Leading up to the SIA Snow Show, SNEWS is previewing new trends and products you’ll see at the trade show in Denver, Jan. 31-Feb. 3. Today, we take a take a look at the latest in ski bindings. All these stories also can be found in the print or digital flipbook edition of our Snow Show Preview.
Ski bindings continue to come in all shapes and styles, from adjustable, price-point demo and rental SKUs to high-end green springs for racers. All share an increasing emphasis on performance—including edge-to-edge power transmission on today’s ever-widening skis—and on reliable lateral and heel releases. And with total binding sales up $2 million last year, to $48 million, the category is clicking just like skiers stepping into heel pieces.
The big news this year is the proliferation of alpine touring (AT) bindings, with mainstay alpine binding manufacturers, like their bootmaker cousins, jumping on the backcountry bandwagon. Marker, Salomon, and Tyrolia, for example, all have offerings in this category now, countering products from more touring-oriented companies like Dynafit, G3, and Fritschi. “It’s a little bit of an arms race,” says Geoff Curtis, vice president of marketing for Marker Völkl USA. “A lot of companies are trying to get new products in the pipeline, which is a sign of real health in the category.”
Bindings must be capable of controlling today’s Goliath-like girth of skis. Salomon addresses the issue with the STH 2 WTR (DIN 7-13/16), which has a 20 percent wider platform, progressive transfer pads, and increased shock absorption. “It’s an extension of the Guardian platform adapted to the 3D Salomon driver toe piece,” says Salomon USA’s alpine product category manager, Jake Fuller. “We updated it to today’s wider skis for ideal balance between power and feel.”
Marker, whose M 4.5 EPS, Griffon, and Squire were the top-three-selling bindings of 2011-12, heads into next season with the Race Xcell 16.0, the first new racing binding the company has introduced in years. It features new toe and heel technologies that facilitate increased power transmission; the toe piece also includes a shock-absorbing piston that controls a turn’s initial twisting forces. Marker also debuts the Lord SP (DIN 5-14), which accommodates both alpine and AT boots via a pin system that allows the toe to be set in two positions. “We’re the only company offering a non-tourable binding that can accommodate both alpine and AT boots safely,” says Curtis.
Marker Race Xcell
Look continues to ride the success of its popular Pivot series, available in DIN 10-18 and 8-14, with three brake-width options. The company is also looking into the touring category, according to spokesman Nick Castagnoli, while remaining committed to its alpine product.
Fischer ups its alpine ante with the new Powertrack, based on its popular Powerrail system, but with a lower height, lighter weight, and better power transfer.
The revamped KneeBinding (DIN 3-12), now with updated finishing and graphics, has seen preseason orders for this winter increase by 300 percent over last year, with current distribution in 350 storefronts in ten countries. The focus, says marketing manager George Couperthwait, is on preventing the ACL injuries that afflict more than 70,000 skiers each year. The binding helps accomplish this through a sideways heel release, a floating mount system that ensures even ski flex, and a platform that runs the full width of an alpine boot sole for increased edging power.
Marker adds two models to its AT fleet. The Baron EPF (DIN 4-13) showcases a lighter version of the wide platform that defines the company’s Extended Power Frame technology. The Tour 12 EPF (DIN 4-12) does the same in a touring-oriented setup.
Marker Tour EPF
Salomon unveils its new Guardian 13 AT binding (DIN 5-13), with a 26mm-profile chassis for power transmission, an oversized (80mm) platform for wider skis, a flat nose for a 90-degree climbing pivot, and a Double Freeflex heel piece for downhill performance.
Tyrolia, in conjunction with Fischer, modifies its Adrenalin, now available in DIN 13 as well as 16. The binding has an extra wide platform to accommodate 80mm underfoot and wider skis, a 36mm stand height, and three climbing heights. It also incorporates a 60mm free-gliding plate on a Titanal heel track that allows the ski to flex. Tyrolia also showcases the Attack (DINs 13/16), a version of the Adrenalin without the walk feature, and the Ambition 12, a low, lightweight touring binding with a wide, telescoping frame that fits 253-357mm sole lengths for both AT and alpine boots, and has four climbing positions.
These are just a few of the new products to debut at the show. Be sure to check out many more new products and trends in the Snow Show Daily, published live at the show, and available digital format each following day of print on SNEWS.