Telemark or randonnée?

Ask Dr. Flake
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Telemark or randonnée, what's really better?

Ahh, I'm glad you asked. Telemarkers like to wax ecstatic about harmonizing turns and "dancing with the mountain" and other fruity stuff stolen from the poetry of Kahlil Gibran. Why? Because, quite simply, the airy rhapsody sounds better than "repeatedly hammering my face into the mountain," which of course even great tele skiers do after their hinges-sorry, bindings-fling them to the hardpack. Uphill, rando wins too. The Dynafit Tourlite Tech setup weighs eight-and-a-half pounds, at least two pounds less than a Black Diamond-Scarpa tele ensemble. Which is why 8 out of 10 competitors at backcountry rallies use rando gear. Lastly, should the need arise, rando boots fit step-in crampons, whereas the flipper toes of tele boots don't even kick decent steps. So unless you already free-heel like the spawn of a Norse God and a Crested Butte flowerchild, leave the hippies and deities alone and go skiing.

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Skiing Magazine's 2008-09 Backcountry Gear Guide

Last March, our two dozen testers hammered laps on Crested Butte’s bony steeps for two days, filling out evaluation cards after each run. The results are listed here. “AT” means the gear was reviewed by alpine-touring skiers. “Tele” means tested by telemark skiers. Some skis were tested by both groups. Our goal: to help you find your perfect backcountry setup.