I've often thought it would be possible to make a cross country ski binding more like step in mtb binding. Well it seems like Rottefella have had the same thoughts and are currently testing a new XC ski binding called the Skate X. It moves the pivot point from the toe to the ball of the foot. A solid metal bar sits between a V shaped flexor, allowing the boot to move both forwards and backwards. The idea is similar to the old Salomon SNS Pilot, bringing control to towards the ball of the foot; without the drawbacks of the Pilot system: wear and risk of snow clogging.
Photo Credit Per Olve Tobiassen
The boot resembles a cycling shoe. Moving the pivot to under the ball of the foot gives the skier a stronger kick. One wonders if they could launch a cycle pedal with the same system, or if something like the SPD system could be adapted to cross country. Field reports say the system feels lighter and makes the skis easier to handle with a faster return for the skis. Personally I never felt a bit difference with the Pilot system, but that still had its principle attachment to the ski at the toe. This new binding might make an interesting complement to the Atomic S9 Gen S skis, a kind of carving ski for cross country.
Full review here: https://www.facebook.com/reel/3143922822409538