Telemark, Technique and history

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by telenomore, Aug 26, 2018.

  1. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us

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    Be warned this is a long read and has been prompted by a discussion over on the Meidjo thread but I think this topic needs its own thread and discussion. I encourage you to share your story. We’d all benefit from others contributing and discussing their experiences in this space. Tele kit, history and technique.

    IMO the elephants in the room discussing Tele bindings are these: 1. Technology Vs technique and 2. subjectivity Vs objectivity. A look at the history of the development also sheds light on what the current situation is.

    I’ll start with my story, the subjective. I started cross country skiing in the early 70’s. I went on to work as Nordic/Telemark instructor and guide in OZ and Japan for many years (still in Japan). Back when I started, telemarking was the goal for tourers. It became popular in the states in the 70’s and 80’ and that trend of course made its way to Australia. Keep in mind AT was virtually unheard of in Australia and “backcountry” was a farming term for the paddock out the back.

    Kit in the 70’s was Alpha cross country skiing boots, rat trap bindings and long narrow double camber touring skis. Skis were 40-60 mm underfoot, with very little sidecut, such as the Fisher Europa 99 . We learnt to tele, or so we thought. Those alpha boots were soft like your favourite fireside slippers.

    Sometime in the very early 80’s. Trak made a stiff soled touring/tele boot. Somewhere in there some genius came up with heel locators. Voile came out with a release binding as knee injuries became more common. Wow, now we could really telemark, easier to learn for beginners.

    Again in the 80’s, vibram soled boots, from Asolo dominated, stronger uppers, slightly wider skis, such as Fisher Expeditions, the Rottefella Super Tele binding amongst others. Wow, now we could really telemark, easier to learn for beginners.

    Problems developed though. The pins got ripped due to the stronger pressures from an inflexible boot sole and wider skis, so metal pin plates were attached to protect the essential pin holes at the base of the duck bill. And heel locators, they went out as soon as the stiff soles came in and good riddance. A friend did a severe injury when he dropped into a tele position on the bumps, and as he did he jammed the gristle behind his knee cap into the two prongs of the heel locator!

    Late 80’s into early 90’s. Plastic fantastic boot revolution, preceeded by plastic uppers and leather lowers, with… buckles and power straps replacing shoe laces More single camber touring skis. Tele became a resort thing and not just a touring skill. Cable bindings with stronger toe retention metalwork helped reduce damage to the pin holes. Wow, now we could really telemark, easier to learn for beginners.

    The 75mm cable/rat trap combination still exists and evolved through many iterations. Boots became stiffer, higher up the ankle, 4 buckles not 2. Bellows became stiffer. Suddenly cheaper old resort skis were being used for telemarking in preference to expensive specialty tele skis. Wow, now we could really telemark, easier to learn for beginners.

    And now, all manner of strong stiff bindings, which give even greater control and most importantly, speed up the learning curve, some matched to specialty boots. 22 Designs, NTN, Meijdo etc. Wow, NOW we can really telemark, easier to learn for beginners.

    These developments have been great and have always progressed the sport. I’ve always moved on when I have seen the advantages for me (totally subjective.)

    But now, there are no advantages in this technology for many skiers like me, if you can already parrallel and telemark on 75mm equipment. I ride a pretty darn good road bike and would love to have the budget for disc brakes and D12. A pleasure to ride on no doubt, but I don’t need it. I ride a 26 inch MTB (love my Ellesworth Truth still) and haven’t gone over to a 29er, or whatever wheel size is current. Maybe I will try it some time. I don’t always update my car even though it may have some advantages over the one I drive.

    I really don’t get the hate for 75mm binders and I know it is misplaced. Hence the long outline here to give it some balance. I sometimes skied 9-10 weeks straight in Hokkaido, every day guiding, on telemark skis with Cobra Rottefella cables, resort and backcountry, on wide powder skis, day after day. I never once had a binding break down. My only issue was weak top decks on some skis where the binder pulled out cranking at a resort. Up until about 5 years ago, all our BC customers in Japan were on tele gear 75mm cables mostly. The only real problem was plastic heel cable locks would sometimes break, so I carried various spares for that and a range of cables for some of the popular brands in my day pack. All field serviceable. I did see some Cobra's metalwork break but it never happened to me while skiing.

