Feb 11 2014

Whither goest tele?


Who's still flying with a free heel?

Who’s still flying with a free heel?

The word from retailers in 2014 is in stark contrast to the claims of 2-million telemark skiers from SIA. Nobody knows how many active telemark skiers remain, but three things are true: First, there aren’t 2-million or even half a million telemark skiers left in the US, but there are still a couple hundred thousand or more. Secondly, as a zealous faction of skiing tele still breathes and third, its pulse has never waned.

The question isn’t when is tele going to resume growth, the question is, as the torch of tele passion is picked up, will it be via a retro return to leather, pins and waxless metal-edged skis? Instead, perhaps a stubborn refusal to abandon the duckbill and free pivoting cable bindings. Or, follow the trend unfolding, a slow embrace of NTN.
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

Apr 25 2016

Review: Fischer ProFoil climbing skins

ProFoil climbing skins - Fischer's classic XC waxless crown pattern in a full length, removable package.

ProFoil climbing skins – Fischer’s classic XC waxless crown pattern in a full length, removable package.

Time for an update on Fischer’s new climbing skin technology, their ProFoil climbing skins. Unlike traditional skins that are modeled after the fur of seals, these are essentially a full length sheet of plastic scales like that found on waxless cross-country skis. Like climbing skins, they are attached or removed to the base of your skis as needed with a combination of tip and tail fixtures plus traditional skin glue.
Keep earning your turns

Apr 18 2016

EMS & Sport Chalet file for bankruptcy

One way to gauge the validity of lamestream media reports that the economy is doing well and recovered from the Great Recession of 2008/09 is how the retail world of recreation is doing. Recreation depends on the availability of disposable income. When times are tight, having fun gets sacrificed for paying the bills and putting food on the table. In a strong economy, more people can afford time off and toys to play with.

When I heard Sports Authority was filing for bankruptcy I could have made the mental link to the state of the economy, but since they don’t carry much if any hardware I’m interested in, it didn’t register. However, when I heard about Sport Chalet closing 8 of their 30 odd stores that hit home. This was just part of the plan when the Vestis Retail Group, the parent company of Sport Chalet and Eastern Mountain Sports, filed for bankruptcy.
Keep earning your turns

Apr 12 2016

Overview of next gen tele bindings

DIY tele tech bindings are thriving.  TTS cable with a G3 Ion toe.

DIY tele tech bindings are thriving.

I was really hoping to end this season with a set (or two if they skied similarly) of bindings that I could go into next season with and be confident I had a good setup. I’m pretty close, but I need more time on these setups to have more confidence. And I don’t have two similar setups, so I will have to make some changes.

Here is a brief overview of the bindings I tried over the last two years: Rottefella Freedom, The M Equipment’s Meidjo, Burnt Mt. Design’s Spike, two pair of DIY TTS bindings, one with a Dynafit toe, the other a G3 Ion toe. Here’s my synopsis.

Keep earning your turns

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