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Norwegians develop electronic ski bindings to speed up cross-country trails

Why it matters to you

Binding placement is important for staying fast while cross-country skiing and this electronic ski binding allows for those subtle adjustments without stopping.

As any cross-country skier knows, there is a lot more to it than skiing up and down a set of snowy hills. By adjusting the bindings, skiers improve their grip going uphill or the glide going downhill. However, in order to adjust the binding, skiers have to take off their skis. That is not helpful if they are trying to make their movement more efficient.

Rottefella, one of Norway’s top binding developers, has teamed up with Semcon to create a new kind of electronic binding. While skiing, users can move the binding forward for grip and backward for glide. It is another way that Norwegians remain on the forefront of ski technology.

“The binding makes elite skiers more effective in the trail, but also increases skiing pleasure for ordinary ski enthusiasts who can enjoy better control and grip as they ski,” Semcon product manager Odd Oystein Ra said. “As a passionate skier and engineer, this has been a dream project for me.”

To change the binding on the go, skiers operate a remote control built into a ski pole. Using Bluetooth, the remote control drives tiny motors in the binding to let it slide forward and back. Skiers can make an adjustment of up to two inches. While subtle, this change makes all the difference in performance.

Currently, there is no price attached to the developing product. Rettefella and Semcon are working hard to ensure the new binding will hit the market in 2018. Every electronic binding will be produced directly in Norway.

“Our extensive experience of product development in cross-country skiing and ski bindings combined with Semcon’s technical expertise has made it possible to create a groundbreaking new product,” Rottefella’s Manager of Research and Development Oyvar Svendsen said.