He’s been exclusively a telemark skier since 1992. Loving it. He’s been a sponsored athlete since 2002. In 2004, he started a webzine called FreeheelLife.com that ran until 2008. He’s appeared in several movie productions including Warren Miller’s Higher Ground (2005) as well as many independent telemark movies. He’s produced, filmed, edited and toured internationally 5 of my own telemark movies. He was the Editor of Telemark Skier Magazine 2009-12. He then purchased Telemark Skier Magazine in 2012. He’s just opened Freeheel Life Telemark Ski Shop in 2014.
Nobody is really doing this, we can really make it OUR OWN
Do you use leash on not releasable telemark binding in the resorts.
On all skis or boards, you need to have a system to hold or stop the device from going down if it were to leave your feet. Image a ski or board going down a slope at great speed hitting someone on the head and killing him. It’s happened, I’m sure.
As a ski patrol, I have seen a lot of dangerous situations and a few close calls.
On Alpine skis, the fact that the binding is releasable, brakes have been the norm for quite a while.
On snowboards, a leash should be attached to one of the legs. This practice is not followed by any snowboarders I know. The reason is quite simple, the binding system is very reliable. 20 years back or so, I remember seeing bindings rip from boards after a hard landing and going down like crazy. I’ve seen this happen with alpine skis and telemark as well.
Telemark skiers are mostly responsible people and most of them use leashs to link the boots to the binding. If after a great fall, if the binding was to release, the skis would go nowhere.
Now there is a few telemark bindings that comes with release and brakes so we’ll leave these out of the conversation.
I don’t use a leash and have been doing so for 10 years.
I know, I know, that’s not very wise. Quite stupid frankly.
And you are right. If my binding was to release for no reason, my ski would go down like a missile.
But it’s never happened.
That’s another stupid thinking I know.
Then comes risk management.
Risk zero does not exist.
Any living is doom to end. The goal is to rationally choose the most acceptable path to the end.
Water is dangerous so we learn to swim.
Telemark binding are not safely held to the boot so we put a leash.
My years of experiences have thought me that binding tension will always loosen, so I’ve made a rule to always check that the tension is all good. And that’s always been enough to keep my binding to my feet, unless a great fall. Like a really good bail. And then, I’m kind of happy that the ski releases.
This has happened to me a few times. Manly in tight woods, where the skis got stuck and got riped from my feet.
See what I mean at 2:50
That one time, I was skiing with a demo ski and it had a leash. I injured my leg on the scene. When my leg when under the snow, I felt the binding go with out to much tension, then I felt the leash hard wire create a large amount of tension. It broke. At the time, I was sure I had blown my knee, but luckily, after a week, I was good to go…
So, did the leash do it’s job?
It did not prevent the ski from becoming a missile.
And it injured my knee in the process
Managing the Risk
As I said, it’s all about reducing the risk to an acceptable minimum.
This is what I see as a ski patrol, 99% of the time:
For telemark skiers. If they have to remove their skis in a steep slope, they will have a lot of difficulty to put it back on. and sometimes, one of the skis will escape…. Missile of dead
For snowboarders, beginners will remove their snowboard to walk down a harder section. The board will slip out of their hands for what ever reason, and the missile is launched.
Now there is still that 1%
That’s where risk management comes in place. Is that 1% were the missile launch could have been avoided by a leash.
Leashes are not a no fail system as seen in the video. And they don’t even avoid the main danger’s I’ve seen.
It’s now accepted in the snowboard scene that leashes are non sense and, around me at least, you never see a snowboarder wear one.
For the telemark scene, I don’t think it’s that much different.
Make sure your binding tension is right every time you put the ski on. That will save you and the surrounding skiers 99.9% of the time.
Then if you feel more secure wearing a leash please do. Especially if you’re a beginner and you are not aware of what is the right tension in your bindings… Or if you are using older bindings that did not create as much tension.
Dave Bombard is the owner of Bishop binding Company. More than just a business man, he’s really just a passionate telemark skier, doubled with a engineer and MBA background. When I meet with Dave, I only saw the telemark skier. His passion is at the core of his life and you will discover a true ambassador for the sport.
Discover your inner ski bum with this inspiring story. Nanou went from literally a top cancer researcher in a laboratory to full time pro patrol in a year. After nearly a decade of her inner voice talking, she took a leap of fate and fulfilled her dream, drove out west and telemarked day in and day out.
Located in the State of Vermont, Mad River Glen is an Iconic mountain resort of Eastern North America. It’s got a Single Chair lift, and it’s barely got man made snow.
Needless to say it have been many years on my hit list.
So here I was, ready for my first ride up the Single, as the local call it, waiting in line when the guy behind ask me about my skis:”what kind are those”
And that was it. That’s all it took to embark on one of the easy going, best vibe and fun week end of my life. No wonder it’s been around for so long…
That’s how I meet Steve, Wendy and Ben and about two dozen other enthousiast. They have been part of MRG and NATO for all these years. They simply welcomed me in there universe: Do you like to ski in the trees? Wendy asked.
I did not know much about NATO (North American Telemark Organisation) but I knew they helped created telemark like it is today. Their movies the Joy of Telemark and Sweet Joy helped define and have shown a lot of people how to telemark over the years.
But I discovered the real influence NATO have over the sport. You cannot organize a festival for 39 year with such success if you are not dedicated to the sport like Dickie Hall, president, is. And it’s not only him, it’s a full crowd of passionate people including Wendy, Steve and Ben.
