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So I locked the heels down...

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  • So I locked the heels down...

    And did not enjoy it.

    Blog time:

    I was very nervous when a buddy who uses the same size gear as me left his stuff with me for a couple days. Skis were Atomic Automatic, mounted with new generation Marker Baron's. I skied these with really nice fitting current model year Lange XT boots with the tour mode, with a similar flex rating of the plastics to my BD Customs.

    I was worried, that after 15 years of exclusively skiing tele, and all of this forum babble of conversion from tele to AT, that I would find myself falling in love with the alpine turn all over again.

    I actually expected it to happen.

    But it didn't. Never even really got the love. It's not that I sucked at it, as I do p-turns on the tele-gear when tired, so remember how to do a p-turn. The edge hold was astounding on hardpack. Landing drops was really really solid. And taking air or spinning the skis was most pleasant. A short tour, proved that in touring mode, all was good in the world with the Marker touring mech and the Lange cuff release.

    But... I wasn't having as much fun. It wasn't interesting to me. Even a soft bump zipper line was just meh. And in the side-country pow we toured over too, I wasn't "in the snow". I guess I just never got "it".

    And you know what, I'm ok with that. The next day, it was back to tele and immediately the fluidity of the turn, the subtleness of the balance, and the love of riding in the snow made me realise what happened to me some 15+ years ago. Because in one day, it happened to me all over again. Now I'm glad I tried the dark side.

    end blog.

  • #2
    Damn.. where is AT Apostle when you need him. ;-)

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    • #3
      Baron is the tele binding of the AT world.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by cesare View Post
        Baron is the tele binding of the AT world.
        Is that because it also won't randomly release when you have a dimple of ice in the wrong place as you are descending a 40 degree slope or dropping off a cliff?

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        • #5
          Yeah that, plus I've seen more broken Dukes and Barons than broken tele bindings over the last few years.

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          • #6
            My 01's with extra rigid tension seem to retain my heels quite well for p-turns. That leaves room for telemarking also. Go both ways as they say.

            AT Apostle is busy trimming his glop-stop stick.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by cesare View Post
              Yeah that, plus I've seen more broken Dukes and Barons than broken tele bindings over the last few years.
              Aren't all tele bindings broken?

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              • #8
                I hear ya' Dale. I was having pain in my left knee when I tele'd about four years ago so at the end of the season I got a referral to UBC Sports Med. They x rayed my knee and the orthopod said it was arthritis and, in her opinion, my tele days were over. She set me up with a course of physio concentrating on the knee and I religiously did the exercises through the summer. At the start of the next ski season I replaced my 7TM's on my Coombacks with Dynafit and bought a pair of the first generation Scarpa Maestrales. A super comfy boot like all the other Scarpas.

                My first bc tour with the new AT rig was a gong show up on Seymour. The snow was a tad difficult, which didn't help, but the hardest thing I found was the lack of mobility with the fixed heel. I think it must be muscle memory as I'd free heeled for almost 30 years before that but I could not get the hang of it.

                Fortunately, I kept one pair of tele skis and a pair of T3's and one day I took them out for a ski. Lo and behold, I could turn left without too much pain which I attribute to the physio. I sold my AT setup

                So these days, I ski NTN. My knee from time to time still gives me gip (to quote a Scottish expression I learned from my wife) so I parallel, which NTN does superbly. But the freeheel feeling is still there and the ability throw in a tele turn when you want to is priceless

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Valdez Telehead View Post
                  My 01's with extra rigid tension seem to retain my heels quite well for p-turns. That leaves room for telemarking also. Go both ways as they say.
                  I call that para-marking... and I do it a lot.

