My recent experience with Marker is not first hand but with a friend I ski with for 10-15 days a season. Three years ago he got a new set of DIN 12 Markers (I forget the model) and it became a running joke as to how many times he would pre-release a day. It was especially hilarious when he lost a ski in the lift corral. But after a while it wasn’t funny any more, when a couple of times a day I looked back up the slope to see where he was, only to see him picking himself up off the snow yet again. The bindings were checked and tested by 2 different shops and they always came back saying the bindings were working as they were supposed to. In the end he had to crank his bindings from his recommended setting of 8, up to 10 to take the pre-releases down to a couple of times per season.
Six months ago he got a new set of skis mounted with P12s and he skied all season at 8 and did not pre-release once. I ski my P12s at 7.5, one point below my recommended setting and have not pre-released in three seasons. And before you start thinking I am some sedate skier, I am 27 and have skied since I was 3, I have had three northern hemisphere skiing holidays and am about to have a fourth, I have 194 cm fat skis in my quiver, my skiing scares my girlfriend and THIS
is a photo of me ripping through some great wind crust.
But believe it or not, my point isn’t that Marker sucks, rather that I have concerns about Marker, but no organisation is prepared to ask the tough questions to see whether there is a significant difference between the brands or if I am just imagining it. A few stories in this sort of forum really doesn’t amount to much (but if you do want a lot more Marker horror stories try asking at the TGR forum).
What I really want to see is a thorough, impartial survey of several thousand skiers to collect information on their experiences with different bindings, but there seems to be no organisation willing to stick their neck out and conduct such a survey. Can you imagine the hatred and lawsuits a magazine would attract from manufacturers, retailers and the public if they said brand X was better than brand Y? Think of the flak I am taking now and multiply it by a thousand. But this is unfortunate for us consumers because there I think there are real concerns, which need to be addressed with data rather than hearsay.
Using the automotive industry as a comparison, consumers have benefited hugely from independent investigations of vehicle safety (and court cases that paid out millions), so cars like the Pinto were exposed as the death traps they are. It used to be that as long as a car cornered ok and the brakes worked it was declared safe and anyone who dared to suggest otherwise was strung up. Which is not far from the stage we are at now with ski bindings. The difficulty would be to get binding information out there without attracting and encouraging mass litigation.