The Telemark History Ep2: The Evolution of skis and Bindings

This is my Telemark challenge for the season, going back in time with set ups from four different eras.

We will go from the 80s super long skis to today’s wide boards.

Telemark skiing has evolved so much and I’ve kept updating my gear all along.

I want to go back in time and see the advantages we might have lost along the way, or the benefits I get from the modern set ups we enjoy today.

For the 80s set up, we have the Atomic 210 cm ski, with a lot of camber, mounted with the Chili binding from Rottofella. Then, I found my original telemark skis and binding. It is the Karhu Hardbody 203 cm mounted with Rottofella 412, a front-loading binding. I will ride both skis with a Vasque leather boot.

For 90s setup, I have the X-scream from Salomon, a parabolic ski, with the very popular Voile release plate. I also have the Rossignol Big Bang, mounted on the Rainey SuperLoop binding. This ski/binding combo is mine and I have skied it 5-6-7 years, can’t remember. I will ride the Garmon Veloce with these skis.

For the 2000 setup, I have found the Karhu Kodiak, mounted on the 22designs Hammerhead. This is a short ski for me, but it should edge and carve very well. Not in the video, I will also add a Black Diamond AMP ski mounted on a Black Diamond O1 binding. This is a fat ski, very good for powder. I feel that this is the era where people started to buy more than one set up, and choose according to conditions. I will ride both skis with the super-powerful Crispi XR boot.

For the 2010 to today setups are all NTN based setup. We have the Black Diamond Route 88 mounted on the Bishop BMF-R binding. This is my day-to-day patrol ski. I also chose the Helio 105 from Black Diamond mounted with the 22designs Lynx. This is my setup for backcountry telemark and the one I use telemarking in the Chic-Chocs. I might also show you a few other setups I have that are different for that era, plus a surprise. I will ride those with the Crispi Evo WC telemark boot check out the full series for more fun on the telemark history gear review.

 

BMF Bishop Full Review

Bishop BMF Review 1-2

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?

Flexibility

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.

BMF-R_HD3_Switch_Kit_600x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skiability

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.

BMF 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.

BMF NTN

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.

Durability

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

 

Telemark Ski Gear 2018 – Part 1

Telemark gear 2018

Here Is My Gear for This Season

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)

 

Boots:

 

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.

 

 

2017-crispy world-cup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skis

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.

115101_Helio_116_camber_web2

115103_Helio_95_camber_web2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bindings

The Meidjo

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

0-Meidjo-2-1

 

 

 

 

 

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

outlawx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poles

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.

 

1313957_601_main1314080_408_main

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skins

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.

The difference is HUGE for me.

 

mix mohair skins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you use?

Put your gear in the comments

 

Review of the Meidjo 2.0 Telemark Binding

See the Meidjo 2.0  with brakes

This is my review of the second version of the Meidjo Telemark Binding, made by the French company The-M-Equipment.

Hey Guys, this is René-Martin for Absolute Telemark and here is my review of the Meidjo Binding.

 

First, I really like the first version but I found a couple of flaws.

This binding is just awesome for touring, giving you the same ease of ascension as any low tech alpine binding. This is what brought me to the Meidjo from the get-go.

This is probably true for all the TTS family binding as I like to call them .

So what is so different about the 2.0 version?

Is it durable?

Does it ski well?

What’s changed?

Check out the video above for all my thought on this binding and what will improve for the upcoming 2016-17 season.

 

For more info, check out my friend Craig Dostie’s review on Earn Your Turn

You can get the binding in the US at Telemark Down.

 

 

021 – Chris Valiante from 22 Designs and the new Outlaw Telemark binding

Outlaw

Building a new NTN binding is a mission 22 Designs set out to do.

The Outlaw, most anticipated binding from the small Idaho company is sure to make some noise.

I had wanted to talk to Chris for a long time. This true step in, simple and though binding have received great critiques and 22 Designs has managed to keep the weight down.

Let’s hear more about this well established Binding company run by Chris and his partner Collins Pringle.

Show Notes for this episode:

the Outlaw and 22 designs Website

Telemark skier Chris is looking up: Paul Kimbrough

Rainey Superloop binding (note from earnyourturns.com)

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.

 

 


8 reasons why Rene-Martin switched to the Meidjo Binding

Meidjo 2

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.

 

  1. 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.

tts_ecweb

OMG TTS

 

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.

dynafit

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.

 

  1. 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 SuperLoop for 7 years

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.

 

 

  1. It’s step-in

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.

 

  1. The design

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.

the Meidjo resize

 

  1. Releasable

It’s a release binding. You can’t go wrong with release ability (see cons)

 

  1. Brakes

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

See the Meidjo 2.0 with brakes

 

  1. Crampons

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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. Availability.

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.

  1. A dreamer’s dream coming true.

Impression

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.

  1.  The Price

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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. Releasable bindings do not solve every thing.

 

This is a topic I’m passionate about and that I’ve talked about in the past.

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.

 

 

Conclusions

 

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.

I’m ready for a change.

You can check The M Equipment website for more info on the Meidjo

What are your thoughts on the subject, are you ready for a change? Write a comment below and don’t forget to share with the Telemark Tribe around you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

016-Mark Lengel Inventor of the Telemark Tech System (TTS)

tts_ecweb

For this episode of the Absolute Telemark Tips Podcast, I meat with Mark Lengel.

He is the inventor of the original binding TTS, the first that came out on the market with a low tech front attachment.

This true pioneer is so passionate about telemark, the turn, the feeling. His invention as turned head from the start and is sure to attrack a lot of followers in the years to come.

TS_banner

Links For The Show

Olympus Mountain Gear (the TTS web site)

Mountain shop – Portland

Montain Gear – Spokane

Wasatch turn (couldn’t find a link, if you know them, please email me: info@absolutetelemark.com)

Red Shred – William Lake

Awesome Telemark Skier

Mark White

The Gear talked about in this episode

In chronological order

 

riva original

riva original

riva3

riva 3

rottefella 412

rottefella 412

superloop

Rainey superloop

bindings_22_designs_HammerHead

Hammerhead

Rottefella-NTN-Freeride

Rottefella-NTN-Freeride

NTN FREEDOM

NTN Freedom

outlaw

22 Design Outlaw

Scarpa F3

Scarpa F3

TerminatorX_2012b_low

Terminator X

Scarpa NTN

Terminator TX pro

EVO-NTN

Crispy EVO-NTN

015- Stephane Riendeau and The Tough Guy Productions

steph skiing

Hey Guys Rene-Martin here

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.

 

 

avatar Stephane Riendeau

 

 

TGPLogo

Here is Stephane’s last movie, it rips. If you want to get stoke for the season, this is it, Tough Guy’s way

sunset stephane ski

Links to the show:

Tough Guy Productions

Grand Targhee Big Mountain Tele Comp 2016

Dylan Crossman

Stephane’s youtube channel

Unparalleled and  The Lost Season

Moonlight Mountain Gear

Stephane would like to thank his sponsors

 

 

 

 

cliff bar Flylow G3 gopro SCARPAmoonlight logo

 

 

Review of the Meidjo Telemark Binding

Meidjo

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.

First,

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

Release

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.

Touring

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.

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