Emery Energy Ski Touring Binding circa 1990

Backcountry skiing history.

Backcountry skiing history.

In the late 1980s and 1990s an obvious transition to composites was happening in ski touring binding engineering. Important plastic components in this Emery Energy binding are the heel-toe connector plate and the rear latch plate mounted on the ski. As occurred with many backcountry bindings over the years, the Energy heel lifter appeared to be somewhat of a design afterthought and was easily detached and accidentally lost, as is the case here. In our view, the most unique feature of the Emery Energy is the “pass through” toe pivot frame as detailed below. We do need help dating this binding, please leave comments.

[For entire museum click here.]

Emery Energy is an early example of the switch from metallic componentry to composites.

Emery Energy is an early example (1990s) of the switch from metallic componentry to composites (shown with 2014 boot).

The binding has an odd pivot that allows the toe unit to pass through a vertical 'wishbone' frame, battling the inherent limitation of including an alpine-like toe that would normally impede forward pivoting of the bindings. Quite smart.

The Emery Energy touring binding has an odd pivot that allows the toe unit to pass through a vertical ‘wishbone’ frame, battling the inherent limitation of including an alpine-like toe that would normally impede forward pivoting of the bindings. Quite smart, as this also located the pivot much closer to optimal ergonomics rather than it being forward as with many other plate bindings. This unique mechanical sets the Energy apart from any other touring binding, and we wonder if it would still be a viable configuration.

In tour mode, note the front unit moving out of the pivot frame.

In tour mode, note the front unit moving out of the pivot frame. The binding was sold with a wire frame heel lifter that tended to come off and be lost. Clearly. Ours is missing.

View from the front.

View from the front.

Overhead, note the full alpine-like heel clamp that's been 'skelatized' to reduce weight.

Overhead, note the full alpine-like heel clamp that’s been ‘skelatized’ to reduce weight, about 28.5 ounces, 808 grams, per binding.

Fixed heel downhill latching system, simply blade-like parts on ski mate with slots under plate at heel.

Fixed heel downhill latching system, simple blade-like parts on ski mate with slots under plate at heel, they slide in and out with a forward and back motion controlled by a thumb lever at the rear of the binding. This type of latching system, later using rods instead blades, is one of the Emery defining features. It’s simple and light, but was prone to problems with not easily engaging if ice prevented perfect alignment of the fixtures. In an ideal world you could switch modes with your boot in the binding, but most people found that removing the ski during mode switching was much easier then reaching down and rearward to manipulate the small lever at the rear of the binding..

Latch control lever at rear of binding.

Latch control lever at rear of binding.

Looking forward at the toe unit. Note the pivot configuration and the lengthy height adjustment screw.

Looking forward at the toe unit. Note the pivot configuration and the lengthy height adjustment screw.

Anti friction device (AFD) is a simple plastic pad that slides left and right.

Anti friction device (AFD) is a simple plastic pad that slides left and right.

Heel unit spring is alpine-like.

Heel unit spring is alpine-like.

[For entire museum click here.]

Emery Energy thumbnail.

Emery Energy thumbnail.


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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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