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tovodeverett

tovodeverett

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I'll chat with the ski shop about risers when I go to get them mounted (I don't have the skill set to do a good job mounting). I have so much more edging with plastic boots (rather than my leather slippers) that I'm not sure I need to be in platform shoes yet! That said, I don't want to have boot out, so we will probably need something because the Meidjo bindings are pretty low profile.
 

Paul Lutes

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Important advice from TimF - do NOT fail to use a riser. Not sure if Meidjo offers their own riser - if not, they're easy to make.
 

Smear

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I started out telemarking 30+ years ago when I was 13. There was a free multi-week clinic at a local ski hill up here in Anchorage, so we bought the cheapest thing we could find (touring skis with metal edges, camber and half, and 10 mm of side cut, along with wire bail three-pins and a pair of glorified high-top sneakers). I flailed all over that hill (and it wasn't very steep - Hilltop is aptly named, since the derivative at a maximum is 0
Hmmm... We have similar background. Started telemark skiing going to lifts with cambered Åsnes Sondre skis, threepins and boots without buckles. Around the same age. This was at the west coast of Norway. Your video from above reminded me of home. Damn I miss mountains....

So I'm coming back to tele racing, and in addition to the alpine Masters, I've got a friend who teles who is going to do Masters as well. I do think I'm going to stick with the SL boards - it's more a question of whether I need to find some softer SL skis. My older son will age out of Mighty Mites after next season, but he's already got me picking up used SL skis for him for as he grows. The GS skis he uses on GS race days, but he's pretty clear that they're nowhere near as much fun as his SL skis for playing on the groomers. I'm hoping I'll have the same reaction - that I'll want my all mountain skis for soft snow days, but when it hasn't snowed in days I'll be breaking out my new turny boards.
Yes, SL boards are a lot more fun for general groomer skiing than proper GS-skis. Especially on crowded slopes. For me the SL-gates are a challenge. Cross blocking is probably something that should be worked up to, for instance like this but difficult to do that in a Masters coaching setting where the skill level ranges from total noob like me to ex-WC. With your previous racing experience you will probably fare better, and even on tele skis one can make alpine turns sometimes ;)
 

ScottB

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I am a race coach at a small hill in MA. I have tele'd a little. I realize you are into it, but why not get used alpine race gear and see how you like it? A lot less $$ to invest. You will have to get boots, so maybe not as low cost as I think.

For ski to use in a course, I suggest a Fischer curve DTX in 178 cm. they can be had at good discounts, come with a system binding if you want to alpine, and could work as both SL and GS. Not perfect, but soft enough (for a stiff ski) to bend into SL turns. 17 m radius. I use it for race coaching on a short course. It's a turny cheater GS ski.

Your SL ski seems like a good way to go as well. They can be fun outside of a course.

Good luck
 
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tovodeverett

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Hmmm... We have similar background. Started telemark skiing going to lifts with cambered Åsnes Sondre skis, threepins and boots without buckles. Around the same age. This was at the west coast of Norway. Your video from above reminded me of home. Damn I miss mountains....
Your mention of early tele skiing and Norway reminded me of something. When I was in my early 20s, I even experimented with using a lurk. I cut down a small black spruce tree in our back yard (I was still living at home), and used a draw knife (something like this) to strip the bark and render it more cylindrical by cutting down the base end, so it was around 2 m (~6.5 ft) long and 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter. Because it still had some bumps on it, I had good grip, and it definitely had character. I would switch back and forth between poles and the lurk on many skiing days, and ended up developing three styles with the lurk.

The first style was to drag it on the inside of the turn cross body, with an under-hand grip on the outer/upper hand and an over-hand grip in the inner/lower hand. In between turns I would flip the lurk all the way over, making me a dangerous person to ski near! This was a hyper-stable approach for skiing nasty breakable crust, refreeze, chunky snow, etc. I also thought it might be useful when descending with a heavy pack.

The second style was to hold it in that position, but pick a side and not flip it over. This made telemarking a bit like snowboarding in that there was now a frontside and a backside turn. This grew into my summer rollerblading in that I started developing a carving rollerblading technique where I had a leading and trailing skate with the toe of the trailing skate about even with the instep of the leading skate, but I would keep that position constant as I carved left and right, again demonstrating a frontside/backside turn approach.

