Thursday, April 13, 2017

The stagnation of ski binding design

For almost 30 years, nothing much has changed in the way ski bindings operate.

Nothing drastically new has come up and with binding companies moving from solely-owned companies ran by their founder to large corporations in which bindings are bundled and branded with skis and boots, ski bindings have become a commodity that no one worries about and for which the general assumption is that technology has reached its final destiny.

When Rossignel took over Look bindings in 1994, it has been notorious in getting away with stale and rudimentary designs that hearken to the old Geze toe-unit and the spartan Look 27 heel-piece.

The only interesting new product that came outside of the “legacy brands” (Look, Marker, Salomon and Tyrolia) has been the so-called KneeBinding that is supposed to mitigate knee injuries. That's right, we're talking about ACL injuries (anterior cruciate ligament) that are estimated to affect between 60 and 80,000 skiers, world-wide, each season.

Proponents of the KneeBinding claim that their bindings, with its lateral release at the heel, will protect the ACL. This claim might be overblown though, as no one, among the established suppliers has tackled this problem yet and by so doing, validated KneeBinding claim.

All this to say that we shouldn't expect much from that the legacy brands and can only hope that some independent product developers like KneeBinding finally bring some innovation into a market that is desperately asleep.

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