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Up For A Little Cheating?

Tue, Jan  11, 2011 - By Rick Halling

Available at your favorite Atomic dealer now is the new SNS Wedge 60.  Putting these on your skis is almost like giving them a banned substance, only these new 60mm Wedges have been approved by the FIS and IBU.  The cheating is figurative, not literal; they will give your skis an unfair advantage over the folks you ski with.  The new wedge is legal.

The original SNS Wedge

The New SNS Wedge 60.

Last year, the regular SNS Wedge (42mm wide under the ball of the foot) was introduced at the Vancouver Olympics with outstanding results.  This wedge is a sloping ramp that fits under the bindings and lifts the toe 4mm while leaving the heel alone.  It is not a cant, there is no angling of the foot to the side, it is purely a lifter. 

Why does this lifter make you a faster skier?  Have you ever mounted your skis a few centimeters too far behind the balance point?  By being that far back from the peak of the camber, the skis glide like rockets.  This greatly decreases the pressure on the key part of the forebody and being mounted too far back greatly increases the speed of any skating ski.  Important to note, this is for skating skis only, doesn’t work on classic. 

Why doesn’t everyone just mount their skis back 5 or 6cm from the balance point if this makes the skis so fast?  Because, once you go more than one or two cm behind the balance point you will have a ski that gets pretty hard to control and turn. What you would gain in speed would be lost in lack of control. 

The SNS Wedge that was introduced last year has the speed effect of being mounted too far back.  Raising the toe a little bit, leaving the heel alone, changes the weight distribution on the camber and gives the ski the fast glide of being a little too far back.  However, your binding is in the proper location so you still have the control and stability that comes with mounting the binding just one cm behind the balance point. 

This wedge was widely used at Vancouver by all SNS athletes and has been available to the general public since last fall.  New and just arrived is the wider version, the SNS Wedge 60 which is a full 60mm wide under the ball of the foot.  Don’t worry, the wedge won’t touch the snow no matter how much you lean the ski over.

The SNS Wedge 60 was mounted on a number of demo skis at West Yellowstone. A wide range of skiers of all abilities gave them a try. Feedback was unanimous, the new wider wedge gives better stability and control than the original wedge or having no wedge at all.

Look at the picture above of the new Wedge and you will notice that is has a cavity in the middle.  The binding fits right into that cavity so that the wider wings are flush with the binding, there is no gap between the boot sole and this wedge.  The end result is noticeably better control than having the original wedge or no wedge at all, especially when pushing off on hard tracks. 

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Atomic’s Top international athletes have fully endorsed this new wedge. Not surprising that Atomic would be this innovative. More US Nordic skiers have won Olympic medals with Atomic bindings and boots than all other brands combined.