While I’m often viewed with suspicion as a mouth breathing gear blogger who can’t keep a secret, some companies realize I’m a little more reasonable than that and let me have an inside view of their operations. To one degree or another, anyway.
I was looking for a “sponsor” to pick up a few hotel rooms in Munich for yours truly. Fritschi obliged. Turned out it was the same digs they’ve been using for 17 years. Understated, basic, situated in an industrial part of Munich next to a trucking warehouse. What, you thought the longest running ski touring binding company would be in the Hilton downtown? Not these guys. They’re Swiss. Practical. Logical. But not humorless as some prejudiced individuals would tell you. The fact that I shared a room with a chain smoking Slovakian truck driver proves my point (joking).
Fritschi PR guy Stephan and binding product manager Oliver took me to dinner, we had some good chuckles talking about ski touring culture in general as well as the world of tech bindings. Stephan totally got the allusion to Ultron in my blog post introducing their Tecton binding, and I think he figured out I was joking when I suggested they produce a video of a tibia bone exploding on a conventional tech binding, compared to a clean safety release from their Vipec side-release toe. I was proposing the use of a cadaver leg, and wondering whether it should be cut off below or above the knee. At that point we ordered wine.
We also had the usual talk about what the heck to call these things. “Pintech, or Pin, or Tech?” Stephen appeared to still be keen on his term “safety pin” for their first introduction of the Vipec. I reminded him that in English, diaper pins were safety pins, but I acknowledged that safety pins have probably been used for everything from repairing a nuclear power plant to replacing a button on a dirndl. So watch for the “safety pin” terminology to make a resurgence next season, perhaps along with a Tecton compatible dirndl.
Getting down to brass tacks, or safety pins, or whatever, we did discuss what’s going on with the Tecton. Firstly, this cool hybrid of an alpine heel and safety pin toe has been the talk of the shows — and an object of freerider desire that rivals cute 22-year-old rich girls said freeriders pursue at Davos once they’ve skied out all the powder. Stephan and Oliver assured me that production is going well and retail will begin this coming fall. Just as importantly, the pre-production samples will be going out in weeks to those of us on the list. Is WildSnow included? Stay tuned.
One thing I always notice about Fritschi is the demeanor of owner Andreas Fritschi. This guy has always had a smile and a gracious word for myself and Lisa when we’ve visited in the past — no different this time. I’m not sure how much English is spoken by Andreas, but his pronunciation of the words “champagne” and “powder” are excellent, and seem to be frequently associated with both Colorado and Hokkaido. He gets around.
In any case, I did get some technical stuff squared away with Fritschi, a few details below.
Near as I could tell, the video below saw its “premier” at ISPO, pretty good visuals of how Tecton works:
For weights and such please see our original post about Tecton and upgraded Vipec.
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.