Going to the Darkside

I used to be one of those guys who shunned the lightweight style of backcountry skiing. I wanted superb downhill performance no matter how much sweat it took to get the gear uphill. I rationalized hauling around heavy gear with thoughts like “There’s no such thing as ‘heavy’, just weak legs and small lungs” and ” Why cut weight when you can just get in better shape?”

This thought process worked for awhile, but over the last couple of years I’ve been slowly peeling the weight back. This year I decided to go all in with tech bindings. I still don’t own a gram scale and you won’t catch me in the skintrack wearing spandex, but as the saying goes “Light is right”.

Tech binding setup in the foreground, Tele setup in the background. Weight savings of 2 and a half pounds per foot.

Tech binding setup in the foreground, Tele setup in the background. Weight savings of 2 and a half pounds per foot.


There were many factors involved with going to this system, besides the obvious weight savings. Telemark is going the way of the dinosaur for backcountry use. There, I said it. AT gear keeps getting lighter, stronger and more efficient, while tele gear has been stagnant for a long time. The biggest breakthrough for backcountry tele skiers recently has been the TTS system which is a step in the right direction but I still have my concerns. The biggest limiting factor for tele right now is boots. Give me a tele counterpart to the Dynafit TLT6 and you have my attention. I’m not holding my breath, so tech bindings it is.

We’ll see how it goes. I have had my heel locked down exactly once in 11 years, and Emily swears up and down I’m not going to like it. I’m not giving up on tele and when it comes to powder laps I’ll still be making drop knee turns, unless this AT business is just THAT good.


5 thoughts on “Going to the Darkside

  1. ! Congrats ! —
    I asked a newly learned telemark friend this spring if he could magically be given a new dynafit setup, boots the fit his feet like a dream, etc–all set and ready to go–what would he do? He didn’t even wait for me to finish and said he’d sell it and then went on about what new tele setup he’d get.. 🙂

    And at least one of my other fixed heel friends has looked upon a tele and said..I think I’m going to get into that eventually, sometimes you need a new challenge.

    I’ll be curious to see if you find yourself better able to tackle technical terrain? Not that you appear to suffer any lack of that–stoking blog for sure–unreal to get all these wallowa bc TRs. Are there many people getting after it like yourself? Or are there seriously like 10 people in the entire area hitting it like you?


    • Hey Matt, It’ll be interesting to see how this experiment goes. Two years ago I was just like your buddy, never giving up tele. Who knows, maybe I will hate it. Only time will tell.

      There’s a handful of folks I know skiing big lines out here on a regular basis, maybe more I don’t know of.

      Glad you enjoy the blog! Looking forward to some more snow to get after it again.

  2. How have you been liking the Tychoon tours? I just picked up a pair and will be mounting them with dynafits. Did you go with the recommended line? Any suggestions?

    • The Tychoon Tours are a capable little ski. I use them for big days, ski mountaineering, or hard snow but they’re fun on everything. Could easily be a quiver of one backcountry rig. Pretty disappointed ON3P quit making them.

      I’ve mounted all my ON3P skis -2 from recommended except for the Tychoons and have no complaints. They ski great!

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