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  • #76
    Originally posted by Dostie View Post

    Now I think what holds Scarpa back isn't whether their new boot will sell like hotcakes, but will it sell on par with their AT choices. I think that's the rub. And I also think they need to reset their design goals so they don't kill the turn while trying to achieve parity with AT boots. IMO the latter is impossible without turning the boot into an alpine boot.
    I really like how you put this Craig - this speaks to my (and probably a lot of other's) reluctance for 75mm's retail death to be celebrated. I'm worried the move forward means just this: forsaking the turn for parity with alpine with no option out as a consumer at some point (when 75mm really kicks the bucket).

    I feel like a lot of the negative reaction to the recent disco's on 75mm boots is met with apathy, and duckbill lovers are even cast as being ignorant and reactionary (some comments on the internet are certainly like that) but I think some skepticism (not Luddite-ism) of the way forward is warranted. I'm on the side that has researched the new options, skied many of them (and liked them) but I still worry what's lost in a telemark world where parity with alpine comes first. I think that's a slippery slope toward gear that brings great non-telemark attributes to the fold, but makes for a lousier turn. I'd much rather have a heavier boot with fewer features if that means I get a great feeling turn. But I know there is a cohort that is maybe a little more utilitarian in their mindset given what their main usage of the gear is.

    Not sure what ever happened to tele.skier, but he spoke of the new gear being too rigid, allowing less finesse, getting too close to alpine - though his feelings on that went all the way back to HH on 5. But I agree - in my opinion, telemark is bound for a suboptimal future if the gear gets that close to alpine with the turn coming second. I understand the economical viability of 75mm is waning. But if the new boots don't turn nicely the sport's retrograde continues or worsens, and that many more end up alpining instead of telemarking.
    Last edited by JackO; 20 July 2022, 09:59 AM.

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    • #77
      I do share many of Jack's concerns.

      i have a theory that every great invention through history was the answer to the question "how can i be more lazy than i am now?". Even telemarking fits that bill, "how can i be more lazy getting from here to there on snow?" "how can i get to the top of that hill in a more lazy fashion?" free pivot binding, etc, etc.

      the problem i see in the match AT game is it will take at least 3 different boot platforms to match AT (in scarpa speak, tele versions of the quatro, maestrale, and F1, with each having different models so something like 9 seperate models), and there is no way there will be 3 boot platforms/9 models. Which means the answer for someone relative to today is "i will have to be less lazy," which is a terrible answer for a human. And evev with 3 boot platforms, tele has to be lazier than AT in some way to get over the inherently non-lazy aspect of learning to telemark. Or telemarking has to be easier to learn than alpine for the complete skiing noob.

      And if the entire spectrum is not a viable option, it leaves target the broad middle. Aka, mastrale class. it can do anything. But that is basically the TXP. new materials, new buckles, better walk mode. slightly lower weight (100-200 grams??), likely much better walk mode, skis better?. if there is a Pro and Comp version like today, probably all upside, but not that much up side. there will be small uptick in sales as some people (us) will buy new boots early, but my guess is that it doesn't change the long term trend, ie, it will pull up some future demand for boots, but not change the overall demand in the long term. (coincidentally, i see marketing professionals confuse pulled up demand to market growth all the time)

      and that is the problem. no change or small change in demand due to new boots. because "how can i be more lazy that I am now", the answer for someone that does not telemark is never "learn to telemark". That fundamentally limits bringing in new people. So the question must be something else, but what that question is where the answer is "learn to telemark" i don't know.

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      • #78
        JackO and Dostie What does "parity with alpine/AT" mean?

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        • #79
          Obvs Dostie is the expert here but my take:

          Parity here principally means weight, to a degree materials (certainly related to that), then features related to leading alpine boots.

          An example of my thoughts: integrating a better walk mode like you might see on certain alpine boots seems hard to be worried about, but different, lighter plastics gives me pause due to how they would affect the flex in the turn.

          One more edit to add: I do think there is a striving for a cultural parity with alpine as well, but that’s a much different discussion
          Last edited by JackO; 20 July 2022, 12:11 PM.

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          • #80
            Thanks JackO. That makes sense. Yes, 100%, any new boot has to feel good making telemark turns. Am I naïve to think that the manufacturers share this belief?

            Re: parity in terms of breadth of offerings, I don't think anyone expects there to be as many offerings as there are in the alpine/AT lines. But it's not unrealistic to hope for maybe a "re-prioritized parity with what Scarpa has historically offered for tele."

            Pre-NTN, there were 4 models based off (someone correct me if I'm wrong) two scafo molds. T1 & T-Race from a "heavier" mold, and T2 & T3/4 from a "lighter" mold. Recently, they have had TX Pro & TX Comp sharing a mold, and T2 & T4 still sharing that same older mold.

