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Need help choosing tele skis. Much has changed in ten years! (the nut of it)

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  • Need help choosing tele skis. Much has changed in ten years! (the nut of it)

    I initially posted this over in the Skis & Boards section. I got a great reply over there but it was recommended that I move the question over here to get more views.

    My husband and I are snowboarders and also skate ski. Back in 2004, I bought a pair of Atomic Femme Fatale telemark skis (women's version of the TM22) and began to learn to tele. I took them out a few times, but since my husband didn’t have telemark skis, we usually stuck to snowboarding. My skis sat unused in the garage.

    Fast forward ten years and my husband wants to take up telemark skiing. Though he loves snowboarding, he is interested in learning something new. I am super excited to dust off my skis and use them again next season. I don't care if they are old. The problem is--we know nothing about the new generation of skis and have no idea what to purchase for my husband. So much has changed in ten years. My 106/72/98 skis were considered on the fat side in 2004. I started to look at the end-of-season deals on skis and I am totally lost. Fat, mid-fat, rocker.... we have no idea what would be best.

    My husband is 5’8” and around 145 lbs. He is a strong intermediate alpine skier but a beginning telemark skier. However, he picks up skills really fast. He rented some tele gear for closing day at Loveland and was doing very well for a newbie (he had taken a telemark lesson years ago so he wasn’t completely starting from scratch).

    We live in CO and will likely use our snowboards for black diamond terrain and huge powder days at the resorts because boarding is our first love. We would definitely use the tele skis at the resorts a lot too so they need to be okay on groomers. However, we also want them to be our main tool for heading into the backcountry. The type of backcountry skiing we want to do involves easy tours or heading to Colorado huts and skiing mellow slopes nearby. We really aren’t into doing scary or difficult lines in the backcountry.

    Any recommendations on skis and bindings for my husband would be much appreciated. Also, what length of ski would be best? I am having trouble finding size charts for specific skis. He did just purchase a pair of Scarpa T2s at an amazing price so he is set with boots.

    Thanks for the help!

  • #2
    I'm not up on the latest models, but I do live in CO and do a lot of hut trips. He should look for something around 90 underfoot, at his weight probably around 175 long. Many people in CO go fatter (my skis are 98 and 110 underfoot), so he shouldn't be afraid to, but the T2s will start to be a limitation. Something with a little tip rocker will be helpful in powder and breaking trail on tours.

    Make sure to get a binding that has a tour mode: Axl, Switchback, etc.

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    • #3
      You should think about getting AT gear.

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      • #4
        I live in CA not CO, but since you say lots of initial use on groomers I'm going to chime in and say get something like yours. Over in swap Bergbryce is selling a ski that I loved when really learning to telemark, the Rossignol t3. It matches well with the t2 boots your husband got, has good sidecut for learning to carve turns, and is not too stiff, so will take well to soft snow. At one time, it was all the fat you needed (@79mm underfoot). My underlying rec here, is start modestly and economically before bumping up to a bigger $$$ purchase. Danno's rec on length is probably best, but these skis are easy to turn.
        nee, Whiteout

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        • #5
          Skis, I'd check out the Voile Vector (perhaps with the scales -- the "BC" version). Solid all-around ski for touring and fine inside the boundary lines, but definitely geared more for touring. Probably worst at railing hard on groomers. Others to consider: Praxis Yeti, Black Diamond Aspect, Volkl Nanuq or Amaruq.

          Bindings: Voile Switchback or X2, the latter is more active (greater resistance for lack of a better, simpler way to define it) or 22 Designs AXL (heavier but provides greater lateral control and has three options to change the resistance level). As Danno notes, they have a tour mode which is huge for climbing. Never tried G3 Enzo's or BD 01's, and they're probably fine choices, but I know more people who've used the Switchbacks and Axls and they generally love them. The Voile bindings are quite simple and a spare heel cable/throw is easy to carry on extended trips.

