'04 Gear Preview

04 Gear Preview

Marker Bindings Integrated Systems
Integrated ski-binding systems are generating the lion's share of marketing hype this year, and Marker's not taking a backseat in the discussion. Although the company has been working exclusively with Völkl for several years, for '03- '04 it has created systems for Elan and K2 as well. Elan's system, called Fusion, is in their higher end models and is integrated into the core of the skis rather than placed on top of the ski. This allows for the ski and binding to act as a single functional unit to transmit the skiers energy directly into the ski. K2, with its IBC (Integrated Binding Concept), is using an integrated system to provide a more even flex in lower end models. Info: markerusa.com

Fischer Soma Tec Ski Boots
Ever notice how your feet point slightly outward rather than straight forward when you're sitting on the chairlift. It's your natural body position, but ski boots haven't taken it into account. Until now: Fischer's "Competence Team" of coaches, athletes, and doctors designed its new line of Soma Tec boots to place the foot in a more natural V position meant to mimic that body dynamic. According to Fischer, the design puts your center of gravity in the middle of the ski for more exact edge control. Stay tuned for our test report next fall. (fischer-ski.com)

Head Intelligence Chip System
Building on its existing "Intellifibers" technology, Head will introduce an Intelligence Chip System next season in its i.M75 and i.C300 models. Similar to piezoelectric technology (remember the little gizmo on the K2 Four that lit up?), the Intellifibers transform mechanical energy into electricity, which is then sent to the ICS microchip embedded in the ski. There, it gets amplified and sent back through the ski, canceling out vibration. Head claims the technology eliminates extraneous torsional slop and stabilizes the ski. (head.com)