Gear Girl

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 1

Q: What's the ultimate telemark setup for this year?

What's the ultimate telemark setup this year?
The Editors
Santa Fe, NM

By: Question from: ,

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A:

The snow has yet to fly in Santa Fe, but the telemark setup of my dreams includes these three components:

Boot: The Black Diamond Stiletto ($660; blackdiamondequipment.com). This beefy four-buckle boot took me most of last season to love, probably because I was skiing on five-year-old boards that look like vermicelli noodles compared to the fatties on the market today. But after a few days of trial and error I finally figured out that, going down, the boot is stiff enough to drive the ski hard in any condition, thanks to its polyurethane "Triax-performance" frame, Boa closure system in the liner (which allows you to cinch the liner tight), and mid-stiff bellows. Going up, the handy ski-walk lever can switch these seven-pound, 11-ounce boots into touring mode. You just have to remember to flip it.

Ski: These days there's no need to buy a specific ski based on the kind of binding you're going to mount on it. If you want one ski for all conditions, the primary thing to think about is the width underfoot—roughly 100 mm for an advanced skier. Based on a poll of the most expert female tele skiers I know (which includes former Outside editor and 2010 Telemark Freeskiing Champion Megan Michelson), a great ski for an experienced tele-er is the K2 Gotback (135 tip/102 underfoot/121 tail); $825; k2skis.com). With 102 mm underfoot, a 14/12 sidecut, and an all-terrain shovel rocker, the Gotback can stay on top of powder and plow through crud. Plus, the core is superlightweight, made from braided fiberglass over fir and spruce, which almost makes going uphill fun. But don't just take my word for it: All K2 women's skis are designed and tested by a team of the best female pros out there.

Binding: I like to keep it simple with the G3 Targa ($190; genuineguidegear.com) for four reasons: The pre-compressed springs come in three stiffnesses; the rigid toe-box is virtually indestructible; one cable length makes it easy to adjust to multiple boot sizes; and the toe throw and three climbing heights increase climbing efficiency by 30 percent. The crux to all this is that the binding is easy to fix on the fly—and in the backcountry.

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