He is a world class telemark skier that have competed in the Big Mountain Telemark tour, created a movie production company, and has helped TelemarkSkier.com become the reference it is today. By the way this episode was only suposed to air in 10 days but, since Telemark Skier is Launching There New Website, might as well share this with you today.
With Telemark, you have to do it your way…
From his awesome Sick Bird awards through out his pro days to the ways he has created his own mark in the history of telemark in the last decade in the US, JT always seems to be around the big scene and creating his own destiny. This is one fascinating telemark skier. And so inspiring too
Even if you don’t recognize his name, you’ve probably seen Weston in a ski magazine, movie, or just ripping by you in the Wasatch. He brings his infectious energy to the hill every day, whether it’s for a shoot or working with the kids of the Park City Tele Tribe.
After seeing some videos of Weston, I have to say that he is one of the best Telemark Skier of his era.
The Main reason why I Changed form 75mm binding to the Meidjo
Note to the readers: In this article, I will try to give you an honest, but subjective point view. I’m not a gear tester and I have not tried all the bindings on the market. In fact, I have not tried that many. This only reflects my personal opinion and should be taken as such. I’ve put a lot of links pointing to other articles and I hope to help you grasp the essence of my reflexion. Why so much talk about bindings, well for one, it’s the link to the ski. It’s the one piece of equipment that define our sport. Oh, and I haven’t changed bindings every 8 years so I think this is a very important decision…
The Meidjo binding is now in version 2.0
If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.
The first version was not perfect, nor is any binding in my mind. There were some problems reported by the early adopters.
Early adopters and myself have experienced these problems with the first version, here are some of the things I’ve experienced, seen or heard:
The binding plate did ice once on me
The heel lifters pins detached and I lost a heel lifter
The pins detached in different part of the binding (heard)
The front low tech bended and eventually broke (seen)
Bindings ripped from the ski (heard)
And more I’m sure
Still I had about 20 days in the backcountry with the bindings. And I loved it. Also, I could do a list of similar problems for all bindings on the market, especially on their first year out.
And version 2.0 seems to have solved all those problems and more.
The advantages of the Meidjo are just killing the other options on the market for me.
It’s a TTS alike binding.
Ever since I heard about The M Equipment prototype of a new TTS alike binding, I got exited about the Meidjo binding. You can also listen to the podcast episode on the binding here and also check out my first review of the binding here.
TTS or Telemark Tech System was already on the market and a great option in my mind already. In this article, you will hear me talk about the TTS family bindings. This refers to the original Olympus Mountain Gear’s TTS idea to have the front of the boot attached to a low-tech front piece. The original TTS seems like a great option, I never got the chance to try them.
It is the first Telemark binding to use this front part of the Alpine Touring (AT) system invented by Dynafit 35 years ago that is still revolutionizing the ski market today.
a Dynafit binding, referred as a low-tech binding or just tech binding
Today, TTS is joined by two other models on the market, the Meidjo and the Moon Light Binding, which really is a clone of the original TTS idea, with some refinements.
Low-tech: I saw all my AT friends just effortlessly climbing up the skin track with there low-tech bindings and light boots and while I was left hustling up the mountain. TTS promised that same efficiency with a simple design.
More than any other reason, the efficiency gained in the touring mode is just ridiculous. And I think Telemark as seen a great lost toward Alpine Touring for that reason only. Non-TTS Telemark is just lost in the dust as a backcountry option.
It skis just as good as what I’m used too.
In the last decade, Telemark became very popular. Well as popular as it ever was. The major improvement came from Telemark boots being stiffer and more than anything else, binding feel became active. From the Rainey Super Loop to the 22 design Hammer Head all the way to NTN, the lack of power on the back ski was a problem of the past.
I skied the same pair of SuperLoop for 7 years. That durability
To many, NTN is simply too restrictive and the feeling is somewhat lost. Although I don’t agree with this, I totally understand what the challenge is. Telemark is all about the freeheel feeling. And that’s one thing I really like about the Black Diamond O1 or O2 series. It feels right, it skis great with enough power and feeling.
