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  • My first post: The Impossible Tele Skimo Setup?

    I've been a frequent poster over at TelemarkTalk for over a decade, but only just found this awesome website....
    I've been an avid Tele skier for about 35 years. I favor lift-served terrain and snappy turns using burley gear: TXPro, OutlawX, Summitcone 106...

    BUT, last winter I spent a bunch of time at Whitefish and got hooked on uphill skinning...not really back country, but doing laps on groomed trails. this meshes well with my other hobby of Ultra trail racing( just got home from racing Broken Arrow Sky race....was awesome!!)

    this winter I want to race the USSMA Skimo series in the Northeast....and I want to do it on Tele gear. I own an AT setup which works great, but I want to race on Tele gear this winter.

    The good news is that I need to replace my 15yo TXPros anyway...and I need some skis better suited to East coast snow.

    so the Impossible gear setup:

    - 4 buckle NTN boots with ROM that is similar to my Atomic Hawx 120s
    - Skis that I can use in lift-served days on east coast snow but also race ( narrower, shorter...). I want the skis to have some shape so that they make nice turns, but be lighter weight
    - bindings that are no hassle, eg Meidjo 3.0
    - skins with some glide. my current BD skins have great grip, but zero glide

    I know that I need to compromise everywhere in this setup. I can't seem to find any Tele boots with decent ROM.
    I'm not going to be an elite skimo racer, but I am competitive.
    A little extra weight is just "strength training, right?"

    skins and bindings "should" be the easy part. finding the best NTN boot option and choosing the right skis is really where I need some help from those who have tried to put a setup like this together.

    thanks for any comments, Brian

  • #2
    Welcome! You've definitely come to the right place!

    Originally posted by bauerb View Post
    so the Impossible gear setup:

    - 4 buckle NTN boots with ROM that is similar to my Atomic Hawx 120s
    - Skis that I can use in lift-served days on east coast snow but also race ( narrower, shorter...). I want the skis to have some shape so that they make nice turns, but be lighter weight
    - bindings that are no hassle, eg Meidjo 3.0
    - skins with some glide. my current BD skins have great grip, but zero glide
    Skins are the easy part. The Pomoca 70/30 Mohair/Nylon skins are tough to beat. They make them under their own name, and for many other companies. The easiest to find are the Dynafit Speedskins. I abuse the heck out of mine, and they just keep on working. Do learn how to hot wax your skins.

    I am partial to TTS for anything race related, but if it has to be NTN/TTN, I'd probably go Lynx. Just because you can switch modes more easily without clicking out of your skis.

    Honestly, any "compromise" ski that you try to find here is going to be the worst of both worlds. Anything remotely light enough to be considered "competitive" will not hold up to the abuse of lift-serve skiing. It'll also be chattery as heck on east coast "packed powder" days. If you're limited to 2 skis total, a better allocation would be a mid-fat do-it-all lift serve ski (say, an Elan Ripstick 96) and a lighter touring/racing ski (say, an Atomic Backland UL 78 (900g)).

    If you want boots off the shelf, unfortunately in 2021, TX-Pros are still your best option. If you're at all mechanically inclined, there is a world of telemark tinkering to discover. Check out telemark_is_undead_ for inspiration.

    Comment


    • #3
      Welcome Brian.

      Sometimes I can tell a person is going to understand an answer, just by the way they pose the question. So,... The skis you want are out there. You just need to do your homework and make a choice knowing that there is no superlight magic ski that does everything. Your homework will answer the question of what features are most important to you, and which other qualities you will compromise with your choice.

      Binding wise, I'm an NTN skier, but I'm not very experience with meidjo. It would be great if others who are experienced thought it would work as race gear. I wouldn't know... but Dostie will know.

      Skins are just skins to me because I don't race, so knowing which is best for racing isn't going to be a strong topic for me even though I own 4 different brands currently.

      Touring boots for telemark have long been an issue. The original Scarpa tx's which were discontinued because Scarpa made a line of 3 boots originally and everyone chose the middle boot to be safe, figuring it could both tour and resort ski. The Tx consequently did not sell well, so it went out of production, but even those boots were not a race quality touring boot. Many of the more touring oriented skiers here have modified their tele boots for better touring and even added duckbutts to AT boots to make a much more efficient touring tele boot... Hopefully Bobby2slow will chime in and you'll join the ranks of building a tele race boot for skimo racing...

