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Cyclopath
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Cyclopath
Faster than light
PostTue Jan 18, 2022 4:22 pm 
I went the other direction.  I ski in a pair of carbon fiber race boots, whether I'm on a groomed trail or a closed road or meadow somewhere.  Used them to ski up to the top of North Mountain this spring.  They give me tons of control.

https://www.salomon.com/en-us/shop/product/s-race-classic-prolink.html#color=30106

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Eric Hansen
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Eric Hansen
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PostThu Jan 20, 2022 8:59 pm 
That's impressive.

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rossb
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PostSun Jan 23, 2022 12:36 pm 
Regular cross country ski boots are great for logging roads and some mellow back country. They can work well if you are skilled enough and/or the conditions are really good on more challenging terrain. But it is tough to use them on places like Paradise, Artist Point, or Park Butte. To be clear, parts of those tours are great with skinny skis, but parts of them become very challenging -- or you limit your options. Even something like the shortcut on Kendall Lakes Road would be tough with skinny skis (I always stick to the road).

That is where the beefier gear comes in. Plastic boots (Randonee or Telemark) can handle anything. Most of the reports on Turns All Year, and I would guess all of the first descents or major ski traverses are in that sort of gear (or split boards). There are only so many people that can ski like Steve Barnett. Sadly enough, there aren't that many people who want to. You and I at least are trying smile.gif

BC and 3-pin bindings are in between. They provide more control, but not as much as Randonee. 3-pin is interesting in that it covers a wide gamut. With firm plastic boots and a cable, it is essentially the same as Randonee (people telemark double black diamond runs all the time). On the other hand, there are leather boots out there that could provide more comfort. The Transnordic seem designed as a firm leather boot, offering the same custom fit (after a while) of any leather boot, with almost the same control as a big plastic boot. It wasn't too long ago that people skied the lifts with heavy leather boots (I remember lacing them up as a kid). It might be challenging to drive a wide ski with them (especially in tough conditions) or it could be just right.

I think it is great that it is being offered, as it gives people more options. A lot of people start with the BC bindings for the type of skiing we do (logging roads) and that is understandable. You fall down a lot less. 3-Pin i similar, but has a wider range. I still prefer being out on the really lightweight boots and (fairly) skinny skis though. It is just more comfortable.

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Randito
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PostSun Jan 23, 2022 8:12 pm 
rossb wrote:
people telemark double black diamond runs all the time

Sort of.   Developing the skills to free heel "black" terrain is something that is more challenging to achieve than when using fixed heel gear.


I've organized the Washington Alpine Club Wednesday night telemark/randonee lesson program for a number of years.   Back then it was 100% telemark.  Around 2011 we added randonee.   Now its about 85% randonee.   Of the telemark students there are two "black" students and six "blue".


Many more "black" Randonee students.


Another marker is that boot manufacturers haven't improved telemark boot offerings in the last decade vs vast improvements made in randonee,  particularly randonee racing category boots.

I have a pair of randonee racing boots now, they weigh less and have greater ankle rotation than my old Merrill leather 3Pin lace up boots.  I paid $550 for the Randonee racing boots,  but I paid $250 for those Merrills back in the '90s so the randonee boots cost less as a % of my budget.

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Cyclopath
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Cyclopath
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PostSun Jan 23, 2022 8:51 pm 
I have a pair of 78s that I put NNN BC bindings on, and bought leather boots for.  I don't have good enough control with this setup.  I had a pair of Glittertinds and had the same problem.  I took a downhill lesson years ago and rented gear, I don't remember having trouble driving those skis but the boots felt like casts.

I'm using Salomon Snowscape skis, I think they're 55 or 60 mm.

Probably need an entirely different setup to have a lot more fun with them.  I've always wanted to ski Artist Point.  I snowshoed up there and got passed by skiers who were having a lot more fun than I was!

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Randito
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PostSun Jan 23, 2022 10:49 pm 
Cyclopath wrote:
I had a pair of Glittertinds and had the same problem

Glittertinds are double camber skis.  They track and kick and glide great.  Turning them requires unweighting the tips and tails.  Either by lifting one ski at a time as in step turns, lifted stem or step telemark turns.   Or both skis at once with jump turns.

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Cyclopath
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Cyclopath
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PostMon Jan 24, 2022 12:15 pm 
Randito wrote:
Glittertinds are double camber skis.  They track and kick and glide great.  Turning them requires unweighting the tips and tails.  Either by lifting one ski at a time as in step turns, lifted stem or step telemark turns.   Or both skis at once with jump turns.

I hope we can all laugh trying to imagine what my experience on those skis was like without being aware of this fact.   eek.gif   biggrin.gif

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rossb
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PostMon Jan 24, 2022 6:53 pm 
Randito wrote:
Developing the skills to free heel "black" terrain is something that is more challenging to achieve than when using fixed heel gear.

