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The Freeheel Life Podcast

Dec 19, 2022

Russell Rainey is originally from Arkansas where he grew up enjoying the outdoors and getting exposed to many of his experiences through the Boy Scouts. It was one of his scouting experiences, at the age of 14, when he went to New Mexico and first saw the Rocky Mountains. He told me, “I came home from that trip, but I don’t think I really came home. My heart was in the mountains at that point.”

From that point forward it was a personal quest of his to go back to the mountains. As he got a little older he landed a job at a local shop called Take A Hike that sold mountaineering, backpacking, & hiking equipment in Arkansas. The owner of the shop encouraged him to go to a National Outdoor Leadership School, aka NOLS course in Colorado to enhance his outdoor knowledge and skills. This experience blew things wide open to the possibilities of working in the outdoor space. 

His love for the big mountains soon led him to buy property near Wilson, WY where he built a small home for his wife and 2 kids. They moved there full-time and he began working for Exum Mountain Guides in the Teton area as well as teaching skiing at Grand Targhee. Although he was a self-described intermediate skier during this time, his time on the snow led him to want to attempt to create a better freeheel binding. This was the spark that led to the creation of his own company that would make some of the most iconic and important Telemark bindings of the last 3 decades.

Russell created and sold the his Telemark bindings from the late 1980s until the early 2000s. From stainless steel toe plates, to the 6-hole mounting pattern, to many many other things…his impact is still seen in our bindings today.

It was an absolute honor and a privilege to speak with him about his story, his bindings, and Telemark.

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