Oct 21 2015

Tele Gear for Newbies

A hard turn is good to find. Photo by Halsted Morris.

A hard turn is good to find.
Photo by Halsted Morris.

There’s a really good chance you’ll think of my advice on picking gear for telemarking as just another died in the wool leatherneck recommending old-fashioned values just because that’s the way he did it. You’d be right, except that everyone I’ve ever seen who could tele well, all of ‘em, had to go through the school of hard knocks to figure out the nuances involved in making a sweet telemark turn look ridiculously easy and sexy.

In other words, don’t take my word for it, ask around and you’ll see, the hard way is the best way. Besides, let’s face some facts my friend. You’re not interested in telemarking because it’s easy; anybody who has seen it done knows it’s not easy. And while you might nod your head in agreement now, trust me, if you do take the hard road to learning how to tele you’ll know you did because you’ll question that you ever agreed with me that it could possibly be worth the amount of flailing involved to figure it out. To which I can only reply, same as ever, it is worth it.

That is, of course, trusting and assuming you persevere and figure it out. If you don’t, well, there’s always AT which stands for Already Tele’d, or Abandoned Tele for those who can’t. ;)
Keep earning your turns

Nov 07 2016

Burning Tele Down

Sung to the refrain of “Burning Down the House” by Talking Heads

To an outsider it might look like the house of telemark is burning down. Let me correct that. Burnt down.

Telemark to the core!

Josh Madsen – committed to telemark!

Like the seed of the giant Sequoia tree, it takes the heat of fire to spark the germination process so a new tree can take root. Make no mistake, I’m not saying that tele will one day dominate the slopes, it never did and never will, but it has a strong spirit and it will not die. What appeared to kill it will only make it stronger, not necessarily bigger.

“That’s the best time to get inside” says the publisher and owner of Telemark Skier Magazine, Josh Madsen. “That’s when the opportunity is greatest, when everybody is running from it because they don’t see what’s inside, they only see a burning house.”
Keep earning your turns

Oct 31 2016

Review: Fritschi’s Vipec — Black is beautiful


Fritschi's Vipec is back in black, and its a beautiful binding to behold.

Fritschi’s Vipec is back in black, and its a beautiful binding to behold.

Whether good or bad, first impressions last and last and last. In the long run, if you can last long enough, weak first impressions can be buried in the glory of redemption. It will take more time to prove but I think it’s time to acknowledge that Fritschi’s Vipec really rocks they way they hoped it would, but didn’t quite, three years ago. To make sure you notice, Vipec’s back — in black.
Keep earning your turns

Oct 23 2016

Redemption in Tahoe despite no-Niño

The author enjoying a "normal" snowpack in Tahoe.

The author enjoying a “normal” snowpack in Tahoe.

Many of the pros had moved. So had many of the hardcore ski bums. Four consecutive winter flops had been too much to handle, pros couldn’t film and ski bums couldn’t ski powder. My anxiety had caused me to pick up fly fishing, in February! Of the four bad winters 14-15 had been the low point for me. A solid December had seen me out touring in some of my favorite Tahoe zones, we all thought and hoped the snow would continue. But alas, that December culminated with, “the Storm of the Century,” which ended up being the bust of the century, and petered out at a little over ten inches of dense Sierra snow. It seems that in the modern changing climate the weather isn’t the only thing getting weird, weathermen and women start grasping at straws and making veritable Himalayan mountains out of the moliest of hills.
Keep earning your turns

Jun 12 2016

Review: Scott Sports Voodoo NTN


NTN Voodoo from Scott Sports

NTN Voodoo from Scott Sports

It would be a shame if sales of Scott’s Voodoo don’t pick up. Now that they have added Dynafit tech inserts these boots are a valid boot choice for the direction telemark innovation is headed. However their performance beyond that remains unchanged from the Prophet by Garmont. Thus, I’m not predicting any sales records.

Depending on whether you ever skied them, and if you haven’t, whether or not they fit your foot, you may or may not like ‘em. For Prophet fans, you can keep the flex you like while preparing for the future with tech inserts.
Keep earning your turns

May 24 2016

Review: 22D’s rebellious Outlaw

22 Designs Outlaw is the first binding licensed by Rottefella to used their patented second heel connection. By adapting the Axl platform to a new connection point they built a winner, a binding with a tour mode that is proven to work reliably and switch modes easily in a steel based package known for durability with NTN’s laterally tight connection. In simple terms, the Outlaw is an NTN Axl.

Outlaw, the first American NTN binding.

Outlaw: American ingenuity in NTN form. Solid, step-in, tele-satisfaction — and efficient to boot.

It has all the downhill power and control of a Hammerhead binding plus some, but in a configuration that is compatible with NTN boots. This means it parallels like no 75mm binding can thanks to the inherent edging power of NTN. Like any fully capable tele binding it has a free-pivot for touring and the easiest to engage climbing wire, the spring-loaded Hammerheel. As for convenience, it’s about the easiest binding to get in to, tele or alpine.
Keep earning your turns

May 16 2016

Review: 5-point ‘pons, Tech Crampon 250


Tech Crampon 250. Light. Small. Effective. Recommend a better safety strap though.

Tech Crampon 250. Light. Small. Effective. Recommend a better safety strap though.

Years ago the thought entered my head while kicking steps up a couloir that I really didn’t need a full set of crampons to boot up it, but some teeth at the toe would be nice. No doubt the same thought has entered your head if you’ve ever cramponed up a steep couloir. Alpinists would say not having a full set of points when climbing ice is not a good idea. That’s true, but I’m talking about skiable snow, which may be firm, and is advised to never be blue or glazed. For firm but skiable snow, most would agree a full set of points isn’t required, only a set of fangs up front. Which is exactly what the Tech Crampon 250s are, a pair of 5-point crampons at the toe.
Keep earning your turns

May 10 2016

First Look: Khion becomes a Beast


Beast of a boot from Dynafit. Magnesium rear spoiler, Master Step Inserts, and cool buckles.

Beast of a boot from Dynafit. Magnesium rear spoiler, Master Step Inserts, and cool buckles.

My first impression of the Khion wasn’t the greatest in the world. Half of that was due to the skis they were latched to – Dynafit’s Teton, a ski that dug the tips in with just a hint of angulation. Quite annoying actually, so it was hard to appreciate the excessive stiffness offered by the full metal, magnesium spoiler as the back of Khion’s cuff.

Apparently there is a conflict with the Khion name for another product so the boot was renamed the Beast for next year (2017), although I prefer calling them Stormtroopers. As my friend Cesare pointed out, and who can deny, they look like the sort of boots worn by Darth Vader’s white stormtroopers. While they were at it, Dynafit did more than change the name.
Keep earning your turns

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