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New Tele Setup - Feedback wanted!

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi guys/gals.  Long time reader, first time poster.  


I have been an alpine skier for 20 years and have always loved the grace and beauty of the free-heel turn.  I always watched and said "one of these days."  Well, the day has come!  After many hours of researching and meeting with good folks around various resorts I've visited this winter, I bought my setup.  

Basically, I was looking for a setup that is ideal for backcountry, but not going to be useless on-piste.  I knew how important boots were and I bought some Garmont Ener-G boots.


Boots


 My foot is normal/slightly wider and from what I understand, these will provide a great mixture of comfort and performance with a heavier ski.  

The hardest decision for me was bindings.  There are so many different styles, and though I thought about checking out the NTN series, I went with the 22 Designs Hammerhead Binding.

Bindings
Again, I want to be able to power a ski that is a bit wider for those beautiful pow days, and the ability to adjust the tension in this binding helped seal the deal.  

For skis, I knew I didn't have to go with a "tele" ski, and there are so many to choose from, but I went with the K2 Backlash:

skis.jpg

I am 5'11" and 185 pounds, and selected the 174cm version with a Sidecut:129/92/115.   A little more about me, I usually ski at least 7 days a year but some years like this one, I'll put in at least 25.  Currently living in Kansas City, Mo, I don't consider that too bad. While in college, I taught alpine in Red River, NM and got my level one cert.  I blew out my right knee 2 days before my level 2 test.  Oh well.  Keep turnin!  
 
Next month, I'm going to Heavenly for a week and plan to take at least one lesson just to help fill any technical voids I haven't already read about.  I know there will be a bit of a learning curve, but what should I be expecting?  I normally ski trees/steeps and bumps and I would consider myself somewhere between a PSIA Level 8 or 9 skier.  

What do you guys think about my choice of equipment?  I would have loved to test some equipment, but I figure if I don't like this stuff, I'll tough it out until I can find something else that might suit my needs.  


Sorry for the long post, but thanks in advance for your feedback!





 
post #2 of 25
That's a nice set up - a very nice set up, well matched and balanced for the down hill.  The Backlash is a fun ski.  The Hammerhead may not be the easiest touring binding made, but it works.  Let us know how it goes for you.  
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
 Thanks Bob!   Until I can find a way to transfer to Denver, my touring will [unfortunately] be limited and thus, I was willing to deal with that downside of the Hammerhead.  I do want to get some skins and practice, but I want to make sure I can make turns first.  Am I doing this out of order?
post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhino512 View Post

...I do want to get some skins and practice, but I want to make sure I can make turns first.  Am I doing this out of order?

I don't think so.  IMO it's pretty hard to learn tele if you only skin for the turns.  Time spent skiing lift-served is fun* and it's good for your technique.  Win-win.  

* if you do it right.
post #5 of 25
 That's an awesome set-up!  I use the EnerG Boot and recently upgraded it with a set of Intuition liners.  I also use the Hammerhead Binding.  You can get a good deal on skins from climbingskinsdirect.com.  You might not need skins to do side country.  You can do most OB stuff in JH without them.  Don't forget the beacon, probe, shovel, partner, and training though.  Stay Safe and Have Fun.
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

You can get a good deal on skins from climbingskinsdirect.com.  

Now that you mention it, Black Diamond has skins on sale through this Wednesday:
http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/ski/skins

Good point about the beacon, probe, shovel, training and partner.  
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
 Thanks for all of the input.  I'll have to work on finding some partners when I can make it to the backcountry more often.  I want to be more prepared physically and skill wise to be able to hang.  I'm pretty excited about putting these things to work.  We have a small ski area here in Kansas City, so I'm planning on going out to make some turns on groomed terrain before I head back out west next month.  
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
 So, I went out yesterday and finally tried it out.  It was weird stepping on the snow for the first time in forever and lacking confidence.  I did meet one of the patrollers at the ski area and was surprised to hear he was a Freeheeler for 20+ years.  

He gave me a couple of pointers and off I went.  I can definitely turn right better than left, but as the night went on, I worked on my balance and was starting to gain some confidence in quick, short radius turns.  I like it thus far, and the turn is so much more interactive than alpine.  

