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Wardo

telemark boot recommendation?

Plastic or Leather to learn on?  

90 members have voted

  1. 1. Plastic or Leather to learn on?

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I'm new to telemarking, but am having a blast and am fired up to get gear. Wondering if there are any schools of thought on the best type of boot to learn on: I'd heard leather (or non-plastic) is great for focusing on technique. That's what i'm after - i'm a technique junkie. This season I'll be dong mostly lift-served runs; not much backcountry.

 

I'm a long-time alpine skier and eventually will be on plastic boots i'm sure for speed & keeping up with friends on alpine ... but for learning purposes, to nail my form & balance, would it help to start with leather boots? Are leather (non-plastic boots) still sold / rented? All the rentals boots i've tried have been plastic - they're fine, but i haven't been able to compare them with the non-plastic alternative.

 

thanks all

gward_nospam_@blarg.net

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leather comes into its own for tour type backcountry shizzle. otherwise go with modern technology. imo. the_finger.gif

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I'm a beginner as well. Tried both leather and plastic and found the plastic to be better...for me. Good Luck!

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I started telemarking this year with Asolo Extreme Pros (leather) and Volkl Prestos with Voile 3 pin cables. Let me tell you your standard black diamond ski run is quite exciting again with this setup. I had to really check my ego delicately turning down runs I would normally straightline. It is fun with the right mindset. You can't go fast, but really getting rewarded for edging that back ski and focusing on not using your poles for any balance allowed rapid progression. I could see it getting really old after awhile though. The snow was good on Sunday, so I switched back to alpine. I found the focus required in leather tele boots on the inside ski REALLY improved my lazy turns on alpine gear. Noticeable improved powder skiing, where I would normally just be lazy with my weighting on monster AT boots.

 

My tele gear was free. If I were to spend money, I would definitely get a beefy plastic boot. Despite what they say on TTips.com, I consider the T2 or Veloce really burly, heavy boots. If you can get leather boots and a light pair of skis to goof around for really cheap, it is a fun experience. But as an advanced alpine skier, I would see you find them limiting quickly. Inbounds, I use them when the snow is tracked out but the groomers are still good. I didn't realize how much of a benefit they can be to my alpine skiing.

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I find leather requires much more precise skiing than plastic (better weighting, more back ski control). Now that I mainly ski AT gear (after 7 years of solely telemark), it really improved my fixed heel skiiing. I still ski Supercomps - which 2nd wind sports has a buttload of in Hood River, most pretty cheap.

 

Contrary to what Lummox said, I would prefer a lightweight plastic boot for bc skiing. They'd keep my feet dryer than my Snowfields - even with Supergaiters.

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I don't know if leathers will help you with technique, but here is my spin for what it is worth. To begin, a solid plastic boot will help you become more confident faster than a leather will. Once you have learned the basics then that would be the time to challenge yourself with a leather boot in the backcountry or even at the resort. I've used both and have found that I didn't progress significantly until I used a plastic boot. Have fun out there...and don't flex your boots in the lift line blush.gif

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I've used both and have found that I didn't progress significantly until I used a plastic boot.

Did you try? You went teleskiing and didn't progress at all?

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I would just go to the plastic. I poo-pooed the plastic for years (for wimps!) but when I went to the dark side it made a difference. Ya stay dry and warm with just a liner sock, much better control, and as an upper intermediate I can manage the double diamonds (in good snow). My choice would be the Scarpa T2. I've toured and hiked in with these a long way w/o any foot problems. Good luck.

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I've used both and have found that I didn't progress significantly until I used a plastic boot.

Did you try? You went teleskiing and didn't progress at all?

 

...it was a little more difficult to flex my plasic boots in the liftline than the leathers, if that is what you mean bigdrink.gif

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i love my plastic tele boots. they're the most comfortable plastic or leather boots i've ever had (including downhill ski boots and hiking boots). i've never tried leather tele boots, but i can't imagine you'd be able to get the same performance out of them. you should be able to learn all the technique you want no matter what boots you get ... as long as you get good boots!

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Do you want warm dry feet? Get Plastic.