    Back when I was actively instructing in Australia we did annual refreshers to maintain accreditation. We often would spend a whole day on the resort, on light weight XC racing skis, telemarking and paralleling. I highly recommend to anyone telemarking or learning, that you try this. Take yourself out of your comfort zone as this is a great way to not only really hone your technique but to also really understand the essentials. This is technique over technology at its purest.

    I had the best ski job in the world IMO in OZ from 2006 to 2014. I had a 10 week contract to work on an ecological project run by the parks. I was paid to backcountry ski. Some days on some of my routes, for speed, I used BCNNN. Most days though I used Rottefella Cobra and BD01 telemark bindings on Karhu Guides or Rossi BC125. Never one issue or breakage with the bindings. That alone was 10 weeks skiing at least 5 days a week over long distances in the backcountry in all snow and weather conditions for 9 years.

    Back in the early 90’s, there was an interski held in Japan and I was honoured to have some of the Aussie Nordic reps come up to Hokkaido and have a ski with me. One was the greatest telemark skier of his generation (some would say all time) Peter Mack. It was a pleasure to have telemarked with him. He skied with perfect balance, rhythm and symmetry. He skied fast and probably still does. He used, leather boots even after the clear domination of plastic boots in the tele world. I asked him why. He said he prefers simple things, he likes the feel of leather and he didn't have any trouble telemarking on that kit, leather boots and 75mm binders.

    Finally, I’ve ordered some Meidjo for my shop in Japan for travelling telemarkers to try. I’m not a luddite. I can see the advantages for many and particularly with the domination of tech boots and bindings in the AT world, this seems a good development. Technology can help speed up your learning curve and that is good, and, again subjective. One thing I really do agree with @Telemark Phat about is this. Step in. It’s a great advantage, particularly if you are in and out of gondolas on the resort. I see that as a great advantage for Meidjo etc.
     
  2. piolet

    piolet Found anything yet?
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    Part time tele punter, I've got 75mm so that's what I'll stick to for now.
    I'd like to lose the duckbill for bootpacking and crampon fit.
    Otherwise I'm happy
     
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  3. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
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    Good summary telenomore, thats how I remember it. On reflection quite a progression. while giving them a go right now, I’m not convinced about the whole tech thing although a light/ flexy tech boot like an excursion would seem to be a no brainer. I still reckon Tele has a great future as it’s so much more versatile for touring than AT gear not to mention the seemingly incredibly heavy and cumbersome split boards set ups i’ve seen.
     
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  4. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us

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    I have used crampons on duck bill tele boots @piolet but it wasn't perfect, I used Asolo Summit double leather boots on Mt Mckinley with crampons. It wasn't perfect but worked fine. Wouldn't want to do any front pointing though. I did use non articulated crampons but that in hind site was a mistake. I should have used articulated crampons. My theory then was the non articulated Crampons (Foot Fangs from memory) would give my boot greater rigidity but it wasn't really necessary in that terrain and all it really did was put a permanent bend in the back bone of the crampons!
     
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  5. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us

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    Agreed. Most particularly when traversing. When you are used to stretching out on a traverse in your tele gear, and forget you are using AT Tech bindings. Back to baby steps. Very frustrating.
     
  6. GS

    GS A Local
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    Didn't Tim McCartney Snape climb Everest in his leather 75mm ski boots after losing his climbing boots?
     
  7. Ziggy

    Ziggy Renormed
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    Yes indeed.
    The duckbill can double as a portable step, in some snow conditions of course :cool:. Not so hot on steep dirt approaches.
     
  8. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us

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    Black Diamond are no longer supporting 75mm. I am hoping other companies do not follow this lead. I was also told recently that Japan loves Targa G3 and is buying up stocks.
     
