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Feb 11 2016

1st Look: Carbon Sender for Hucksters

A-Sender from Kitten Factory skis.

Carbon Sender from Kitten Factory skis.

If you make a habit of skiing hard and landing big airs Look’s Pivot binding is back from retirement for a reason; no other binding offers as much elasticity in the heel to absorb landing forces as it does. Period.

For backcountry huckers there’s a new adapter plate that fits in Pivot bindings for touring. Indie ski maker Kitten Factory’s familiarity with handmade carbon fiber skis spawned a related project: the Carbon Sender, a lightweight carbon fiber plate molded to fit in a Look Pivot binding. Two climbing posts at the back level your stance when skinning, while the toe of the boot is held by a pair of pins mounted to semi-rigid walls of carbon fiber similar to Dynafit’s DNA binding, except KF adds a manual clamp that prevents the pins from letting go when stomping an icy traverse.

The full Carbon Sender plate. Light & pricey.

The full Carbon Sender plate. Light weight, heavy price.


While the 2-pin connection is cool, it means that this plate only works with boots already outfitted with tech inserts. Unless you get your favorite heavy alpine boots retrofitted with tech inserts, the functionality of this plate is limited to boots that are categorically unfit for landing big air, but we both no plenty of people who don’t obey the rules, hucksters in particular, so it appeals to those who dare. It does seem that a simple wire bale would allow more boots to be used, but tech fittings definitely have more caché.

The main advantage of this system over the CAST binding system is the ease of use. No need to fiddle with swapping toes at the top and bottom of a run, just toss the plates in your pack. They weigh only a pound per pair, and they’re not very bulky.

Is there much of a market for such a thing? It looks great; very practical for boots with tech inserts in the toe, but how many skiers use an AT boot in a Look Pivot so they feel more confident when they’re in the air as much as they are touching down on snow? According to YouTube, more than I know of, that’s for sure. KF would surely make it compatible with other alpine bindings if the demand is there. Since the number of alpine caliber boots with tech fittings is growing, perhaps this nano-niche of a market has a chance to survive.

“Or,” as the converted would say, “you could just ‘believe’ and go Dynafit.”

Kitten Factory
Carbon Sender
MSRP: $400
Weight (est.):
Size range (BSL): 280 – 330 mm

© 2016
 

  • LightRanger

    Hey Craig,

    Isn’t there an emerging group of new beefy boots with tech inserts and DIN-compatible soles? I’m thinking like the K2 Pinnacle 130. I think there are a couple of others too.

    So I don’t quite get this comment: “Unless you get your favorite heavy alpine boots retrofitted with tech inserts, the functionality of this plate is limited to boots that are categorically unfit for landing big air, but we both no plenty of people who don’t obey the rules, hucksters in particular, so it appeals to those who dare.”

    It seems the boots I mentioned are a small, but growing segment, and they’d fit this product perfectly.

  • Dostie

    Good point. It all depends on who you talk to. My inclination is to say that boots like the Pinnacle are boot enough for landing air, but then the question is how much air. Not being a member of the air force I’m treading conservatively on these definitions and there are certainly folks who think the Pinnacle/XT/Cochise/Freedom ARE boot enough. And then there are those who insist on boots beefy enough to run a downhill in, in which case, even these are not up to snuff.

  • sethg

    Not related but, in the 80′s I skied in Raichle Flexon boots and Look Pivot bindings. Wore out the Flexons then to Raichle/Kniessl Flexons and now, thankfully, Full Tilts. I’ve been in essentially the same boots for over 25 years. After a brief hiatus, the Look Pivots are back as well. In an industry that is always pushing the next great thing (you want your customers “upgrading” their equipment ever season, right?) it’s cool that these ancient but loved designs are still available.