      Lots of information here and innovative people who are way ahead of the manufacturer's latest offerings.. good luck!
      Last edited by tele.skier; 7 October 2021, 11:50 AM. Reason: Bobby posted while I was typing!!!
      the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by bauerb View Post
        I know that I need to compromise everywhere in this setup. I can't seem to find any Tele boots with decent ROM.
        I'm not going to be an elite skimo racer, but I am competitive.
        A little extra weight is just "strength training, right?"
        This is where we could use a little more info about your aspirations. Wanting to be "competitive" and being ok with a little extra weight "because it's strength training" are sorta at opposite ends of the spectrum.

        Both approaches are totally cool!

        But I'd say it'd be best to choose one or the other. Splitting the difference will likely leave you cursing at the people flying by you up the skintrack at races, and cursing at your broken skis when you're riding the chairlift. Maybe numbers will help illustrate my point:

        A competitive skimo setup:
        Boots: 800g
        Bindings: 130g
        Skis: 700g
        Skins:130g
        Total: 1760g per foot

        A setup like you're describing:
        Boots: 1750g
        Bindings: 450g
        Skis: 1500g
        Skins:260g
        Total: 3960g per foot

        You'd be carrying over twice the weight of the folks you're hoping to be competitive with. And they'd have oodles better ROM. Rule of thumb is 100g = 1% metabolic cost. So, you'd be working 20% harder just to go the same speed (bump it up to maybe 25% or 30% when you factor in ROM). That's a lot!

        If you're patient/resourceful, you should be able to find some old yellow Scarpa F1 boots. Honestly, they are your only hope if you want to be on tele gear and still be "competitive" at races. This means either going with a TTS binding setup, or bolting duckbutts onto the F1's for use with Lynx/Meidjo. Something like:

        Boots: 1100g
        Bindings: 450g
        Skis: 900g
        Skins:160g
        Total: 2610g per foot

        Something like that would make racing not-miserable, and still allow you to recreationally tour, and not break the bank like a top-end race setup would. I do race on my ultralight TTS setup -- even been on a podium or two! -- so I'm stoked that you want to go this route! My home resort has lots of tele skiers who are also cyclists/runners, and for uphill training, I always steer them toward a setup like outlined immediately above. If something heavier more closely suits your needs, then awesome! Hopefully all the above numbers help bring those needs into sharper focus, wherever they may land on the spectrum.
        Last edited by bobbytooslow; 7 October 2021, 12:14 PM.

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        • #5
          Welcome to the forum! So, small world story... I live in Alpine Meadows and run trails in the Olympic/Alpine/Ward valleys ~3x/week. In late summer I start seeing those Broken Arrow trail markers all over my routes. Good on them for picking some primo trails for their race 😀

          I've never done a Skimo race, but as someone who has used the type of setup you're describing, and also built a BC setup that would be great for what you want to do, I have some thoughts.
          • 4 buckles are overkill if you're spending most of the time going up. I'd go with 2 or 3 buckles depending on how challenging the downhill is. This gives you boot options with better ROM and less weight, but still plenty of downhill capability.
          • Meidjo or NTN in general are too much of a hassle due to underfoot icing and fiddly transitions. I started with Meidjo when I switched to NTN, but ended up switching to TTS for non-lift served days. There will be times you have to chip away ice with your pole to get the duck butt to engage, or worse, it partially engages and then releases when you make a turn. This doesn't happen all the time but it does happen. It's just a fact of your foot going up and down with snow directly on top of a spring box/flex plate/claw/etc. Anti-ice tape helps but there's no 100% solution.
          I think the following setup would be great for what you want to do:
          • TTS binding. Lightweight, simple, reliable, with lightning-fast transitions.
          • Older F3 or F1 boots. F3 if you can compromise on weight and ROM for more downhill power, F1 for maximum ROM and lightness. Bonus: maybe the next Scarpa boot swaps in for the F3 but with even more downhill power.
          • Paulownia core skis; something like the Voile Objective if you're not in deep powder, Hyper Vector or Hyper V6 if you want something wider. Mount your bindings with inserts.
          It's no coincidence that I primarily use Voile Objectives with TTS and F3 or F1 boots when I'm earning turns. But I arrived at this setup through trial and error, and really believe it's hard to beat for BC tele.

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree with everything jtb said. The Voile Objective is a great ski too. I can also speak highly of the Movement Race Pro 71, Race Pro 77, and Scott Speedguide 80 from that category.

            He's also right about TTS being the superior choice binding-wise for this application. One option could be for you to put together a TTS rig and use it with your TX-Pros -- recognizing that they're overkill -- until you find some F1's. Or until you decide you're brave enough to pull out the Dremel, ha.