  9. Ziggy

    Ziggy Renormed
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    Prob should give an honourable mention to Rottie and the 7TM for the 75mm binding with all the fruit salad - release of a sort, pivot mode, step in and an active version.

    And to 22 Designs for adjustable activity levels.
     
  10. piolet

    piolet Found anything yet?
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    Dunno
    But I'm a punter
     
  11. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us

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    Yes he did, 75mm leather tele boots after he lost his climbing boots and other items in an avalanche.
     
  12. buckwheat

    buckwheat Hard Yards

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    Great summary telenomore!
    I never thought 75mm sucked, but wore through my bellows and boots needed replacing. Thought I'd give NTN a crack, and was blown away by the superior edge control on firm snow. That, plus some crappy experiences trying to crampon with 75mm up a steep slope, makes me prefer NTN. That said, i too still ride 26" and have as much fun as i alwsys have!
     
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  13. Majikthise

    Majikthise Sage
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    First started on the ski trails and then touring an turning on track skis with those salomon toe bars on fischer crystal crowns. The innaporopriate places i took things is a very long list. Then it was chinoud rat traps with asolo boots on E99s.
    From there it went to some other leather plastic cuff boot with BD eclipses and stefanised Morottos with rotte or G3 cables.
    For the last 10 or so years i have been hiring for the rare occassions i have got down. The Morottos even if they are long , still get the odd day out.
     
  14. dossa5

    dossa5 One of Us
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    Had many a day on the hill with Pete Mack talking exactly that.
    Many a day in woolies urging him past his brocken Garas and where to now.
    Back to leathers for him. lost in his time warp. But can still turn with the best.
     
  15. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us

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    I did few seasons on the Morotto Tele steps. Great single camber ski for OZ BC.
     
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  16. legend

    legend One of Us

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    I started xc skiing in '73. Started on alpha boots, kandaha cable bindings and waxing Splitkein touring skis (with lignostone (compressed wood) edges. These had to be tarred a couple of times a year to keep the base waterproof and to hold the wax. About 3-4 of years I later graduated to Fisher 77 skis with rat trap bindings - aluminium edges, plastic base, wood core. They were a beautiful ski - fast and able to hold an edge on fast ice. I learnt to parallel on them - tele was rarely seen until the late '70s. However, the top layer kept delaminating on me, they couldn't withstand the extreme force I was putting on them when completing high speed parallels and cornice jumping (the Kosci cornice was amazing).
    About the same time, Roger H. in my club wanted good boots and started to import heavy leather boots from the states. This made a radical difference to our skiing (Fritz Schumberg started importing Track boots from Sweden? in the '80s. He also began importing the Fisher Expeditions, and used a router to turn them into waxless skis)
    The skis were replaced quite regularly (twice a season) under guarantee (bought at Nordic Ski and backpacking). Later, the 77s were replaced with 99s (basically the same ski but different paint) In the early '90s I went across to my first waxless ski (Morotto Tele steps). They were quite good, an easy ski but much slower than the waxed skis.
    My last skis were a beautiful Atomic XCD. A lot shorter but wider with very good side-cut. I also went across to the Garmont plastic touring boot with Voile 3 pin plus cable bindings.
    Unfortunately, my last real skiing was in 2009. A car crash with a broken neck has stopped me from skiing. But fortunately after a lot of rehab and physio I am still carrying a (much lighter) pack and still able to do multi day bushwalking trips and the odd snowshoeing too.
     
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  17. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us

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    Thanks for the history. Great to fill more gaps. I had a set of Fisher Expeditions, around 1983/4. Used them with skins though, the early type that were tied on front and rear of the binding. Good too hear you are still out there @legend .
     
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  18. Moondog55

    Moondog55 One of Us

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    From a history perspective why has Telemark never been an Olympic style with dedicated events?
     
