Gulmarg, India Ski Trip Preperation
I’m getting everything organised to get myself to India at the moment. I have bought new telemark bindings and boots and had some custom made touring poles made which double as avalanche poles.
I made the trip out to EMC ski shop in Melbourne which is really the only ski shop in Melbourne to stock telemark gear and also have a clue about telemarking. I spent the day with Doug who explained New Telemark Norm (NTN) which is part of the technology renaissance occurring in telemark gear today. Basically all the major manufacturer’s of telemark boots and bindings are getting together to redevelop how telemark boots and bindings work together to get better overall performance for the modern telemark skier.
So Doug sold me on this new concept and fitted me out in a pair of Crispi Evo boots and Rottefella NTN bindings apparently 1 set of only 10 to come into Australia so far. When he found out I would be telemarking the Himalayas he through in the stiffest binding cartridge he had to give me better contact with my ski through the deep powder I’m hopefully going to encounter. I got the bindings mounted on my Nordica Blowers which are a monster of a ski. When I bought them in Canada a couple of years ago I was told they were too big and I would never use them. So I am super stoked to get them fully mounted up for telemarking big mountain. I’ll put them through their paces in Japan first before heading off to India for my 8 week Himalayan trip.
With the ski poles I knew of a man called Stephan through word of mouth from my Outdoor Recreation days. I had visited him a couple of years ago to make me some ski poles which were extendable allowing me to go touring with the taller ski pole then when I wanted to telemark downhill I could shorten them up for easier pole planting on the way down. Unfortunately that pair after years of use broke on me whilst skiing Mt Hotham this year and with my impending ski trip to India I was determined to get another pair. The reason I am totally sold on Stephan’s touring pole is it’s not just a hand made quality ski pole built with the best material available but it also acts as a avalanche probe which can be assembled in 5 seconds flat. A very important feature when your faced with a buried friend and minutes to rescue them.
The other great thing about going out to visit Stephan is you get a bit of a Mighty Ducks moment, sitting in his little work shop as he works away at the same time recounting stories of places he has skied and the history behind modern ski equipment as he has seen it all. Stephan has been making ski poles, trekking poles, walking poles for years and has retired and built himself a great little workshop at his house. All you do is turn up and he invites you in like a long lost friend, whisks you up to his workshop and gets straight into tailoring a pole specifically for your requirements. Right from the tip to the handle it is all customised to suit your needs. There’s not many people who would take an hour or 2 out of their day to teach a young guy the secrets of ski tuning as an added extra but Stephan just wants to empart knowlege for the sake of spreading knowledge. A pretty admirable trait I reckon.
Anyway I have to put in my Indian visa application tomorrow and purchase some ski travel insurance and that’s me done. All I need to do is get myself packed and ready to go.