Last year was a mess for me, gear wise. My alpine boots packed out, I ripped the bases off of one pair of skis, tore up the sidewalls of another (more on that in a later post), and I had problem after problem after problem with my telemark setups. I've been posting some of the issues on various forums, but I thought I'd tell the whole story here, just to give some information to people thinking about Telemark, NTN, and Alpine Touring options.
I sold 4 pairs of skis at the beginning of last year to fund the switch to NTN - a 78mm waisted Tele setup, a 80mm waisted park ski, a 70mm waisted tuned down race ski, and a 78mm waisted midfat that was broken and battered. Most of this was due to my love of the Liberty Morphic alpine skis that I got the previous year. I realized that 94mm at the waist is perfectly fine, and there's really no need to go under 85mm, except for rock hard ice days, and I have a pair of slalom skis for that.
|Skis sold to make room in my basement and wallet|
|Scarpa TX Pro boots in action in Silverton, CO|
|Atomic Charters in the air in Durango. You can sort of see the low profile for weight savings.|
That piece of metal is supposed to be attached to that other piece of metal. And when I looked on the other binding, the same thing was about to happen there:
|Look at that crack forming|
First, though, let me back up. Since I was in the middle of teaching when these bindings broke, I rushed into town to see if the shop in town had any solutions for me. They just happened to have last years version of the same binding, so they swapped the bindings out really quick and sent me back to the mountain (I later realized that while making the switch, he drilled through the bases when he didn't account for the couple millimeter difference in the binding depth. Doh!). Undeterred, I ordered the Rottefella Freedom bindings the next day.
When I finally got the bindings in (and after a few false starts with not having the correct brakes), Jeff put them on the skis and sent me on my way. The difference was amazing. Power, control, precision - I was able to get everything that I was missing with the Burnt Mountain offering. I guess I should have assumed this would be the case. The NTN system was designed to attach at the second heel (the "duckbutt" in forum talk). And doing that, using the "powerbox", the binding transfers energy to the ski, and gives you a predictable flex through the whole turn. Also, the breaks are burly, and I can put my skis together like Alpine skis, which is awesome. No more messing around with ski straps. Technically, I feel awesome - strong and accurate. Other people have reported a difficulty with the slow drag - the gradual lead change that you need to make smooth long turns, but I haven't really noticed. I got back from Colorado, feeling awesome about the setup, and I was just starting to get used to the bindings when this happened:
|Those cracks aren't supposed to be there|
|That's not supposed to be like that|
What skis? Well, the Liberty Morphics that I mentioned in the very beginning of this post failed me. I somehow managed to rip off the base material which was a weird plastic material and not P-Tex like a normal ski. I sent them back to the company and they sent me a nice pair of bluish purple ones with a P-Tex base. The boots and bindings are in the shop now getting mounted up. This is the last chance. If this combo doesn't work for me (a ski I like for Alpine, a binding I loved before it broke, and the most comfortable boots I've ever owned), then I'm done with the NTN experiment. I'm pretty hopeful, though. I'm looking forward to a full season with one pair of Tele skis that I know I'll be able to rip on. Let's just hope they don't explode.