Words: Derek Taylor, Grind TV
How do you top your own record of climbing and skiing one million vertical feet in a single season? For most, it’s an insurmountable task. For Greg Hill, who set the 1-mil mark in 2004-05, it was simple: double that in a calendar year. Hill did just that in 2010. For the mathematically challenged, that’s the equivalent of climbing and skiing 5,500 vertical feet every single day, for an entire year. That’s a pretty hearty day for most backcountry skiers, but it also assumes Hill didn’t take any rest days, days off for his kid’s birthday or hanging out at trade shows, which of course Hill had to do at various points during the year.
Simply put, Hill is a skinning and skiing machine. His 2-mil record will likely stand for years to come. All of this made him the perfect face for Dynafit, the market leader in lightweight touring bindings. So his decision to leave Dynafit for Salomon raises more questions than it answers.
Salomon, of course, has been focusing more and more on the backcountry ski market in recent years. They continue to refine their Quest boot line and last year they unveiled the Guardian backcountry touring binding, which will hit stores this fall. But while the Guardian has been receiving accolades for what it is: a burly Alpine-style binding with touring capabilities, it’s not intended to be the tool for the 10,000-plus vertical-foot days in the backcountry that Hill is known to rack up (and certainly not for the 50,100 vertical feet that Hill and Crested Butte’s Jimmy Faust logged in 24 hours in 2006, another record).
The question that arises, then, is what does Salomon have up its sleeve? They already have a bevy of athletes qualified to usher in the Guardian and Quest projects (Mike Douglas, Jamey Parks, Cody Townsend, Mark Abma, Elyse Saugstad, Kim Havell… the list goes on). Does the signing of Hill signify that there is a lightweight, tech-compatible touring binding in the works at Salomon? Time will only tell. As of now, the company is being tight-lipped about their plans, to the point that the brand manager refuses to talk about it with her own husband (full disclosure: I’m the husband in question).
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