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Bill's 2019/2010 Learning to Tele Log

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I decided to learn telemarking after 10+ years of saying, “Hey, I should try that out.” Over the years my skiing has evolved from a little bit of everything when I was young, to bombing groomers in high school through age 30, and the last 8 years have been spent in the moguls and trees almost exclusively at Wildcat, sometimes Attitash, sometimes a random other mountain. 

Early season is boring if you are a mogul and tree skier. The terrain doesn’t exist or is very limited. So I decided to learn tele while I am stuck to the groomers. To get into this on the cheap I took an old pair of Volant Chubbs that I rarely used anymore and had some new Rotefella Cobra R8 75mm bindings put on them and picked up some used Crispi boots. 

A little detour to go into the background on the Volant Chubbs for the unfamiliar… Volant was a USA based ski manufacturer who made stainless steel capped skis. They were never very popular and reached their peak popularity in the mid-90s. Volant developed a reputation as an “old man ski” because they had little to no camber. Remember the days when all skis had camber? The lack of camber allowed skiers with less strength to bend the ski and carve a turn, hence finding a market with the older male skiers who still wanted to carve but not need to load a full camber ski. I haven’t seen another pair of Volants on the hill in 15+ years, but apparently these are still being made. 

Onto the Chubb… back in the day we were all on skinny skis. You couldn’t buy anything else. Enter the Chubb. This thing was fat from tip to tail. When I saw them for the first time I needed to try them out. Around 1998 I got lucky when a pair of 180cm Chubbs were traded in to the shop I worked so I snagged them. These skis plowed through crud and slush like nothing I had ever been on so they became my primary spring ski and they were damn fun. As the years went by I used them less and less because the rest of the ski industry started making wider skis and the need for the Chubb ceased to exist. 

I told my shop I was going to bring in my Chubbs for them to mount tele bindings on. They were excited to see these ancient skis. When the binding tech finally saw them he said, “I thought you were bringing in the Chubbs.” I told him I did and he just brought them to his bench! Today’s ordinary off the rack all mountain ski is fatter than the Chubb. Skis have certainly changed over the last 20+ years. 

The picture shows the tele Chubbs as well as two of my other skis (more on those some other time). 

Some of Bill's skis.JPG

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@StraightSkis  You really missed an opportunity by not naming this thread "Bill on Teles Excellent Adventure".

I went through something similar around 2003.  I had skied my whole life and ended up being a little bored.  So I switched to snowboarding in 1995 and was all in.  After a few years I started to miss skiing but I didn't have any gear left. I figured this was a good opportunity to pick up tele. It also had the advantage of being a great backcountry option.  I picked up tele pretty quickly to an advanced intermediate level. I could get down anything but often fell on bad habits and so got tired easily. I tele'd about 30% of the time for a few years, while always still grabbing the snowboard when I wanted to go hard.  I did a fair amount of BC on teles in those years but I was always nervous about my skills for the down compared to my alpine ski and snowboard skills. So I eventually sold off my tele gear.  These days at resorts I'm snowboard 80%, Alpine ski 20%. My XC ski setup is burly enough for making turns in low-angle BC powder, and I have a splitboard and AT setup for anything steeper.  While I eventually ditched the teles I will say that it was probably the most skill-building thing I ever did.  It improved my alpine skiing by a LOT and it even helped my snowboarding.  

Bottom line is that you'll really enjoy the challenge and you'll learn a ton!  Kinda making me want to look for a tele setup again....

Edited by Cannonballer
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