The first thing you should notice is the cover. It’s illustrated, a choice that isn’t used very often in the world of print. It certainly creates a fresh look and this cover goes a long way towards shedding the vestiges of the past and demonstrating the pride of the young telemarkers schooling pinheads from the barkside. ‘cept the illustration appeals to both tree huggers and the hoods from the park.
The cover isn’t the only illustration. Black Diamond delivers a simple, appealing illustration for an ad, devoid of big text, and the text that exists is but a subtle reminder it is, after all, an ad. And the opening for the feature article on Morgedal is an illustration. Not an exciting view, but appropriately moody.
Hats off to whoever championed the idea of putting the gallery right up front. I can remember conversations with former editor’s always wanting to make a more photo rich tele magazine. Either for lack of available photos, or lack of vision on tapping in to what makes a photo worthy to the masses, Telemark Skier as a magazine has rarely hit on all cylinders, and I include my own stint as captain of that ship in the criticism. In the 15th issue though, editor Josh Madsen and crew kick off the visual set with five shots that ooze beauty, poise and free-heel talent. Then they continue the tasteful selection of images through the duration of the mag. Part of that is due to the design team and their expertise in layout. It is the cleanest looking Telemark Skier I’ve seen in a long time.
How’s the writing? Can’t say just yet. Only browsed through it and must say that the Morgedal story warrants a look see, as does the profile on Nils Larson, though Megan Michelson’s article fell flat but I’m just a guy so what do I know about girl stuff. The idea of Girls Gone Girdwood just makes me wish I was 30 years younger, but I’m not, so there you have it. All the other stuff looks like classic magazine fodder. Short and sweet with a photo to match, but fairly intriguing looking or sounding.
Like the layout of the Gear Guide. Wasn’t surprised at the phat bias with regard to skis and boots. Probably wouldn’t trust a steroid enhanced review of the Kenai or T2Eco anyway. It doesn’t matter much with skis and boots what someone else thinks anyway since so much of ski performance is personal and with boots it boils down to fit, neither of which can be realistically gleaned from a mag limiting descriptions to 100 words or so.
As ever, I was most interested in the opinions on binders. When you can’t say much it’s hard to provide enough detail to allow a reader to know which tool fits his needs best. To their credit Telemark Skier presented all the options worth considering, not just those built for speed and dominance. If you don’t see it here, it’s because there’s a better choice for the same criteria represented in these pages, or it’s hard to find (e.g. Cobra R8).
Only the AXL generated a true, unrestrained endorsement that didn’t waste words, “the best tele touring rig of the test, hands down.” By comparison the accolades for other bindings were accurate, but measured. Making the distinction between Axl, NTN, and BD’s O1 takes more space than this review allows. Nonetheless they did a decent job in few words indicating who the binding is for. It seems that their phat bias prevented the editors from seeing that Switchback is the perfect blending of power and freedom for those who subscribe to low-fat tele turns, or full-phat for those who turn with finesse, no matter what size rig they ride. But it wouldn’t be a review by moi if I didn’t find something to pick at.
Looking for something to give your telemark jones some juice while you wait for snow? Check out the latest issue, either by ordering a subscription, or picking it up at your local tele shop.