            By all indications, a new Scarpa tele boot (flawed as testers may feel it to be) would use a new mold & manufacturing process. Dropping 75mm allows them to continue with that same paradigm, while adding in incremental updates like a modern walk mode. TX Comp can stay the same. TX Pro can use the same scafo and an updated cuff + lever. The new mold could fill the role of the NTN T2 (i.e. telemark Maestrale) and, if demand someday calls for it, perhaps an NTN T4-ish variant.

            I have no idea how Scarpa actually views all of this, but hoping for an updated version of what they've already been doing seems more realistic than comparing anything to their vast range of alpine/AT offerings.
            Last edited by bobbytooslow; 20 July 2022, 03:36 PM.

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            • #81
              re: the death of 75mm... The world does not need more 75mm boots sitting on shelves. The used gear marketplace has more almost-new ones than we'll ever need. These photos are from a used gear shop in Flagstaff, AZ this spring -- the inventory in real ski towns has to be far greater. Facebook Marketplace has literally hundreds as well. When only cockroaches are roaming the earth, they'll be stepping over black & silver T1's.


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              Last edited by bobbytooslow; 20 July 2022, 03:27 PM.

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              • #82
                Originally posted by bobbytooslow View Post
                What does "parity with alpine/AT" mean?
                Equivalent performance.

                PTBs were developed so that telemarkers could keep up with their alpine brothers on the downhill side of the BC equation. Then AT skiers began outperforming Tele skiers on the uphill thanks to 1) free pivot bindings with no rotational friction and 2) uber light Dynafit compatible boots. At my insistence we leveled the playing field in the free pivot department but I do not believe we can do the same in the realm of light weight boots because of the flex requirement of telemark boots. When the chemists master the nuances of unobtainium blended with Pebax we might achieve uphill performance parity, but not in my lifetime. Perhaps in my children's children's generation.

                ain't no turn like tele!

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                • #83
                  “… but not in my lifetime. Perhaps in my children's children's generation.”

                  Maybe Dostie can find a teleporter…

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                  • #84
                    Performance parity with what exactly, Craig? With boots that AT racers use to run up groomed runs? Or AT boots that are actually used by recreational backcountry skiers/ski mountaineers? I would argue that the former is a quixotic endeavor and unnecessary. Performance equivalence with an Alien class boot? Then I would agree, not in our lifetimes. But performance equivalence with a Maestrale class boot really doesn't need to be that far off. I do agree that we will never quite get there with regard to weight for the same reason you give; we can't get the same weight while maintaining acceptable telemark performance. But we can get within 10-15% pretty easily. A lot of us have done it in our garages. I'm still not there with regard to ROM, but what I have achieved is noticeably better than the OEM TX Pro. And I've saved 260 g per foot by sizing down and eliminating footbeds in favor of a small arch support mounted inside the shell.

                    Also, as many who ski with great skiers on AT gear will attest, most of those partners are not skiing on the lightest AT gear. Of course we also know telemark skiers who tour quite adequately in TX Comps, though I would not ague that those are close to uphill performance parity. TX Pros are not very close either but as soon as we shave a little weight and improve our ROM, I would argue we are not far behind the majority of our AT sisters and brothers. Maybe I'm wrong and my sample is biased toward dirtbag AT skiers who are as cheap as telemarkers. ;-)

                    I think Scarpa can do this with ease. I don't know what you and others privy have skied and sworn secrecy to. But I wonder if the "new paradigm" is nearly as quixotic as full parity with skimo boots. The boots we have now perform amazingly on the down. A few tweaks will bring us to very near parity with the Maestrale class of boots. I just wish we could get that as an incremental improvement on the long road to the new paradigm.

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                    • #85
                      Originally posted by cesare View Post
                      Performance parity with what exactly, Craig?
                      ...
                      A few tweaks will bring us to very near parity with the Maestrale class of boots. I just wish we could get that as an incremental improvement on the long road to the new paradigm.
                      Generic parity. Agree, all we need is a better walk mode and we'll have parity with Maestrale, mostly. Maestrale still wins the weight comparison, but we don't tele because it's lighter, we tele because the turn is brighter.

                      And I'm personally not interested in skimo parity. Those boots suck on the downhill. I'm willing to earn my turns for telemark satisfaction. Not so much for parallel, although I do throw those in occasionally as conditions merit it (firm and fast or my quads are outa gas).


                      ain't no turn like tele!

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by bobbytooslow View Post
                        re: the death of 75mm... The world does not need more 75mm boots sitting on shelves. The used gear marketplace has more almost-new ones than we'll ever need. These photos are from a used gear shop in Flagstaff, AZ this spring -- the inventory in real ski towns has to be far greater. Facebook Marketplace has literally hundreds as well. When only cockroaches are roaming the earth, they'll be stepping over black & silver T1's.
                        Bobby - definitely can't disagree here, or with the fact that 75mm is becoming economically extinct. I think it's worth mentioning that we may not even get new boots from Scarpa any time soon. So ditching 75mm doesn't necessarily mean we get something replacing it.