Do you wanna learn to carve high speed turns? Get Plastic.

Do you wanna make the occasional p-turn? Get Plastic.

Do you likr the idea of getting feedback from your feet so you can learn good technique? Get Plastic.

 

Do you wanna be retro and hardcore?? Ride the Cow.

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Do you want warm dry feet? Get Plastic.

Do you wanna learn to carve high speed turns? Get Plastic.

Do you wanna make the occasional p-turn? Get Plastic.

Do you likr the idea of getting feedback from your feet so you can learn good technique? Get Plastic.

I do all of the above, and haul sleds on Supercomps. (plastic cuff, leather lowers). They pturn fine - carve at speed, and rock. And have a hell of alot more feedback than plastic.

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The cuff is kind of the key isn't... and the super comp is a bit of a mutant in terms of leather boots.

 

I skied leather for quite a few years. Whenn I got plastic, I finally felt like I knew what my skis were doing, and then I was able to get them to do what I wanted.

 

No accounting for taste.

 

Your "leathers" are probably beefier than my plastics anyway. yellaf.gif I've got old 2-buckle T-2s.

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The cuff is kind of the key isn't... and the super comp is a bit of a mutant in terms of leather boots.

 

I skied leather for quite a few years. Whenn I got plastic, I finally felt like I knew what my skis were doing, and then I was able to get them to do what I wanted.

The cuff helps some - it's the buckles that made the most difference for me. When I get out in the Snowfields it's...interesting. I'm humbled very quick. Particularly with a pack.

 

I guess I sort of miss the point of plastic boot tele skiing (particularly beefy one's like T1's & T-R). They're more pain to ski up hill with, they're so stiff they're a pain to tele turn with (at anything sub mach). Even the shorter boots, like T2's & T3's have a "notchy" feel. If your going to alpine ski - Alpine Ski! At 26 I'm already out of touch....

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I guess I sort of miss the point of plastic boot tele skiing (particularly beefy one's like T1's & T-R). They're more pain to ski up hill with, they're so stiff they're a pain to tele turn with (at anything sub mach). Even the shorter boots, like T2's & T3's have a "notchy" feel. If your going to alpine ski - Alpine Ski! At 26 I'm already out of touch....

 

I find I downhill on terrain of concequence and on flat terrain, everything between, I tele. I guess if you enjoy the mellow BC that is mixed with tour like ups and downs then maybe a leather is a better way to go. I skied on leathers since I could pretty much walk until I was 15. When T1's first came out, I wanted to go back to my leathers, then when later versions came out, the warmth, support, and power that I was able to transmit to the ski supperceded the leathers hands down. I believe the plastics were a great move for the sport and from my perspective, more fun = a bigger boot. For you that may be different...to each their own. thumbs_up.gif

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I'm new to telemarking, but am having a blast and am fired up to get gear. Wondering if there are any schools of thought on the best type of boot to learn on: I'd heard leather (or non-plastic) is great for focusing on technique. That's what i'm after - i'm a technique junkie. This season I'll be dong mostly lift-served runs; not much backcountry.

 

I'm a long-time alpine skier and eventually will be on plastic boots i'm sure for speed & keeping up with friends on alpine ... but for learning purposes, to nail my form & balance, would it help to start with leather boots? Are leather (non-plastic boots) still sold / rented? All the rentals boots i've tried have been plastic - they're fine, but i haven't been able to compare them with the non-plastic alternative.

 

thanks all

gward_nospam_@blarg.net

 

Just ignore all the hype and get T1's.

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Just ignore all the hype and get T1's.

i got t1's but i didn't have much of choice. the t1 and the race are the only tele boots i could find that would fit me. they're kind of burly (especially at such a small size) but coming from an alpine background i find them quite comfortable.

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I find leather requires much more precise skiing than plastic (better weighting, more back ski control). I still ski Supercomps - which 2nd wind sports has a buttload of in Hood River, most pretty cheap.

