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What's in store for '04 (& 05)

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
To help pass the time during the off season I thought it might be fun and educational to discuss trends in gear for next season. For example:

Will skis be getting longer , shorter, wider, narrower?

What are the hot race skis for next season?

Will Dalbello really be producing the Flexon Comp or some near variation of it?

What ski, boot, bindings and other gear innovations can we expect next season?

Will manufacturers ski lines become simpler or more differentiated?

Who is buying whom in the equipment world or has the era of mergers and aquisitions run its course?

Etc.

As mentioned, it is something to while away the boredom between seasons.
post #2 of 28
I know that Elan has ditched the market share with Marker and opted to use Tyrolia bindings on their skis. The motion system is going to remain exactly the same i guess, but the binding will be different. They are also introducing a 'beefier' motion system that is going to go on a GSX and SLX that is made for mere mortals, which lends itself more toward all mountain skiing, versus ice only.

Did Marker or Atomic buy/obtain market share with Volant?

Marker seems to be continuing its stranglehold on the ski community, but lost Elan:
Volkl
Technica
K2
Nordica

Tyrolia has:
Head
Fischer
Elan

Keep an eye out for VIST bindings to appear possibly with Stockli skis within the next few seasons. Its not a definite but it seems like a very likely possibility. Check out both companies websites. You will recognize the VIST binding as the old SynAxis Nordica binding.

New trends seem to be wider tip and tail and shorter lengths in all mountain skis. Race skis seem to be reverting to less shape and softer flex in order to produce more rebound out of turns, but require a higher skilled pilot to make them work due to less shape.

Bode is on Atomic now? Didnt see that one coming, my vote was for Nordica. The Austrians are going to be pretty stirred up over that one, especially when it comes time to hand out 'fast' skis. Will he stay on his feet though...

Will we see Salomon jump into providing bindings for another company? They lost Fischer because of unwillingness to let Fischer stamp their name on the high end 900 toe piece... will tey look to try again to gain more market share? 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).

Later

GREG
post #3 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier
Marker seems to be continuing its stranglehold on the ski community, but lost Elan:
Intersting choice of words but fitting. Marker seems to be trying to cling on to its market share by forcing itself on consumers rather than by addressing the widespread belief (wrongly or rightly) that its products are inferior for demanding skiers.

Dynastar and Atomic are abandoning integrated plates in their freeride and freestyle skis and I think the ski/binding integration fad is at its height now. It will still be another few years before most skis have dropped the systems, some skinny groomer skis may hold onto them for longer, but the tide has turned on integration.

My picks for the next season are that race and groomer skis will stay about as they are. We have reached the extremes in shortness and sidecut for non-hardcore racers and if anything they will back off and become a little more user friendly. Most people have realised that a 150cm ski with a 9m turn radius may be fun for a couple of runs but is not very versatile.

The real growth market will be in the mid-fat segment. The long held belief that a softening a race ski makes an all mountain ski is finally dying. It used to be that a 70mm waist would be called an all mountain ski but people are realising that you can go up to 77-80mm at the waist and still rip on groomers, with the only sacrifice being some quickness edge to edge. These skis will stay around the 170-180cm mark with turn radius from 19-21m. They are really the ultimate in versatility and match the way people really ski.

An interesting observation over the last few years is that there are several slopes here in NZ which always used to get covered in moguls now get tracked out in a steady chop with no moguls at all. My theory is that because skiers are doing fast long turns in powder and chop instead of the old slow powder 8s they are not forming small distinct lumps as they turn. And as a slope is half tracked out you can do long turns just by leaning the skis over, you don't have to riccochet off lumps to turn.
post #4 of 28
Atomic bought Volant in December 03
post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostboy
Will Dalbello really be producing the Flexon Comp or some near variation of it?
Yes, yes, yes. I will be in it. Bribes made, Deal was cut. This would be my 20th season in Flexons, we shall see. Fingers, toes and anything else I can cross is crossed, I hope that the boot is as good as the old Flexons.
post #6 of 28
The biggest news I heard for next year is Atomic is finally updating their bindings. The new Atomic binding toe looks amazingly like a Rossignol/Look toe which descended from a Geze design. (If memory servers me right the Geze design came out around 15 years ago which means its patents are expiring.) There will be a high-end version of the new Atomic binding which will tell you if you're not properly in the binding but at a thousand or so dollars I doubt it will get much business from the bears. Personally, I have had some bad experiences demoing on Atomic bindings while I can't say enough about the Rossi/Look toe so I'm looking forward to trying Atomic's new binding.
post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio
The biggest news I heard for next year is Atomic is finally updating their bindings. The new Atomic binding toe looks amazingly like a Rossignol/Look toe which descended from a Geze design. (If memory servers me right the Geze design came out around 15 years ago which means its patents are expiring.)
Good call on the date, Rio- the Bogner designs are:
Jan. 24, 1990 priority for US5180183 (coverage expired failure to pay maintenance fee Mar. 27 2001)
Sep. 4, 1990 for US5205576 (may still be in force)
Jul. 28, 1988 for US5007657 (may still be in force)
Jun. 19, 1987 for US4889359 (may still be in force)

