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The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

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The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby Dirk » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:20 pm

This has probably already been said before, but why not stir up a good gear discussion, in this, the high-holy shopping season?

For the past ten years or so, despite NTN, tele has been dying a slow death. Perhaps not in the hearts of the faithful, but certainly in the retail world. Sales drive manufacturing, and when sales fall, manufacturers cut production and shrink their product lines. As a result, we are down to three manufacturers still making tele boots. Scott (former Garmont), Scarpa, and Crispi. All three make burly, heavy four-buckle boots. Touring in these things, even in a free pivot binding, sucks. Scott and Scarpa make soft low-collar "touring boots," the Excursion and the T-4, respectively, but they really can't drive today's 100mm-waist skis, certainly not on hardpack. Crispi splits the difference (sort of) with the NTN Shiver, a three buckle boot with a lower cuff, but it's still plenty stiff, has a wrap liner and limited tour range of motion. Not quite a real touring boot.

Meanwhile, the AT boot world has seen an explosion of ultra-light skimo boots that tour like your old Ultras, but have a respectable amount of control when all buckled down. As a non-engineer, I can't help but wonder if there isn't a way to bring some of that skimo tech to the tele world. To me, that would look something like the venerable blue two-buckle Scarpa T-2, circa 2005, only about half the weight. Maybe the market just isn't there. I know I'd buy a pair, but would you? Talk amongst yourselves.

In the meantime, I will continue to tour in my old, comfortable, but heavy and pungent T-3s. Until the ratchet straps crap out. I can't see going NTN until there's a boot that does what I want it to do.
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Re: The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby MikeK » Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:06 pm

OK, why ski a 100mm waisted ski on hardpack? And why, if you are skiing on hardpack are you in the BC? Unless it's a crust or windpack, which is different than hardpack IMO.

If you are looking for one boot and one ski that does it all, it doesn't exist. A lot of those real light AT skis and boots don't perform well on hardpack either.

And the Scarpa T2 probably comes closest to fitting the niche you are after but, is not a NTN boot, as you know, so you're stuck with 75mm if you want a good touring, mid-weight, mid-stiffness plastic. Not a big deal IMO as the Voile switchback fills that niche for a capable and reliable binding for that class of boot.

There's been a lot of bitching about the fact that a mid-stiff boot doesn't exist for NTN other than the old F1s, which only work with TTS IIRC.
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Re: The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby telehubby » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:28 pm

Dirk, I recall reading somewhere very recently about Scarpa working on a new boot. It's apparently way behind schedule so no one is holding their breath. Searching to see if I could find what I read I found this. http://www.telemarkskier.com/new-scarpa-ntn-boots-working/

I think you could have wrote this. Alas, it was Dostie. Ah, maybe it was in the new Backcountry Magazine that I read it. Many page long article on the history and state of Telemark. A few side bars from other authors as well. Worth a read.

I joined the tele tribe after the advent of plastic boots. My first pair were the old blue T2s. So I can't pine for leathers. At 6'-4" and 220 I was soon overpowering the boots and went up to T1s. It is silly to tour in my TX Comps but being budgeted for one pair of boots I picked the boot that works well for the majority of my skiing- lift serve.

Have you demoed the Shiver Dirk? I would think the three buckle boot utilizing a tech toe binding would get a nice light weight BC set up. Not the rig you'd find in your local thrift shop though. Son the Younger just got into a Crispi Evo this year, I'm interested in hearing his thoughts. I think you nailed it as to why there isn't more boots. Sales not only drive production but R&D. AT sales have hijacked the Tele sales boom, we all know the story. So R&D goes to AT boots. It does look like one could just put bellows is some of these new AT boots and get a Tele boot. It must not be that simple.
Perhaps a light weight flexible boot shouldn't be driving a modern 100mm waisted ski?
The search for the Grail continues
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Re: The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby capecodtele » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:20 am

I went to NTN last year after 8 years in the Scarpa T2 (red) and went with the Crispi Shiver. I spend my ski time probably 70% resort/ 30% backcountry touring. The Shiver definitely feels stiffer than the T2 to me, mainly because the liner in the Shiver seems thicker and my foot feels more tightly wrapped in the boot than it did in the T2 and I feel that I have better control. I haven't put them on the scale, but the Shiver feels slightly heavier than my old T2. Touring wise for me it is hard to really say if the boots make that much difference because when I was touring on my old gear, I was using the standard Hammerhead bindings and adjusting the pin positions between the up and the down with no free pivot....going to the Outlaw with the free pivot and pole activated release made such a huge difference in the amount of energy used touring that the boot difference was not that noticeable. The only issue I have had with the Shiver is it is much warmer than the T2 and on a warm day last winter after skinning up to ski the Sherbie, my foot sweat a lot and I ended up with a heel blister.
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Re: The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby Dirk » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:38 am