                        My unified theory on this is that 75mm boots are all about the turn, whereas newer boots on newer norms add more features, but I would say don't feel as great to ski. So I don't think it's wrong for a 75mm supporter to see the trajectory of telemark boots getting more features but less sweet flex to be potentially problematic moving farther forward. And thus worry what comes next if Scrapa et al. is striving for weight and feature parity first and telemark flex second. Scarpa probably hears a lot of users say "we want weight at X and features at X," Scrapa may even feel a boot with those X's could hypothetically be somewhat competitive in the market but that market includes AT and alpine boots. So there's worry the next crop of boots will be built toward a market that is as much or more concerned about non-telemark aspects and that will make for a boot that doesn't ski awesome. That's my "75mm supporters as thoughtful users, not Luddites" theory. I feel it's worth mentioning because 75mm users are getting a bit of a bad wrap lately (like with their reactions to the recent boot discos) of being complainers who are out of the loop, and I think there's more to it and their opinions deserve some credence. But I'm beginning to beat a really dead horse here.

                        So I digress.
                        Last edited by JackO; 21 July 2022, 10:22 AM.

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                        • #87
                          Originally posted by bobbytooslow View Post
                          I have no idea how Scarpa actually views all of this, but hoping for an updated version of what they've already been doing seems more realistic than comparing anything to their vast range of alpine/AT offerings.
                          I agree here, and that's what I'd like, just an improvement on what we have - but I think there are segments of telemark that want boots that are as light leading AT boots. I've heard people say here they want an Alien or new age F1 equivalent. I think there are skimo racers who want to telemark on the way down (and have really light gear to be competitive on the much more important climbs) who wish the gear was basically the same as AT. I think a slightly larger segment wants uber light touring gear for earning turns. And (like Madsen says) that may be a small portion of all of telemark, but they know what they want and they are loud about it.

                          --

                          Parity as hoping to achieve performance equivalence is problematic the farther along things go. With that kind of thinking the gear is bound to become more and more like alpine gear. While I don't agree with all of Han's Ludwigs article "Telemark Skiing is Dead" (he says the gear hasn't had any big leaps forward, wrote it in 2017, and didn't even mention NTN), he has one really interesting point: "My favorite theory is that by trying to become equivalent in performance to alpine gear, telemarking rationalized itself out of existence."

                          My feeling (and attempt at being provocative): the closer telemark gear gets to alpine (and we're starting to get really close at this point) the worse it probably makes a telemark turn, and - if the concern of users (and manufacturers) is to have broad parity with alpine gear - at that point, why wouldn't you just alpine?
                          Last edited by JackO; 21 July 2022, 10:23 AM.

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                          • #88
                            Even I -- Mr. Skimo Telemark, ha -- don't think that is anything a boot manufacturer should prioritize at the moment. I'd like to see a heavy resort skiing platform (TXP & TXC) and a lighter touring platform (Maestrale equivalent, plus the ability to make a lighter version later).

                            The ability to go lighter than Maestrale is important, because it's not just about skimo; it's about XCD/Meadow Skipping too. It was discussed in this thread, but one well-designed lightweight boot could help bring a lot of folks into the pin-toe tele fold.

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                            • #89
                              Great walk mode and 1450g in size 27.0. That's easy. The old F1 basically does it. It's lighter than that, even. Adding a duckbutt (which I think maybe should be bolt-on?) and bellows protector makes it a bit heavier, but still under that weight. The walk mode could be improved, but it does have a big RoM.

                              So, parity means better performance than that old F1. And here is a question. In AT, there has been an evolution from boots of that weight being lightweight touring boots, to boots of that weight having stiff progressive flex and being more suitable for high speed, drops, etc... So, telemark probably cannot get the same kind of stiff, progressive flex, but the flex goals are totally different. Some parts of the boot should be softer, bellows of course but also ankle, etc... So, rather I think the goal should be "skis at least as well as the old TX" at that weight and RoM. Do that, and they nailed it.

                              btw, while thinking about boot flex, I realized something interesting. I have noticed that more technically skilled AT skiers often like a heavier boot (1500g or more) but pair it with a skinnier, lighter ski, while less technically skilled skiers tend to go with a fatter ski paired with a lighter boot. Definitely not always true, and I've seen exceptions at both ends, but I think the more powerful boot rewards good technique, while the fatter ski can obviate some technique. Which is kind of funny, because on tele I was often thinking the reverse: that better technique is needed with a lighter boot. Hmm....

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                              • #90
                                Originally posted by JackO View Post
                                My unified theory on this is that 75mm boots are all about the turn, whereas newer boots on newer norms add more features, but I would say don't feel as great to ski.
                                This is a really good and important point. It's a valid concern, because it has happened before! When telemark was 75mm, people said they wanted step-in and release. Well they got it, with NTN. But it also came with a ton of extra weight, complication, and cost. A lot of people -- myself included -- saw the Freeride & Freedom and thought "Yeah that's not really what I wanted." So you're definitely right that any new boot would have to do a better job of meeting the core needs, chief among them being a flex that doesn't hinder the "sweet tele sensation."

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