Mar 20 2012

Voile ceases production of CRB

After 20 years, the CRB gets retired.

In case you missed it, Voile has quietly but officially discontinued production of their Complete Releasable Binding. Already the availability of the 3-pin versions of the CRB are sold out. Only pinless versions of the toeplate remain.

Voile will continue to have spare parts available for the foreseeable future, but not indefinitely.

Why are they abandoning the CRB? Despite a vocal minority clamoring for a releasable telemark binding, the reality is there aren’t enough CRBs sold to justify the cost of producing them. According to Voile’s sales and marketing manager, Dave Grissom, “Sales of [the CRB] bindings are very small.”

Interest in the CRB lost momentum due to problems of pre-releasing with plastic telemark boots around the turn of the century. Although Voile resolved that issue, the small, releasable telemark binding market shifted to other releasable offerings like the 7tm or NTN.

Even with the CRB being discontinued, that doesn’t mean Voile is turning a blind eye to interest in a releasable binding. Grissom went on to add that, “I do think a Switchback release binding would sell very well.”

That isn’t an official announcement of things to come but this writer does know that a releasable Switchback is on the drawing board. How soon that becomes a real product will depend on market demand and how well this small backcountry specific manufacturer can manage demand for existing products like the award winning Switchback and Switchback-X2, a five model ski line, and the burgeoning splitboard market that was pioneered by Voile.

© 2012