WHAT MAKES HEAD/TYROLIA’S BRAND NEW PROTECTOR BINDINGS SO REVOLUTIONARY?
As the world’s ski binding market leader, we at TYROLIA are thrilled to unveil PROTECTOR, the most safety-focused bindings yet. Thanks to Full Heel Release (FHR), our revolutionary 180-degree heel release mechanism, the PROTECTOR binding is currently the most effective binding at preventing serious knee injuries and reducing the risk of injury caused by backward twisting falls.
WHAT WAS THE STARTING POINT FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS INNOVATION?
Numerous medical and sports science studies show that knee injuries account for one-third of all injuries incurred in recreational skiing, with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) damage being the most common knee injury. The backward twisting fall is known to be the main cause of these knee injuries. Our goal has been to improve this situation and reduce injuries through mechanical advancements in our bindings. This is why PROTECTOR is so thrilling – it is proven to reduce the risk of knee injury due to its Full Heel Release.
WHAT IS A BACKWARD TWISTING FALL?
Characteristically, a backward twisting fall presents the following elements: the center of the skier’s body is off balance (typically leaning back), a load is on the end of the ski, ligaments in the knee are pretensioned, and a catching inside edge causes an internal rotation of the tibia relative to the thigh. The ACL usually tears when the knee is fully loaded in this flexed position and rotated at the same time, or when the knee is hyperextended.
WHAT MAKES THE PROTECTOR DIFFERENT COMPARED TO CONVENTIONAL SAFETY BINDINGS?
Conventional bindings from all major suppliers are designed to reduce the risk of injury to bones in the lower leg. However, they are not suitable for preventing knee injuries. Since the 1980s, little has changed in technology and functionality in this regard, but injury patterns have. With the carving ski boom, the number of serious injuries to the knee - especially to the ligaments - has increased dramatically. This is mainly caused by backward twisting falls, which account for 70% of all falls. These injuries are what we focused on reducing.
WHAT NEW TECHNOLOGY IS FEATURED IN THE PROTECTOR?
Full Heel Release (FHR) technology is the centrepiece around which the PROTECTOR binding rotates – figuratively and literally. While conventional safety bindings only release vertically at the heel (and experience increased release values in backward twisting falls), FHR offers a combination of horizontal and vertical releases, allowing PROTECTOR bindings to maintain constant release values during backward twisting falls.
HOW DOES THE FULL HEEL RELEASE (FHR) WORK?
Low, short-term forces are absorbed by the 7mm of horizontal, bilateral movement of the heel. When the load exceeds the FHR settings, the heel slides horizontally the full 7mm and rotates open by 30 degrees to release the ski boot. This feature establishes a new benchmark in ski binding safety and functionality. Thanks to the more constant release values, the forces acting on the knee and its ligaments are reduced by more than 50%. With the PROTECTOR binding, TYROLIA thus achieves a significant reduction in the risk of knee injury in the event of a fall.
DOES THE NEW HEEL DESIGN AND THE RESULTING LOWER RELEASE VALUES FOR BACKWARD TWISTING FALLS AFFECT THE SKIER'S PERFORMANCE OR FEEL?
In a word: no. Five-time Kitzbuehel downhill winner Didier Cuche confirmed this during his on-snow tests. Despite the new movement found in FHR, there is no increase in the risk of pre-releases. The new features, including the 7 mm bilateral movement of the heel, are simply not noticeable while skiing. In addition to FHR, the new PROTECTOR binding offers all of TYROLIA’s industry-leading safety features along with on-snow performance that matches any other conventional TYROLIA binding.
HOW COMPLICATED IS IT TO SWITCH TO THE NEW FHR TECHNOLOGY?
The transition is very simple because the PROTECTOR binding can be quickly and easily utilized on any ski model with a pre-mounted Power Rail base. For all flat skis, TYROLIA offers the PROTECTOR Set versions as well as the PROTECTOR Attack model. This also benefits rental businesses that can easily offer the FHR technology for maximum safety.