Bindings and other gear for Telemark Skiing

Updated 1-13-98

As far as bindings, the first choice is between a classic 3-pin binding and a cable binding. (Well, there is something called a NNN binding (New nordic Norm??), that may be a third option. For serious telemarking, cable bindings seem to be the choice, but to date I have done all my skiing on a Black Diamond 3-pin. My only complaint is that the thing is too narrow -- I tore up my pin holes because I couldn't get the boot toe far enough into the binding. I fixed this by taking a rasp and grinding down the sides of my boot toes (Asolo Extreme Pros) just enough to be able to get them in reliably. However, I don't feel that a person should have to do this.

Another option is a releasable binding. Voile sells the only one that I am aware of, and I have used a set of these ever since I tore up my knee (medial collateral ligament) in a fall. I don't consider this an option at all. As always, this is every persons personal choice like helmets or breakaway straps or seatbelts or whatever. It is also not clear how much protection this provides, but I know this ... I have had mine release in numerous falls, and since I started using it I haven't fallen and felt the nasty forces building up in my legs that I sometimes used to. I certainly could still get hurt in a fall, but the odds are more in my favor now.

It is worth knowing that not all bindings can be mounted on the Voile plate. In particular the BD Pit-bull and the Rotefella 412 are not compatible. Also, there have been some nasty stories about these bindings ripping up skis in falls. I suspect these are faulty installation, but what do I know. A 3-pin binding (and most cables ??) attach with 3 screws, the voile attaches with seven -- you tell me which has higher stress concentrations. I had my set installed on a set of foam-core karhu skis (XCD comps, seemed pretty delicate to me compared to an alpine ski). These were quite narrow (so the front screws were frighteningly close to the edge of the skis). I skied them (read this: thrashed around on them) quite aggressively and never had a problem. However, there are people out there who could break a bowling ball.

Feedback? Questions? Drop me a line!

Tom's Backcountry Skiing Info /