With increased compatibility, next year's ski bindings are blurring the lines between alpine and backcountry.
In the ski binding category new innovative designs are fine-tuning the art of attaching skier to ski. This year’s focus is on weight savings, power transmission for controlling wider skis, safer release, and enhanced touring modes and sole compatibility. “Lighter bindings seem to be the way of the future, especially for ladies’ models,” says Joe Rauscher of Joe’s Ski Shop in Minnesota.
Here's a selection of a few of the noteworthy launches for Winter 2013-14.
The SIA Snowsports show, where manufacturers unveil their latest creations for shop-buyers and journalists, starts tomorrow in Denver, Colorado. We’ll be there to scope out the most promising gear for next winter–everything from helmets and goggles to skis, boots and packs.
Skinning is crucial in the side- or backcountry because it’s more efficient and less tiring than hiking in deep snow. The fur-like surface of skins flattens as you move uphill, allowing your skis to glide, but it grips to keep you from sliding back after each step.
Don’t be afraid. Skinning isn’t as painful as it sounds. In fact, it’s the most efficient way to propel yourself uphill. It’s a crucial skill for ski touring in the back- or sidecountry, where you don’t have the aid of a chairlift to get you to the top of a peak. Pete Swenson, Director of the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association, says that almost anyone can do it. “If you’re capable of a slow jog, you can skin up the side of the hill,” he says. But before you venture out on your first sidecountry adventure, you’ll need the right gear and some sound advice.