A narrow view of things...
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier
Will we see Salomon jump into providing bindings for another company?...It doesnt sound like a bad idea as the integrated bindings are leaving Salomon hurting in terms of getting their bindings on the hill. Where skiers use to buy only Salomon, they now have to gow ith Marker, Rossi, or Tyrolia for those brands which require those bindings. You no long can have a Rossi or a Nordica ski with Salomon bindings. Salomon is going to be on the losing end of things in the binding scene if they dont start pushing their product on more than just their own skis (even though they sell huge amounts of skis, other companies are making it impossible for them to sell as many bindings as they once did).
It appears that your view of the binding-ski interface issue focuses solely on race or narrower midfats. In those cases, you are likely on track that Salomon is being hurt by the specific binding requirements imposed on skiers by some manufacturers. However, for those of who ride skis north of 80-mm waists, it appears to be a different story.
I have multiple 80-mm to 95-mm waisted ski (yes, I have a problem) from Rossi, Volkl, Salomon and K2, which are all less than 3-seasons old, and I managed to get Salomons on all of them. I believe that this is due to the fact that for fatter boards, the skiers on those boards still demand choice. That choice often includes a decision between alpine, AT, or tele bindings.
Atomic seems to have got the message on their fat skis, as all four of the models above 88-mm waists will lose the Atomic Bindings only plate, and will be "flat" for 2005. I'm sure that the market share for skis like the Sugar, Pimp, and Big Daddys will increase becasue of the change. Likewise, Marker, who pushes the pilot model on more groomer oriented high-performance skis, has choosen to leave the AX4, V-Pro, Karma, Explosive and Gotama flat, as well. Perhaps that decision only aids in the fact that these are some of the most sought after BC skis around? Not sure, but it makes them a consideration for me, as I like to choose my bindings.
The interesting thing to me is that skiing is splitting into different camps. There is the influx of the "new school" kids who are focused on the acrobatic park action, the traditional racer crowd, who consider a 75-mm waisted ski fat, and the BC group who ask for long, fat and stiff, and more and more seem to be ditching the lifts to earn their turns. Years ago, the industry would have taken a race ski and tweaked it in various ways to fit the needs to each group. Now, three very differnt types of skis are being developed to meet the needs to each group. Regardless of the group you to which you belong (heck, it could be all three), your preferred style and vision of what gear should be is driving then market in different directions, yet we all seem to be getting better gear for our respective disciplines. That has to be the coolest thing I have seem in skiing lately!