 

I've skiied a wide variety of gear in the last 10 years, and here are some thoughts. For tele, two main things force your technique:

* the ankle flexibilty of your boot

* the torsional ridgidity of your boot and binding combo

 

The ankle flexibility of your boot choice will affect your skiing dramatically on lift-served terrain. This is because this is an unnatural environment for tele skiis - basically, you are "pushing" and edging your skiis as you do with AT/alpine equipment. The skis are not doing the work they are designed to do, which is *carve* a turn. Boot choice will not affect your skiing much in backcountry terrain (pow), where the ski is performing turns for you, as it should.

 

Your binding choice with boot will affect your technique equally on lift served terrain and backcountry terrain, but for different reasons. On lift-served terrain you (again) are edging the ski, and therefore require more torsional ridgidy in your binding because you are doing alot more edging on your skis than in the BC. For this reason you should be skiing CABLE bindings, regardless of boot, on lift-served. In the backcountry, any type of pin binding (including the Voile pin/cable) will be a real pain in the ass once your pin holes clog up with ice or snow from walking around off your skiis for 5 minutes. For this reason, you should be skiing CABLE bindings in the BC. Tosional ridgidity is also part of a boot (midsole). Leather boots, especially lace ups, have little support and tend to be terrible for learning telemark properly on lift-served terrain. Plastic boots are better, but you dont actually learn true telemark technique because the boots ridgidity allows alot of cheating.

 

If you are a technique junkie, go with leather boots of some sort, and cable bindings. Learn to ski backcountry as soon as possible, the techique is subtly different from groomed areas. I cannot tell you how many people I see and know who learned to ski tele on groomed runs and cannot link a single turn in the backcountry, because they still have no idea how to distribute their weight or step into a turn when the ski is carving, beyond their "groomed run" control.

 

If you are a good alpine skiier and just want to try something new, but dont envision ever going back country, learn in plastics and cable bindings.

 

Currently I ski on Super Comps, which I still think is a great boot with a combination of sensitivity in the toe and ankle support. However, they flat out suck for real backcountry skiing. My suggestion would be that if one of the Asolo leathers with 2+ buckles fit, thats a good learning boot. Crispi makes good boots too.

 

Alex

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Alex,

Your points are well-taken, but I think you are in the minority of T-mark skiers out there in recommending leather over plastic to learn on.

 

Wardo,

You say you are skiing mostly inbounds and want to learn. I started out in the days of low-topped leather boots more than 20 years ago (DOESN'T make me a good skier, or give me more credibility than Alex wink.gifwave.gif ). More than leather vs. plastic, you are going to learn better by simply getting in your TIME ON THE SNOW. Don’t go out just once a week: get out there both weekend days, and 1-2 evenings too if you can. Leather or plastic is secondary.

 

Also more important than leather vs. plastic is skiing with someone more experienced who can help you with your technique and give you appropriate feedback and instruction, as you need it. If you don’t have any tele mentor friends, there’s lots of good formal PSIA-certified tele instructors out there. My fav one is Nils of freeheels.com. Over the years, Nils has helped me many times by having the uncanny ability of knowing exactly what 1-2 things to say for me to work on and jump to the next level.

 

I have to agree with AllYouCanEat and others. I went through the whole progression from touring leather boots, to the Merrell Legend, to the Ultra, to the SuperComp. I originally resisted moving to plastic. Once I moved away from the cow about 10 years ago, my skiing and technique improved by quantum leaps. I have actually learned more on plastics than I did compared to many years on leather. Once I put on plastics, I realized I could ski more aggressively, and that's when I learned more. I've exclusively been on T-Races the last 3 years—including all my BC trips.

 

Certainly you may have better sensitivity with leather, but if you want keep up with your alpine in-bounds buddies, ski aggressively both in- and out-of-bounds, and I think learn more/faster/better, don’t go with anything less than a T1. Plastic does it all.

 

Plastic rockband.gif

 

PLASTIC! PLASTIC! PLASTIC! boxing_smiley.gifyellaf.gif

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Is anyone even making leather tele boots anymore?
Karhu still makes a three-pin leather touring boot.

 

The Market has spoken...

 

NEXT QUESTION?

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