The Meidjo has a lot of the NTN advantages but with the 75mm norm feeling. Can’t go wrong with that.
You won’t come back to your old system once you get use to this one.
At first I didn’t think that would be a big thing. I’m so used to getting in and out of my 75mm bindings.
But being a ski patroller and a dad, often times I kept my skis on to do some things that I would have been better without.
Installing a safety net, removing snow under my kid’s boots, shovelling a protecting padding. I even avoided gondola because I didn’t like to get on and off my skis.
In my first impressions of the Meidjo, I didn’t step-in the bindings the way it’s supposed to be done. But after a while it became very easy to get in the low-tech toe piece, so the whole step-in became natural. You do have to harm the system before you can step in, but all in all, it’s a major improvement.
From the start, I was very curious about this new design. I was very confused on how the binding worked. But once I got the binding in my hands, that it got mounted to my skis, that I got to try it for the first time, things changed. The design of the binding is just amazing. The way it operates, the fact that you can adjust the spring tension and the release tension independently. The way the low tech alignment pins guide your boot’s insert, the way the little (flimsy looking but never failed) hook holds your binding in the touring mode all make this binding in a category of it’s own. This binding is innovation.
It’s a release binding. You can’t go wrong with release ability (see cons)
The fact that the Meidjo 2.0 comes with a brake really adds to the versatility of this binding. This option will available soon and so I will put a break on my resort skis. This is the ski I patrol with, this is the skis I carve with, ski bumps, this is my day to day ski. size are 95mm, 105mm and 120mm.
See the Meidjo 2.0 with brakes
Dynafit crampons compatibility also adds to this binding versatility. This brand of crampons is readily available so if you need crampons, or already have that brand, this is a great advantage.
The Ability to Alpine Ski
The Meidjo 2.0 will have the option of adding a heel piece (the rear part of a tech binding, see photo a the top of the page)
The more I think about that, the more I see this becoming a big advantage for the Telemark Tribe.
For one, Telemark will always stay a more challenging sport compare to alpine skiing. Variable conditions, necessary strength and fitness, the technique just had to the challenge. To make a hybrid binding is something that’s been talked about for a long time. I remember the first NTN + heel assembly. It was massive.
This is completely the opposite. The identity of the binding as a hole is maintained. It’s still light, tourable and you have a viable option to alpine ski if needed. (I have yet to try this option and I’m still not a big fan of the alpine turn feeling but I might not be the average Telemark skier)
On The Down Side Now (Yep there’s always cons)
Their is no binding that’s got it all and in the end, looking at both the good and the bad will enable you to make your decision.
If you are in North America, as this post is written (Fall 2015) the binding is not yet readily available. You can wait and see if dedicated shops like TelemarkDown.com or others will get some to sell or if there is going to be a distributor and so on. My guess is that this is about to change in the near future.
A dreamer’s dream coming true.
The company behind The Meidjo
The M Equipment is a small company out of the French Alps. Pierre Mouyade, the founder is still handling almost all of the development, operation, manufacturing, selling, and I guess so much more. You have to admire such dedication for our sport. Not many have succeeded on that path and the example of 22 Design establishing themselves has true leaders are rare.
This comes with some hiccups. The ability for a small company to answer all its client’s need can be a challenge. So far, I think Pierre has done an awesome job last season, solving problems as they came, but some promises like the option of a ski brake got delayed back to this season.
Not so long ago, G3 led the market with its legendary Targa binding. It was (still is) 200$. Then came higher priced bindings with active feeling and free pivots like the O1, the Axl. Lately, the NTN has made the prices grow to meet the alpine touring binding prices. The Meidjo pushes that even further and now join the low-tech bindings price range.
Is the Meidjo worth it’s price?
For some maybe not.
This is somewhat like comparing the prices of the leather boots to the plastic boots. The prices double at the time, and the advantages that came with plastic were a no brainer so the transition was very fast. This is just an example.
Will the Meidjo’s advantages meet with people’s expectations?
That I’m sure.
Once you’re there, price doesn’t matter much.