The third style was the most beautiful. I held the lurk in the center with an over-hand grip like one holds a kayak paddle, and then back-paddled down the slope without touching the lurk to the snow. I referred to this as Paddle Fu - the idea was that when river kayaking, one back-paddles on the inside of the turn, so why not do the same in midair with my lurk. The momentum of the lurk served to assist with the counter rotation, and by synchronizing my skiing to a smooth back-paddle, I was able to learn to make quicker and smoother tele turns.

When I went up lifts, I would aim for the left most seat (Alyeska had a detachable quad on the upper mountain by this point) and just hold the lurk horizontally off the side with my left hand. This worked well because the singles line was on the left. One day, someone slid in beside me on the left, and I was suddenly in the middle. Not thinking quickly enough, I shifted to holding the lurk vertically. It got pinned between the floor and the ceiling and as the front of the chair moved forward inexorably, the chair bent the lurk like a bow until it half-snapped and was flung forward around 10 m. Luckily no one got hurt, but with the lurk now half-snapped I had to retire it. I've never made another, but maybe someday I'll give it another go.
 

Smear

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I skipped the lurk period ;-) But did have a skiing in wool sweater and wool pants. Not very practical when crashing, and there where lots of crashing going on on that gear...

Perhaps you can try blocking the SL-gates with a lurk ;-) Have seen kids doing drills blocking gates holding their poles in what you describe as the "Paddle Fu"-position.
 
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tovodeverett

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I skipped the lurk period ;-) But did have a skiing in wool sweater and wool pants. Not very practical when crashing, and there where lots of crashing going on on that gear...
I did have West German military wool pants that I used early on - they tended to accumulate a lot of snow/ice on the rough fabric, so I would stick a pair of huge rain pants over them that I had picked up in the REI attic.

Perhaps you can try blocking the SL-gates with a lurk ;-) Have seen kids doing drills blocking gates holding their poles in what you describe as the "Paddle Fu"-position.
Funny that you mention this - I had already thought about using the lurk to block gates - I'll have to check the FIS regulations to see if it's legal! Hmmm - "The ski pole is an item of equipment, the function of which is to aid the skier and facilitate balance. National and international rules establish the minimum requirements for ski pole tips, grips, shafts, baskets, straps, length, etc. Owing to risk of injury, metal baskets are not permitted." Not sure which national and international rules to which they are referring, but as long as there are no maximums, I suspect the lurk wouldn't violate the rules. No metal baskets - check! The ski pole (no plural there) - check! You know, I might give this a try. With my Paddle Fu technique, it definitely works on getting the outer arm/hand up and forward, which looks like the whole idea behind cross blocking.
 
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Here are my first impressions from the first three days on the new boards. Used 2016 Fischer SL 165cm skis with Meidjo 2.1 bindings mounted on the stock riser plates. I've been so busy I haven't had time to tune them, so I'm still running on the previous owner's tune, but for this sort of ski the previous owner was definitely either a racer (college or Masters) or ex-racer, so the bases and edges are in acceptable shape.

The first discovery is that I can tell they are shorter, but I've had no problems with ski crossing. Most of the time I don't notice the shorter length, but occasionally I'll misjudge fore/aft weighting and I can tell that I need to be a bit more precise as I weight on to the skis.

I've done very little off-piste so far (it's been nice and chilly so far this season, temps hovering around 0 and then finally warming up to 15 this past Sunday), but the packed pow steeps I've done with them have been a little more challenging just due to the additional weight, narrower platform under foot, etc. Still doable, though.

The on-piste is a blast - these things don't chatter when the groom is slightly chunky, they grip better, and I can't wait to see what they do with a fresh edge. The weird thing is that while they are definitely turnier than my all-mountain boards (2017 Atomic Vantage 95C 186cm), they don't seem quite as short a radius as I expected from watching adult racers on slalom boards. They feel like the turn radius is a littler shorter than a Master's GS course, but not much. At least that's what I thought. This past Sunday I ended up assisting with course set-up for the first time - hauling GS poles, dyeing the course so the kids don't screw up on the hairpins, etc. Hauling 30 pounds of GS poles on my shoulder, I found myself really paralleling for the first time in 30 years. With the stiffer boots (this is my second year in full plastic telemark boots), it's actually doable. And I discovered something - when I telemark, they ski like a cheater GS ski, but when I parallel, holy smokes these things are turny! I'm not saying I'm converting to the dark side, but I'm definitely going to mix it up a lot more with these boards, because it's really cool to stand on that outer leg and feel that ski load up and turn like it's on roller coaster rails!