            A few more things to be aware of:

            - Tele bindings create forces that the mounting zones of ultralight skis weren't necessarily designed to handle. Bottoming out your heel cable springs could result in a broken ski, a long walk, and a voided warranty. Inserts have their pros and cons (discussed at length elsewhere), but I generally like them.

            - Meidjo & Lynx are pretty safe in this regard, while TTS is a little more of a gamble. You'd definitely want Long Travel springs, like these from Voile.

            - For racing (and training with frequent transitions), you'll want climbing skins that attach with a tip bungee only, and skis that have a tip notch already cut. You can cut your own, but if you're buying new skis anyway, might as well not void the warranty.



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            • #7
              Meidjo is an awesome binding, and works great for both aggressive inbounds skiing and backcountry touring. I will argue that icing is largely solvable with AI tape in that binding and I live in the PNW, but it isn't perfect.

              However, mode changes are a pain, and I think that rules it out as a race binding. At least they are painful on the 2.x which I use, but maybe the 3 with the powder casing would be not as bad.

              Comment


              • #8
                what size do you wear? I am going to be selling F1 gen1's and F3's in mondo shell size 25.5/26.0. both are in decent shape, used, not abused, with old palau liners that likely would get tossed, or no liners (haven't looked at my liner inventory). i'm thinking, not expensive, $75 for the F1's and $100 for the F3's + shipping

                and also some 23.5/24 scarpa divas and magics with intuition liners
                and some 25.5/26.0 T2X's with no liners or old palau liners

                need to take pics and post...lazy, its still fall.

                Comment


                • #9
                  bobbytooslow I'm curious why Meidjo would be safer than TTS for mounting on lightweight skis? The tech toes are the same, and the spacing on the Meidjo bracket puts the screws closer to the pivot than those on a TTS block. I think they're under more mechanical leverage, and bottom out sooner than the long-travel springs in a TTS. Plus the Meidjo bracket is more likely to bend, causing small movements that weaken the mount over time. Not sure about Lynx.

                  Having said that, I've absolutely thrashed a pair of paulownia skis with Meidjos (mounted with inserts). What failed first was the ski core around the front of the toe, which manifested in a cracked edge. The binding mounts are still holding up fine. I repaired the edge and am still using them, but at some point the ski is going to crack in half.

                  My Objectives are holding up fine to TTS, granted I only do 2-3k vert in a day, vs. 20-30k vert on my resort skis with Meidjos.

                  I'll also note that it's still possible to get new F3's for a very reasonable price (~$260 with shipping included) from Snow Patroller. You can get them to deduct VAT if ordering from outside the EU. Not as cheap as Jason's boots, but cheaper than new TXP's by about half.
                  Last edited by jtb; 7 October 2021, 05:33 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jtb View Post
                    bobbytooslow I'm curious why Meidjo would be safer than TTS for mounting on lightweight skis? The tech toes are the same, and the spacing on the Meidjo bracket puts the screws closer to the pivot than those on a TTS block. I think they're under more mechanical leverage, and bottom out sooner than the long-travel springs in a TTS. Plus the Meidjo bracket is more likely to bend, causing small movements that weaken the mount over time.
                    I suppose it depends on the TTS that one is using, and how they choose to set it up. In many cases, the TTS mounting screws will have a longer fore/aft footprint than the Meidjo. Many lightweight skis have shorter reinforced mounting zones as a way to save weight; with AT bindings, there's no need for any reinforcement immediately aft of the toepiece's rear holes. Having the toe pin line in a sensible spot for downhill performance can mean having the rear cable pivot screws dangerously close to the edge of the reinforced area (or, out of it entirely). This obviously can lead to damage.

                    Same goes for bottoming out the main springs. I feel like I can go knee-to-ski in Meidjos without a problem, whereas my Long Travel TTS springs are pretty much right at their limit, but I have them mounted in a pretty active position. Someone setting them up less actively would be much less likely to bottom them out.

                    It seems like there are pros and cons to one big plate like the Meidjo vs the separate toepiece and cable block of many TTS setups. I would think that one big plate would be less likely to cause damage to the ski, but I can see the logic both ways. There are probably other variables in play as well.