The Boots and Binding Combo
This is the NTN problem once again. When NTN came around, not only the binding cost a few pennies more, you had to change your boots as well. The Meidjo uses NTN boots that also have low-tech inserts. So far only a few boot models have that option but I think it’s only a matter of time before more and more boot manufacturers put inserts in their NTN boots. Scott has just included inserts in their Voodoo.
Changing boots was a big concern for me. I loved the Black Diamond Custom and the fact that BD has discontinued their Telemark boots was a major push in the back to look for a completely new set up. Having tried the Scarpa TX pro last season, I really love the comfort and touring efficiency but the downhill performance was just not there for me. I really wish that Scarpa would add insert on the TX comp.
Note: This is really my preference. Having a stiff boot is not for everybody and I would recommend you to simply go with what you think is best.
The only really stiff option right now is the Crispy Evo WC. I’m really exited to try these boots out, as they have been a favourite amongst the Telemark world cup racers last season.
The Meidjo brings a release system but it’s not perfect. There is an independent screw that adjusts the release tension and that’s better than the Rottefella NTN. But there is no chart available on where to set the screw. I’ve simply put it in the middle.
False sense of security: A couple years back I tried a super light AT set up. It was a prototype of the Carbon Megawatt with super light low-tech bindings. I usually have no problem skiing with alpine equipment and my confidence level is as high as on my Telemark. But the look of those tiny binding holding such fat planks didn’t seem safe. I was scared for my knees.
In the Alpine Skiing community, a lot of talk is made about the safety of bindings. The truth is that alpine skiers main injuries are knee related due to binding release or non-release at the time of the injury. This is still the main problem whatever the system you use. No wonder the DIN talk is so polarized.
On the Telemark scene, this subject is not as much polarized. Most of the bindings do not have a release system at all. And knee injuries are still lower than for alpine skiers. you can check these websites for more info here and here. More recent data should be available soon and you can participate to survey here
Behaviour, age group are strong factors but the tendency of the binding and boots to absorb some of movement that causes injuries on alpine skis are also contributing.
Should you have a release binding?
In short yes.
No argument! Telemark bindings with release are safer, so why not!
All this to say that the Meidjo could provide a chart to set the best possible tension. Still, the best way to save your knees is your behaviour as a skier and luck. Equipment comes third in my mind.
Can one binding become the new norm and dominate the market? Probably not. I’d like to point out a really great article by Craig Dostie where he talks about most bindings on the market with there specs and some grat info here. (Once you are on the Website, type in Meidjo in the search bar and will have a great number of articles as well)
If it ain’t broken don’t fix it, again
Bindings in the 75mm will continue to be popular for a number of years. Bindings like the Bishop 2.0, the O1, the AXL, the classic Rottefella Cobra to name a few have the legions of addicts that are not ready to change their minds. I was very happy with the O1 from Black Diamond and the 8 reasons pointed above really made the difference.
Rottefella NTN bindings and the new Outlaw NTN from 22 Design are viable options if power is your main concern. The new Outlaw looks to be a great option with a true touring mode. I think it will attract a lot of hype this season.
The original TTS and the clone like MoonLight binding are simple and efficient bindings and both also promises the alpine heel option. In fact, MoonLight already have it for sale. I have not tried any of those options. I have had great comments about both of them, especially the original TTS that have been around for a while. In the end I wish that this TTS family will spread to a point that it will rejuvenate the Telemark industry. Having lighter bindings will lead to lighter boots and we’ll then have a say in backcountry travel like we use too.
In the end, I chose the Meidjo because it brings the best out of every system.
It seems like the perfect compromise, the best upward and downward combo. The step in, the feeling, the brake…
I will even mount my resort skis with them, so it’s not only a backcountry solution.
I really think that the TTS family is the future for our sport.
The Meidjo is the best all in one solution in that category for me.
If you agree with me thus far, you have to be excited for what is to come for our sport.
Is the Meidjo perfect? Time will tell but so far the 2.0 version sure looks close to perfect for me
I have telemarked for 19 years now on 5 bindings. All 75mm classic duckbill bindings. Every time I change, I never looked back. This is now the 6th binding.
The season is about to start and it is the perfect time to get motivated to train and be in the best shape before the season.