The Schenck-designed four-roller units have been public domain for a bit of time now.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio
Personally, I have had some bad experiences demoing on Atomic bindings while I can't say enough about the Rossi/Look toe so I'm looking forward to trying Atomic's new binding.
Looking at the new Atomic bindings they have changed a lot cosmetically but the fundamentals of how they grip the boot don't seem to have changed, so I suspect they will suffer from the same problems caused by lack of elasticity as the previous design. The seem to function more like the (former) Nordica design than Look/Rossi.

It sounds simple but the great thing about the Look/Rossi and Salomon toepiece is that they wrap around the boot above the boot lug, rather than trying to hold onto the toe lug itself. This helps the binding hold onto the boot when it is a long way off centre.
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwiski
Looking at the new Atomic bindings they have changed a lot cosmetically but the fundamentals of how they grip the boot don't seem to have changed, so I suspect they will suffer from the same problems caused by lack of elasticity as the previous design. The seem to function more like the (former) Nordica design than Look/Rossi.

It sounds simple but the great thing about the Look/Rossi and Salomon toepiece is that they wrap around the boot above the boot lug, rather than trying to hold onto the toe lug itself. This helps the binding hold onto the boot when it is a long way off centre.
Are you referring to contact at point 23 (see attached image)? How does this help?
525x525px-LL-vbattach8.jpg
post #10 of 28
You can see it better when viewed from above, but in the illustration the boot is stopped from moving sideways by point 24 which goes around the side of the toe lug. Look and Salomon instead wrap around on top of the toe lug, as if point 23 wrapped around the toe of the boot.

Atomic's website has all the new bindings in it and you can see that they grip the boot on the toe lug, and the design of the wing is almost identical to that of the (former) Nordica and Tyrolia toepiece.
post #11 of 28
The biggest change I see with the new Atomic binding is each side of the toe has a seperate wing instead of the toe connecting to a single piece. Rossignol, Marker, Tyrolia, Salomon (except the Driver toes) & VIST all have variants of this type of design. I believe this is a more effective design & will result it better retention than the old design even if the wings don't wrap around the toe of the boot as much as Rossi or Salomon bindings.
post #12 of 28
What's your opinion of the new Marker piston binding. Marker moved the piston in front of the toe peice and is supposed to make a considerable difference. The Atomic binding sounds an aweful lot like a Look design. The Marker design sounds a little more innovative. These will be on the 6*'s and superspeeds.
post #13 of 28

A narrow view of things...

Quote:
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).

Later

GREG
HeluvaSkier,

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!
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron
What's your opinion of the new Marker piston binding. Marker moved the piston in front of the toe peice and is supposed to make a considerable difference. The Atomic binding sounds an aweful lot like a Look design. The Marker design sounds a little more innovative. These will be on the 6*'s and superspeeds.
Playing around with the plate they are mounted on dosen't fix the perceived release/retention issues Marker have. They have taken the high-tech way on a product which should be as simple as possible. Pull apart a Look toepiece and you will see there are only 3 moving parts, pull apart a Marker toepiece and dozens of tiny parts all assembled like a jigsaw puzzle.

Even though the new Atomic bindings are flared at the front like Look/Rossi, mechanically they are much more like the Nordica/Vist or Tyrolia bindings. It would be interesting if anybody has the specs on the bindings, especially elasticity. Look/Rossi and Salomon have the most lateral elasticity at 45mm, the old Atomics had the least at 18mm. I Have come to the belief that the more elasticity the better to avoid pre-release (within reason).
post #15 of 28
thanks. I Have salis mounted on a pair of Volkl G3's and like them. I have not skied on Markers in years. do you have concerns about the safety? What about the Atomics (safety)
post #16 of 28
Pretty much all the top-end bindings from Marker, Salomon, Tyrolia, Atomic & Look/Rossignol release when they are suppose to for most falls. The big argument is which bindings release when they're not suppose to. If a binding prereleases people tend to crank up the DIN setting which can lead to the binding not releasing when it should. Another argument is which toe design works best for a backwards twisting fall.

