The Most Influential Gear of All Time: Look Nevada Releasable Ski Bindings


Look ski bindings

Jean Beyl's new ski bindings     Photo: Courtesy of LOOK

Ski bindings in the 1940s locked the boots to a ski in a way that even a seemingly innocuous fall could cause a fracture. Then Jean Beyl, founder of LOOK, designed a binding with a plate and a ball bearing under the foot to diffuse torque and reduce pressure on the knee. They were heavy, difficult to install, and weakened the ski, but had enough advantages that the French ski team competed in them in 1950.

Beyl’s next iteration of the binding used a C-shaped piece that fit over the toe of a ski boot, eliminating the underfoot bearing and plate. When a skier exerted sideways pressure in a twisting fall, the clip would rotate and release the boot. The body of the binding was also pivoted so that when a skier caught a tip the binding would release. The Nevada toe was the first modern ski binding to work with any commercial boot. The design reduced knee injuries as well as lower leg fractures dramatically, and it’s the same basic system used today, with the addition of DIN settings that allow a skier to choose how readily his ski releases.

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