Last season I spent a very good amount of time on the Bishop BMF bindings. I tried the NTN and the 75mm versions.
The Bishop Moto: THE GOLD STANDARD IN BADASSERY
Well, that’s true. Their products are badass.
Coming from the very Burly Bishop Bomber was truly a very reliable, biffy binding. It had a very good reputation and thus a following.
Came the NTN revolution and now, the Telemark Tribe need to have NTN boots and binding, right?
Well, the Badassary Mojo is more than that, the BMF comes in an NTN or 75mm option.
They have created the most flexible binding on the planet.
You can choose 75mm or NTN
If you were to change from 75mm to NTN in the years to come, you can send the binding back to Bishop and they will modify it for you at a reasonable cost.
This binding fits all boot sizes. OK not all sizes but there is no small or large option, the BMF can be adjusted from boot sole 270 to 346mm which is about size (mondo 22 to 31) This is really nice for reselling your stuff or replacement parts
Plus, you can get a switch plate to easily swap your binding on many skis.
This is the real question and it took me 5 minutes to say that I really liked this binding.
In short, it skies great. It’s powerful, there is no dead zone and the amount of adjustability makes it a great choice for anyone but the purist who want a true neutral feeling
Trying both options is an eye opener. Really!
To a point where I want a go back to 75mm.
Okay not full time but still, I had so much fun.
First off, the 75mm is just a great option that skies really good. It’s powerful yet you can adjust it the way you like, to get a more neutral feeling.
Plus, when you think about it, this 75mm binding is the holy grail of 75mm binding. Well almost.
You can a great skiability
You get brakes
you can an incredible step in
This is what resort skiers have been asking for decades.
As for no dead zone, that is something 75mm bindings have always struggled to achieve. The way this binding is engaging the boot is superb for the experts telemark skiers that demands a reliable balance in all the phase of the turn.
The NTN version is also a very good binding that delivers a lot of punch. I quite enjoyed them and this has rapidly become my go to binding for the resort.
The real big difference over the competition is the ease of the step in step out. It really is better than anything else I have tried.
For this, I will mention that boot has an impact on this so take this considering I’m skiing with the Crispy Evo WC. But honestly, this is the closes we have ever been to the real step in of an alpine binding. Having a binding with a brake, that you can easily step in and out is such a joy when you are working as a ski patroller. It really makes my days easier.
Touring or not touring
As binding have become more and more active, you need a resistance-free mode to walk around the mountain. The Bishop offers their binding in the R version (stand for Randonnee) or the 3 (for non-touring.
This is really great because if you don’t need the touring option, you can save some money and weight and get a traditional binding.
But if like most of us, you end up adventuring in the backcountry, they offer a touring, resistance-free mode. Okay, it’s still a full frame binding, but it’s the best there is. It’s got a great ROM that the Outlaw X according to my tests.
Like I often say, I’ve never had a telemark binding not fail on me. And the BMF did have minor issues. Watch the video above for in depth description of my problems. But, like most companies, this problem was fixed during the season and I think it’s safe to say that this is one of the most durable bindings on the market.
Bishop as nailed it. Really.
If you are looking for a resort binding, if the step in step out is something important look no further, the BMF is just above the competition.
It skis very well in both 75mm and NTN version, it’s super flexible and will last you a long time.
The only thing still missing is a release binding. For that, you will have to look at the Meidjo which as the most sophisticated one on the market (Just my thoughts here, no hard data showing this)
Just to be clear, I still think the Outlaw X is a viable option. The 22 design Outlaw X only real disadvantage is the step in with a brake. The price is still a major bump. At the time of posting, the price for the BMF-R is 699$ USD vs the Outlaw X at 399$ USD.
So you will probably use the switch plates and all the flexibility this binding as the offer.
From this metric you have to choose your skis to be narrower or wider than your foot.
Because everybody’s feet are unique (some are more than 106mm) and that I want to make a general rule, let’s average a foot’s width to be at 100mm.
When you are edging, your knees and hips are making a leverage of the ski to tip on it’s edge. A narrow ski will require less force to edge and to maintain the edging. An exaggeration of this is ice skates which are so easy to go from edge to edge that the challenge is to stay straight on the tiny blade.
Under 100mm, your ski will be:
easier to edge,
nimble and quick turning,
best for hard packed snow, moguls, carving, couloirs…
The great gain above 100m is the floattability in powder. This has changed the game and made skiing in powder effortless.