  19. PK Sawd

    PK Sawd Part of the Furniture
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    Really enjoyed the history and some nostalgia there Telenorm. I started a bit like Majik with a set of Fischer track skis, double cambered with a pattern base and Fairy godmother slippers to drive them. I pissed about on Stanley Bowl at Stirling and various Vic resorts after season closing a few times and then a mate bought some E99's with a reasonable leather boot and the envy set in. I got Morotto Tele Steps and they were an enduring and eminently functional ski for most Oz conditions. Until, that is, I got pissed off with the poor performance of the pattern and attempted to remove it with a metal scraper and then recanted halfway through. After that I decided to get an artist friend to paint hippy flowers on them and consigned them to the wall.

    Then it was 1st gen Scarpa T2s and Tua skis. The skis kept losing their camber at the tips because I had a burgeoning bump fetish and Tele skis in the mid 90s still weren't quite engineered for such shenanigans. Tua stopped replacing them under warranty. My next foray was onto a Tele ski made by K2, with a good pedigree. Ski performance was improving all the time. That was mid to late 90s. And then I decided resort Teleing needed a resort ski so I whacked a Skyhoy on a heavy set of K2 ModXs. I picked up some 2nd hand T1s (remember Jodeski?) and toured and resort teled on those for three seasons. They were stable, excellent in crud and awesome for fast cruising on backcountry bowls. But boy were they heavy.

    Next I demoed a pair of Atomic TM22 skis courtesy of Bruce Easton up at Telefest one year and found to my delight that they were much lighter and more nimble and yet were engineered to have terrific torsional rigidity. It was much less tiring and they are great fun. Sometimes I feel like it would be nice to have a bit more "oomph" underfoot but they really do a great job across a great range of conditions. Materials tech and design have really come together for great function.

    I feel no great need to change setup but if and when my 12-20 year old gear finally clags I am sure I would be heading in the NTN direction. Happy to lose the duckbill for stair kicking and walking approaches. I had step in with the SkyHoy, and it worked very well for me so I guess I was lucky. I'd be happy to have that option again. Meidjo looks about right to me.

    Just on technique though, I heartily endorse the idea of mucking about on track or skating (my preferred) skis on resorts. I've had some brilliant sessions on the lifts on skating skis teleing and p'lleling. Not something I'd do on an icy day though! Also, I've been watching a bit of video of some NTN rigs being skied and it looks to me that technique is being forced to adapt to the characteristics of those bindings. I don't call this either a good or bad thing, just a thing I think I am observing. I would love to be given the opportunity to try it out for myself.

    Right, I'm buggering off to Mt Field again tomorrow. Carry on chaps!
     
  20. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter
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    Since I think I prompted this thread I should respond. I started telemarking in the early nineties. My first experience was on some plastic cuffed Alpine NNNBC XCD hire gear from Mountain Equipment in Sydney. I had a ball. I hired some original Terminators from Paddys in Jindy and I was hooked. Since then I've gone through plenty of 75mm boots and bindings, all of the bindings having some sort of issue. Pitbulls with their exploding swage, chillies with their extending spring, targas with their seizing cartridges, BD bindings with their auto loosening cartridges, cobras with pull outs (including from a pair of Super G race skis) and broken heel throws on them all. In 2004 I started instructing Tele and became the APSI Telemark Technical Director in 2012, I've been to one Interski and I'm currently preparing and training for the next one in Bulgaria in March.

    With every improvement in gear I've jumped on board and been rewarded with more responsive equipment and better control. NTN however is different because it overcomes the unavoidable problems with 75mm. NTN is a true standard, each toe and heel on each boot is the same. With 75mm each manufacturer seems to think near enough is good enough with each binding and boot manufacturer producing toe's and heels with slightly different dimensions which leads to unavoidable slop in the system. Crampons can be made to work with 75mm, but they work much better with NTN. With the duck butt the binding leaver is shorter than a heel attachment resulting in a more responsive connection between boot and binding. NTN allows the use of pin tech to make lighter and better touring bindings than is possible with 75mm. Finally NTN boots are lighter than equivalent 75mm versions.

