A Family Adventure


Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Freeheel Isaac

December 24, 2017
Emilie Phillips

We gave Isaac Telemark skis and boots for his birthday. Isaac inherited my large feet, so he easily fit into Scott T-Rex boots. For a binding, the local Telemark shop, Telemarkdown, suggested the G3 Targa with the shortest cable in the shortest configuration. We heard a rumor that this year may be the last year G3 will make that binding. Skis proved the hard part.
Telemarkdown doesn’t stock kids skis and most little kid skis come with alpine bindings already attached. Online, I found two pairs between 90cm and 100cm without bindings. And of those, one was too wide for east coast hard pack. We shipped the skis to the shop to mount bindings, then Tyson and Isaac drove the half hour to New Boston to pick them up. Isaac was so excited, he wore his new boots all the way home from the shop.

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Two days later, we arrived at Gunstock. The groomers had broken up the freezing rain crust, but the surface was still fast. Isaac said his Telemark skis were too slippery compared to his old downhill skis.

We started on a blue run, but Isaac’s technique was sloppy, and his listening skills were exceptionally bad. So we retreated to the bunny hills until Isaac’s listening skills improved. Then we moved to the green slopes.

Meanwhile, Tyson had borrowed demo skis with rocker and NTN bindings. He skied several blue runs then met up with Isaac and I. Tyson didn’t like the Rottefella Freedom binding at all, but it’s not clear if that’s just because it felt different than he’s used to, or if that specific binding is actually worse. It had lots of preload yet soft springs compared to the 22Designs AXL.

Tyson about to push Isaac

Isaac started on the green run with tiny pivot turns down the fall line. We played follow Dad until Isaac could also trace arcs across the full width of the trail. Next I worked on Isaac’s big toe and little toe pressure. When he concentrated, he could stop wedging and initiate a parallel turn with an edge release. Then Tyson coached Isaac to point his hands down the hill. Again, it required concentration, but Isaac could move his weight from far in the back seat to neutral. To get Isaac’s skiing to the next level, we will be working on fore-aft body position all this year.

Tyson working on turn initiation

Then we took a taller lift and Isaac headed straight to a black slope. We discussed at the top and he insisted he wanted that slope. The first run, Isaac skied very well. He kept his weight centered and mostly remembered his edge transitions. Tyson and I practiced our homework from the Tasse clinic. I’m working on bending my front ankle to move my weight forward, and Tyson is trying to engage his new edge earlier.

The second run down, Isaac reverted to a wedge. And the third run down ended with Isaac grinning up at us from the snow, totally exhausted, as a 5 year old should be after a day skiing.

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