In my opinion the turntable heel version of the Rossignol/Look bindings has the best retention & best design for backwards twisting falls. I ski Rossi/Look bindings 1 to 1 1/2 below my recommended DIN setting and never have problems with prereleases. The driver toe versions of the Salomon bindings have great retention, also. The big knock on the driver toe is it the mechanism Salomon builds into them to help with backwards twisting falls. Some people do not think the design is as efficient as some of the other toe designs. I haven't had much any problems with them releasing in those types of falls.

I know a lot of people that have absolutely no problem with Marker bindings and Atomic bindings. Personally, I have found Markers work fine on stiff, groomer skis that aren't as prone to bending under the boot. (I have a pair on my Nordica SUV 12x skis and I'm impressed with how smooth the interface is......considering how simple the interface is on the SUV 12x's I wonder why Marker is wasting so much energy on the Piston design.) I've had problems with Markers prereleasing on softer, wider skis when I take them into crud. As for the old Atomic design, I have had bad luck demoing on them so I've avoided them.
post #17 of 28
Bandit Man: 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.

You missed the "average Joe/Jane skier" who skis on groomed and would not know (or care about) integrated bindings. Manufacturers will continue to capture this market with a complete package. This is the largest segment of the skier population, so they will continue to give traction to the "integrated binding" concept.
post #18 of 28
Bandit Man, that is interesting to see that the fat skis are moving back to a 'flat' ski. I have noticed the same trend in race skis as well, but only in race stock models predominantly because of their nature. I dont ski on fat skis very often, and when i think of a 'fat ski i think of something about 80mm - 85mm wide... being a racer from the east that is a damned wide ski. Those types of skis seem to have the option of being integrated or not - example is Volkl's line last year. I think that in powder, the binding is more of personal preferance in terms of what the rider trusts. If i was powder skiing i would only strap Salomon or Look/Rossi to my feet in terms of bindings. Those skis are also used for tele skiing, so it makes sense to keep them flat.

It was good to point out that the integrated binding still makes sense of over 90% of the skiing population that buys equipement. Those who are not on expert gear it just makes it easier to buy everything at once and be done. From the ski companies stand point i dont think that we will be seeing this trend end any time soon. We may get flat or at least plated expert skis that we can mount any binding on but i dont think that the average intermediate skier is going to see the light at the end of the tunnel any time soon.

Later

GREG
post #19 of 28
HeluvaSkier - You pretty much have it. Those skiing dentists who ski one week and a few weekends a year and who don't really know much about equipment, other than they want something that matches their jacket, have bought into the integration fad. But anyone who spends a lot of time on snow and who has to pay for their own gear never got sucked in. While racers used to set the equipment trends I think these days it is more the top free skiers you need to watch, and virtually none of them are using integated gear.

Talking about width though, my new everyday skis are now 79mm at the waist which I think really suits the 50% groomed, 50% off piste skiing that most people do. I have a set of fat skis too for the powder days, but I think unless you race or like doing pogo stick slalom turns there is no point in going less than 75mm in the waist.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio
The biggest change I see with the new Atomic binding is each side of the toe has a seperate wing instead of the toe connecting to a single piece. Rossignol, Marker, Tyrolia, Salomon (except the Driver toes) & VIST all have variants of this type of design. I believe this is a more effective design & will result it better retention than the old design even if the wings don't wrap around the toe of the boot as much as Rossi or Salomon bindings.
Adding to that is the loss of the 5-position adjustment that was offered on the old 614 series(inherited from ESS design). Everytime I looked at these bindings I imagine seeing the insides of a ESS binding with a Atomic outside cosmetic shell and flashbacks of Hank Kashiwa on then Pro Ski tour using them with Hansen boots!! (does anyone remember?) hahahahahahaha.

I didn't think it was that big of factor in my skiing until I noticed it made it possible to change high speed stability (edge control) in my midfats and/or skiing in heavy crud or ungroomed wet powder so common in areas where I live. It widened the performance envelope of a single quiver more than I orginally assumed.