          I personally have the Voile Vector BCs and Voile Chargers skis, Scarpa T2 Ecos boots, and Voile Switchbacks bindings, so there's my bias.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by dschane View Post
            Skis, I'd check out the Voile Vector (perhaps with the scales -- the "BC" version). Solid all-around ski for touring and fine inside the boundary lines, but definitely geared more for touring. Probably worst at railing hard on groomers. Others to consider: Praxis Yeti, Black Diamond Aspect, Volkl Nanuq or Amaruq.

            Bindings: Voile Switchback or X2, the latter is more active (greater resistance for lack of a better, simpler way to define it) or 22 Designs AXL (heavier but provides greater lateral control and has three options to change the resistance level). As Danno notes, they have a tour mode which is huge for climbing. Never tried G3 Enzo's or BD 01's, and they're probably fine choices, but I know more people who've used the Switchbacks and Axls and they generally love them. The Voile bindings are quite simple and a spare heel cable/throw is easy to carry on extended trips.

            I personally have the Voile Vector BCs and Voile Chargers skis, Scarpa T2 Ecos boots, and Voile Switchbacks bindings, so there's my bias.
            I agree with the above, except IMO, the Vector BC's are not a good choice for in bounds groomed snow. They are pretty slow due to the scales. The regular Vectors do pretty darned well in bounds on groomed snow and in deep powder, and are very easy to ski. Plus, they are light and great for back country touring with free pivot bindings and skins. I spent a couple weeks skiing in CO this season on Vectors, Axls, and three buckle boots, and had a blast in every condition that I ran into, from fresh powder to spring snow and hard groomers.

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            • #7
              IMHO boots and bindings selection are the priority. Go NTN, it's the future baby. If you have the same results as me and mrs Ddog you will find NTN provides much better control, easier turning, less tiring, more convenience. 75mm is fine in the BC, but for resort skiing NTN is way better and is also good for touring, plus it's releasable (avalanche...). Get the Freedoms for 50:50 resort:BC. Cheap out on the skiis, NOT the boots and bindings.

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              • #8
                Since he just bought a pair of T2s, I'd ignore NTN for now. If you find yourself making telemark turns more than riding your boards, it might be a consideration in the future -- Freedom, TTS, Spike, some new-fangled crazy light binding . . . over the next 1-5 years, there may be some more very cool innovations.

                Scales vs. no-scales really depends on how irritated you think you'd become being slowed down on groomers and flat sections at the resort b/c that definitely happens. Other than those situations, I don't think there are many downsides (mainly, reduced ability to side slip down steep, icy sections). On the upside, if you're using them mostly for touring, they're great for gentle ups, rolling sections, long approaches, and long exits where you can glide much faster than if you were wearing skins. But, if you're wearing skins and he's got scaled skis, it would be annoying to have that disparity.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by dschane View Post
                  On the upside, if you're using them mostly for touring, they're great for gentle ups, rolling sections, long approaches, and long exits where you can glide much faster than if you were wearing skins. But, if you're wearing skins and he's got scaled skis, it would be annoying to have that disparity.
                  We don't have a lot of long gentle touring for turns here in CO. Generally speaking, if you're going out for turns (ie wanting the fatter boards and not the long skinnys) you will need skins. Sure, the scales will be of some use for some portions of the trail, but there will be many times when they won't (and some tours you'll want skins the whole way). I can definitely see the benefit of a ski like that in some places, but I wouldn't choose a scaled ski in CO if turns were the goal of the tour. Especially when the ski is going to be his only ski for now; at least for this location, that seems like a quiver ski.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SkaredShtles View Post
                    You should think about getting AT gear.
                    Actually, as someone who has teled, alpined and snowboarded extensively over the years, I think a snowboarder would prefer tele- they are both surfy sports compared to the more "percussive" nature of fixed heel. Only if you already know how to alpine and are not willing to put time in at the resort to learn tele would I recommend AT for a snowboarder.

                    I will second the Vector (non-BC) for the reasons I just wrote about in the BC-ski thread. However, it is soft, so while good for fresh groomers not so much for hardpack. But I think soft is what you want for teleing in soft snow (powder, corn, fresh groomers).