I know people who are great telemark skiers who switch to parallel when it gets really dicey. My point is that with telemark gear that includes plastic boots, you can parallel ski down extremely steep terrain. It might be a little bit easier with your heels locked in, but it doesn't make that much difference. It is like the difference between a two-buckle boot and a four-buckle boot. Some will swear it makes all the difference (and there is no doubt makes some) but the terrain and skills of the user matter a lot more.

In contrast, there are very few people who can go down really steep terrain using most BC boots (using any technique). It can be done, but few can do it. (I've tried, and failed miserably.)

It does make sense that telemark skiers are attracted to more moderate level terrain. Nordic gear has a much faster transition. With regular cross country, you don't have to do anything. With a telemark binding, all you have to do is flip a switch (I've done it while moving). In contrast, with Randonee, you can lock in your binding easily, but you have to totally release your binding to go the other way (at least that was the case with the bindings I've seen). Thus Nordic has advantages for rolling terrain, but none for a big-up, big-down trip. Folks who are attracted to really steep terrain are probably more likely to go for a big-up, big-down trip, rather than a tour.

There has been a huge movement towards Randonee in large part because of the improvement you mentioned (with racing). They've gotten a lot lighter. If you want to go up and down (and you already know how to parallel ski because of lift skiing) it is the obvious choice. Even for touring, A. T. can work and save you a lot of weight. Many find the boots comfortable. While others may disagree (foot comfort is a personal thing) I have a hard time believing they are as comfortable as leather boots (it is just that leather boots offer you less control). I've tried a bunch of plastic boots, and they all seem to hurt my feet. The idea of a firm leather boot is quite attractive, as leather conforms to your feet (unlike plastic).

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rossb
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PostMon Jan 24, 2022 7:24 pm 
Cyclopath wrote:
I put NNN BC bindings on, and bought leather boots ...  I don't have good enough control with this setup

This is quite common. NNN BC does have more control than regular cross country, and I'm sure the boots you used were stiffer than regular cross country boots. The setup allows you to drive wider, heavier skis with more sidecut. But it doesn't allow you to drive everything. I've tried skis that are just too much for my boots/bindings. At that point, you are better off with lighter gear.

Cyclopath wrote:
I've always wanted to ski Artist Point.

It is definitely worth doing. With the gear you have, you might be able to get down without falling -- a lot depends on the conditions. Early in the year you can basically just follow the road. Later on you can get by with a lot of traversing, especially if you stop around Artist Point (and don't go up to Huntoon Point). The easiest way down is fairly clear. The steepest section skirts the resort area, but that is often groomed. If you have experience with that type of skiing, you should be able to get down that OK, at worst with a snowplow. With Paradise, there are areas to explore that are just fine with really skinny skis. It is tough to do everything, but often it is more fun to venture out away from the crowds (who typically head up to Panorama Point).

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Randito
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PostMon Jan 24, 2022 7:56 pm 
rossb wrote:
I know people who are great telemark skiers who switch to parallel when it gets really dicey. My point is that with telemark gear that includes plastic boots, you can parallel ski down extremely steep terrain. It might be a little bit easier with your heels locked in, but it doesn't make that much difference.

I have decades of experience free heel skiing in gear ranging from ankle high leathers and double camber skis all the way to very stiff telemark racing boots with NTN bindings and some people even think I can ski OK      It is true that you can make parallel turns on such gear.

However it is simply not correct to that not having the heel locked doesn't make much difference.

The speed and precision that I can ski on steep terrain using current fixed heel gear is far superior to even what was possible on my telemark racing gear.    Applying a lot of forward pressure on the boot cuff make turns much quicker  -- its also quite useful when skiing backwards.

rossb wrote:
I've tried a bunch of plastic boots, and they all seem to hurt my feet. The idea of a firm leather boot is quite attractive, as leather conforms to your feet (unlike plastic).

Have you worked with a boot fitter?    Good boot fitters know a lot about feet and about boots and which makes of boots work work better with which feet.   A good boot fitter will stretch and grind the plastic to accomindate features like bunions and surgical screws used to repair broken ankles.  The thermoplastic foam liners used in modern boots are heat molded to the foot in minutes  -- a process tha in leather boots require many days of blister inducing break in to achieve.

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Cyclopath
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Cyclopath
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PostMon Jan 24, 2022 8:46 pm 
I talked to my 71 year old mom.  She told me when I was young we used to use 3 pin boots and silk base layers.  She said I used to was my own skis which is surprising.  We lived in Connecticut, skied undeveloped roads and a golf course, occasionally went up to North Conway.

