There are very few experts out there in the East in this category. Peter K. is one of them. Along with our shop tech, Detlef H. We probably have the biggest selection of ‘AT’ in the East.
Most Alpine Shops are hesitant to ‘go there’ yet, as going ‘uphill’ (skinning) or even ‘side country’ ( up/ and or across on the peaks of an Alpine Area ) are new to them.
Also, ‘Alpine Touring’ is part of the ‘Specialty Outdoor Shop’ category of the Ski Industry… as opposed to the ‘Alpine Shop’ category… Two different kinds of ski shops altogether. We have different Reps in many cases, and a different outlook on our skiing style. We have always been considered ‘Mountain Shops’ instead of ‘Alpine Shops’ in the industry.
Our guys LOVE to go uphill! as much as down. They thrive on ‘earning their turns’ and the cardio workout. And many have been going uphill doing ‘Telemark’ for 35+ years. Most left the Alpine world in search of the more versatile, graceful, lighter, more flexable, ‘Freeheel’ equipment back in the 80’s.
We have been ‘skinning’ (attaching climbing skins to our skis) since we started backcountry skiing in 1976. Peter K. is the East’s most expert ‘Skinning’ specialist, and custom shapes 50+ pair of skins a season. To ‘Tele’ as well as ‘Alpine’ skis. Our staff can ‘set you up’ with the correct skin size to fit your ski and teach you how to use them.
‘Alpine Touring’ has been popular in Europe for many years, and is more well known out West in the USA. It allows an ‘Alpine skier’ access to the backcountry, with a stronger more ‘ Alpine like feel’ than a ‘Telemark’ skier might have.
The equipment is heavier than Telemark, but you can still go uphill like a ‘Tele’ skier, in a more ‘robotic’ way. ( because of the non flexing boot bellows). It does, however, have a much more flexible ‘upper’ than an ‘Alpine’ boot, and most enticing, is considerably lighter. The binding allows you to climb up and lock your heel to go down.
It is perfect for the Alpine skier who dosn’t want learn to ‘Tele’, but wants the ability to go Uphill, get a workout, and access the backcountry like a Backcountry skier. They ‘can’t believe’ how light and flexible ‘ the boots are, compared to Alpine. They are becoming the ‘boot of choice’ for coaches who spend all day in their boots, on the hill.
FYI – In certain ‘Mountaineering’ situations, ‘Alpine Touring’ is a stiffer, more practical, solid, and a much safer way to go than ‘Telemark’. It allows a skier to traverse high mountain terrain more safely and is recommended on European Tours such as ‘Le Haute Route’. European Guides would almost always choose ‘AT’ or ‘Randonne’ over ‘Telemark’ for the safety of their clients in ‘Big Mountain’ Touring.