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SKI TECH: Salomon SNS Wedge

Above, the SNS Wedge is mounted under a Pilot Equipe binding, raising the front of the binding 5mm in relation to the rear.

Just as the athletes were showing up in Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics, I started hearing chatter about a "wedge" that the Salomon sponsored athletes were putting under their bindings. I kept on hearing about how athletes, including several Americans were scrambling to get their hands on a pair of the very limited supply of this mystery wedge that Salomon had available.

I was confused at first, as the only wedges I had ever seen under bindings were the canting wedges, which canted one edge of the ski in by a few degrees - these were fairly common back in the mid 90's or so. It turns out that my assumption was 90 degrees off.

This "SNS Wedge" cants the front of the binding up 5mm in relation to the back of the binding. Raising the front of the binding up a bit is said to increase the forward ankle flex of the skier, resulting in a more powerful beginning of each skate or stride. In other words, this forward ankle flex encourages your ski to "squirt" up ahead - thereby increasing the free feeling of the gliding ski. Salomon claims that the difference is most notable when skiing up hill.

This sounds like a good theory and it actually makes perfect sense. Think about it, proper ski technique involves aggressive forward ankle flex (resulting in your lower leg angling forward with vertical femurs) for both skate and classic skiing. This wedge plate further forces athletes to adopt this position. All Salomon skate boots that have had the "Energizer Cuff", dating back to the mid 90's also encourage this body position as well.

In personally trying out the wedges for the first time, I'll admit the skis felt very free underfoot, particularly when skiing up hill. My guess is that these wedges make more of a difference when athletes are fatigued (toward the end of a long race especially), when the skier is tired to the point where they are struggling to hold good technique together. So these wedges are probably a good thing if you plan on skiing any marathons this winter. My guess is that these wedges may also be helpful for beginner skiers who may not have ideal body position established while skiing.

You can easily see that the front of the above SNS Wedge is thicker than the rear of the wedge.

The SNS Wedge can be used with any non NIS Salomon or NNN binding. They are sold by the pair and include 6 extra long binding mounting screws (they replace the stock length mounting screws that came in the front of the binding).

1 comment:

  1. Frank.

    We have the SNS wedges in stock at Hoigaards. I just put one on one of my pairs of skate skis. I haven't tried it out yet, but we'll see.