We recently learned about a ZED user who experienced a product failure. Everyone at G3 takes any product failure very seriously and we were as surprised as everyone about the incident. It is clear from details the user provided directly to G3 that his bindings were not installed correctly and this clearly lead to the failure. Neither a ski brake nor the stomp pad had been installed at the time of breakage. Without either of these two required components, the loads generated may not be supported adequately. G3 replaced the user’s bindings nonetheless and we believe he is now back on his skis enjoying the snow. We have not heard of any other instances of this sort of failure. Being deeply curious about these things, we looked at this incident further and we uncovered some interesting facts. After collecting data on 32 models of alpine touring ski boots we noticed there were some big discrepancies in boot sole height when measured from the tech insert at the heel. We were unaware there are many alpine touring ski boots in the market that do not conform to the recognized industrial norm for positioning tech inserts in their boots.
Further, we did testing in the lab and found that there should be no binding durability issues with AT boots when the ZED binding is used with the ZED ski brake, despite many boots being out of the ski boot norm. The issue being that if a ski boot sole is too “thin”, it may not be adequately supported by the binding to withstand a significant downward force that may occur. Our lab tests show there should be ideally a maximum 1.5 mm gap between the ski boot sole and ski brake or stomp pad when unweighted.
When we reviewed and tested the ZED binding configured with a stomp pad we did uncover a potential issue if the binding is used in conjunction with ski boots falling outside of the acceptable ski boot dimensions of the industry norm. Given these non-conforming boots are in the market, we also tested for a hypothetical scenario where a larger than normal skier, using non- conforming boots, creating abnormally high loads such as from unusually high jumps, landing flat on very firm conditions and in very cold temperatures. In this almost-worst case scenario, the user may generate enough force to damage the binding.
To address the potential scenario where non-conforming boots are used with the ZED binding, G3 has developed two additional stomp pad height options which will be available on December 19, 2018. The optional stomp pads will be 1.5 mm and 3.0 mm higher than the standard ZED stomp pad that has shipped with all currently available ZED bindings. These additional items should address any outstanding sizing needs at this time.
The current stomp pad, included with all ZED bindings, will be the correct solution for most boots that fall within the industry norm. But if you have more than 1.5mm of distance between the stomp pad and the heel of your boot (unweighted while on the ski bench) the stomp pads with additional heights of 1.5mm or 3mm are recommended. To determine which stomp pad should be installed there will be a ‘no go’ gauge, included with the stomp pad kit, to easily determine which of the three stomp pads should be used. Simply put, the gauge is a 1.5 mm thick piece of plastic (think popsicle stick) that either slides easily under the heel of the boot or doesn’t. If it doesn’t, you’re good to go. If it does, try the next higher stomp pad until the gauge no longer easily slides under the boot. It’s quite straightforward to check and install the correct stomp pad on the ZED.
With the correct installation of either ZED brakes or stomp pads, the ZED binding can be skied in very demanding conditions and scenarios.
Let us repeat for clarity:
- If you have purchased ZED bindings and ski the binding with brakes you need not consider any changes. The ski brake works with current tech compatible boots.
- If you plan to ski the ZED binding with stomp pads, we recommend you check the gap between your boot sole and the stomp pad and install the correct stomp pad height.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact your retailer, G3 directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or review materials at www.genuineguidegear.com.
Anyone requiring additional stomp pad options will be sent a ZED stomp pad kit, instructions and the installation gauge at no charge. We appreciate the ski touring community and the engagement on this and other topics. If you have additional questions please reach out to us by email.