ISPO 2017 — Scarpa, Trab and More

Post by blogger | February 22, 2017      
Your friendly blogger at Marker Volkle chatting with Stian Hagen.  I wasn't covering skis at ISPO so I won't go into happenings at Volkl, though all their happenings are good happenings.

Your friendly blogger at Marker Volkl chatting with Stian Hagen. He’s always got a take. I wasn’t covering skis at ISPO so I won’t go into happenings at Volkl, though all their happenings are good happenings (including the beer bar at their booth which is apparently open 12 hours a day). I found it much more interesting hearing about Stian’s impressive attempt to ski the whole Jotunheimen traverse in one push (frozen hydration system), his opinions about airbag packs (heavy and perhaps over rated in terms of how my safety they offer), and the fact that yes Marker had to remove the boot locator tabs from the toe unit of the Kingpin.

Next stop, SCARPA.

Next stop, SCARPA. More of a social call, but I couldn’t help but home right on on the Maestrale 2.

Myself, with the boot masters of Montebelluna.

Myself, with a few boot masters of Montebelluna. Left to right, marketing officer Marco Campagna, me, head honcho Davide Parisotto, product manager Massimo Pellizzer.

While at the feet of the source (like locating the headwaters of the Nile), I got a few details clarified due to reader questions: Nope, no more cant pivot-rivets in Maestrale cuff, “too prone to problems.” Most skiers can probably get enough change in cuff alignment by padding one side of the upper liner. For those of you who want a traditional cant pivot-rivet, The “T-nut” cuff pivots are still easy to remove for boot work, and could probably be replaced with canting pivots. Also observed, they’re still making a “Tronic” version of the F1, to only be distributed in Europe.

Detail oriented friends of mine noted that SCARPA is touting something called their “Lambda Frame,” while one of their main competitors is doing so as well! Is there a conspiracy? Readers, what rumors have you heard? Who or what is lambda, something that results from doing the forbidden lambada dance? A match symbol? Greek alphabet? Google got me nowhere with the Lambda Frame. The single word Lambda is the 11th letter of the Greek alphabet (uppercase ?, lowercase ?). It looks like an uppercase A without the horizontal bar. So I guess the answer to the mystery is rather unexciting, Lambda Frame is just a thing shaped like an A, sort of?

Getting a little over to the crazy side.

Getting a little over to the crazy side. Fritz Barthel suggested I check out the Pinding binding that Bavarian Alpine Manifest (BAM) has been trolling down on drooling freeriders for some time now. These guys are clever, but one wonders if bindings such as Tecton and TR2 obviate the need for convertible alpine bindings. Me, I don’t know. It’s said that a full-on race quality alpine setup can be necessary for things such as stunt skiing and movie footage, so an alpine binding that converts could still be viable. But is that a viable market? The BAM guys told me the plan is to have something in retail by 2017-2018, so time will indeed tell.

Pinding shows its pins.

Pinding shows its pins.

A quick run through CAMP reveals the most eclectic helmet lineup.

A quick run through CAMP reveals the most fun to photograph helmet lineup. New, they’ve worked up a version of their “Speed” climbing helmet into the “Speed Comp,” a super ventilated lightweight skull shell that’s compatible with the skiing and climbing certification norms. (It’s said that by conforming to both norms the helmet is safer overall. While that seems logical I’d like to see the test numbers — and as always we should note that both norms are quite minimal in terms of protection.) Vertical row on the left side of the display photo, available fall of 2017, around 370 grams. Some of us here at the HQ will definitely give it a go.

Camp has also made some small improvements to their lightweight rucksacks.

Camp has also made some small improvements to their lightweight rucksacks. For example, have you ever used those lower compartments with the side flap? Most, you open up and the flap just “flaps” around. Simple solution, this limiting strap keeps the flappage under control so you’re not flapping your way down the mountain. Or so the marketing person told me.

CAMP Rapid is the minimalist ruck we like from these guys. Formerly a dedicated racing packIt's improved this year for regular ski touring with various reinforcements etc., 110 euro price seems steep but this is state-of-art stuff.

CAMP Rapid is the minimalist ruck we like from these guys. Formerly a dedicated racing packIt's improved this year for regular ski touring with various reinforcements etc., 110 euro price seems steep but this is state-of-art stuff. What comes to mind is I’m seeing a fairly rapid evolution in what people expect and desire in ski touring gear, in terms of weight. Products such as this are responding to the trend.

Thought I'd throw in a photo of my favorite CAMP pack feature, those little pouches on the waist belt.

Thought I’d throw in a photo of my favorite CAMP pack feature, those little pouches on the waist belt.

I ended up having a fairly detailed discussion with Thomas Laakso of Mountain Hub.

I ended up having a fairly detailed discussion with Thomas Laakso of Mountain Hub. You might recall their app and snow probe was formerly AvaTech, they rebranded a while ago and their stuff has matured extensively. I’ll have to try the trimmer and apparently more functional snow density probe, along with the app. Website here.

Trab was showing this cool ski brake that's integrated with  a nice 'U-spring' touring binding.

Trab was showing this cool ski brake that’s integrated with a nice ‘U-spring’ touring binding.

