I just arrived in Jackson Hole, where I’m spending the night on my friend’s couch before the Freeheel Life family rolls in and I have a real place to stay for the Grand Targhee Big Mountain Telemark Comp. Saturday is also World Telemark Day, so if you won’t be here, I’m sorry. You’re missing out on a fantastic weekend of beer drinking and freeride telemarking.
Bishop Bindings is sponsoring the weekend’s festivities and I will be competing along with this next generation of rippers who are redefining the sport of freeride telemarking. Tele Big Mountain Freeriders are scored based on line choice, fluidity, technique, control, and style as they navigate through natural terrain featuring trees, steeps, cliffs, chutes, drops and gullies with a top prize of $750 (that’s a whole lotta beer money).
The Bishop Team approached me and asked me to write a quick blog post about how I’ve been training for this comp. So, let me regale you of how I’ve been training.
For the most part I’ve spent some of January and most of February in Revelstoke, getting my ass kicked by local Revelstoke legends skiing all day then drinking copious amounts of beer, only to surprisingly feel pretty decent the next day. This is because the town of Revelstoke is only at 1500ft - which is remarkable considering the Front Range of Colorado (where I live) is 5,000 feet. If nothing else, my time in Revy has prepared me for the party that’s about to ensue…
Best of luck to all the competitors and hope to see you all there!
Dylan Siggers threw a beer to me from the top of the cliff. Unsurprisingly, it got buried. This is victory after recovering said beer. American Avalanche Association, I look forward to receiving my Avy 6 in the mail soon.
So, my liver is in fantastic shape. Also, my diet has been top notch - hot wings in the backcountry are a phenomenal move that I would recommend to anyone.
For more of Troy’s exploits, check out this video from Troy and the Burrrlapz crew.
Bishop Bindings are already pretty damn powerful. There aren’t any cables flopping around, there’s an adjustable pivot location, and the whole damn thing is made out of machined metal. But there are always those folks out there — usually it’s a guy, and usually he has some regrettable tribal tattoos — who insist their boots, skis and bindings just aren’t stiff enough to handle their “shredding.” Power Maniacal Juice Heads rejoice! The Bishop Power Block is here.
The Power Block is a pretty simple addition to the Bishop binding. It’s just a ramped piece of plastic that snaps on to the front of the binding (secured with one screw) and gets rid of elf-shoe effect that your clapped out 75mm telemark boots have. In short, it means quicker engagement and more power.
I’ve had the pleasure of skiing on some Power Blocks for the past few weeks, and I can give some real world insight into what it’ll do for your skiing. The first thing that you’ll notice is it’s a bit harder to click into your skis. If you’re right on the border between two micro notches on your heel bail, try the one a bit further back and save yourself the headache of fumbling around like a jackass trying to get your skis on. Trust me, there will still be plenty of power and pre load.
Photo 1: Look! No dead spot under the toe. And believe me, this boot is jacked up from several seasons of my horrendous technique.
Photo 2: They aren’t super attractive, intricately machined metal like the rest of the binding, but they’re under your boots while skiing so you can’t see ‘em.
Second, there’s no heel flop. Pop off jumps, land switch, sit on the lift and shake your ski like a madman. Nothing. No flopping at all. It’s awesome. Third, there’s a TON of edging power, enough so that it kind of forces you to be on your game when making turns. While you’ll get an unbelievable amount of edging power, there’s a downside if you’re feeling lazy and want to get a little more slarvey.
The ski wants to track and drive the tip with authority rather than get sideways. Just be sure to drive it, or it’ll drive you. On that same note, if you’re skiing super blower bottomless powder, the tip won’t rise quite as easily as you may be used to. Keep in mind the caveat that I weigh around 150 pounds soaking wet, so you bigger folks may have an easier time engaging the turn in soft snow.
Power blocks are super powerful. They give you a crazy amount of edging power and ability to drive the tip down the fall line at the expense of some ease of turn initiation and sideways slashability. If you want to rip really powerfully, they’re for you. If you want to get all playful and bounce around the mountain, maybe not as much. Or give them a try for some days and leave them at home other days. They’re easy to install in about 45 seconds, so I recommend giving Power Blocks a try when you want to get sendy.
Photo 3: Old guy can still pull off a rodeo in variable conditions, thanks in no small part to a binding that has a tendency to save my ass when I blow it.
We all know shopping for tele skiers is difficult. What do you buy for someone who doesn’t use anything that has been made in the past 10 years? Have no fear, ladies and gentleman. Troy is here to help you all out.
Hydroflask Coffee and Tea Thermos - $25.99
Can anyone really do a dawn patrol without exorbitant amounts of caffeine? Keep it warm forever and a half with a Hydroflask.
Flabongo - $21.99
Don’t taste your beer, inhale it. And what better way to do it than through a co-opted lawn ornament? Plus, it looks great through a fisheye camera.
Rigid Industries Amber D2 Driving Lights - $379.99
During midnight storm driving, it’s super difficult to drive safely on back-road. With these amber LED driving lights, cut through all the glare and get there safely. And without hitting a deer, ideally.
Hestra makes great gloves, but they’re far too expensive. From Sportsman's Warehouse, you can get some excellent leather gloves for cheap. Then, throw some Nikwax on it to waterproof, and you have the best gloves ever, for less than $20.
Rainier Mountain Fresh Beer - Price depending on your state’s liquor laws
Everyone says Pabst is the ski bum’s beer of choice, but PBR comes from Milwaukee and let's be honest, where would you rather ski: Rainier or Milwaukee?
Your favorite tele skier has been wearing the same three pairs of ski socks for the last five years, and they’re rancid now. Time to upgrade to Smartwool’s bomber dry-wicking wool.
Teleskier Magazine’s Shirt - $19.95
Because really, who the %$&^ cares?!
Black Diamond Jetforce Avalanche Airbag Pack - $1,399.95
You care about your tele skier, enough to have put up with their smelly BS. Introduce them to the literal future. What a time to be alive!
Black Diamond Mission Pro Ski Pants - $549.00
I apologize for including two products from Black Diamond, but these ski pants are awesome. The fit is great, and they have an internally-sewn beacon pocket. No more fumbling around for your beacon, it is right there!
How much do you really love your tele skier? Make their dreams come true for only $59,500!
Please join us in welcoming the #Badassadors. These brave souls will donate their bodies and souls to descend improbably steep lines, grind the park, and drop “The Turn” deep in the white room, all done in the name of testing and developing the next generation of Bishop Bindings.
Sworn to promote the free heel lifestyle, the #Badassadors spread the essence of telemark’s free spirit and soulful approach to the downhill across the U.S. As one of the oldest forms of the sport, it is thought that telemark skiers can directly communicate with Ullr through a coded pattern of dropped knees, known as ‘The Turn’.
As the manufacturer of the most advanced bindings for telemark skiing, Bishop’s #Badassadors have sworn on Ullr's ring to uphold the ancient language of ‘The Turn”, while seeking to grow the sport and inspire the next generation with hucks, spins, grinds and a soupçon of steeze.