My biggest problem is dropping the knee even lower.  I know it is a balance issue and it will come in time, but I don't feel that I'm kneeling near as much as I should be.  
post #9 of 25
 Most of us with a really low stance started w/leather boots don't worry about it it'll come when you're doing 40 mph down a groomer. It takes a while to learn to trust that back ski too, just as long as you are weighting it you are doing great.
Decent set-up.
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by teledance View Post

 Most of us with a really low stance started w/leather boots don't worry about it it'll come when you're doing 40 mph down a groomer. It takes a while to learn to trust that back ski too, just as long as you are weighting it you are doing great.
Decent set-up.


Thanks man.  I was definitely weighting only the downhill ski at first, and I even resorted to norpine turns when I felt really uncomfortable, but it became so much easier after I started trusting that back ski!!
post #11 of 25
Good for you...welcome to the tele world. 

I'm a New England skier for 30+ years always skied alpine.  College roomate was a major tele guy and we've have done 2-3 days backcountry a year off-and-on for the past 10 years.  I would rent either tele or touring gear for it.  He was always trying to convert me.

So, I turned 40 last year, needed new gear and, like you, decided to make the move.   So this year was my first full-time tele. Couldn't be happier....won't ever go back.

Similar to you I'm 5'11", 175 and level 8/9 skier.  I set up with BD Push boots (super comfortable), Hammerheads and K2 Backups.  I looked at the other K2 backside skis but figured the metal lam and narrower waist would be good combo for on and off piste.

The Backups are perfect....they ski groomers great, do well in crud/mash and handle powder surprisingly well.  I was in VT last week and we had a fresh dump of 22" and they were a dream in it.

Getting smooth at tele took work but I had a breakthrough after about 10 days on the snow.  Best advice I got was to "sit" on the back heel rather than "drop" back the knee.  Think of it as tucking the back ski under you.  Once I did this everything else fell into place...back ski started driving in turns, legs felt better, steeps and bumps got sooooo much easier and turns got much smoother.  

Now it's hard to remember that awkwardness from December.....the groove you get in once it all comes together is way worth the effort....and you feel like skiing everything in sight!!

So stick with it, the work will pay off and you will find heaven in the form of endless, linked freeheel turns.  You'll never stop smiling!
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
 Great post and thanks for the encouragement!  I like the thought of sitting on that heel rather than dropping the knee.  I may head out to the local mini-hill and give that a shot before I spend a week in Cali.

post #13 of 25
 I think most people use too much lead change which makes it hard to properly pressure the inside (back) ski.  You need to bend both knees to tele properly.  It's hard for most new telemarkers, especially experienced alpine skiers, to get enough pressure on the inside ski let alone over pressure it.
post #14 of 25
The trailing knee doesn't have to be extremely low. If fact, the lower it is, the less control you have of the inside/trailing ski. When your trailing knee is near the ski,  you are fully flexed; you loose the ability to flex more and absorb terrain.

The point about bending both knees is dead on. Your weight should be between the heel of the leading boot and the toe of the trailing ski. This way you will have weight on both skis and the inside ski will be able to edged and controlled. Big toe, little toe applies to tele as it does in alpine turns.

While the telemark turn is graceful, it is tiring as you utilize much more muscle for support and less skeletal support than in alpine skiing. It is quite acceptable to utilize alpine turns on tele gear. Some will poo-poo the idea. Make the turns that work for you and the terrain.

Consider knee pads, too. Your knees are more vulnerable when you tele.

Have fun!
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

The trailing knee doesn't have to be extremely low. If fact, the lower it is, the less control you have of the inside/trailing ski. When your trailing knee is near the ski,  you are fully flexed; you loose the ability to flex more and absorb terrain.

The point about bending both knees is dead on. Your weight should be between the heel of the leading boot and the toe of the trailing ski. This way you will have weight on both skis and the inside ski will be able to edged and controlled. Big toe, little toe applies to tele as it does in alpine turns.