Above 100, your ski will be:
good in soft snow, floating easily
create more momentum force in the ski, making it efficient in hard snow conditions like crud, chopped snow, wind packed, heavy spring snow and so on
If you want an all around ski, aim for a ski close to 100. the most popular will sit from 95mm to 105mm
Rocker is the way the tip or tail of the ski raise to create a banana look. It’s also called reverse-camber.
Camber is the the opposite. Camber is the amount of bounce a ski have under foot.
Rocker is always in the conversation but is overrated if you ask me.
It is not the most important metric as most skis nowadays have both rocker and camber to some degree. And the ratio rocker-camber is more and more constant from brand to brand within the given kind of ski. It’s like if the compagnies had tried a lot of combinations and found the same recipe to be the best. This is highly debatable since every one have their opinion on rocker.
Here’s mine: Don’t worry about rocket too much.
I will advise against full rocker ski, a ski without any camber.
The other metrics I pay attention to is the construction of the ski, mainly a popular option, carbon. A few years back, the trend was to put titanium plates called Titanial. (It’s still very popular but it’s added with other materials)
Carbon is more and more used to save weight in ski construction and it gives great rigidity. One of the challenge for telemark skiers is to have a ski not so rigid at the tip so that the back ski doesn’t sink too much under the snow.
The tip tendency to dig under is accentuated by the NTN system bindings, which are very active. Combined with a stiff tip, it can really become unskiable.
If you go carbon just make sure the flex is still smooth at the tip. I have had great experience with carbon skis and bad ones. For example the Black Diamond Verdict 100mm ski had a super rigid design (because of Titanial, the point is the same here), and the tip part was also very rigid. This was great if you alpined ski. But for Telemark, it was just too stiff and face plants were more than frequent.
This is a new metric for me. There is a trend to have really shallow tips raise. They only rise a few cm off the ground. I’ve never ask a rep but I think this is to better control spatula vibrations.
Be careful not to get a ski that has barely no curve in the tip.
Again, the back ski will tend to dig under the snow. In a mogul run, it gets really hard to get the back ski over the bump.
I’ve had this problem with the Helios 95 from Black Diamond. But I did not have that problem with the Helios 105 or 116.
FYI: I had the Helios 95 in a shorter than usual length for me. I usually choose around 178-182cm and I tried to go 173cm. This combo of short ski and shallow tip raise made it hard to telemark in variable conditions and bumps.
The ski that all testers liked
It was 2005. The telemark tribe was at it’s height and a magazine had us try all the telemark skis on the market. K2, G3, Black Diamond, Rossignol…
All the best telemark skiers of my province were gathered to try and evaluate the skis.
I found it really hard to put in words the feeling proper to every skis. Even more interesting, some testers express the same feeling in completely different words than mine.
But in the end, there was one ski that everybody ranked #1 or #2. It was the clear winner. Great, let’s buy that ski.
If you look at the metrics of that ski today, it would not fit in the all around quiver that Lloyd is looking for.
It was the K2 World Piste if I remember correctly.
This is the description K2 had put up:
The K2 World Piste is a all-around mid-fat ski. A 78mm waist and 114mm shovel let this ski perform in Bridger cold smoke or Baker wet cement. Titanal construction and lightweight wood core make the ski nimble and responsive. If you can only afford one pair of skis check out the World Piste Tele ski.
Performs well in wet cement!
What, this is crazy. Compagnies don’t make all around skis so narrow anymore.
But this is not the best part. Although the K2 WP were a favorite, it’s the rest of the skis evaluation that got me thinking a lot.
All the skis were OKAY.
There was no real bad ski. No lemon. And skis today looks nothing like the ones in 2005-2006.
The point I’m making here is that skis evolve so much over time. They really improve. What if I skied a 78mm ski today? Would I be able to do the same stuff? Moguls and carving for sure. But Powder and Wet cement?
Maybe 10 years from now, my tips on buying an all around ski will be completely wrong, given new metrics. Maybe not. But from a one year pool, skis do look alike in the same categories.
Lloyd, if you ski on hard pack, Eastern snow, I would go for under 100mm. If you ski out West and ski mainly in good snow, I would go just above 100mm.
My choice would be something like the Black Diamond Route 95 or the Helios 105 (mounting telemark binding is not recommended on the Helios but I do it anyway. If you choose to do so, remember that you have been warned not to)
In your case, a 95mm to 100mm ski would be perfect if you only want one ski.