Another side note on the old 614 series was the Austrian National Team mentioned they were experimenting with the variazone 5-positioning as to its ability to conpensate for small differences in leg length, skeletal differences after injury, etc.l
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwiski
Playing around with the plate they are mounted on dosen't fix the perceived release/retention issues Marker have. They have taken the high-tech way on a product which should be as simple as possible. Pull apart a Look toepiece and you will see there are only 3 moving parts, pull apart a Marker toepiece and dozens of tiny parts all assembled like a jigsaw puzzle.

Even though the new Atomic bindings are flared at the front like Look/Rossi, mechanically they are much more like the Nordica/Vist or Tyrolia bindings. It would be interesting if anybody has the specs on the bindings, especially elasticity. Look/Rossi and Salomon have the most lateral elasticity at 45mm, the old Atomics had the least at 18mm. I Have come to the belief that the more elasticity the better to avoid pre-release (within reason).
Many retailers, racers, and hard-core freeriders continue in a rumorus manner on how Marker binding pre-release more than other brands (even 2004 Atomic bindings). Not my personal opinion but I what I keep hearing this over and over again.

Retailers were elated that Elan made the switch to Tyrolia integration on its 2005 expanded Fusion series.
post #22 of 28
Well ... various sources report that Markers account for about 40% of the binding market, so we're not tremendously far off from there being more Markers out there than all other bindings combined.

Whole 'nother point:
I think most people agree that all products should be "as simple as possible." The big question is: what do you mean by "possible"? Presumably something like "as simple as possible, while still functioning just as well." If you mean "possible" in a more literal sense, I can show you a number of ways to attach a boot to a ski that are heck of a lot more simple than a Look (Salomon, Atomic, Tyrolia) binding. Most of them don't actually release ... some of them do nothing except release ... but they're simple.

To be less facetious, if you want a binding simpler than any out there today, look at the c. 1970 Rotomat (the one with the toe that you can spin around). They work pretty well, actually. A current Look binding works better. It's also more complicated.

The "job" of bindings isn't entirely simple: they have to release in a number of different directions; they have to distinguish between very high, short-duration forces ("shocks") and lower, long-duration forces ("slow twists"); they have to keep the boot firmly attached to the ski. So far as I can tell, some bindings distinguish between shocks and slow twists by providing for a huge degree of lateral movement (with a relatively consistent resistance to movement / return force) before the attachment fails altogether (aka releases). That, of course, sacrifices the third purpose to the second.
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandit Man
HeluvaSkier,

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!
ya know, that's a hell of a good summary. I agree with the point on flat skis, for the very reasons you said -- informed experienced skiers want choices, it's that plain. and I agree that the refinement of skis no longer is minor tweaks and detunes of the racer platforms, but instead more construction tunes for particular purposes BESIDES racing.

only took me 3 years to wise up, eh?
post #24 of 28
The whole ski-binding integration issue relates (obviously) to: "interfaces."

Not that long ago, the ski-binding interface was hardly worth discussing. You took the binding and screwed it into the ski.

Then came the Derbyflex. And then things went crazy.

If you think of the "interface" as a separate component (as some, particularly racers, do), you've not only doubled the the number of equipment interactions (binding mounts to interface; interface mounts to ski) you've created a bunch of compatability questions that didn't exist before. The interface does something ... and different ones do different things, or do them differently.

Of course, the general public doesn't really think about and buy interfaces as a separate component -- at least not most of them, not at present, and not in the US. Manufacturers are making interfaces, but different ones are including them -- or parts of them -- in either the ski or the binding or both. For example: the Salomon 10 2V GS ski, which (at least in its consumer version), is sold with a "complete" interface attached to it. That is: it has a Hangl plate so that the binding mounts on to a perfectly flat, unbendable hunk of aluminum. Then there's the Atomic set-up on their consumer racing skis, which attaches part of the interface (a big flexible plate made of a few different kinds of plastic) to the ski, and part (a plate with rails that the heelpiece slide on) to the binding. And then there are some Marker models, which inlude the complete piston control interface with the binding. It all gets a bit confusing.

So where will (or should) the market go? I suppose there are a few choices: (i) forget the interface altogether, just go back to screwing bindings into skis (which, for a lot of applications, might be just fine); (ii) start selling complete interfaces as separate components, with no plate included with the ski, and no sliding doo-dads included with the binding ... instead all the stiffening, sliding, lifting, etc. is done by the interface that you buy separately; (iii) some kind of more rationalized and consistent integration.

