Scarpa has partnered with Trab to enable their TR2 binding system. By now the TR2 has become somewhat legend, as Trab was displaying versions of the binding at trade shows more than four years ago, courting rumors and innuendo (and not a few jokes about vapor bindings). Apparently, retailing of the TR2 stalled out because the system required a dedicated boot as well as technical refinements. What is more, it could not have been easy for Trab, essentially a ski company, to enter the world of designing and producing ski bindings. That phase is over. A TR2 binding and boot system will be available this winter.
While TR2 appears to be a “tech” binding, make no mistake: This is not a tech compatible boot or binding. Though the boot fittings appear to be somewhat “tech” (especially the toe) they are specific to TR2. In other words, you can’t snap a regular tech binding compatible boot into a TR2 and ski downhill — you have to use a boot with TR2 fittings. (Note, thankfully you can snap a tech boot TOE into the binding and it’ll work in touring mode — in my view an essential safety factor if we end up having mixed groups of skiers using both tech and TR2 systems.)
Scarpa will produce “Spirit RS TR2” and “Spirit TR2 model boots to go with the TR2 binding. Spirit is a basic 3 buckle touring boot, RS is a beefier 4-buckle configuration that probably does a better job of utilizing the solid power transmission and likely excellent elasticity and retention of the TR2 binding. The 3 buckle boot model will be available this winter along with the binding. Both boots will be retailed in 2014/15.
Perhaps the biggest part of seeing TR2 come to retail is that it’s the first binding/boot system to challenge the tech system since the Silvretta SL debacle of 1994. In my view, the tech binding industry may have blown it, as they had a golden opportunity over those 20 years to innovate and perhaps even official standardize a “tech 2.0” system that was backward compatible to itself. Instead, other than a few leaps of faith it’s been the same-old-same-old. Well, perhaps TR2 is the 2.0? Time will tell. It appears to be a solid system, perhaps with a few quirks. I especially like the heel jaw configuration. It’s wide, super stable. Check out more photos:
— Weight, 580 grams including what appears to be the standard >< 88mm ski brake. -- Max release value: This season model goes from RV 5 to 11. Next season a 7/13 model will be available. -- Not tech system compatible, is its own proprietary system that requires dedicated boots. -- Available boot will be 3-buckle Scarpa Spirit TR2, about 475.00 euros. -- Next season a stiffer boot will be on tap, 4-buckle Scarpa Spirit RS TR2, about 535.00 euros. -- Boot length adjustment range: 23 mm. -- Brake widths available this season: 88, 104, with 115 next season. -- MSRP about 449.00 euros