                    I guess the take home message is: Be mindful of a lightweight ski's reinforced areas before mounting modern tele bindings (of any kind). Heck, check it out before buying them, really. I'll say that the Scott Speedguide has long and stout mounting zones. Definitely minimal concern with those skis.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Got it, that makes sense. But keep in mind, the Meidjo pivot bracket is separate from the toe piece. It's lined up with 2 plastic tabs coming off the toe riser, but that's just for positioning, not rigidity. I think what you're saying applies to the Lynx, as well as other monolithic plates like the Kreutzspitze TTS.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        wow, amazing feedback, thanks guys. let me try and clarify a few things....

                        - by "be competitive" in races I mean: compete for age group wins, and possibly wins in the "telemark class" when available, sometimes referred to as "heavy metal", eg 4 buckles and only Tele gear. I understand that being competitive in an open class would require super light AT gear...but I prefer to race on Tele... I guess one thing I have going for me is that my Ultra Trail race weight is 190lbs( and that is about as lean as I can get), so a little extra weight in ski setup is a smaller % of my overall weight than say someone who weighs 150lbs....I'm trying to be optimistic here...

                        - I see recommendations for F1 and F3's, but aren't those AT boots? I'm looking for Tele boots with good ROM( which may not exist). did the F1 and F3 used to be Tele boots and now the names are used for AT boots?

                        - I wear a shoe size 10-11. I believe the Atomic Hawx 120s I bought new last season are a 10.

                        - the issue with my old TXPros are that they are too big. I bought them used. they are ok for lift served days, but they are simply too big to hold my heel down on uphills and cause severe blistering on both ankles. I attempted to get them fitted last year at a good boot fitter in Whitefish, but they are simply too big

                        - sounds like new Tele boots simply do not have good ROM, which means binding selection is critical. less ROM means that changing the heel riser position needs to be super simple since I will need to do it more often. changing from ski to tour mode on my OutlawX is not exactly fast. you have to jam a pole tip into the slot and torque the lever sideways. it works, but I was hoping for something easier.

                        - I get it that trying to ski lift served on skimo race skis would be no fun. I think what I need to find is a lighter weight ski that has some shape to it to make lift served fun, and then opt for a shorter length than I would normally buy. they will be heavier than race skis, but maybe acceptable all around. on a Tele setup, I know I can't get close to the weight of a pure race AT setup...

                        jtb I'm jealous that you get to live out there. I live in PA and am used to trail racing on nasty, gnarly Beast Coast trails...mud, roots, etc. the trails in the Olympic Valley were amazing. soft pine needles and dirt in the woods. sure the top of Squaw was rocky ridge lines , but I would trade that any day for muck I normally plow through in the east....one thing that really surprised me though is that I still felt great even at 8,800ft. I live at 500ft. I think that racing 50ks all summer in 90 degree heat with 90% humidity did in fact help me prepare for altitude. I have read that heat/humidity is the next best thing if you can't train at altitude.
                        Last edited by bauerb; 8 October 2021, 07:47 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          bauerb the older (green) F1 boots and F3's were marketed as AT boots, but they have flexing bellows that make them great for telemark. They are the gold standard for use with TTS due to their light weight and good ROM combined with better backcountry characteristics of a TTS binding. The newer (blue/black) F1 is an AT-only boot and no longer has flexing bellows.

                          F3
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                          Old F1 (telemark or AT)
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                          New F1 (AT only)
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                          So there are class rules that specify 4-buckle boots? That seems pretty absurd for skimo. Heck, even for resort use I hacked my TXP's to remove the top buckle and cut down the cuff. I find them way too powerful for a light ski, soft spring setup that I like to use.

                          Definitely training in heat and humidity makes you tougher. We are lucky to have neither here, though we do have elevation. And yes the trails are fantastic, with great views and (usually) clean air, outside of forest fire season.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks jtb for posting those photos, I was going to do the same thing but didn't want to try on my phone.

                            I'm not aware of a race that specifies 4 buckles per se, but the Wasatch Powderkeg defines their Heavy Metal division such that 1 ski (incl binding) weighs greater than 1450 grams. I don't believe they govern the boots in any way.

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                            • #15
                              I was looking at an individual race somewhere and notes the Heavy Metal category. on the race website I believe they had noted 4 buckle boots as an example. the USSMA website is a little less specific "Heavy Metal Division – Included as a special division at select races, participants with traditional backcountry skis, boots and bindings rather than specialized skimo racing equipment. For example, a combined single ski/binding weight of 1,450 gram (51 ounces) is a typical weight cut-off." https://ussma.org/skimo-racing-formats/

                              some races also have a Telemark specific category... thanks for the pics of the boots, makes sense now.

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