Trab ski brake works with their tiny touring binding.

Trab brake latches up in touring position. This is another ski touring binding “stopper” that works independently of the heel unit, a configuration we feel is much better than the excessive efforts mounted by other companies to lock the brake up using complex and sometimes failure prone mechanicals built into the heel unit.

Trab brake in downhill skiing position.

Trab brake in downhill skiing position.


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12 Responses to “ISPO 2017 — Scarpa, Trab and More”

  1. Rod Georgiu February 22nd, 2017 9:43 am

    Can you explain the lower compartments with the flap?

    Also , have you seen any crampon bags, the one that camp has for the 290 is really hard to stuff them in.

  2. Lou Dawson 2 February 22nd, 2017 11:00 am

    Dynafit has packs with the same thing, just a compartment on the bottom of the pack body, you can access by reaching behind without taking the pack off. See CAMP website. Lou

  3. Tom Gos February 22nd, 2017 12:52 pm

    Lou, thanks for confirming that the new Maestrale will not have cuff cant rivets, although I’m very disappointed to learn this. For me, being able to adjust the cuff to work with my leg shape is absolutely key. Of course not everyone has this concern with their particular legs. I find that by getting the cuff aligned optimally I can get much higher performance out of a lighter and softer flexing boot. As for Scarpa’s statement that the cuff cant rivets are too problematic, I have to call hogwash on that one – these sort of rivets have been prevalent on alpine boots for decades without issue and in fact Scarpa’s rivets used on the current Maestrale are better than most. I suspect that this is simply a cost cutting move and I’ll bet the list price for the new Maestrale hasn’t gone down.

  4. Lou 2 February 22nd, 2017 2:50 pm

    Tom, a canted cuff really helps me as well, sigh…. Probably still somewhat easy to retrofit, but results not 100% guaranteed and it takes time. I was just visiting the race boot room at Atomic, they build boots for the FIS racers starting with blanks that don’t even have holes for the cuff pivots, allowing them to do perfect alignment.

    Thing to remember is that the reason cant pivot rivets are problematic is the range of motion of a touring cuff, riding on an eccentric pivot. They tend to loosen and wear in weird ways.


  5. XXX_er February 22nd, 2017 2:56 pm

    I used to think that I MUST have a cuff cant adj at the outside cuff pivot of the ski boot but really what i needed was to work out the foot beds and I haven’t had or used cuff cants for 5 years now … YMMV

  6. Dan February 22nd, 2017 4:13 pm

    I’m reading wildsnow religiously but I don’t know what’s the deal with the kingpin tabs…

  7. Lou Dawson 2 February 22nd, 2017 5:33 pm

    My bad Dan, trying to be brief, I’m talking about the boot locator things, tiny tabs that rise up in front of your boot toe when the binding is open for entry. Is that better?

  8. BillyGoat February 22nd, 2017 7:18 pm

    Convertible alpine bindings will defiantly have a market (aside from the first rule of economics). This is why Amer has been working on one for atleast five years. Bindings like the Kingpin, Radical 2.0, vipec and tecton don’t come close to offering the performance or durability of a true alpine binding. When I asked marker about using a Kingpin for resort powder and short sidecountry touring (think Whistler Blackcomb) they flat out said it was a bad idea.

    Kingpins or Tectons might work for a lightweight skier who could also get away with any of the 11-12din alpine bindings but won’t work for someone who does appreciate the dampness, performance, and durability of most 13-18din bindings.

  9. Dave Johnson February 22nd, 2017 10:18 pm

    My mind is blown at the binding technology going on today. Imagine, in ’76 Paul Ramer’s binding, however rudimentary, was state of the art, along with Silvretta’s. Glad I’m able to still ski this stuff…amazing.

  10. Daniel February 23rd, 2017 5:39 am

    While I can Ski Dynafit boots almost out of the box, Scarpas put me off alignment so much that my knees track badly inwards when flexing. Is the fixed cuff lean in the new boots the same as how former boots came came from factory?

  11. zak February 23rd, 2017 9:33 am

    Any idea on if/when Scarpa will update the F1 to include the tech from the RS2 and Alien RS? A 1100-1200 g boot in the 110-115 flex range would be killer.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 February 23rd, 2017 10:04 am

    Billy Goat, IMHO the Amer (Salomon) binding is not a done deal, it will be very expensive to produce and have a high retail price. The vast majority of skiers who want an “alpine like” touring binding will clearly do just fine with something like a Tecton or even in using a “freeride” tech binding such as Kingpin or Dynafit Radical 2. I think Amer knows this and they’ve been hesitant to industrialize. Further, gaining TUV cert of their binding, to the alpine binding standard, is not going to be easy, though it’ll probably be relativly easy to get cert to touring binding standard 13992.

    On the other hand, I’m told that it’s indeed common for “pro” skiers needing full alpine gear to use systems such as Cast. But again, is there a viable retail market for that stuff?

    On the other hand, expecting inexperienced alpine skiers to use tech binding pins correctly (clearing ice from boots, etc.) is much to ask. Thus, separating the touring function from the downhill function might be the only real solution.

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