Vail Today: Salomon crafts the “holy grail” of alpine touring bindings (video)
February 21, 2018
Editor's note: This is part three of a six-part series on the latest and greatest finds at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show held in Denver in January. This trade show represents suppliers of consumer outdoor sports with constituents in the retailer, rep and resort communities.
Salomon's binding team has finally solved the puzzle of combining efficient uphill capability with true alpine performance.
The new S/Lab SHIFT MNC Binding is the first binding that utilizes the touring efficiency of a free–heel pin binding on the uphill, and the power transmission of an alpine binding on the way down. With just the shift of a lever, the toe piece transforms from a classic alpine binding to a tech toe with pins.
Over the past seven years, Salomon has designed, tested and collaborated with their freeride team to usher in a new generation of backcountry and freeride capability. This athlete-driven design process has yielded a product that has been tested to the limits.
"I've been really impressed with the design, testing, feedback and approval process that has gone into the creation of the S/LAB SHIFT," says professional skier Cody Townsend, who has been involved in the testing and development process since the beginning. "This binding is an engineering feat. By creating a binding that tours like a pin binding and skis like an alpine binding, Salomon has crafted the holy grail, the dream."
The S/Lab SHIFT MNC Binding made its debut at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show at the Denver Convention Center in January and will be available next fall. Salomon's booth was crowded with those seeking more information on something so revolutionary. While we were interviewing and filming for our segment, a few members of the U.S. military were there to check out this new technology. They asked to not be interviewed or filmed, which makes one think, if it's buzz-worthy enough for the military to check out, it's got to be dependable.
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Speaking of dependable, here are the stats. The S/LAB SHIFT weighs 865 grams per binding including screws, creating a massive strength-to-weight ratio with a DIN setting that ranges from 6 to 13. It also utilizes a combination of carbon-infused PA, steel and aluminum to deliver a strong and reliable construction that's lightweight. With the use of an adjustable toe pedal, the SHIFT is Multi Norm Certified (MNC), permitting compatibility with all adult norm boots, from traditional alpine boots to touring boots.
"Pins are for climbing not charging," says Chris McKearin, the U.S. alpine commercial manger for Salomon. "With the S/Lab SHIFT MNC binding you have all of the elasticity of Salomon's famed alpine bindings, all of the power transmission to drive a big ski in a lightweight touring capable package. This finally solves the puzzle of efficient uphill capability with true alpine performance."