INTERVIEWEE: Christophe “Tal” Etallaz R&D
What are the most important products of your 17/18 line, and why? Please tell us about them, and what makes them the highlights.
A new model with injected hiback and another specific rental interface and binding. With its carbon hiback, the Feyan is an answer for mountain riders who want both a technical and performance ride
The splitboarder profile is expanding and we are seeing more and more “young riders” who look for more backcountry riding. Next year we are widening our range with two new models, Eterle for women and Eterlou for men. They will enjoy the same technology with a injected hiback, making it easier and softer to ride and more comfortable.
The market is asking for more board feel at the same time as effective cushioning. How are you hitting the sweet spot?
On a splitboard, the binding is a full part of your board in Ride Mode. It makes the junction on the 2 skis under your feet and it makes the torsional flex of your board. This is the most important! The next step is to get lighter and then after that it is about getting more comfortable
Which new materials are you using in your bindings?
Until this year all the plastic pieces of the binding were made on CNC (except straps and hiback). Now we’ve gone injection moulded for a few pieces and we injected polyamide fibres. But for us, our main material is still remain the aluminium 7075 and Titanal.
Please tell us about the dominant colour themes for next year’s bindings?
Black will be the dominant colour. The idea is to offer sober colours and to move from a “machined” design binding to a more fashion but sober style.
Prices/margin: Where is your brand going? Higher? Lower?
To be honest, our margin cannot be lower. We produce 80% of our binding in our own manufacturing facilities in the French alps. We’ve a total of 26 people working in 2 buildings/facilities and we’ve got 8 different CN machines, which costs between €100,000 – €500,000.
The price of our products is the price we have to sell it at if we want to survive and continue to provide top notch products.
Any new ideas in buckles, straps, highbacks, bases (or baseless)?
TOP SECRET FILES! All I can say is that we’re always making small improvements on our bindings, listening to customers and user feedbacks to produce the best products possible.
It’s important the binding fits the snowboard boot correctly. What do you do to make sure the fit is OK?
It’s a very difficult part, and we spend a lot of attention and time on this. For the same size you’ll find different volume of boots. We measured the dimensions of several models of boots in several sizes and we defined our sizing.
Tell us more about your factory.
For all the stages we don’t do in our factory, such as treatments, colours, fold, etc… we work with factories around here. The production remains very local, which allows us to be flexible and reactive towards our customers. We find all we need in our valley.
Finally, why should shops & consumers buy your bindings over the competitors’?
Consumers are lucky , they’ve got the choice between different systems on splitboard bindings. All are great, with their own advantages and drawbacks.
Our positive points are :
- Perfect connection between the skis which are squeezed one against the other on the Ride Mode
- Great control of your ski on Touring Mode
- Super fast transition between the 2 modes
- Strong and durable products.