One irony of the whole thing is that it used to be boot-binding compatability that was the headache. Binding-ski compatability was simple: sure, somebody had to mount the things, but you just did that once, and virtually any binding would mount to any ski. On the other hand, pre-DIN, you used to have to notch boots for some bindings, or install plates ... some soles were too thick, etc. Now nobody gives much thought to the boot-binding connection, while the ski-binding connection is in confusion.
post #25 of 28
The integrated ski-binding concept is here to stay because it allows for companies to sell a complete package of products - there was a guy at my local ski hill (which has maybe 350 ft of vertical) that use to show up with his Crossmax 10 skis and matching boots, bindings, polls and helmet for an afternoon of recreational skiing. The integrated ski-binding-plate package gives more combinations and permutations of things that can be tweaked and update to sell what is basically the same ski as last year but with different graphics but is just different enough to be something that you just have to buy because who knows maybe it will shave 0.1 of a second off of the race time
post #26 of 28
Manufacturers like integration because it lets them sell more bindings, and as skinut says, the integrated concept appeals to those who like all of their equipment and clothing to match and be colour coordinated. But I still haven't heard a good technical explanation of what integrated bindings can do that current free flex designs don't already do, and what was fundamentally wrong with simply drilling and mounting bindings? And integrated systems need to be able to adjust to a very wide range of boot sizes, so they need a lot heavy steel track like rental bindings.

It used to be that racers were a good indicator of future trends vs seasonal fads (racers never picked up rear entry boots). But now that everyone on the world cup has been bought by manufacturers who tell them what to use, I think the best indicators are the top freeskiers (think fat skis). And the vast majority of the fat skis and most mid-fats are made flat, even from companies which have their own integrated systems.

I think integrated skis will become a smaller segment of the market over the next few years, sort of like how snowboard step-in bindings were popular a few years back but they have largely been abandoned now except in rental shops, where the convenience is worth the trade off in performance. Integrated systems for skis suit rental shops where the shops need bindings which can adjust to a wide range of boots and be mounted easily. So in 5 years I predict we will still see integrated systems in performance rental skis but they will be scarce elsewhere as the manufacturers pick up on the next fad.

I genuinely believe that integration is at its height now, and it will start to decline when people break or go to replace their first generation integrated skis and find they can’t transfer their current bindings. I think the first signs of this decline are Atomic removing their plates from fat and freestyle skis, Dynastar removing their plates from all but their race skis, and the shops here in NZ are stocking only the flat version of the 724 Pro whereas last season they were all integrated.
post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwiski
Manufacturers like integration because it lets them sell more bindings
Well, yes ... or at least some manufacturers do: those being the ones who make both bindings and skis (or are part of a conglomerate that does). I don't think companies that sell only skis are inherently fond of integration, though they've gotten into it because the market demands it.

But I think it's clear that companies have adopted integration as a marketing strategy, and it has helped motivate acquisitions and licensing deals.

Quote:
It used to be that racers were a good indicator of future trends vs seasonal fads (racers never picked up rear entry boots). But now that everyone on the world cup has been bought by manufacturers who tell them what to use,
They aren't using "interfaces" because manufacturers told them to. Racers essentially invented interfaces. They didn't start using the Derbyflex because someone pushed them to.

A World Cup racer who uses equipment that hinders his performance will soon find himself no longer a World Cup racer at all, and not being paid to use anything by anybody.

Quote:
Integrated systems for skis suit rental shops where the shops need bindings which can adjust to a wide range of boots and be mounted easily.
Except that rental shops don't use them: they use rental bindings, which are (and for many years have been) different from standard consumer bindings. At least all the demo skis I've used did not have standard retail bindings -- including Atomics. The typical integrated system, while it might(depending on the design) be easier to adjust to different boots, is no where near easy enough to use in a rental shop.
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiNut
... with his Crossmax 10 skis and matching boots, bindings, poles and helmet...
There's definitely some of that out there. Hence the increase in "cross-branding" of clothes. Clearly, there's no particular need to "integrate" your coat with your skis. It appeals to the impression among some people that if they associate themselves with a snazzy brand name it will raise their standing in the world. Sort of like the people who feel compelled to put huge stickers that say "Toyota" (or whatever) across the top of their rear car windows. Or "Porsche" across their casual wear.

The guy you describe reminds me of a sort of similar character I saw back in the '70s. For some reason, he felt compelled to attach himself to the "Kazama" brand name, which was pretty weird, because most people considered it sort bargain-basement off-brand stuff. Anyway, he had Kazama skis, Kazama across his coat, a Kazama hat, etc. Of course, this inspired a rendition of "Kazama Man" (for the tune, think of the Chicago song of that era) by a lift-line full of skiers.
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