The ski industry is always moving forwards as athletes continue to push the boundaries of what is possible on two planks. Equipment manufacturers must scramble to innovate products to keep up with the demand. Marker has established itself at the forefront of innovation, constantly revolutionizing its designs to advance the sport.
Marker was founded by a disgruntled leader determined to fix a problem. In the early 1950s, German ski instructor Hannes Marker saw ski students suffer a host of injuries due to faulty bindings. At this same time, the Look Nevada, the first recognizably modern binding, was sweeping the ski industry. Marker decided to improve upon this product and founded his namesake brand in Garmisch, Germany in 1952.
Soon after, Marker released the Duplex binding, the most advanced on the market. Unlike the uni-plated Nevada, the Duplex featured two metal clips that allowed the ski to eject forward as well as to the side. From the time it debuted at the 1952 Sporting Goods Trade Fair in Wiesbaden, Germany, it was a hit.
More hits would follow in the coming decades. In 1965, Marker introduced the Rotomat heel, which easily ejected skiers in the midst of a twisting forward wipeout thanks to a release mechanism on the instep. 1972 saw the release of Marker’s M Series. The M Series included the M44 heel, the brand’s first step-in binding. Austrian Franz Klammer, who dominated the downhill discipline during the 1970s, sang Marker’s praise through his stretch of five World Cup first-place finishes and Olympic gold in 1976.
Despite the multitude of popular products and race-circuit success Marker celebrated in the last third of the 20th century, the company lacked any revolutionary contributions to the sport.
That changed in 2007 with the introduction of the Royal Family line. At this time, major brands had yet to fully embrace freeskiing which is reflected by the lack of freestyle-specific bindings on the market. Marker created two bindings, the Duke and the Jester, after hearing ideas from freeskiing’s best and brightest. These bindings were designed entirely for freestyle, with the Duke optimized for backcountry touring and the Jester geared towards traditional park activities.
The Royal Family sold like hot-cakes from the beginning. Just a year after the line’s introduction, SKI Magazine noted that “Even Marker has to be stunned by the success of its Duke and Jester bindings,” adding, “No wonder all the cool guys had to have it.”
Over the next decade, Marker would continue to go all-in on the Royal Family, introducing new models like the Lord and the Baron, along with a souped-up version of the Jester, called the Jester Pro.
In 2017, Marker was sold to US investors Kohlberg & Company along with Volkl and Dalbello to create MDV Sports.
Marker has been an industry leader for nearly seven decades, with no signs of slowing down. While Marker's factory has moved from Germany to the Czech Republic and began to produce bindings for more than just alpine racing, the company has not strayed from its roots. A deep history of innovation, public acclaim, and competition success suggest that Marker isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Learn more about Marker on their website