Telemarking for Freedom
With video parts one
and photos by Mitch Weber
Marines receiving instruction
before heading up on the hill at Mammoth Mountan.
Fall, 2011-- Some time back I had the pleasure of skiing
and spending some time with Kenny Geheb, the man who all but
single-handedly took the Marines at the Marine Corps Mountain
Warfare Training Center (MCMWTC)
at Pickel Meadow, into the modern age of telemark skiing. I've
been seeing them for years come down to
nearby Mammoth for training, and
to practice the fine art of the telemark turn. I've looked on
as these poor guys struggled with horribly dated double-camber
monstrosities for skis, and their field boots (!) affixed to
a binding churned out to the military by visionary ski product
Ramer. And most of these men had no previous skiing experience,
many having recently seen snow up close for the first time.
It was very painful to watch.
But then a few years ago things
started to change. Slowly at first, some of the leaders started
showing up in plastic T-2 tele boots, and better skis with HammerHeads,
Targas and Voile Hardwires.
Kenny was at the center of this
transition as it continued to the point that all of the Marines
began to show up in modern gear. And what a difference it made.
Some in a core group really seemed to apply themselves, we started
seeing them more often, taking lessons and sharing what they'd
You could say that A Few Good Men
became A Few Good Tele Skiers, and this was way more fun to watch.
With the transition to the modern
era of freeheel gear and tele technique complete, Kenny Geheb
decided he wanted to take it a step further. The Marines, he
told me, have some unique requirements for their gear, apart
from those of most us regular folks, and even those of other
ski troops such as the 10th Mtn. Division.
For the Marines, he's nailed
their needs, and for the rest of us, his ideas are if nothing
else, thought provoking. Here is part one of our visit with gearmaster
So Kenny wants to develop specialized
ski gear for his Marines. Too that end he had been tinkering
for sometime when we met, testing various combinations of boots
and cuffs, along with mix and match bindings.
One version features a tele binding
up front for easy touring over mixed, rolling terrain with lightweight,
flexy, easy to hike in boots. This was a huge priority. "We
aren't exactly going on ops up and down steep couloirs, and we
don't want to have the guys fiddling around in the dark with
Dynafit style pins," says Kenny. "It's an advantage
for us though to have a heel lock-down option to make it easier
for raw beginners to execute basic ski turns," he adds.
I found what he was doing and what
he had to say about it fascinating. More than most of us, Kenny
has given a lot of thought to his ski equipment, and I also found
his reasoning for adopting various approaches to be very interesting.
For Freedom- Part One
rating: "G".......Length: 7:01
For Freedom- Part Two
rating: "G".......Length: 8:14