Save the Knees
With one in every 2,100 skiers suffering an ACL injury each year, binding manufacturers are looking to design more knee-friendly products. Hence, the Pivogy, a binding due to hit shelves next season. Vermont-based manufacturer Line Skis claims the Pivogy ($170-$320, depending on materials and DIN settings) will reduce knee torque during the backward falls that cause many ACL injuries. The Pivogy marks a debut into the binding market for Line, which is known for its skiboards and twin-tip skis.
Here's how Pivogy works, according to Line: Most alpine bindings have only one boot-pivot point, located at the heel, which means the heel cannot release laterally in the event of a backward-twisting fall. Pivogy's release point shifts between the toe and the heel, depending on the type of fall. In a backward fall¿especially in cases when beginners lose control and try to sit down or when more experienced skiers try to recover from falling back¿the heel will release laterally, instantly easing the strain on the knee. Pivogy inventor Dave Dodge¿who has worked as a design engineer for industry giants Rossignol, Lange and Burton¿claims that during such falls the binding can reduce the stress on the knee by a factor of three compared to other bindings. Tests are underway to assess the validity of the claims, Dodge says. If they're true, Pivogy could mean the difference between finishing your run or being finished for the season.
Young skiers and snowboarders are hitting the slopes less and less according to a recent report by the Leisure Trends Group in Boulder, Colo. Teens and young adults are increasingly trading boards and skis for joysticks, opting for the virtual reality of games like Jonny Moseley Mad Trix for their winter fun. Leisure Trends' survey found that ski and snowboard participation among 16- to 24-year-olds has dropped nearly 25 percent from 1996 to the end of 2001, while computer use is up 63 percent. Our advice? Next time your teenage son asks for a Playstation 2, give him skis instead.