The goal here is simply to share my training on a 5 day a week program.
I do the same things over for one month and it’s worked pretty good for me.
Remember to train according to your capacities. I’m not a trainer and if you are not sure if these exercices are good for you or not, please ask your physician. This is just me sharing my method that is working for me.
Welcome to the second season of the Absolute Telemark Tips Podcast.
This episode we meet with Stephane Riendeau, someone I highly respect for is work in telemark scene.
Stephane Riendeau has been creating, producing and editing films for over 10 years.
More than that, Stephane’s film compagny, Tough Guy Production’s have organized and produce anything from telemark movies to big mountain telemark events all the way to Alaska!
Stephane’s passion for adventure has lead him to travel the world, while earning a living from his camera. Stephane has shot and worked for Warren Miller, MTV, HBO, OUTSIDE Television, RSN and many more.
Let’s find out how this Telemark bum has created a career out of desire to ski powder EVERYDAY.
Here is Stephane’s last movie, it rips. If you want to get stoke for the season, this is it, Tough Guy’s way
Last spring, I got he chance to to to the 40th telemark festival organized by the great Dickie hall, founder of the North AMerican Telemark Organizasion (NATO).
If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know just how much I respect Dickie’s implication for the sport. I mean, 40 years, that’s just insane.
This year is supposed to be the last so I would not miss it for anything.
With a great group of friends we drove to MRG, thanks to Marie-Claude and Phil for organizing everything. The combo of a great telemark community, this great mountain and your best ski buddies is hard to beat.
Here’s a video of the week end
I’d really like to thank Dickie Hall and all his crew for another great festival. I don’t know if someone will take over Dickie’s festival, but regardless, I promised myself I would go back again this next year. I have met so many great person, and the skiing is just incredible.
In the end, the quality of this festival is the proof that the telemark community is not a fad. Telemark is timeless, and I’ll bet that it’ll still be around in 40 years.
This is my first impression of the Meidjo Binding.
I wanted to do a review for this equipment but warning. I’m not a pro at doing reviews. I’d like to point to my friend Craig Dostie from EarnYourTurns.com for a true review on this binding or actually any review on telemark gear.
He did a complete review of the binding with clear views of all aspect which this review is not. This is more about giving my impressions
I want to mention that I was also trying a new ski, the Corbon Convert and some new boots, the Scarpa TX Pro.
I had a lot of anticipation for this set up. It’s like whenever you go see a movie that you heard was the best of the year. You will be disapointed if it’s just great.
So first the technology of the Meidjo.
This is binding as all the ingredient to become the next big thing in Telemark.
It’s Step In, releasable, It’s light and it’s suppose to ski great.
Plus it’s got low tech touring capacities. When I first wrote about the preproduction model last spring, I was already in awe.
Like I said, It’s got to be a great movie or I’m going to be disapointed.
I think that every body in the telemark tribe looking at this binding for the first time are like, wo, it looks complicated, How do you go from walk mode to telemark mode, it’s such a different design that I didn’t understand it before I actually tried it.
So behold, let check this beatifull design and put it to test.
So I went in the Chic Chocs backcountry for 3 days with some friends and tested the thing.
I’m no used to low tech and getting in and out, I expected it to be hard. Craig Dostie mentionned to me that it was the best fitting low tech he had seen on the market and he was right, It’s fairly easy to get it on.
I like to have the binding in the touing mode to put it on, so their is nothing in the way to get the insert lined up.
To do so, you have to do these steps, harm the binding up, push down and clip the touring hook.
Then, put it on by aligning the the pins witht the boots inserts and press donw, you can wigle a bit if needed to get it on.
Then, to get in telemark mode, release the touring hook and clip on.
This is not the way Pierre, the inventor explains how to put the binding on, because, by doing it this way, I have to bend down, so it’s not a true step in. So maybe with more experience witht the low tech, I will simply arm the binding and step in. In the end I’m so used to bendind down to put on my skis that I really did preffer to do it like this.
On the down side, I had some icing problem once and it prevented me to properly in the second heel. I simply had to manually snap the binding a few times and it was ok. It only happened once. I have to mention that I don’t know one binding on the market that never ice up.