While the telemark turn is graceful, it is tiring as you utilize much more muscle for support and less skeletal support than in alpine skiing. It is quite acceptable to utilize alpine turns on tele gear. Some will poo-poo the idea. Make the turns that work for you and the terrain.

Consider knee pads, too. Your knees are more vulnerable when you tele.

Have fun!


That's good to hear.  I feel like I was worried more about knee dropping at first than balance and edge control.  I should know better, but it's just so nice to be dropping the knee, I lost focus. 

Knee pads are a really good idea.  I have a custom CTI brace that is pretty sturdy for my (torn ACL) right knee, but I've been thinking about getting one for the other knee.  They're expensive, but if it can limit unwanted lateral movement of my good knee and help prevent another injury, I'm all for it. 
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

 I think most people use too much lead change which makes it hard to properly pressure the inside (back) ski.  You need to bend both knees to tele properly.  It's hard for most new telemarkers, especially experienced alpine skiers, to get enough pressure on the inside ski let alone over pressure it.
So cool to read about somebody else learning to tele.  I'm just learning, and the hardest part is pressuring the inside ski. 

So far, I love it and am planning to completely switch from alpine to tele.
post #17 of 25
 Inside (back) foot and pinky toe pressure if you think about it you'll soon feel it.
post #18 of 25
 So you are balancing on the ball of your foot at best, but with stiff modern (plastic) boots, more en pointe, not easy. Some drills, lifting the lead ski off the snow while in Telemark position.  Standing still, gliding on a flat area, on a traverse, in a turn. Carved Telemark Charleston is the final step in this progression.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post

 So you are balancing on the ball of your foot at best, but with stiff modern (plastic) boots, more en pointe, not easy. Some drills, lifting the lead ski off the snow while in Telemark position.  Standing still, gliding on a flat area, on a traverse, in a turn. Carved Telemark Charleston is the final step in this progression.
I've been lifting the leading ski a lot to test the pressure on my inside ski.  If I can't lift it easily, there's not enough pressure, I think.

What's the Carved Telemark Charleston?
post #20 of 25
 

Charleston is an old move similar to wedeln, except with the outside ski held up off the snow. Quick, rhythmic turns on the inside edge of the inside ski, looks just like the Charleston dance from the 1920's.

Good that you can lift the front ski off the snow. Actually at that point you have too much weight on the back ski, but it's a good way to develop your ability to balance on the rear foot. 

After you are comfortable lifting your lead ski off the snow in a straight run (probably best to try it standing still first, but I think you are passed that point), try lifting the outside ski while making Telemark turns. You actually want to lift the uphill ski while it is still the trailing ski and keep it in the air until the lead change is complete.

(The lead change should happen slowly, by the way, so when you're done changing leads, it's time to start turning back the other way. In other words, you should be always going into or coming out of the Telemark position, knees/ankles always flexing or extending.)

Speed up rhythm to make it a Charleston.

Like Wedeln, the Charleston is based on a skidded type turn. On modern skis we can add carving.
post #21 of 25
"Charleston is an old move similar to wedeln, except with the outside ski held up off the snow. Quick, rhythmic turns on the inside edge of the inside ski, looks just like the Charleston dance from the 1920's"

Shouldn't that be the outside edge of the inside ski?
post #22 of 25
 Yes, it should be. Little toe edge.
post #23 of 25
Ah, the lack of accuracy of the English language when applied to skiing. KB and telerod are both right, but if you think from the perspective of telerod's original post, the LTE of the inside ski is an outside edge, isn't it? If you were to say to your shop tech, the outside edge of the right ski, he'd chose the LTE of the ski marked R, wouldn't he?

BTW, wasn't the Charleston on skis known as Dipsy Doodle? Where is Art Furer when you need him?
post #24 of 25
 i liken a telemarking to walking down the mountain.

at least thats what it felt like i was doing when i demoed tele equipment for the first time
post #25 of 25
The Dipsy Doodle was a early powder skiing technique developed by Dick Durrance at Alta, The turn made controlled descents of steep narrow chutes possible in deep powder. Later refined by Alf and Sverre Engen, and perfected by Junior Bounous, it became the Double Dipsy.

The Dipsy Doodle was named after a popular song from the 1940s.
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