    My "hate" for 75mm isn't against anyone's subjective opinion of the system, its against how the maintenance of the 75mm standard is damaging Telemarking. As long as there are two standards we won't have boot innovation. The room for innovation is with NTN (more responsive system with tech toe compatability), however the continued existence of the 75mm standard makes the return on R&D into new telemark boots too small for boot makers to make any improvements to telemark boots. As a result there has been no innovation in Telemark Boots since the introduction of NTN more than 10 years ago. Also as described in the Meijdo thread the excellent, super light weight, ATK Newmark binding has become a victim of the continued existence of the 75mm system (a lack of boot innovation to meet the potential of the binding).

    As far as "need" goes we don't need any of this stuff to enjoy skiing. We could all be like the Kashmir kids who featured in ski movies in the 90's and skied on home made skis with hacksaw blades for edges and gum boots nailed to the skis. I also really enjoy simplicity and skiing on light weight gear. I enjoy the experience of skiing on my NNNBC boots with Madschuss Glittertind skis as much as going out on heavier equipment for different reasons.



    Because of the balance required to ski on light gear, and also because people do want to learn to Telemark on a variety of equipment part of the Level 3 and Level 4 qualification is to ski on NNBC kit.


    Telemarking on NNNBC equipment during the Level 3 course last year

    Skiing on properly light kit for me has a joy of simplicity that modern 75mm lacks entirely, 75mm is only a compromise that is holding the sport back.

    I wouldn't agree that telemark technique is being forced to adapt to the newer NTN standard. I'd argue that NTN has helped realise better technique. I can ski on lightweight equipment with much more control using modern technique tham I can when I replicate the techniques we used in the 90's and 2000's. With modern technique I can better pressure the skis and more effectively point the skis in the direction I want to go, which in its essence is all skiing is.


    Modern APSI Technique
     
    #20 Telemark Phat, Aug 30, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
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  21. chokenchickin

    chokenchickin One of Us

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    @Telemark Phat , how do you think the Rottefella Freedom feels to ski compared to Meidjo?
     
  22. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty
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    I started in 1972, my first skis were Spalding! Light slippers with a ratrap. Then slightly heavier leather boots, and wider skis, like maybe 50mm! Then I hired some NNN and thought they were great, but my next kit was a metal edged ski, with leather boot, and riva cable, wow! When the Terminators first appeared, I bought some, the blue ones, purple was second gen. G3's shortly after, on Morrottos, which I thought were as fat as an alpine ski! Those boots raped my feet for a few years, and I often went back to leathers for touring. Then they softened up a bit, and became my one boot, until after about ten years they finally broke.

    Started wearing various Garmont boots, with different setups, more resort style skis, Bombers, Hammerheads(I still like these as a 75mm). Then back to Scarpa T1's with HH on a wider resort ski. 2013 I changed to NTN after a brief foray when they first came out (but the first gen Crispi boots raped me, so sold the lot to Stu Diver). It took me about a week to get the hang of them. Still on the same binding, (freerides) they have done around 200 days, mostly resort, but some touring, they suck at that though. No failures, they have been brilliant.

    Why would I not go back to 75mm? I still have a light setup, for meadow scampering, and like a fully rigid mtb, I think its good for your riding to go back sometimes. But full time, no way. The NTN is just too much easier to use, more power, better feel. I always liked more active bindings in 75mm, but some people really liked neutral ones, and that may be the divide. Some people I know who have swapped over to NTN hate the freerides, preferring the Meidjo or 22 designs, which to me look to have a less active nature. (havent had a go yet).

    Whatever floats your tele boat!
     
  23. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker
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    Leathers, Chouinard cables, Karhu Extremes

    1987
     
  24. PK Sawd

    PK Sawd Part of the Furniture
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    I've enjoyed looking at those vids Telemark Phat. Thanks for posting.

    I have also dabbled on NNNBC and edged, light skis (funny to think what we call "light" these days!!!) and found them to respond pretty well to the same movements I'd make on my heavier gear.