I was sucked in the telemark community. I ended up skiing with Steve or his friends, or his friends-friends for the week-end. I got shown the best glades, the worst glades, the steep, the fun boardercross like classic narrow runs. Just a blast. By the time the party came in the evening I felt like part of the Mad River community like if I had been part of it for years. Wendy took my under her wing, presented me to everybody. Drank the BEST beer ever, thanks to Lawson’s Finest Liquid, awesome band playing all the classic rock so that everyone is dancing, a super nice firework… You just can’t reproduce such a welcoming ambiance like that. You have it or you don’t. And the Mad locals definitely have it.
I got invited to a supper, to sleep over, to try the best blue berry pancakes ever…
See what kind of spirit I mean
The next day, back to square one, skiing steep, engaging runs with a large bunch of really fun people. All levels or age, just so dedicated. In the evening was the Bump Buffet race, a short mogul race with a small jump right at the bottom of the mountain for the best ambiance possible. The run was perfect for all levels from kids to expert skiers, everybody having fun and cheering for each other. I completely miss my first run and ended up putting a decent second run to win the event. What a blast.
Another round of Lawson’s perfect liquid, with a cool band…
I’ll definitely be there this year for the 40th anniversary. You need to be there too.
I found a lot of good video on youtube about Mad River Glen like this one
But none reflect the reality of this unique resort. You have to ski it. It’s steeper, more rugged, than any other ski area I’ve ever been in the East. Almost every run has cliffs, ice, bumps and rock mixed in such an unpredictable manner that it’s all in on every turn. The concentration, the commitment needs to be 100% on every turn.
I just love it.
The moto: Ski it if you can… Mad River Glen, is more than deserved.
Yet, everybody can ski it. It’s ski like it used to be, it’s ski like it should be. The very few groomed runs are narrow any turny, the glades are anywhere from tight to really tight and one third of the ski runs are not on the map. Yet, everybody could ski it…
Meeting with the ski patrollers, the number of injuries is very low compared to the national statistics. I was not so surprised. After many years pro patrolling on one of the hardest ski resort in Eastern Canada, I have only ever evacuate 4 or 5 injured people on a mogul run or in the glades. On the other side, I can’t count the number of days I have had more than 5 injured skiers in one day, on wide, groomed blue runs
Groomers are killers!
The average skill level of the local Mad River Glenner is higher than average but even beginners were on the mountain and doing fine. Everyone’s pace is different, but every one could ski it.
If you want a chalenge, the best ambiance a mountain can give and meet the best people in Vermont, head over to the Mad River Glen 40th telemark festival with Dickie and his friends. You definitely won’t regret it.
Dickie is a hall of fame first pick in the telemark scene. It is said he has taught more poeple how to telemark than anybody on the planet. He is the founder of the North American Telemark Organisation or NATO and organiser of the North American Telemark Festival in Mad river Glen who is celebrating its 40th aniversary this year. And the list goes on…
Let’s meet one of the most influencial character of the telemark scene in North America in the last… did I say 40 years!
Devon Wright is a telemark racer on the US national team and a solid freerider. In his early twenty’s, his goal is to telemark around the world and to compete in what he describes the best competitive community on the planet. Telemark tribe, join us in this awesome story, with one of the best telemark skier on the planet
In this episode, I interview Craig, a telemark passionate, but more than anything a backcountry enthusiast. He runs a website called EarnYourTurns.com and a forum, BackcountryTalk.com
Craig is a reference in telemark gear. His reviews are well documented and renowned. In the end, Craig ends up being a super passionate person and a true story teller. Embark with us in his journey to a quarter century of BC and Telemark experience.
In this episode, we meet with a true product developer. Fortunately for us, his cousin introduced him to telemark. The first thing he realized, the bindings on the market where not the sport’s greatest assets. Discover the Meidjo, the new binding that is a cross over between NTN and TTS.
It is here to talk about telemark skiing, interviewing community leaders, talking about equipment, telemark tips and more. My goal is simple, get as many people talking about telemark. Through out my many years as a telemark skier, one thing as always came out, the telemark community is just awesome. Discover all there is about the latest trends, the best places to go, the best athletes, the history of telemark through are awesome guests. I will also answer your questions what ever your level and ability. Telemark is full of passionate people, this is theTelemark Tribe I want you to discover.
In this first episode, I will tell you my passion for telemark and where it comes from. This is simply to present the podcast format.
We will talk about:
What is telemark skiing
The great Telemark community which I like to call the Telemark Tribe
My history, how I got hooked on telemark
What’s to come in futur episodes
You can help this show by sharing this post on the web ANd by commenting below.
If you have a question you would like answered on the show, please ask
Also, when the episode is going to be accepted on Itunes, I will put a link so that you can leave a review and (hope fully a good) rating.
Coming back after a season ending injury last January (fractured distal tibia) even walking down stairs hasn't felt natural. So getting my rythm back has been difficult, but watching these videos has helped re-set my brain. Thanks Rene!
Thank you! I'm falling in love with telemark for the 3rd time (at least): I'm sure that's the key for a fun, everlasting relation :) I really enjoy the opportunity to work on my tecnique, explore new sensations and why not improve the esthetics of the gesture. In the end, that's why we all ski tele, don't we?
Hi, I'm Rene-Martin
René-Martin Trudel is a telemark instructor, a ski patroller and a mountain enthusiast. His life has been driven by mountain and snow, professionally for the past 15 years. continue reading.