HA HA HA. I like the Tele jokes. I know you western big dogs choose to lock down to rage that big shit. Here in the old mts, Tele works for what I'm doin' just cruisin', not launchin' and flyin'. At least not yet. To be honest I have been skiin' for 27 years and have never alpine skiied. I still need to work on my parallel turn. I do believe AT enables one to go bigger and faster out there in the woods. Hell, I bet you can drive in an AT boot too. I think Tele is a great option for a rider who wants to spice up the terrain they are in on some real lite and fast equipment. And you gotta admit that if you have ever Tele Skiied, you know how good it feels to lay down some of them long low turns. To me Tele has evolved into the cross between snowboarding and alpineskiing. Takin' the best of both and creating another discipline that works with a kite. JR
tele's work good in smooth conditions but you hit some crust or windslab you are more likely to go down and hurt yourself resulting in an evac. Falling in the backcountry is not something you should do very often. get a fritchi or marker duke and you will be set for a long time. You can use a touring boot or regular alpine in those bindings. Imo wayne Half a binding half a brain!
I don't think this guy is a newbie. Just lookin' to get into something other then a snowboard. I gotta give anyone credit who is interested in finding out what being mobile out in the woods is all about. Lock your heel like a training wheel. JR
Most of our riding is in isolated lake areas. It's not uncommon to be more than 5 miles out without anyway to get back if the wind craps out on ya so we generally use At gear for deep snow conditions.
I have two set ups, one light weight and one a bit more heavy duty. The lightweight is an Atomic Kailas AT/Tele ski with a Fritschi Freeride AT binding. Light weight and durable with a high enough DIN that I don't blow out accidently. I like the lighter weight when jumping because of the lowere swing weight. You can used an AT or regular alpine boot in that system and if the wind dies you just throw on some climbing skins and XC ski back. Beats the hell out of trying to walk in deep snow in either AT or alpine boots.
My heavy weight set up is a Rossi Phantom 108 with a Marker Duke AT binding, As far as AT bindings go the Duke is a bit of a dog. Not light weight, not as easy to convert to travel mode as the Fritsche. But, it skis much more like an alpine binding, has a high DIN setting, and works great as a snowkite set up where weight is less of a concern. The Phantom ski is essentially a GS ski made for agressive off piste skiing. Big mountain AK pinning it through anything ski. She'll handle anything you can run into on a kite and she'll do it at speed. Matched with a solid alpine boot you have nothing to worry about. Alpine ski performance with AT abilty to self rescue if you have an issue in the backcountry. Also enough beef that a heavy weight rider or aggressive rider won't suffer any drawbacks from binding flex.
I like the performance of an alpine boot so these are two options that work very well for me. Grab some retractable ski poles and you can turn a bad kite session into a nice XC ski session.
I used to be a hardcore tele skier. At my age, my knees just cannot handle this sort of stress all day long. I do miss the feeling of those turns.
My main partner and I both ride Scarpa AT boots, Fritsche bindings on a variety of skis. My new bindings will be Marker Dukes. When I'm near the car I'll use my tight Alpine boots and old GS skis because I'm a much better skier in really tight boots and long skis. Our choice in AT gear stems from many years of backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering prior to kiting. We snowkite off our sleds above 9000' feet and usually at least 5 miles from the car. Comfort in the high country is one of our safety factors. We should carry skins and poles more often but we have rarely had to hike far to the road or sleds when the wind dies or over powers us. A free heel, no skins or poles is still much easier than post holing.
The longest hike for me occured during a solo session in my first kite season four years ago and before I owned a sled. Four miles from the car the wind doubled, I only had one kite but I had skins and telescoping poles. No big deal... Just a long XC tour back to the trailhead.