Since last ski season, rumors have been flying about (well, flying in certain obscure circles anyway) that the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (yes, such an organization exists, and yes, they all probably wear lycra and ski on Dynafits, especially the really super-small binding models) would ban any sort of major ski boot modifications. I finally looked up the ISMF Sports Regulations for this coming season, and this is indeed correct (unlike all those old rumors about carbon fiber poles being banned).
Oddly enough, a boot weight minimum is still imposed, although at 2.2 pounds a pair, sure doesn’t seem like a concern for anyone. (Ski weight minimum is actually pretty close to many production rando race skis at 3.3 pounds per pair.)
But even more interesting to many WildSnowers is that after-market race heels are now banned:
“Mixed bindings (front part from one manufacturer and rear part from another one) are not to be [sic] allowed.” (bottom of p. 7) That means only ATK and Schia Meccanica can compete with Dynafit at the very highest levels of the sport.
Now granted, this applies only to ISMF events and any events that adopt ISMF rules. (Do any U.S. or Canadian events do so? I honestly don’t know. And if so, this would clearly ban telemark bindings – and no, not because they’re too fast…)
Given how all those after-market race heels are targeted at Euro racers, many (most?) of whom have access to ISMF events even if
they’re not super hard-core competitors, this is a pretty interesting development. (Well, okay, interesting to all those out there who are both professional economists and rando racers . . . which would be me, and uh, any other kindred souls out there?)
However, according to Lou, who’s now been around or in a few races over there much of this stuff isn’t enforced unless you’re a top racer. This is a similar situation to the enforcement of U.S. Ski Association alpine race gear rules for middling and back-of-the-pack competitors. What’s more, Lou says lots of European ski tourers use race gear, so that still creates a market as well for mix/match setups.
As always, the evolution of this relatively new sport is fun to behold. (Well, at least to me — and speaking of me, which of you ambitious rando racers wants to be the first to offer me your cool after-market race heels at a big discount since you can’t use them at the PDG?
(WildSnow guest blogger Jonathan Shefftz lives with his wife and daughter in Western Massachusetts, where he is a member of the Northfield Mountain and Thunderbolt / Mt Greylock ski patrols. Formerly an NCAA alpine race coach, he has broken free from his prior dependence on mechanized ascension to become far more enamored of self-propelled forms of skiing. He is an AIARE-qualified instructor, NSP avalanche instructor, and contributor to the American Avalanche Association’s The Avalanche Review. When he is not searching out elusive freshies in Southern New England or promoting the NE Rando Race Series, he works as a financial economics consultant.)