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.
FOR WHICH KIND OF SKIER IS THE PROTECTOR SLR SUITABLE?
Studies have shown that women are two to three times more likely to injure the knee and ligaments than men (see Senner et al. 2014, bfu Report No. 69, Bern). Thanks to the new PROTECTOR SLR lightweight, young skiers or ladies can count on lower stress and a reduced risk of knee injuries. The new PROTECTOR model brings enormous safety benefits for beginners, advanced and experienced skiers.
WHICH IS THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PROTECTOR MODELS?
The PROTECTOR PR and SLR models are the perfect choice for all piste skiers, whether young or old, beginner or advanced.
If you do not want to compromise on high performance, you should choose the PROTECTOR PR 13 model with the RX toe for improved aerodynamic features. On the other hand, if you are an ambitious skier who wants to take advantage of the slopes under any condition, you should consider the PROTECTOR PR 11 with the TX toe. The PROTECTOR PR models are based on a PowerRail base. These models work with all skis with a pre-mounted PR base. For all flat skis, we offer the PROTECTOR Set models.
Compared to the PROTECTOR PR models, the PROTECTOR SLR has a significantly lower stand height of only 28 mm. Its design has been made more compact and feminine, with a weight decrease of 370 grams. The PROTECTOR SLR is best suited for all lightweight skiers looking for lighter but still powerful equipment. The latest addition to the PROTECTOR family is compatible with TYROLIA's SLR Base System and can be mounted on all skis with a pre-mounted SLR Pro Base. For all flat skis, you should check the PROTECTOR SLR SET models including the SLR Pro Base and bindings.
Last but not least, the PROTECTOR Attack model is versatile and ready for use in any terrain by bringing the Full Heel Release (FHR) technology to our Attack series. The PROTECTOR Attack is the perfect choice if you're looking for a versatile, durable binding suitable for any terrain - piste, park, pipe, powder, etc. The PROTECTOR Attack model works with all flat and wide skis and is compatible with Alpine, Touring, and GripWalk ski boots.