It was a year ago that Scarpa said they would be working on new boots for the tele tribe. Then silence.
There were hopeful promises of prototypes “this spring” but that was last spring.
At the recent Outdoor Retailer trade show, the annual show of ski candy, Kim Miller went on record with Doug Schnizspahn, editor of Elevation Outdoors in Boulder who wrote in an industry newsletter that telemark apparently wouldn’t die, as the Abandoned Tele crowd has been bleating ad nauseum. Kim Miller, the CEO of Scarpa NA was smiling thanks to high demand for freeheel boots at the WWSRA on snow demo at Copper Mountain at the end of January.
“Tele, for us, is still much bigger than the uphill and the rando race trend,” he said. “We’re still selling a lot of telemark boots. The biggest question I fielded at this show is ‘When’s the next telemark boot coming out?’ And we are working on it.”
Crispi is rumored to be working on a lighter tele boot as well. Hopefully they will do more than trim fat. There is clearly an opportunity for them if they step up to the plate. Scarpa might dominate the market but they don’t fit everybody’s feet.
No official talk about when, but the confirmation Scarpa has not shelved their development of a new telemark boot line is very encouraging.
In the meantime I’ve made peace with my current tele boots. Yes, they’re heavy compared to skimo boots but I’m not a skimo racer, I’m a telemarker that likes uphill skinning too, only at a pace where I can carry on a conversation, not see if I can blow a valve – literally. I might also want more range of motion in the cuff – oh yes I do – but not enough to chain my heel when burning turns. Certainly not where fresh tracks are on the menu. My tele soul needs a flexible sole. And for walking comfort, uphill or flat, tele boots rule, especially without the duckbill.
Like you I’m impatient for improvements but I’ll just have to wait for lighter tele boots with more cuff mobility and a higher price tag. Oh you can count on the last part more than the former. It’s the price of progress, right? And we have to wait because state-of-the-art 3D boot printing is yet future.
Ah, but an informant whispered, “1.4 kilos.”
That’s seven ounces (200g) lighter than my Scarpa TX’s, (sz. 26, BSL 299 shell with a Garmont liner and custom footbed). My boots are heavier than a stock boot so a future boot might only be four or five ounces lighter. That would still make a noticeable difference, especially if the range of motion is more and the flex resistance less. But that’s just a rumbling of the new generation of tele boots budding beneath the surface. My bet is they can and have done better with prototypes already. My sources went mute after leaking that number so if anybody asks, it’s just a rumor.
It’s worth pointing out, if you don’t ever plan to earn your turns, you don’t need what Scarpa is cooking up. There’s plenty of solid tele boots available, at least for in-bounds performance. Duckbilled boots and bindings haven’t changed in years. The performance of 75mm gear is solid and compared to the silver age of tele, enviable, whether going up or down. It isn’t possible to get better without changing the interface, so if you want more downhill performance, or more uphill performance, NTN boots are the way to go. And if you’re headed out of bounds, make sure whatever boots you buy have tech inserts in the toes.
- The silver age of tele: before plastic telemark boots and free pivoting tele bindings that only those with silver hair remember.