bmiller - to responce to your original post. I'd seen a few "telemarkers" around in Europe but only on their way to the backcounty. I've never forgotten the first time I saw one on a trail (1989/90 I recall). Double black diamond at Jackson Hole, I'm struggling down a mogul field in broken powder when this guy just bounces right past me. I collapsed in a mixture of appreciation and depression about how sh1t my skiing ability was.
After 2 years living in Singapore really looking forward to a full season in Europe, hopefully we'll have a good snow season.
I think you will find the number of tele skiers has grown since you last skied.
Active bindings, big plastic boots and auto pilot skiis have taken the turn to new levels. It's really opened up this variation of the sport.
For some people it's a big cultural thing, the whole tele/alpine/snowboard/blades/snowbike debate. For me it's all just sliding on snow with differing methods of making a turn. As long as you're smiling, it's all good.