The integration of skis and bindings is a real pet peeve of mine, mostly because there is no good reason to do it (other than marketing). You have to ask why do I want my bindings mounted in this new way and what is wrong with conventional mounting. There is no safety benefit, they are just mounting existing bindings in different ways, the performance benefit is marginal at best and these systems don't do anything that other free flexing systems have done for years. The only ones benefitting are the manufacturers, who seem to be selling more bindings this way.
The argument that we should be replacing our bindings more often anyway breaks down when you compare the number of years that a binding is indemnified for vs the number of days a ski is designed to last. Bindings are designed to last three or four times as long as skis.
Snowboard step-in systems offer an intersting parallel for comparison on the introduction of new technology. The designs were driven by the desire to get into your bindings faster, which they accomplished. But each manufacturer canme up with its own proprietary system which took the away the ability of consumers to mix and match to create the combination of products that suited them best.
Not even the biggest gear head in the world looks at their bindings and wishes they were attached to the ski in a better way. If there was genuine concern with shortcomings in the way skis were mounted, all the manufacturers would be getting together do decide on a new industry standard they all would follow. Instead each is coming out with its own system with the aim of selling more bindings nad stopping people mounting other brands of bindings on their skis.
The fact that there is nothing wrong with conventional mounting of bindings, and this move was not driven by any consumer desire to have their bindings mounted in a new way, means that integrated systems will ultimately end up on the scrap heap of history. But unfortunately they will be around for a few years, so those who have an opinion on what bindings they want to use will have a restricted choice of skis in the mean time.
[ November 24, 2002, 03:51 PM: Message edited by: kiwiski ]