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rossb
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PostTue Jan 25, 2022 8:56 am 
Randito wrote:
The speed and precision that I can ski on steep terrain using current fixed heel gear is far superior to even what was possible on my telemark racing gear.

Yeah, but my point is that it doesn't make much difference for 99% of users. Consider me. I wouldn't call myself an expert skier, but I used to ski the steep and deep back in the day. With alpine gear I wouldn't hesitate to ski any run in any northwest resort. I stopped lift skiing 20 years ago. When I tried A. T. gear, it all came back. Once again, I felt comfortable doing everything. When I tried telemark gear I felt the same way. The biggest difference was the skis (they have changed a lot in the last 20 years). With telemark gear on new skis I can ski way better than I ever did with my old lift gear.

When I've talked to people who ski exclusively on telemark gear they say the same thing. They ski double black diamond runs, and they never come to a slope and say "shucks, I wish I could lock down my heel so I can ski this". It just never happens. Anything that is too hard for telemark isn't worth bothering with. Not every skier feels this way, but this is quite common. In contrast, it is quite common for people to wish they had a different ski (fatter or skinnier depending on conditions). It's not that they won't ski it, it is just that it is a lot more fun. The point is, there may be terrain that I can't ski with telemark gear, but I wouldn't ski that in any gear. I know I'm not alone.

In contrast, it is extremely common to be on regular cross county gear, or BC bindings and wish I had more control. I skied down Blueberry Chutes once with that type of gear. I probably fell a dozen times. It is easy on telemark gear. People ski that all the time with telemark gear -- I'm one of the few who has skied it with BC gear (for good reason). I simply don't have any interest in skiing anything more challenging, nor do any of my skiing friends. They are just not into that kind of skiing.

Randito wrote:
Have you worked with a boot fitter?

Yes, I spent months and months (and a fair amount of money) on boot fitting, with a well respected boot fitter. There is only so much you can do. And yes, every plastic boot I've ever used has (or had) a thermoplastic foam liner. They all feel like crap in the store, so I have no idea which boot to pick. Then when it is molded it feels a little bit better, but after a few hours, it hurts like hell. At that point, I'm out some money, and can repeat the process. Or I just put up with the pain (Advil is cheap). Or I look for a compromise (like that leather boot and 3-pin) and look for easier terrain.

I don't ski the lifts, and the really fun backcountry tours are a long drive, so it really isn't that big of a deal. Almost all of my skiing is on regular cross country gear (the type of skiing Cyclopath does).

There is a reason why they keep making new leather 3-pin boots. Every person who talks or writes about it mentions foot comfort. It is the only explanation, really. There have been several iterations of cross county ski gear in the last ten years -- the industry doesn't care about backward compatibility. A. T. has advanced well beyond every type of 3-pin in terms of weight. I always use the term "flimsy" instead of "light" when describing gear at that end of the spectrum, since A. T. gear is actually lighter. A good A. T. setup (boot and binding) weighs considerably less than a leather 3-pin setup, while providing significantly more control. The only reason they make a boot like the one Eric mentioned is because it has the potential of being more comfortable. That is the only explanation.

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treeswarper
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treeswarper
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PostWed Jan 26, 2022 8:59 am 
It doesn't matter how you come down the hill.  It matters that you make it in one piece.  I have called my style of skiing (and this is all kinds) survivalist.  It means, I'll get down it, just not in the best of forms.  This doesn't include the extreme cliff stuff.  Doesn't matter if you telemark or parallel or snowplow, or sideslip.  Get down safely and try to enjoy it.

Back in the late 70s, we would ski blue runs on our flimsy touring gear.  We crashed a lot.  I had a toe turn black from being twisted during crashes, but we had fun.  The latter is the whole point of recreation.  Just ski.  No fancy names, don't worry how you look, just ski.  The "looking good" will eventually come.  We call it the need to get lots of mileage on your skis.

Have fun.

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What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities
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Eric Hansen
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PostSat Jan 29, 2022 10:35 am 
Steve Barnett's "Best Ski Tours of North America" mesmerized me. I never thought I could match his skills but it was the rich sense of place he sketched of his ski tours, and the sense of what was possible, I found irresistible. All through the 90's I'd be on leather low cut 75mm Asolo Snowfields, sometimes beefed up with Tele Vates (add on cuffs from Granite Gear) for a descent.

It was a good ride. Zion's high country plateau. Southern Utah's Navajo Mt., Nevada's Mount Moriah, Mount Elbert in Colorado. Home turf was Lake Superior's south shore, cruising on spring corn. 18 Lb. pack for 3 nights out.

Can't help wondering if I missed something when I scope out AT boots online, and their light weight. Reports online of people doing circumnavigation of Crater Lake on AT gear get my attention.

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