The Vipec wins our Innovation Award because it brings twist-out toe release to lightweight touring bindings. It’s not been done before, and everyone else has to play catch-up, fast.
The Diamir Vipec 12 will have to prove itself over time on snow, but one things is for sure, packing this much into 470g (without brakes) is a miracle.
What’s so good? Start with the toe: defined lateral release is the obvious thing, but there’s 13mm of elasticity too; normal pin bindings have none, making for a hard ride and no progression in release. There’s no lock-out (function that locks the toe for ascending), but a walk mode (selectable without taking the ski off), increasing the release value to prevent the chance of losing a ski while skinning, but still allowing the ski to come off, say, in a slide.
Move to the heel: snug against the boot rather than with the crucial Dynafit gap, the flex of the ski is taken up by mounting the binding on a plate on which it slides, for constant pressure regardless of what’s happening to the ski. This also allows for a rental plate to be installed. Nifty.
The pins themselves are independently rotating, and the heel piece, which doesn’t rely on rotating on its vertical axis either for release or for moving into touring mode, looks like a step-up in terms of power transmission.
It’s one of those innovations that suddenly everyone wants, now.