                  I too just couldn't quite feel the love when I tried going back a few years ago. It hurt my ankles when I instinctively tried to drop a knee.
                  No one cares that you can't tele

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                  • #10
                    Nick have you ever considered going seriously lite? We ski on less than 10 pounds...skis...bindings...boots....It's a way to keep the knees together....no pull on them.... We also do it for the love....love of finesse skiing and rarely having to power anything....just going with the flow....Teleman

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Teleman View Post
                      Nick have you ever considered going seriously lite? We ski on less than 10 pounds...skis...bindings...boots....
                      You do realize that there are alpine touring skis/boots/bindings that come in weighing less than that, right?

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                      • #12
                        Well, I am torn. I generally prefer to "ski" on Tele gear, at the resort, and short tours. In fact for long soft bump runs, I really prefer tele. But on a longer skinning day, my Scarpa Rush boots are so light (comfortable), and my Dynafit/Volk Nunataq skis weigh only 10 lbs 8 ounces. Skinning on this setup, the upper cuff has much more ROM, I can move faster, it's easier to keep up with the younger skiers I ski with. And as they say, Speed is Safety in the Mountains. I am not holding back the group, possibly putting anyone in danger, myself or the group. Also, properly set up these bindings will release in a fall.
                        With some adjustments (after one pre-release) I have skied the resort a bit this winter on my Dynafiddle setup, to get comfortable on them, and they have been 100% reliable. Mind you I am not doing endless bump runs on these skis.
                        I have a friend who is a hard core tele skiers from Jay Peak, now living in Nelson, BC. She is a very good tele skier, but when she started touring with locals, she would get to stuff that was so steep, no fall terrain, she ended up making parallel turns anyway. So she decided why bring tele gear to this type of terrain? Now she has gone over to AT all the time.

                        So I like to tele, and have skied Chamonix, St Anton, Rogers Pass, many NA Resorts all on tele, even some heli skiing, but long skinning days now I think I will go AT.

                        my 2c worthClick image for larger version

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                        ps. after a few runs , 1/2 day, on this setup, at the resort, I like to go back to my tele gear too
                        Last edited by chamonix; 25 March 2014, 05:34 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Well, I am not torn. I ski AT/fixed heel about 70% of the time and Tele the rest. For me it goes like this: powder skiing is fun on tele gear and is also fun on AT gear. So it is a toss up. Skiing resort groomers that are firm suck on tele and doable on fixed heel. So I ski Alpine at the resort on days where it is groomed snow and at Tahoe that is most of the time and powder only lasts for a short while on powder days. Long full day touring in the BC chasing powder I like climbing with light AT gear as it is pounds lighter and the boots just climb better. So much so that it is a difference of one lap climbing better. Low Angle touring, like what TM does, light waxless tele rules as compared.

                          So, anyway, for me I ski with a fixed heel most of the time it is just easier, safer and I have more energy to ski multiple days. A drawback doing both is that my tele tech has deteriorated into a morph of tele/para and sloppy. Still doable tho. I have the age card ticking away too so this will give me a few more seasons.........
                          "Just say no to groomed snow"

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                          • #14
                            Just learn to ski - fixed, tele, whatever. Just ski.
                            backcountry in northern New Mexico

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by televisionary View Post
                              Just learn to ski - fixed, tele, whatever. Just ski.
                              Well of course, just ski! Even board if you must. I don't hold anything against anyone that is outside and sliding on snow having a blast.

                              I was just opining my thoughts on a fixed heel experience that had me nervous I may be a convert to the masses... and then was equally surprised how much I did not find it a love-in. Just reaffirmed why I converted 100% to tele over 15 years ago.

                              A nice revelation of sort. Minor, really... but nice.

                              And has generated a good conversation that hasn't turned into a sh!t show. Which was also a nice kind of revelation.

                              And for the sake of ongoing discussion, I don't agree when people list one of their primary reasons for conversion being steep or aggressive terrain. The body, skills, and mind are the limitation and not the gear. Anything I've backed down on has never been because of how my skis are connected to my feet.

                              Ironically I felt less safe being at the mercy of my binding releasing, rather than being able to control the way I fall/roll with the free heel. But that's probably just years of instinct telling me that.

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