(Partners: Elan, K2, Nordica, Völkl)
Marker's "prestige components"-especially its Piston technology-are integral to four other companies' interfaces. Everyone makes great skis, Marker maintains; real performance differences are about interfaces. To demonstrate, they take a reference ski, in this case a Völkl P60 GS, ski it flat, then start adding Marker components. The differences are startling.
12.0 Titanium Piston Turbo
$340; highly recommended for AC, AMC, AME, FR, young Race. Targeted at "regular guys," this lightweight, gently priced system is all most skiers need. With a heel rebuilt for better sole contact and an extended Piston in front of the toe to control a greater length of the ski, it rides like a dream.
12.0 Titanium IBX Piston
$350; recommended for AC, AMC, AME, FR. IBX rails extend the length of the skier's footprint, making the ski less flexible. That takes away some of the samurai-sword nature of the P60. Might work better on a ski designed to accommodate it. See K2.
World Cup Interface
$200; highly recommended for AME, Race. This bulky, kick-ass plate isn't for quick turns but for long arcs at Mach 1. Anyone with a cruising mentality should shun this one: Relaxing it's not. It requires G-forces and concentration, but what a ride.
ELAN Fusion, Elan's interface, accepts Marker bindings on rails embedded in the cores of high-end models. Both toe and heel float, giving the ski a rounder flex, and because the track is fused to the core, response is quicker. On Elan's full-blown race skis, Fusion Pro offers a fixed heel to preserve energy in the ski's tail.
Check out the Elan Fusion video below.
K2 Working with Marker, K2 designs IBC (with floating heel and toe) and IBX (floating toe, fixed heel) interfaces into several skis. The goal is a balance of easy turns and lively performance. The target customer is an everyday advanced-to-expert skier. Most of K2's Apache, T:Nine and Omni lines are available flat or as systems.
NORDICA XBS, Nordica's Cross Balance System, is an interface available only on Nordica skis. It's an interlocking two-piece interface: The portion on which the heel rests is fixed at the toe; the forward portion is fixed at the heel. The two plates slide past each other in a way that forgives minor fore-aft balance errors. Even back-seat drivers can pressure the tip.
Và–LKL Völkl's Motion interface is fixed only at the middle. The Motion rails permit the toe and heel to slide so the ski can flex. As a longtime Marker partner, Völkl has led the way in incorporating Piston technology.
Check out the Völkl Motion video below