So a shout-out to @ScotsSkier for really forcing me to consider a true SL ski, to @TimF for following up on my post this fall to convince me I wasn't crazy (or at least alone in my insanity), and to everyone else who chimed in. I really feel like I made the right decision in what to get. The ski shop (SkiAK) that did the mount for me mentioned that while they had them in the shop they showed them to a customer to explain the Meidjo bindings, and they told the customer to ignore the skis and not ask questions, but these things are totally working. Woohoo!

This past Saturday, I was 21 out of 30 racers overall, and I won my age bracket (admittedly, there were only two of us in Mens Class 5). So the other news is that I am really enjoying Masters. There's a great range of skill levels in the group, from ex-racers to recreational skiers taking up racing for the first time, and everyone is really supportive and has a blast. While the coaches and I are still figuring out teleing, I feel I'm already getting great feedback and coaching.

Now I just need to sharpen these boards up and learn to trust them in the ruts so I can get closer to those gates (and yes, I picked up a hard-ear helmet with a chin guard).
 

Doug Briggs

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Probably the reason for smaller radius while parallelling vs telemarking is that you are able to bend the skis better in parallel. I raced biz-league races telemark style (to score for telemark for the team) on alpine skis with Rottefella 7TMs (165 SL and 188 GS for the respective courses) in the early part of the century while also racing alpine in USSA Masters. I applied the heavy outside ski pressure along with trailing the inside ski the requisite amount (although in biz-league there were no gate judges) and was able to really rip on pins. The more even inside/outside distribution that true telemark turns generate isn't as powerful as working to drive the outside ski harder than the inside. Work to attain similar pressure on the outside ski in telemark turns as you do in parallel turns. It is a real kick when both inside and outside arc in telemark turns. You'll really feel the power when that happens.
 

Paul Lutes

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What Doug sez .... basically carving tele is harder than fixed heel, but well worth the effort!
 

Holger

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Hi guys,

I have been reading this thread with great interest, as I am in the market for a short, slalom-style telemark ski as well. I have been telemarking since '99, the last couple of years with on Stöckli Stormriders from 2003 with a Chili cable binding.
Now looking for an on-piste ski (not racing, but love to carve down the slopes), and loved the Stöckli Laser CX I tested with fixed heels in 163cm in the Alps this winter. There is a good end-of-season offer for this ski in either 163 or 170 cm, and I can't decide which size to choose. I am 180cm, and loved the tight radius of the 163cm ski, but I am being told that a bit longer is better for telemark (my previous ski was 174cm) and that I shouldnt go below 170.

With your experience of the Fischer RC SL I was hoping you could give me some food for thought.

Thanks,

H.
 

Paul Lutes

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Picked up a pair of Laser SL VRTs last year in a 170 (R-14.5): hard to imagine going shorter, but I'm 6'1" (185.5 cm).
 
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tovodeverett

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I'm 5'10" (178 cm) and fairly light (145-150 lbs, 66-68 kg), and I thought the 165cm RC SLs were perfect for me. I was really worried about the inside ski tipping crossing behind the boot, but that never happened to me. It was definitely an adjustment getting used to them, but once I dialed up the tension in my bindings so I could try to stay forward on them, they were an absolute blast on groomers. I keep the binding tension a lot lower on my off piste skis to minimize tip dive, so it takes a few runs to rewire my brain each time I switch between skis. I love both sets, and they ski totally differently. I definitely don't want my slalom skis in powder - way too heavy and tip heavy, but while the off piste skis are survivable on groomers, the slalom skis are way more fun! It's a hard call for me to give you advice between the 163 and 170 cm skis - depends on whether you prefer SL or GS style turns. My SL skis are definitely a little tight for GS courses, but I'm not sure I can justify 3 pairs of skis, and I'd much rather have the SL boards on a GS course than run GS boards on a SL course. I definitely wouldn't go with FIS boards - way too stiff and large radius for my skill set. Too bad our season got cut short - just as spring skiing was getting started!
 

markojp

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Find a coach or a program with feedback. You've developed habits in 30 yrs which will make you slow for racing.
Tough love, but very true.

Skis... given the OP's skills, I'd look for a non FIS beer league GS ski... a used pair of blizzard WRC (180... not the longest length) or a Head rebels iSpeed or iSpeed Pro, Rossi Hero LT, etc... I'd consider removing the alpine race plate and going with a 22 designs outlaw x and add the 22 design race plate.

