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A skier running through the tight turns and quick weight shifts used in today's powerful ski techniques brings into play a complicated set of stresses in his skis, boots and bindings. To keep the skier safe and comfortable, and to help him ski well, manufacturers come up each year with ingenious structures employing stainless steel, tough aluminums, hardened leathers and resilient plastic. The boots on this page were fashioned to deal with the problem of lateral rigidity, or the tendency of the boot to bend to the side under pressure with resultant loss of control. On the following pages are other solutions to the problems of safety and comfort, designs intended for hard use by modern skiers.
High-topped boot, Munari Master, has tall steel-braced leather sections above ankle area to prevent lateral bending of boot. Tied tightly at top, Munari holds foot without need of inner boot found in other top-quality designs ($75).
Hinged boot, Kastinger Golden K, has metal hinge sewn into leather of outer boot at ankles. Metal prevents boot from bending sideways as leather ages and softens but allows skier to bend ankle forward as needed. Shaped like shallow cup in center section to accommodate skier's ankle, hinge of Kastinger boot must fit exactly over center of ankle bone or the metal edges will cause uncomfortable pressure ($60).
Double spring of Miller toe-release binding presses curved plate against piece mounted on front of boot, holds well under normal skiing pressure but allows boot to roll or lift out of binding when sufficient force is applied to ski. Miller claims no fractures in first 6,000 sales of this model ($8.95).
Single spring of Stowe toe release has tongue fitting into notch in front of metal plate. As ski begins to twist away, tongue gives until it snaps out of notch (above), thus freeing boot. Stowe release works under moderate pressure of slow fall, is considered excellent toe release for beginners ($12.50).
Swiveling spring of Look binding pushes against flat side of post on which toe piece turns. When skier goes into fall which twists ski, spring allows binding to turn until finally pressure is strong enough to force boot to swing away from toe piece of binding ($12.50).
Front throw levers on Dovre Junior (above, $8) and Kerma (below, $7.95) flip up after sudden, strong pull of boot on heel cable partially raises lever, thus easing tension on cable and allowing heel of boot to lift free.
Metal ski, Northland Continental, has aluminum top and bottom, plastic sides, laminated core with air pocket at center. Continental also features Permacite plastic running surface, replaceable edges with interlocking ends, year's guarantee ($75).
Wooden ski, the Am-Ski Valkyr, just starting to go on the market, has cane bottom that adds strength to conventional laminated hickory core. Though still relatively untested, Valkyr carries two-year guarantee against breakage ($89.50).
Latest head ski, the Vector, has thin layer of rubber sandwiched between two aluminum strips above core of ski. This rubber filler is designed to reduce vibrations, help ski to hold track at high speeds and over bumps. Vector sells for $107.50.