Bend Ze Knees

The dream telemark setup for hard-charging free-heelers who ride lifts

Dec 1, 2001
Outside Magazine

Most telly skis are simply alpine skis with telemark graphics and, if you're lucky, a rounder flex. The new Atomic TM 18 ($387) is no different, except that it inherited superior genes in the form of Atomic's "Beta" construction: A cross section of the twin cores looks like a B on its side. The engineering and the 104-62-93 millimeter sidecut make the 18 surprisingly stable at Hahnenkamm speeds and unerringly precise in slalom turns. [ / 800-258-5020 ]

As the name implies, the Rainey Designs HammerHead binding ($200) is tough and aggressive. To wit: the unparalleled strength of its toepiece, crafted from one hunk of stainless steel; its adjustable cable, routed underfoot for even more security; and the six screws that hold each HammerHead—and you—firmly to the ski. [ / 307-733-0553 ]

Unlike yours, which are skin and bone, Arc'Teryx's Kneecaps ($40) are made of plastic and foam, a fact you'll appreciate when you drive your patella into a rock. Two small camlocks keep them snug, and the pads fit unobtrusively under shell pants, saying, in essence, I've come to ski, not install carpet. [ / 800-985-6681 ]

Thanks to a removable drop-liner, two main vents, and a liner of Outlast (astronaut insulation that cools you when you're warm and warms you when you're cool), the Boeri Rage helmet ($140) handles sweat and cold better than a hat. [ / 781-551-9933 ]
The original Scarpa T1 ($450) ended the era of classic telemarking, that knee-to-ski backcountry ballet of ankle-biting leather boots, because its stiff plastic shell allowed pinners to stand taller and hold an edge better. Well, the revolution is over. Now it's a slew of refinements that sets the T1 apart. Its adjustable cant, for example, lets knock-kneed skiers carve the uphill board. Thicker plastic shields the bellows from mangling ski edges, prolonging boot life. And its asymmetrical flex follows the natural movement of the foot, prolonging toe life. [ / 801-278-5533 ]

We too have watched friends endlessly fiddling with jammed collapsible poles. Trust us, it won't happen with the Black Diamond Carbon Fiber FlickLock ($125). The levered adjustment cams close effortlessly and stay that way, even when you're bashing the bumps—or the bumps are bashing you. [ / 801-278-5533 ]

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