I will also strongly advice you buy your skis from a dedicated telemark shop like Telemark Down, Freeheel Life or one close to your location.
The advice these shops will give you go way beyond just the skis, factoring in tips on binding (types, mounting…) and boot (fitting, type of liners, height of cuffs…)
I always says that we have to think about equipment as a combo, not just individual piece. This explains why 80mm skis where good all around 15 years ago. The boot, binding, ski combo went all together.
As a small community, we have super passionate people involved in our sport. These shops cannot afford to have a bad reputation just to make a sale.
Telemark is a technique first, you can do it in a variety of equipment, places, style. I take the liberty of talking of the branch I know best and that I get the most questions about. But by no means, I wish to deter the other styles, from cross-country to leather nordic skiing, all the way to the big mountain freeride… Telemark is awesome
Here Is The Accessoires I bring in the Backcountry
Notice: I’m sponsored and don’t pay much for the gear I use. BUT I can get pretty much all the gear I want so this is really the gear I wish to have, and I can still tell you my honest opinion. This is my gear choice, that fits my need. Take what you need from it, leave what you don’t.
For all of you telemark tribe gear freaks, here is all the little stuff that makes a big difference.
I’m not going to list everything I present but here is the majority
Notice: I’m sponsored and don’t pay much for the gear I use. BUT I can get pretty much all the gear I want so this is really the gear I wish to have, and I can still tell you my honest opinion. This is my gear choice, that fits my need. Take what you need from it, leave what you don’t.
For all of you telemark tribe gear freaks, here is what I have chosen for this season
My ski gear (skis, boots, bindings, skins, poles)
Crispy Evo WC
These boots as got it all. Powerful, that’s my #1 concern in all my boots. They have plenty of power
They’re obviously not the lightest but the touring mode is very impressive when all buckles are open and they are durable. They are not the easiest to boot fit but if they fit you well from the start, you should have no problem.
Helios 117 and Helios 95
I use the Helios 117mm and 95mm from Black Diamond.
I’ve been using BD skis for over a decade now and this Helios series is in my top 2 most liked ever.
They’re light but they ski big. I didn’t think this could be.
The build quality is unparalleled and I’ve skied the 117mm for a season now with very little wear and tear, so durability is there too.
Simply put, they ski big, feel quick underfoot and are crazy light. Now that’s a triple combo hard to beat.
WARNING: BD does NOT recommend mounting telemark binding on their Helios series. Do it at your own risk.
The Meidjo binding from The M Equipment has been my dream binding for 4 seasons now.
They are light, the touring mode is just phenomenal and they ski really great.
I’ve had a few problems here and there with different parts of the binding over the years but nothing more than my old Black Diamond O1.
And I like the fact that they are always improving the design we are now on version 2.1
The addition of the alpine heelset makes it an absolute backcountry combo
The Outlaw X
The Outlaw X from Twenty Designs is a fantastic binding that is better than Rottefella NTN binding in every way.
The ski better, with less limitation, are as powerful, have an incredibly better touring mode that the NTT Freedom.
Plus, they are super solid.
This is a no brainer
I like to have a fix length aluminum for inbounds or side country. Just lighter and feels better. Choose any GOOD fix length aluminum and had a powder basket.
I also use an adjustable pole for touring and I adjust to different lengths to adapt to the terrain. This can really save energy during the day.
I use BD Boundary poles which will also fit my snow saw for cutting nice snow blocks for my avalanche assessment snow pits.
Climbing skins is not the sexiest subject but it really makes a huge difference.
Trim them perfect, sell your old pair with the old skis and (bis) trim them perfectly.
I use the BD mix Mohair nowadays manly for the great durability of the glue, plus the placability of the Mix mohair.
In 2005, 22 Designs purchased Rainey Designs and continued producing the binding with very minor adjustments to the binding through 2012. They created a free-pivoting version of Hammerhead called Axl that maintained the same underfoot cable routing with easier to adjust power pivot points. The spring system was different than Hammerhead and in an effort to streamline sourcing costs the Vice telemark binding was created, effectively ending production of Hammerhead. It is one of the few, true, legendary telemark binding designs that had an effect on nearly every telemark binding design since its inception although its inventor, Russell Rainey, would be quick to point out even Hammerhead borrowed from other, less successful designs (the Pitbull), only with a better execution.
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.
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.