    The hardest thing for me in plastic boots has always been to flex that rear bellows. I have absolute chicken legs and require a really positive down-weighting to get flex - part of why I've been happy to stick with older T1s. So I love skiing terrain that requires the energy but I struggle doing slow demos on easy terrain. No trouble if I do it in leather slippers though.

    Could I benefit from stiffer tension in my binding springs so I have a little more to lever against when raising the heel, thus helping to flex the bellows? I've always had my bindings fairly neutral.

    I appreciate the comment about "good technique" and it's applicability to a range of gear types but surely, and I may betray a lack of knowledge and recent experience here so please forgive me, things do change with respect to required rotational force and unweighting/weighting as you move from straight, narrow skis to more aggressively sidecut skis. You can ride on the rails of a modern, waisted ski with relatively simple initiation of skis tipping onto edge early in the turn - and yes you will need to absorb and work with the forces being generated in the turn, those forces contributing to a smooth initiation and new edge set in the subsequent turn. But just rolling onto the edge of your skinny, straight skis doesn't necessarily give you a turn until you bend the ski itself into reverse camber and then ride that curve so some degree of up and down unweighting needs to be applied to achieve that. Perhaps the mechanics are not so different but the emphasis, when and were the forces are applied does vary with the gear used. Happy to be corrected on these points as I am genuinely interested in what people think about it.
     
  25. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty
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    I have to ask. Would an alpine skier go back to 1960's gear? Why not? Cant they ski?

    There used to be a group of older folk (70-80) who came out in spring to ski Merritts in 1960's kit, clothes, skis, everything. I loved it, so dont get my comment above wrong. If you are having fun, you are doing it right IMO.
     
  26. chokenchickin

    chokenchickin One of Us

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    Same problems here even when using wider shaped skis, especially in crusty snow when the new forward ski just keeps railing straight (my inability to make it turn). If the snow is particularly crusty I revert back to the old school tele method. It works, but doesn't feel as fluid.
     
    #26 chokenchickin, Aug 31, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  27. PK Sawd

    PK Sawd Part of the Furniture
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    I certainly would not go back to straight skis out of choice. What shaped skis have done for skiing is fantastic. They've facilitated so many more people actually feeling and understanding what the properties of their skis can achieve as it is much easier to do so. I virtually NEVER got the feeling of railing on any of my old straights though I saw loads of brilliant skiers who could do so. I suppose it is that experience of change in my own skiing, coupled with occasionally hopping on to older equipment that leads me to think about what works or doesn't in the various kit. Or perhaps I should qualify by saying what works and doesn't work for me! These thoughts are amusing distractions when one doesn't get out nearly enough!!!
     
  28. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty
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    Ive been enjoying watching/helping a friend prepare for the level 1 course, he is an alpine instructor, just started. Fun watching him find his balance on them. The striking thing is that you find yourself saying the opposite thing you would say to someone coming from xc. Get that back leg further back! He is so used to the Alpine position with the femur. He is really enjoying it, cant wait to see how he improves through the course.
     
  29. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    I wouldn't go back to the 90's!
     
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  30. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty
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    Id take my 90's body back any day though!
     
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  31. PK Sawd

    PK Sawd Part of the Furniture
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    Funny you mention that crust skiing example. There was a bit of wind crust forming over soft snow on Wednesday. Things worked much better for me if I was making good solid up and down movements and had a bit more speed happening - punch through the crust and then rise up strongly to make the transition with less snow resistance. In the purely soft stuff I was going back to a narrower stance (laterally) with a good deal more weight on the rear ski and staying more in the fall line relying on snow resistance to help manage the speed. There always seemed a bit of danger of tip dive. And then I'd get a section where the crust didn't break and suddenly I'm having to widen the stance laterally and redistribute the fore/aft weight a touch. And then another soft patch. It was a bit challenging with my rusty methods so I couldn't do it fluidly. I was happy with just being barely effective. I've never been particularly comfortable in wind crust over soft stuff.
     
