Sister brands Salomon and Atomic got together to create a new alpine touring binding, available next fall, that will likely go head-to-head with other bindings on the market—namely some in Marker’s and Fritschi’s lineup.
The biggest differentiating factor: the Salomon Guardian 16 and Atomic Tracker 16 don’t require the skier to step out of the bindings between climb and ski modes.
Skiing Business caught up with Jenny Naftulin, Salomon’s U.S. alpine brand manager, and Kathryn Smith, Atomic’s U.S. alpine brand manager to find out more.
Who’s your main competition with the new binding(s)?
While there is obvious competition in the backcountry binding segment, Atomic and Salomon have designed a binding that is wider, lower, stronger and more convenient than comparable backcountry bindings.
What are the tech specs on these?
DIN range: 7 – 16
Sole Length: S 265 – 320MM; L 305 – 360MM
Weight: Not Available Yet
MSRP: Not Available Yet
How long have you guys been working on the binding and what were some of the snags along the way?
The binding has been in development for more than 5 years. It was developed by the best experts and athletes from both brands working together at the Amer Binding Development Center in Annecy, France. This made it possible to combine the know-how of both brands to develop a product with technical specifications to exceed the market’s current standard (pedal height, toe width, MX, lateral torsion, etc.).
Did this stem from a U.S. need or was this a European push?
This binding was developed because of a global need for new innovations in backcountry bindings.
What other collaboration projects between sister brands like this can we expect to see in the future?
For now, the binding project is the only collaboration in the pipeline. We can absolutely anticipate more to come.
(Read the official press release below.)
Ogden, UT-October, 2011 – With more and more skiers looking for escape in the mountains, seeking untracked snow and an intense way to experience nature, Salomon and Atomic are excited to introduce a new backcountry binding in the fall/winter of 2012, poised to become the benchmark for all snow adventurers.
What happens when the world’s two leading winter sports brands bring together their most creative experts and athletes to develop a backcountry binding? The result is the next generation of freeride performance. The new Salomon Guardian 16 and Atomic Tracker 16 feature unique advantages for every outing into the backcountry.
UNMATCHED SKIING PERFORMANCE
This new premium binding, to be sold as the Salomon Guardian 16 and the Atomic Tracker 16, will change the way skiers approach and enjoy the backcountry. It is designed to provide the highest level of confidence, efficiency, and feel in downhill performance for a heightened skiing experience. The binding’s Low Profile Chassis features a lower stand height for greater stability and enhanced terrain feedback, and the Oversized Platform enables maximum power transmission and responsiveness for quick and more precise turns.
HIKE & RIDE TECHNOLOGY FOR PRACTICAL AND INTUITIVE HANDLING
By offering the most convenient and time-saving transition from hiking to riding, the binding helps enable a better experience in the mountains. Beyond its greater transition efficiency, this design also helps reduce the hazards and inconvenience involved in taking off your skis on difficult terrain. Featuring the Hike & Ride Switch, which is easily engaged with your ski pole, it is no longer necessary to remove your skis when switching between hiking and riding modes. After climbing, simply use your ski pole to flip the climbing bar to skiing position, step down with your heel until the binding locks securely into place, and you are ready for the turns you’ve just earned. Above all, the new Salomon Guardian 16 and Atomic Tracker 16 bindings provide the power, precision and on-snow feel of a high-performance free ride binding, with the benefits of a very convenient hiking system.
The Salomon Guardian 16 and Atomic Tracker 16 will be available in the fall of 2012 and will set the standard for the ultimate backcountry skiing experience. Above all, the new binding maximizes skiing performance, is extremely practical and adds new meaning to enjoying the backcountry skiing experience. The Salomon Guardian 16 and Atomic Tracker 16 will be offered for the same recommended retail price and will be identical both technically and functionally.