Throwback Thursday: The Free Heel

“There is no right or wrong in the ongoing philosophical war; the contemporary free-heel world is an eclectic brew, encompassing everyone from Nordic tourers to damn-the-torpedoes freeriders,” Chris Clark said in Issue 21 of the ’99-’00 binding market. Back then, the first-ever integrated, step-in release binding, Black Diamond’s SkyHoy, was the only setup to provide multi-directional DIN-calibrated release. (It would later gain notoriety for blowing into pieces.)


Issue 21, 1999

Now, 14 years later, we’re on the eve of a tech binding boom, with both Marker’s Kinpin and Dynafit’s Beast 16 holding the certification for DIN ISO 13992:2007. The “new” SkyHoy and “improved” Targa are relics from another time.

We’re working toward publishing our 100th issue and celebrating 20 years of Backcountry Magazine. Can you believe it? Well, since we all can’t put our beers together with celebratory cheer, we’ve unearthed early editions of the mag, dug through them and pulled stories, photos, quotes, gear relics and more for your enjoyment. —The Editors

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