                    Regardless, get something with tip rocker- lots of deals on older skis without it but I'd bypass those. Something light like the Vector if being used for BC. And absolutely get tele bindings that have a "tour mode"- back in the day with light boots and accompanying light bindings you didn't need them so much, but modern plastic boots demand beefier bindings, which put alot of force on your joints and muscles if you skin up with a binding that doesn't have an AT-like free pivot tour mode. So those include the Voile Switchback, 22 Designs Axl, and NTN (the latter requires NTN boots- a great system if you can invest the $ from the get-go)
                    Reluctant enthusiast, part-time crusader, half-hearted fanatic

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                    • #11
                      Specific recommendations
                      Your husband already has T2 boots, weighs 145 lbs. I would suggest this ski, Cham 97 HM . These skis have a 97 mm waist and a wide, very floaty tip. I picked up a pair on sale (though I mounted them up AT). They are a versatile ski, and lightweight. Dostie liked them too , see his review on EYT. I think they would be fine on a hut trip, maybe not as floaty as the Vectors, but easier on the skin track.

                      http://www.evo.com/skis/dynastar-cha...-166-front.jpg
                      You say for the big pow days you will be on Snowboards, so this width should be fine, easier for carving/learning at the resort.

                      EYT review
                      http://www.earnyourturns.com/16197/s...rs-cham-hm-97/

                      I bought them for a bit less than this price, but $350 isn't bad. Get the 178 cm ski, probably the switchback binding, lighter than the AXL. Your husband has a softer boot, the T2. He doesn't need AXLs..

                      my 2c worth

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                      • #12
                        At some point, in the last 10 years or so, it was decided that telemarking is stupid.

                        There's a sticker.

                        Haven't you seen the sticker?

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                        • #13
                          Lots of good advice except do not get any skis with fish scales. I would seriously consider renting a few skis from Loveland next year and then decide. I think anything over 90 waist will be a waste it since you are going to snowboard if it snows a lot and your husband is not that big. At the most I would go 100 but then the skis are not going to be as nice on the harder snow which is where he will be spending most of his time.

                          Good luck and have fun getting back in to tele. The fastest learners are strong snowboarders with some alpine back ground.

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                          • #14
                            I'll go against the grain here a bit. Your husband's a decent snowboarder? So he's comfortable with falling and getting up. Get an old wanky pair of planks. Like others have said, get good boots and a binding that has a tour mode - anything from the NTN Freeride to the Switchback, which means NTN or 75mm boots, pick one, and then get a decent binding. Anymore they're all pretty good. To set yourself up for the future, NTN is a good choice, but 75mm isn't wrong either since those options are solid and readily available wherever tele is sold.

                            But I say any old wanky boards because there remains value in the humility of learning how to tele with crappy gear. It forces learning some things that good gear can gloss over. And isn't the goal to get good? I'm not sayin' you need to go the route of leather boots, 3-pins and skinny double-cambered skis, but first you want to get good, and then you want to have good gear to maximize your smiles for the whole experience. But learning the ropes should be first priority so I'd go with a skinnier ski at first, and softer boots won't hurt to learn the subtleties of the tele turn.

                            Plenty will disagree with me, but them's my $0.02.

                            ain't no turn like tele!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by chamonix View Post
                              I would suggest this ski, Cham 97 HM . These skis have a 97 mm waist and a wide, very floaty tip.
                              I would disagree. The cham's are a stiffer ski. I wouldn't suggest a higher performance ski to learn on for any beginner,... I think a softer, easier to flex ski is easier to learn on because a beginner's turn is NOT dynamic enough to flex a stiffer ski. Softer skis respond better to the lower amounts skier input that beginner's generate...

                              I will disagree with you Dostie,.... only because you said "crappy" gear. There's plenty of lower performance gear that will ski well for beginners, yet advanced skiers will find "crappy" (if you think that's a good way to discribe a ski that doesn't match a skier's size and skill set) He still needs a ski that will fit him... crappy isn't how I would discribe that ski.

                              He could get a used older pair of work stinx @ 88 underfoot cheaply and they would meadow skip fine.... Any soft ski in the 85 - 95 underfoot should be fine. As other's have said, it's more important is to get a well fitting, appropriate boot and a binding with a tour mode.
                              the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile

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