Telemark is a downhill technique
Everybody so far liked the skiing so I was not so worried. Usually, everybody can’t go wrong. I want to point out that there is two dials to adjust tension and that you have the choice to add a second spring on each side for more tension. My good friend Max form Xalibu skis, mounted the binding and had already added the second set of spring knowing my style. It created a really active feeling very close to HamerHead #4. It did not feel like a NTN binding but it’s neither anything like the mellow 75mm binding Black diamond O1 or Voile.
I will play with the springs tension to see all the possibilities
Note on the skis and Boots:
I had never tried the Carbon Convert and this is a solid charger. It’s not at all a mellow soft playful ski that you can push around. It’s a driver and it contributed to my feeling of having a strong set up.
The only odd were the boots. I actually love the Scarpa TX pro, there so comfy, light and warm but I had to adapt to it’s softness.
Conditions were windpack and I had to tighten the boot like mad to get the power I needed.
After a few days, I got used to the boots and it was ok, but I really missed a more powerful boot.
So I would give the Meidjo a strong 10/10 for skiing.
It really delivered in terms of power vs feeling it’s unmatched in my mind except for the HamerHead/Axl and definitely better than the NTN freeride
There is no clear indications on how to set the release tension.
I love the idea that the tension of the release is independent of the tension of the binding activeness. But I would like to know how to adjust the release tension. My tech set it up half way as he didn’t have any more cues.
I had no pre release problem while skiing either on the toe piece or on the second heel, I did not fall either, so really, I did not test this part of the binding.
For me, this was by far the part that interested me the most.
All the TTS family binding alike like the original TTS, the light moon and the Meidjo uses the low tech advantages of what ATers have had the pleasure of having for years. I have never tried the TTS or the Moonlight so I will consider the Meidjo as my first binding that integrates all the benefits of low tech in telemark gear.
What a pleasure.
The touring hook was changed and this is one aspect I was worried about not being user friendly. It never iced, I was easy to operate and I actually love how easy it is to go from walk mode to telemark mode. To go the other way around you have to remove the binding, which is not my favorite thing, but I can live with that
I had tried Plum, which is a light low tech AT binding many years ago and I don’t remember the low tech to be sooooo efficient.
But with the Meidjo: WOW.
In this, I have to consider the whole package. Boots offered great comfort, movement, skis are very light compared to my Amperage and the Meidjo really delivered. Wow again.
Untill I had a lot of release of the pins, with medium side force. This is wrong. I was missing something. All the people can’t be in Awe if this binding is always releasing in walk mode. But where is the walk mode!
This is a great exemple of a telemark skier not used to a completely new design and being confuse. And Although I feel dumb about not finding how to look the front low tech on the binding at first, I’m sure I’m not the only one that will make this mistake.
I kept trying lifting the red tab from ski to walk like on a Dynafit, or any low tech binding I know, this is not how it is…
In the end, I had to read the instructions (I can hear Craig Dostie laughing at me right now) to find that you have to press a big black bar that simply locks the red tab.
Told you, I’m no expert at all the gear
What I’m good at thought is being out in the mountains and telemark skiing. I do more than a lot and this binding delivered in every aspect except one. the Climbing raisers. The red one sometimes fell without any cause. The second wire one was ok. Maybe I still need to read instructions…
In the end, I did not use and of the two climb riser simply because the efficiency of the low tech is that much more. I could easily climd very steep tracks all the way to the skin holding limit so I never fell the need for the risers.
In the end
I have to say that I’m very impressed. The binding hold to the reputation it already have.
Skiing is very good, a strong 10/10 and that’s number one for me,
Touring is exceptional, and it makes the game radically different in the mountains
By far my biggest surprised is that the overall binding is very user friendly. It all makes sense and I got the hang of it very naturally (Okay! except on how to lock the front pins
Time will now tell if it holds up and until then, for me there’s just no point in going back to another system.
On that note, The Meidjo have already made a few adjustments, adding some screws to better hold up, changing the touring hook, which like I said I found very convenient.
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.