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Exclusive: The History of the Look Pivot

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We sat down with Dennis Gaspari, Dynastar/Looks Vice President of sales to discuss the history of the Look Pivot from the first models that arrived in 1963 to its current incarnation. The Look Pivot can easily be dismissed as just a turntable heel with a lot of elasticity, but it really is a whole system that relies on its longitudinal spring toe piece that allows the iconic heel design to perform to the level it does.
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Dennis and I discuss the heritage of the Pivot’s race history from Jean Claude Killy in the 1960’s to Alberto ‘La Bomba” Tomba in the 1990’s, along with its domination in the freestyle world. Because of its short mount distance and low rotation weight, the Pivot is on the feet of over 90% of mogul competitors. These attributes of the Pivot are also the reason Pivots are on the skis of many recreational skiers looking for the balance of safety and performance .

With the addition of the great schematics of SkiTalk contributor Rick @RickyG Glesner, and along with examples of Pivots from every generation, Dennis and I were able to go though many of the incarnations over the years. We break down Look’s history into segments from the 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s to the present. Each chapter focuses on key models and variations along with some interesting tidbits and antidotes.


Overview from video:
  • 1960’s: The original Look Nevada
  • 1970’s The Look Nevada evolved into the N Series with variations starting with the N17 to the popular N57 and N77
  • 1980’s: Look carried over the N series and this is where we start seeing the modern Pivot emerging with the angled heel, integrated rear brake. In the 80’s we also saw the XM toe with upward release and the early versions on the Z toe
  • 1990’s: The Z toe became more a Y than the previous triangle and we also saw the influence of Rossignol with their purchase of Geze and the multi directional toe as the FKS
  • 2000’s to Present: There was a “new” Pivot released around the turn of the century marketed as the Axial and PX, this binding was to replace the traditional Pivot but like “New Coke” it was very short lived and the original Pivot (and FKS) returned. Both the Rossignol FKS and the Pivot ran concurrent until the early 2010’s when the Rossignol Group decided to eliminate the Rossignol brand for bindings and market all the bindings as Look. In 2015 SkiTalk (then Pugski) started the “Bring Back the Pivot 15” campaign and the high performance Pivot 15 returned.
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Today the Pivot is one the of the most asked for bindings in retailers and it is a binding for discerning skiers who accept no substitutes.

Please also check out SkiTalk.com's Retrospect of the Look Pivot HERE.
About author
Philpug
I started skiing in the mid-70s in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania; from then on, I found myself entrenched in the industry. I have worked in various ski shops from suburban to ski town to resort, giving me a well-rounded perspective on what skiers want from their gear. That experience was parlayed into my time as a Gear Review Editor and also consulting with manufacturers as a product tester. Along with being a Masterfit-trained bootfitter I am a fully certified self proclaimed Gear Guru. Not only do I keep up with the cutting edge of ski gear technology, but I am an avid gear collector and have an extensive array of bindings as well as many vintage skis.

Replies

Other companies still make bindings?

Why?!

Look Pivot, SIX DECADES of success. Here's to many more! My fav's are RED N17/Nevada Comps, 77R's w/rear facing afd brakes, 99RS w/pivot brake and the current Pivot 15. Likely all will see snow this coming season.

The #bringbackthepivot15 and the return of the Forza were both Pugski/SkiTalk ventures which based on Dennis's comments seems to have worked out well for all concerned!

People will buy.jpg


Oh, they are buying them!

2020 Pivot 15 Release.jpeg


2020 'release' of the return of the Pivot15
 
Look Pivots just have a feel like no other binding I've ever skied. Hard to explain but @Philpug has done good job in past threads, translating that Pivot feeling into words. Awesome video Phil and Dennis! :beercheer:

Pic: Got a Moment for some Pivots?
 

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The brakes on the toe piece? Was this common back in the days?

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There was a lot of retrofitting of brakes back in the day. Brands were doing what they could to add them. Some are real scary. If you look close at the one above on the RS99, this was a third generation brake from Look, the first two were foreward facing, we can immediately see the pit falls there but this one ... The brake is pushed down by the AFD, if you try to do this by hand you would see how difficult it is, because it requires a LOT of pressure. Now, that pressure is pushing upward into the wongs when the boot is in the binding making it difficult for that binding to release laterally. In the later generation of the RX series, the adopted the brake that is currently used today.
 
My dad was an aerospace engineer. I can remember when he ditched his Marker turntables with 5 foot long leather straps for his first set of Pivots. Must have been late 60's. He was so impressed with their design. I was working in a ski shop in the early 70's when I bought a pair of Kneissl skis, White Stars and Red Star slalom skis. Mounted with red Look bindings. Had to put a small plastic piece on the heel of the boot for the roller to sit on. No brakes just a short leash. Still have the skis in my garage along with my whole history of skis. I wander out to the garage to stare at all these skis I've used over 50years. They are like old friends. 90% of them have Look bindings. The memories they induce are priceless. People suggest I have enough for a good fence around my yard but I just can't do that. To me it would be disrespect. Few years ago I got out some Head Xp100 for a throw back Sunday. Tuned them up and had a great time. It felt like I had taken out one of my old sports car. Still fun in its own way. Only knee injury I ever had was on some Marker bindings. Needless to say they went away very quickly. Had some pre-release issues with some Salomons. They went away. Tyrolias got sloppy loose. They went away. The Looks have been the best bindings ever for me. My Peak skis have Looks. Have been the one consistent component over all the years I've been skiing.
 
Ah, the good old days. Nevada 1 toes had ribs that nested into vertical slots we had to cut intp the boot toe lugs. Nevada 2 toes (best I can remember) did away with the ribs & slots. A budget combination that was said to be good was Nevada 1 toes with Marker Explodamat heels, better than the Marker toes of the day. Worked for me, anyway. The Marker toe bindings had almost no elastic range, just a spring loaded ball in a half-round socket kept them on. The Nevada toes had much greater elastic range. The problem with Look heels...harder to find really cheap on some junk skis.
 

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