Thanks for the link, telehubby. I don't visit that site much, good to know that Dostie and I think along similar lines. (Does that make me old?) And no, I haven't demo'd the Shiver. Maybe I'm not being fair to Crispi, but on paper, it doesn't look quite like what I'm looking for. Capecodtele's comments seem to bear that out. CCT, were you on the T2 or the T2X? A boot that's stiffer than the T2X doesn't sound very tour-friendly to me. The Fey brothers say its the greatest thing since sliced bread, but they have an obvious bias. I suppose I ought to just show up at Mt. Abram this year and demo them. :)
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Re: The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby capecodtele » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:58 am

Yes, it was the T2x..
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Re: The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby Bob T » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:11 pm

Didn't a Chinese scientist get in trouble for using the Crispi Shiver to genetically modify babies? :shock:
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Re: The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby Dirk » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:02 pm

Bob T wrote:Didn't a Chinese scientist get in trouble for using the Crispi Shiver to genetically modify babies? :shock:


I hate to see all that research money go into foolish projects like disease resistance, when what we really need is a light, tour-friendly NTN boot.
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Re: The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby Grant » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:12 pm

FWIW - Scarpa T3s are 15 oz lighter than Scarpa TX-Pros. If you remove the power strap and one buckle, I'll bet they weigh darn near the same. Voile Switchbacks weigh 3lbs. Meidjos are 1 3/4lbs. If you want lighter weight and more features, NTN is your better option.

Of course I understand that your current gear is already paid for, but if you are ready for some new boots it doesn't make a lot of sense to stick with 75mm as an option. NTN is now over 10 years old. There's lots of options on the secondary market (including Meidjos, ask me how I know) if you want to save some coin.
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Re: The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby Dirk » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:34 pm

I hear you, Grant. But despite the weight, Switchbacks are simple, powerful, and bulletproof. They weigh less than most NTN bindings. I know the Meidjo is light, but didn't the first version have a host of problems? If you have a line on some deeply discounted, 2.1 Meidjos, you may well have found the pink pony. I should really buy you that beer I owe you.
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Re: The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby Grant » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:57 pm

Dirk wrote:I hear you, Grant. But despite the weight, Switchbacks are simple, powerful, and bulletproof. They weigh less than most NTN bindings. I know the Meidjo is light, but didn't the first version have a host of problems? If you have a line on some deeply discounted, 2.1 Meidjos, you may well have found the pink pony. I should really buy you that beer I owe you.


I was lucky enough to have been given a pair of v1.2s. I didn't find issues but did have some breakage after a nasty tomahawk fall down The Chute in May. I found a pair of 2.0s on CL for $250 earlier this winter, so now I have 2 pairs of skis mounted with them.

Don't forget the Burnt Mtn. NT Bulldog. They weigh about the same as some Switchbacks.
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Re: The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby Go Fish » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:59 pm

If the most important thing for you is to be comfortable while touring, get some leather boots.

If the most important thing for you is to drive a modern ski on the decent, get a burly plastic boot and an NTN binding

If you want to be comfortable while touring AND rip the down, keep the leather boots and get better at skiing OR get more fit so there is no need for whining about how heavy and stiff the plastic boots are.

For the record: I am not fit and the most important thing to me is ripping the down. I have big stiff plastic boots and I ride the lift almost every weekend. When I tour, I'm in T3's and I have no problem turning a 98 mm waist ski on back country hills. I don't whine about how heavy the T3s are because one of my "love handles" weighs as much as both of the boots.
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Re: The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby greatgt » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:39 am

^^^^^^^ If your skiing ice at a resort get Alpine like the stuff above....I got a set of way old Yostmark Noodles from Dostie a couple of years back and the lightest most comfortable lace ups turned them like "not knowing nothing"......Big fat heavy for bottomless powder.... Gonz skiing is light leather, NORDIC type skiing which is what you all know what that is.....light leather turns anything in the genre....AND I resemble.......that Nordic stuff isn't cutting edge...It just AIN"T Resort junk...OH sorry about the rant....TM
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Re: The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby Go Fish » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:50 am

Sorry if I came off as harsh or insulting. It was meant to be funny.

FWIW, I agree that we could use some innovation in tele gear in general.

I just find it funny that average people (not elite athletes) get worked up over how much gear weighs. Most of us could "lighten our load" by cutting out some beer and junk food much more effectively than we could by buying the latest piece of feather light gear.
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Re: The current state of tele boots (bit of a rant)

Postby Dirk » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:31 am

No worries, Go Fish. You're right about the weight weenie thing, and laying off the beer. I hope I'm not coming across like the roadie who buys aftermarket carbon fiber derailleur pulleys.
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