Monday, 17 February 2014

telemark skiing

I've recently had a few things occur that have rekindled my love of telemark skiing.  Tele turns are just so soothing to the soul, it's hard to describe it.

But my gear was dated, even if only 5 years old.  The world has changed in ski technology.  What once looked fat and able to carve turns now feels like a pencil, and carves about as well.  If I didn't know better, that'd be fine, as we all survived those days.  But coming off my alpine equipment onto that is just not fun.  Upgrades are good when they deliver a real, material difference, not just for color or show.

I'm not a tourer, my aerobic capacity is used on wheels not really on skis.  And in powder I'll likely board or alpine ski.  Tele I like to carve turns.  Carvey front side ski that can venture a little if needed?

Rossignol Experience 88.  Last time I checked, only Shakira had more waist curvature.

But it takes more to control and power skis that are able to you carve like this.  Hence my old boots were mushy in comparison.  Real torque applicators right here: Scarpa Terminator Pro (TX Pro).

Now the junction between these two is important if everything is to work out ok.  Enter the NTN system or the "new telemark norm" releasable binding.  instead of a heel strap, the binding grabs the toe and back of the ball of the foot before the arch.  It's rotationally releasable, which is good insurance for my as of yet in life not wrecked knees.  And I skipped all the light touring stuff in favour of the freeride model - spending $100 a day to access a hundred million dollars of lifts and infrasctructure at a ski area is an amazingly good economic tradeoff in my mind.

In simplistic terms, the front of the binding clicks up like a XC binding, then you push it back down to lock in.  Rotationally it can release.  It allows a release ski brake to be used.  There are various "power tubes" to provide the resistance for heel movement depending on your preference for that.

As it turns out, the boots were on sale at MEC as the ones in my size, someone had skiied on a day and found they didn't fit.  Great cost saving there.  The skis were end of season sale.  The bindings were normal price.

The combination?  Priceless.  The experience these three provide are so different from what I had before it's not even the same sport.  Despite a sore back, I skied today with Mike Schragge, who is an accomplished telemark skier, and instructor.  New equipment opened a new door, Mike's tips and sky is the limit vision opened many more in my mind.  Talk about a fantastic day - and thank god for heated seats and Robax Platinum.

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