding. Yes, the ball of my boot came off the ski, but the sole in front of the ball of foot stayed down on the ski.

The only binding I've used without a 3 pin clamp was another Voilé Hardwire CRB and I noticed that the front of the foot did go up tippy toe more than with the 3 pin. And I will admit it did not affect performance as far as I can tell. So you are correct about the ball coming up with my set up, but I believe it stays down more than what I observed in the little video clip of NTN. And you are probably correct that it should not be a big concern. What matters is how it performs on the snow and by all accounts NTN performs great.

My Squatters are stiffer than what I really wanted, but they were on sale. The bellows did soften with use though, so yours should too.

I like the fact that Voilé CRB releases up at the toe which might help in rearward twisting falls that can cause a torn ACL. Do you think NTN will pop off in such a fall? I like what I've learned about NTN from your post. I still think those grapes MIGHT be sour, but I'm probably wrong.

I'll accept used size 28.5 duckbill boots in good condition for the price of shipping if you decide you no longer want them. I don't buy or sell to Epicskiers. Among the gear I've given away to other Epicskiers are two pairs of telemark boot shells, one pair was brand new. I also gave away a snowboard with bindings and I received free skis from another member of our community. SELL me your old, unwanted boots? Come on Bob, feel the love!

Enjoy your new gear!
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