Gear Review |

Gear Review

Telemark TM22 at Ute Mountaineer.

Sure, skinning up Buttermilk is a good aerobic workout and a great way to clear your mind, but it can get a little stale a couple of months into ski season.

Not this year, thanks to a new pair of backcountry skis.The Atomic TM22s that I bought in a clearance sale after last ski season have me salivating all the way up for the chance to carve the corduroy on the way down. These skis are compatible with telemark or alpine-touring bindings; I have an AT setup.They don’t call this category of uphill gear “heavy metal” for nothing. The skis weigh in at 6 pounds, 6 ounces – so with bindings, skins and boots it makes for a heavy load.

The TM22s also have a wide shovel front. The dimensions are 106 millimeters at the front, 72 mm at the waist and 98 at the tail – a deep side-cut figure that probably qualifies it as a “low fat” ski.The shovel at the front is new for me. My old skis didn’t have that bulk to haul around, so trudging up Buttermilk is a little more of a challenge this season. But, hey, I’m doing it to get in shape so it’s no big deal. I think it’s made a difference in my hips.Besides, what goes up gets to come down, and that’s when the TM22s are a sheer delight. These skis seem to turn if I so much as think about it. You can really feel yourself carving into the slope, and they allow you to make an effortless transition into the next turn.

Atomic bills the skis as high performers in all terrain. I wouldn’t argue. They eat up days-old crud as well as groomers. I haven’t had them on a true backcountry adventure yet, nor in powder, but they seem suitable for anything.I like these skis so well, in fact, that I wouldn’t hesitate to take them for a full day of alpine skiing at a ski area.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is

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