Sunday, 14 October 2012

Touring for all!

It is great to see the ever expanding popularity of touring and slack country skiing. Ski touring was once a fringe sport, but it is now going mainstream. Big industry names like Salomon and Look are developing new touring specific bindings, surely a sign of things to come.

From Salomon's website
Salomon signed Greg Hill to help develop products and just released their new touring binding: the Guardian 16. They are moving fast to get onboard with the new direction of recreationalists! With that being said, I don't see these bindings really catching on with the hardcore touring crowd as they weigh 800 gm more per individual binding than the Dynafit FT Radical. While some people would prefer the DIN 16 setting of the Guardian 16, I don't think that's really required for the backcountry. Take Eric Hjorleifson for example: he has been stomping lines in tech bindings that have a max DIN setting of 12. The Guardian 16 is not practical for the serious backcountry skier because of its weight, but it might be attractive to some slackcountry skiers.

Notice the Lock binding mounted on the lower ski....
From Dynastar's website
While Salomon has been working on building their own touring binding, Look has taken a totally different approach. Last week I was looking at the Dynastar website, and I noticed a picture of Look branded tech bindings mounted on the Dynastar Alti Powder. I was curious, as Look is not known as a touring oriented company.

I dug a little deeper and found this ski review from Fri Flyt, a Norwegian Ski Magazine:

From Fri Flyt website
Photo: Tore Meirik
Dynastar 2012/13 from Fri Flyt TV on Vimeo.

It appears that Look is having their tech bindings produced by Plum, and that the binding is simply a Plum Guide binding with Look branding. A close look at the photo to the right shows Plum's name printed under Look's. While Look likely isn't planning on developing a tech binding of its own, their support inevitably increases funds available to Plum for research and design.

Dynastar, Look, and Salomon are jumping on the touring bandwagon and are investing in the touring aspects of their businesses. This only means one thing in the end - better, lighter, and cheaper gear for ski tourers.

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