  32. chokenchickin

    chokenchickin One of Us

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    I should not have used the term railing. What i really meant was that the ski keeps going straight when I want it to turn.
     
  33. Ziggy

    Ziggy Renormed
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    There's a New England (US) ski blogger who teles on skinnies with NNN-BC. He says he initiates the turn by stepping forward with and onto the angled ski that's to lead the turn.
     
  34. PK Sawd

    PK Sawd Part of the Furniture
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    I should mention that I am an avid inline skater and I do a lot of descents trying to use or adapt my skiing skills to making it work. The skates are an interesting comparison because you can't vary the shape or length of the "blade" with pressure and just tipping them over achieves nothing without also providing an active steering force. Where are things these days a decade or so on from the Harald Harb ideas on how to turn skis? There were lots of discussions at the time about the role of rotational forces in the turn.
     
  35. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us

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    With DG in Tokachi. Love that shot.
     
  36. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker
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    Got a big one of it hanging on the wall at home :)
     
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  37. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter
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    I think the only reason to buy the freedom over the meijdo is price ( or if your boots lack tech fittings). The meijdo skis and tours better than the freedom
     
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  38. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter
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    If your mass is in the right spot between your feet a big boot takes less energy to ski than a softer boot. You should be sinking onto the ball of your foot rather than lifting your heel. A stiffer boot helps to support you where as a softer boot requires you to use a lot more muscles.

    In most conditions and turns unweighting reduces control and your better off maintaining pressure in the transition. With more pressure you can better use the big muscles in your thighs to point your skis where you want to go, rather than trying to get over the limitations of using your upper body or your lead change to change the direction of your skis by unweighting.

    Straight skis with a lot of camber will require unweighting in a greater variety of turns and conditions, but you'll get more control on that equipment with more pressure and stronger use of your thighs to change the direction of the skis most of the time.
     
    #38 Telemark Phat, Aug 31, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018
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  39. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter
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    He killed the first night.
     
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  40. GS

    GS A Local
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    I don't have my first skis or boots from around 82, they were second hand Rossignol TMS of some ridiculous length. Couldn't turn them but by crikey I could cover some km on them. Still have the E99 and Meindl touring boots i replaced them with, and later heavier Asolo Extreme boots. Occasionally take the Meindls and E99s out for early season jaunts at Lake Mtn or Baw Baw, no idea how I ever skied anything steepish....must've been that 80s/90s body that still had flex, balance and no fear.

    Enjoyed the Morottos for BC and Fischer GTS for resort turns, I was always having fun on them
     
    #40 GS, Sep 2, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  41. Ziggy

    Ziggy Renormed
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    Lots of focus on gear here. There's another part of the game ....

    I used to bushwalk with my brother and he was always nagging me to go out XC. Why I thought; the wind, the cold, the wet. But one day I joined a ParksVic snow-shoe walk out of Windy Corner and was blown away by the carpet of white under the snow gums.

    So the next day I went back up, hired skis and took a lesson. We did turns on the slope down to the creek the other side of the dam wall. I'd been doing Tai Chi and balance wasn't an issue.

    I kept up with lessons at Lake Mountain - I loved being out there and not being in the first flush of youth didn't want to waste time with trial and error. In the winter I could cram 5 working days into 4 and go up on the fifth weekday for a lesson and a hit-out. There was only ever me with the instructor and we dealt with diagonal stride, step turns, skate turns, kick turns, side slip, how to fall and so on. One instructor from the US described these as the weapons in your arsenal to attack the mountain. Hmm.

    A big boost to technique came by attending the Dept of Sport and Rec learn to ski camps at Howman's Gap. They were an intensive week on the snow each day out on the High Plains. And they introduced us to telemarking.

    And why wouldn't you get hooked? They're a stable turn in most conditions and you feel like a million dollars when it starts to flow.

    I used to take one lesson a year in the resort at Falls and then practice over the season, and that was a mistake since I was locking in some wrong moves.

