Yours Truly Gets A Few Words In At Telemarktips

Post by blogger | August 31, 2007      

August, 2007: While at the summer OR trade show a few weeks ago, Mitch Weber of caught me for an on-camera interview. He does a nice job with those so I’m always game when he’s out hunting for people to film. Just a friendly chat without too much in the way of controversy or hard questions.

(2014 update, the original Telemarktips is defunct so link is removed. For those new to the game, Telemarktips was influential and popular for a number of years during a surge in the popularity of telemark skiing that lasted from approximately 1994 through 2001 according to industry insiders.)

Lou gets roasted
Telemarker’s take on me a decade ago, now we’re all loving on each other (grin). This caricature of myself was published in Couloir Magazine during the flame storm I started by calling telemarking “backwater,” used by permission, and as fair use to show item referred to in news and history.

For his text intro to the video, Mitch dug up some old Couloir Magazine column writing of mine from way back in 1994 (for about 10 years I wrote a column called “Dawson’s backcountry”).

Titled Confession of a Lift Chair Swinger, the piece was written while I was sitting in the funky base lodge up at tiny Sunlight Mountain above Glenwood Springs, Colorado. My four-year-old was in their daycare program, and I’d ride the lifts and enjoy doing some ski testing and powder stash hunting. For some reason, probably new-parent stress, I was feeling particularly connected to skiing that day, and seeing how it all worked together as a lifestyle and soul sport.

What’s wild is Mitch says a few grafs in the article really spoke to him. Who would have known? Back then, Dostie and I weren’t sure anyone even read that stuff. And there was always some question about even keeping the column going. I’m glad we did.

An interesting (and appreciated) thing about Mitch’s video intro is he didn’t mention how controversial my writing was back then with the telemark crowd. For a while I made a habit of dissing telemark skiing, because I felt the gear was crummy and the techniques used to drive wimpy “telemark” boots and skis were unnecessarily difficult and made it hard for people to enter the sport of backcountry ski touring. Along with that, I was constantly riled about the smug attitude of superiority that some telemarkers presented about their ability to “do it on pins.”

Hence, I felt called to be a counterpoint voice, and did so with gusto. The highpoint (or lowpoint?) of those halcyon days was when I wrote about telemark skiing being “backwater.” Through some bad editing decisions that statement was made stronger than I intended, and some of the die-hard tele crowd labeled me a hater (which resulted in humor.)

In realty, my infamous “backwater” statement was intended to compare telemark gear to randonnee ski touring gear (it was a gear review), and a decade ago there WAS a marked difference. The telemark gear of those days was difficult to use and frequently fragile — while the rando AT fixed heel stuff worked pretty well. That’s changed of course, and telemark gear and technique are now nearly on par with randonnee, though any honest practitioner of both disciplines will admit that tele is still slightly more difficult, and not as comfortable for extreme skiing.

At any rate, it was nice of Mitch not to dredge up that old controversy, but rather focus on the commonality we have between all glisse disciplines: That of the ride. Thanks Mitch!

As for tele vs. rando, don’t sweat fans, I’m still rooting for randonnee ski touring!!


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6 Responses to “Yours Truly Gets A Few Words In At Telemarktips”

  1. Matt Kinney August 31st, 2007 11:09 am

    Remember your old writings well. Good to see a small hug fest with you and Mitch. Both of you have done wonders promoting the sport of backcountry skiing.

    I used to have “feelings” about AT gear also. Now I’m pretty much non-denominational and will continue to learn p-turns as my knees are beginning to c*#p out from to much telemark. Gonna be striving for 75% tele and 25% (versus 99-1) alpine this season to balance things and save knees from knives. I’ll be exploring alpine on freeheel as I have seen some very good skiers with that blend of style and footwear over the years. Actually did quite a bit of alpine stuff to end last season.

  2. michael jones September 1st, 2007 6:20 am

    Very good story! I really like! I think that snow skiing is the greatest sport! It is so exciting and everything around you is so beautiful… it is just amazing!

  3. Andy June 26th, 2013 10:56 pm

    Is deceased? And the forums? Anyone know? (Anyone care?)

  4. Lou Dawson June 27th, 2013 5:56 am

    Andy, it has kind of stuttered along over the past year or so. They probably forgot to pay for their server or something like that, and it’ll be back up again at some point.

    I checked the Whois like anyone can and it all looks normal, domain name wasn’t hijacked or something like that. Though the renewal date is a concern, as active websites usually keep their domain names renewed several years in advance.

    Perhaps someone else has info or has spoken with Mitch recently.

    Registered through:, LLC (
    Created on: 09-Nov-99
    Expires on: 09-Nov-13
    Last Updated on: 10-Nov-12

    Telemark Tips and Instruction Website
    291 Cypress Dr. #5
    Laguna Beach, California 92651
    United States

    Administrative Contact:
    Salazar, Laurie
    Telemark Tips and Instruction Website
    3 San Bittern Lane
    Aliso Viejo, California 92656
    United States
    (949) 215-0720 Fax — 999 999 9999

    Technical Contact:
    Network, FastDns
    3080 Ogden rd
    lisle, Illinois 60532
    United States
    630-357-8545 Fax — – 630-357-8545

    Domain servers in listed order:

  5. Matt Kinney June 27th, 2013 10:20 am

    Good riddance ttips…….Despite pleas for moderation, (edit: moderators) let the parade of insults and innuendoes fly. With a lack of moderation at ttips, the main forum eventually became toxic and vile, led by anonymous posters who’s only purpose was to mess with people lives or demean the web site. Adult bullies are as bad as teen bullies in many ways. Webber seemed more entertained by the low level of brain power that logged on each day versus TR’s or getting rid of that NTN junk. I haven’t visited the site in years for obvious reasons. With that said, ttips did more to damage the sport of telemark than lousy gear development. They allowed an unfiltered and septic ski forum to continue over the past decade on a web site supposedly dedicated to the beauty of skiing. Its important because Ttips was the sole face of our(my) sport, which wasn’t very pretty at all. Can you imagine someone new to telemark going to ttips for advise and instead finding spray? Show me some Dynafits please!

    Thankfully we have Wild Snow along with some other ski sites where the trash is left on the doorsteps, Most the chat here is ski chat with an occasional pastry review to sweeten attitudes and thrashing of eco-freaks-tele-hippies once a month. Thanks Lou for your forum

    PS…nice trip report by louis on Baker this week with the bike approach.

  6. Lou Dawson June 27th, 2013 10:39 am

    Matt, I edited out the personal attack, otherwise I suppose harsh crit opinion of a website is ok, we’ve certainly gotten our share ourselves.

    On the whole, I disagree with you. From what I’ve seen at Ttips over the years people were for the most part friendly, though the level of discourse did indeed go down periodically, and there were a lot of posts that were basically the same thing as bar chatter. (I don’t mind bar chatter, but don’t care to take time out of my day reading it.)

    Any publishing endeavor has a life span, especially one based on a specific athletic movement. Ttips had quite a run, they were incredibly influential for years and certainly deserve credit for that. For the most part, my take is they were good for the sport other than the continual emphasis on heavier and heavier gear. But telemark skiing has seen its rise to glory. Could happen again, but all industry numbers show the turn and associated gear to be much less popular. Ttips has to essentially go along with that, as it’s incredibly hard to morph a publishing brand and the Ttips owners probably don’t have the will or energy to get involved in that.


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