Note, as of September 1 2014 the secret is out, see Marker Kingpin website as well as other blog posts here.
Update: We just got the following (condensed and lightly edited) email from Jonathan Wiant, CEO of the Marker Völkl Group. This is big news, not only because this is a tech binding from one of the biggest binding companies, but they’re also claiming their new tech binding (we’re guessing it might be called “King,” and I’ve also heard rumor it’ll be called “Kingpin”) will have TUV certification to the ISO 13992 standard for ski touring bindings. We’ll of course believe that when we see the actual certification document, but it sounds excellent.
We have made significant efforts to keep the lid on our development of a new ski touring binding. …So far our efforts of clandestine testing have been successful. Until the most recent “sighting” as communicated by Mr. L.R. from Austria on WildSnow.com the market is full of anticipation and rumors but no concrete evidence. …Our final step for testing had the misfortune of involving third party testers and to make this test convenient and accommodating to fulfill test objectives we had to risk a public appearance. Yes, we have been “outed”!
Caught on the Stubai Glacier with the German TÜV Süd organization we were in the final stage of testing toward certification for ISO 13992. And yes, I am proud to announce that Marker is the first company to receive ISO certification for our new pintech touring binding…
Best Regards, Jonathan Wiant
The spy email below came in June 22, 2014. Since I’m headed down to Chile at the end of August to a Marker/Volkl press event I thought it fun to get our buzz up. I’m of course the last person anyone in the industry tells about this sort of stuff, so I have to depend on our informants. Truth, while I suspected the press event was related to this, I had very little info and out of respect for Marker didn’t feel good about sharing anything. Luckily L.R. delivered the goods below. Can you imagine some kind of Marker tech binding paired with those mean black Volkl carbon skis? Get out! Marker Duke, Baron, Bishop, King? Pinch me, but did they really leave the “King” Marker model name reserved for when they made a tech binding? Get out!
Maybe this is interesting for you:
Two weeks ago I saw a group of people at Stubai Glacier/Tyrol with eye-catching bindings on their Völkl skis: A low tech front part (similar to G3 ION) and a standard heel part of an alpine binding but with two heel lifters to flip. I asked them about their bindings, one of them didn’t say anything and started to escape from the situation and the second said in a southern-Germany-idiom: “You’ll see that next year at ISPO.” After that I didn’t get any answer to my further questions. He ignored me.
On the heel part I read “King….” and the Marker logo. Unfortunately I couldn’t take a photo.
Obviously they were testing their first tech binding. I think, due to their clothing and skiing style, two of them were athletes and three engineers. They often stopped to get out of the binding and step in again.
Best regards, L.R.
(Disclaimer: Above is from an unsolicited email and could be a troll or joke — but it jibes with a lot of other stuff we’re hearing.)
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.