    I'm now better at it and getting coaching from @dossa5 who has an uncanny ability to suggest a small change that makes a big difference. Often the difference is in my head o_O

    Without that progression I would've given up in discouragement.
     
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  42. dossa5

    dossa5 One of Us
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    Was fortunate enough to join Ben in 2 of his Tele clinics at Falls for Tele day.
    Kudos to Ben with his teaching style and range of abilities he was faced with. The late session particularly fun.
    The incredible amount of varying ski/binding/boot set up is mind boggling some right some some not, but at the end of the day all seemed to work under the guidance of Ben.
     
  43. sbm_

    sbm_ One of Us

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    My copy of Alan Andrew's "Skiing the Western Faces" is a favourite, it was very interesting to read his account of the history of touring in Australia. From his perspective, going back to the first half of the 20th century and the Kunama Hut and Albina Hut era, Kandahar bindings and alpine touring style with a fixed heel for downhills was the standard, and free heel Telemark style was a fancy modern development by those crazy kids, and he was sticking with good old AT bindings! Funny how things go in a circle.

    G3 is also dropping all their telemark products.
     
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  44. GS

    GS A Local
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    I must say that as the years go by I am becoming concerned about injury, particularly joint related as I have enough trouble with them anyway. I've never had releasable bindings and back in the day of leather boots I theorised that the enormous flexibility in the boot was the safety pin. Plastic boots and far more rigid bindings have changed my mindset to the point where i can see (and I hate to say it), a change to AT for the BC yo-yoing and keep a lighter touring setup for more traditional XC. It'll be interesting how a transition to a fixed heel goes, the last time I hired downhill gear saw plenty of face plants when i expected the heel to come up and it didn't! Finishing a turn in the tele stance has always been my fall-back when an attempted alpine turn starts going pear-shaped.
     
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  45. PK Sawd

    PK Sawd Part of the Furniture
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    Snow shoes and AT gear seem to be supporting significant changes in the backcountry crowd. I totally get it, if your main aim is to get backcountry and you already ski or board then away you go. No fuss. Telemark requires an investment in time to achieve anything like an equivalent degree of competence in backcountry conditions. I was never tempted to do anything other than the Tele thing once I saw it done well. I hadn't invested in any other skiing skills to compete with it and learned my Alpine skiing much later - only ever tolerably functional at best. Easy availability of other gear may well make the arguments about crossover to Tele a little harder to sell. But like Ziggy says above, once you get a Tele turn cranking the feel is sublime.
     
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  46. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter
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    That works well in nasty snow, but is a really poor way to turn your skis in better conditions.
     
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  47. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter
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    I was self taught, with a couple of telefest lessons at Thredbo in the late 90's. In the early 00's I came back home from travel and started working at Alpsport in Sydney. I didn't have weekends off and in the meantime my friends had grown up and had weekends off. With no one to ski with each trip I bought a lesson at Wilderness Sports in Perisher with the ultimate man of Telemark Charisma himself Graham Hammond. At the end of the season he suggested I do a Level 1 Instructor course. The next season I started teaching at Wilderness Sports and began my progression to where my skiing is now. Without the dimension of helping others enjoy their skiing more I wouldn't be as enthusiastic about skiing as I am now.
     
    #47 Telemark Phat, Sep 3, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
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  48. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter
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    That fixed heel wasn't fixed in the modern sense. However once ski lifts were invented in Europe in the 40's telemark died and equipment for making telemark turns didn't make it to Australia.
     
  49. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker
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    That technique is straight outta Steve Barnetts iconic “Cross Country Downhill”
    I taught myself that and skied that way from the late 70’s into early this century.
    Got me down some amazing lines on skinnies, The Sentinel, Crags, stuff in NZ.
    Basically striding down the hill.
    Worked but.......
    All front foot!
     
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  50. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty
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    Something I have noticed skiing BC with other teles, is many revert back to parallel on steeps, where as I don't. Not only that, but when I had a go at alpine last year and hit a steep, I ended up straight lining it, as I couldn't work out what to do.
     
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