OP, given your skills, you're going to have a love/hate relationship with any race ski. You need coaching. Go to the PSIA website, look up nat'l demo team member/coach Greg Dixon, and email him to see if there's anyone up your way that can mentor you. If Greg does any workshops up there, sign up and focus on basic telemark carving mechanics... more carve, less focus on gates. If you're down this way (Seattle) PM me... I know a couple of folks who could help.
 
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tovodeverett

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I feel I'm getting pretty good coaching from Rob and Marty (Alyeska Ski Club Masters Coaches). Neither of them have telemark experience, but the stuff they've given me to focus on definitely helps, and having the opportunity to train gates on a regular basis has already made a big difference. The best feedback I've gotten so far was when Marty pointed out that as he watched us coming down the course while training, he could see everyone else's goggles, but he kept seeing the top of my helmet. That clicked for me - I needed to focus not just on looking down the course, but to open up my upper body and neck and actively rotate my helmet up. Furthermore, by moving my shoulders and head back, I felt more comfortable moving my hips forward without feeling like I was risking face planting into my ski tips. Unfortunately, I only got a few days to try that feedback out before the area shut down due to COVID-19. The coaches also have me focusing on less arc in the torso and instead trying to get a sharper bend in the hips. Lots of good feedback from them, and I can definitely tell the improvement both in my on piste and off piste skiing. The trick is finding enough time balancing between Masters, kids in Mighty Mites, volunteering on race days for Mighty Mites, getting in free skiing with the kids, etc.! It's a great set of problems to have!
 

Holger

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Thanks Tovodeverett and Paul Lutes, that is really helpful (and please excuse thread drift). I am 180 cm, but 85-87kg. I generally prefer SL style turns, but do some longer ones as well. I also quite like bumps, and I love off some piste but that is virtually zero currently as I am skiing with the family (and I have an all-mountain alpine setup at 168 cm). The difference in radius is 12.8 vs. 14.1, so really hard to pick. Do you feel that the very short length is much more physically challenging, or just different after you have adjusted? I'll mount the 22Design Vice, so tightening up the binding shouldn't be an issue. Huge thanks!
 
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tovodeverett

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I think you'll be happy either way. You're heavier than I am and have a few more cms, so from that perspective I'd say go for the 170 cm. On the other hand, my all-mountain tele rig is 186 cm (and you're running 168 cm for your all-mountain rig). With that in mind, I'd say go for the 163 cm - you're already used to shorter skis. I will say that my experience playing with parallel skiing in my tele boots/bindings (I haven't skied alpine gear in almost 30 years) is that the radius when telemarking is not as tight as it is when paralleling, so if you've been happy with the 163 cm when alpine skiing, I'd run the same length telemarking. For years I've thought I needed longer skis because I was telemarking, and I no longer feel bound by that dictum. I haven't looked at the weight on Stöckli Laser CX - I will say that probably the biggest thing I notice with the Fischer WC SL skis is the weight. They are heavy and stable and love to carve and don't get bounced around like my all mountain skis.
 

markojp

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I feel I'm getting pretty good coaching from Rob and Marty (Alyeska Ski Club Masters Coaches). Neither of them have telemark experience, but the stuff they've given me to focus on definitely helps, and having the opportunity to train gates on a regular basis has already made a big difference. The best feedback I've gotten so far was when Marty pointed out that as he watched us coming down the course while training, he could see everyone else's goggles, but he kept seeing the top of my helmet. That clicked for me - I needed to focus not just on looking down the course, but to open up my upper body and neck and actively rotate my helmet up. Furthermore, by moving my shoulders and head back, I felt more comfortable moving my hips forward without feeling like I was risking face planting into my ski tips. Unfortunately, I only got a few days to try that feedback out before the area shut down due to COVID-19. The coaches also have me focusing on less arc in the torso and instead trying to get a sharper bend in the hips. Lots of good feedback from them, and I can definitely tell the improvement both in my on piste and off piste skiing. The trick is finding enough time balancing between Masters, kids in Mighty Mites, volunteering on race days for Mighty Mites, getting in free skiing with the kids, etc.! It's a great set of problems to have!
Respectfully, unless they telemark at a reasonably proficient level, they won't be of much help with the nuanced differences in mechanics. Tactics, sure, but not the mechanics, and from your video, that appears to be where you need the greatest focus.
 

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