Why are you learning tele?

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Harvey Harvey
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Why are you learning tele?

Or why did you pursue in back when you started?

I came at it from a different angle, than some alpine skiers who have tried freeheel. I started nordic skiing at age 30 at Garnet HIll, and got into lift-served tele at Gore when I was 40.  Initially the reason was that I want to ski as much as I could and Gore had snow when there was none in the woods.  Also I thought the downhill skillz could help me in the BC.

TheHof's thread got me thinking... why are some of these alpine guys trying tele?  I guess I am also interested in why you continue if you do, but mostly why did you start?

I have my own theories, but I want to hear it from the source.
"If it's my mountain, I'm installing a fixed grip and telling the lifties to stuff the beginners into chairs as aggressively as they have to to keep it going full speed." —Brownski
Marcski Marcski
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Harvey Harvey
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LOL yea Marcski you are the one guy I have talked to about this.
"If it's my mountain, I'm installing a fixed grip and telling the lifties to stuff the beginners into chairs as aggressively as they have to to keep it going full speed." —Brownski
witch hobble witch hobble
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Re: Why are you learning tele?

In the mid 90s, as snowboarding was really starting to take off, and some of my buddies were getting REALLY good, I worked in a ski shop that had some Rossi telemark demo gear that nobody besides the employees were ever using.  I had never truly given up skiing like my more hardcore friends, and had had a couple of snowboarding injuries. I started taking out the tele demo gear (leather boots with the Rossi logo but obviously made by Scarpa or Asolo or someone, 412 cable bindings, some straight noodle ski I can’t recall) mostly just to goof on my hardcore snowboard buddies.  But I enjoyed it, the soft boots, the new skill, the independent leg action, and the challenge it brought to familiar terrain that I could Alpine or Snowboard down blindfolded.  I was intrigued by the idea of getting off the grid and out into the woods too.  So after the shop abandoned the tele demo at the end of the year, I bought a pair of the used boots and bindings, and slapped them on some old soft slalom ski of my little sister’s.  Used them for a bunch of years, but still identified mostly as a snowboarder and had to take Alpine back up for my first patrol gig.

Flash forward a few years to Gore, where there was an established, entrenched freeheel culture on the patrol, some new plastic boots, skis with sidecut and starting to get wider, glades and wooded terrain everywhere, and fun terrain just to rip around on.  Boom!


JTG4eva! JTG4eva!
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Re: Why are you learning tele?

I’m pretty sure I will never be a tele-guy.  Of course, having taken up AT on the wrong side of 45 who knows.....

Yeah, I see the tele turns from the lift.  They look cool, but also like a lot of work.  I also see the tele-guys, who mostly all seem like they must have interesting life stories, and (again, having moved away from the bounds of the resort the last few years) admire their free spirited, outside the mainstream alpine spirit.  Having interest in all things skiing, and expanding my horizons recently (my own liberating epiphanies), I notice it, I’m curious to a degree about it, but I’m not inspired to actually try tele.

What I would like to know more about, as Marc mentioned in his piece, is the liberation that tele provided him, this new found (?) ability to explore the whole mountain, in any condition.  Is it mostly just a feeling, a state of mind, or can a tele setup actually allow you to ski and enjoy more of a mountain, in more conditions (as compared to an AT setup), as opposed to just freeing heel and mind to just make a different kind of art on the same canvas?

I’d think tele would be limiting as a sole means of playing on the mountain, as I’ve never seen a tele-guy dropping a 40+ degree rock lined chute with a free heel.  Are there limitations (I’d think there are), or is it go anywhere, do anything once mastered?
campgottagopee campgottagopee
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Re: Why are you learning tele?

JTG4eva! wrote
   Are there limitations (I’d think there are), or is it go anywhere, do anything once mastered?
I'm no tele guy. I've tried it and liked it but my heel will be locked forever. That said, there are tele dudes who are BOSS! I skied with one at Smuggs for a number of years --- he made M1 Liftline his bitch.
Harvey Harvey
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Re: Why are you learning tele?

In reply to this post by JTG4eva!
I think it depends on where you ski. There's really nothing at Gore that a motivated intermediate can't ski on tele, and there is a lot that is much easier to access with freeheels.  Think about all the whining about flat spots you hear from Gore skiers. I'm guessing that is coming mostly from those with fixed heels or snowboards.

In terms of "more work" that also could be considered exercise depending on your outlook.
"If it's my mountain, I'm installing a fixed grip and telling the lifties to stuff the beginners into chairs as aggressively as they have to to keep it going full speed." —Brownski
campgottagopee campgottagopee
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Re: Why are you learning tele?

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Harv, you didn't start skiing until you were 30? And Nordic to boot? Then you got into resort skiing? That's cool -- I don't think I know of anyone else who's done it that way. How did you end up at Garnet Hill to start schlepping through the woods?
raisingarizona raisingarizona
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Re: Why are you learning tele?

The lightness factor is really cool for touring but I don't want to do squats all day, I need that energy for descending fast and climbing the skin track.

Either way, do whatever works and get after it.
Harvey Harvey
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Re: Why are you learning tele?

In reply to this post by campgottagopee
I rode my first lift at age 40 on 210s with leather boots. My late start is my excuse for sucking so bad.


I followed a beautiful girl to Garnet Hill. She lured me there with her feminine ways. For 3 or 4 years we skied the groomed trails and then started to venture into the Wilderness, eventually doing some overnights. I get a kick out of root finding with map and compass.  It's scary sometimes but thrilling too.

One year I went to Switzerland to ski with my nieces. They were total rippers. I switched to plastic boots that summer so that I could try to keep up.  I keep telling myself I should switch to alpine of at least try it, but I really love tele, and also the cost of all new (boots bindings skis) slows me down. That has also slowed me down on NTN.
"If it's my mountain, I'm installing a fixed grip and telling the lifties to stuff the beginners into chairs as aggressively as they have to to keep it going full speed." —Brownski
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