Mark runs Nordic UltraTune out in Winthrop, WA.
I was perusing some European patent documents today, and saw that Salomon has recently applied for a patent.
The new patent from Salomon would incorporate some great ideas that have been available only on the NNN/NIS bindings up until now. The Salomon patent includes a means to adjust a binding plate fore/aft on a track, and a means to provide a wider base of support under the ball of the foot.
I applaud Salomon for stepping up to the plate! The NNN/NIS bindings with their adjustability and wider base of support have been the most innovative change in skiing in the past several years.
The NNN/NIS setup has now made the black strip in the middle of the ski an almost universal feature. It's a nice thought to think that Salomon is moving in this direction, too. I can only hope that Salomon and the folks that brought us the NIS plate will get together and make a universal standard plate that would be used for ALL cross-country bindings.
If you're curious about these things, Salomon applied for the patent in March 2009, and the application document was published about 6 weeks ago (see doc EP2108413, a type A1 European Patent Application). Of special note are figures 5 & 8 which show the adjustable plate and wide support, both in line drawings that are of a style typical in patents but which seem sort of quaint in any other context.
I know there are some folks who have said that bindings don't need adjustability, and don't need wider support under the foot. But I think it's clear that Salomon is now joining the bigger group of skiers who think that it's a good idea. This is good news for Salomon and good news for all cross-country skiers!