Patent application title: BINDING SYSTEMS FOR SKIS
Stefano Maruelli (Montalto Dora (torino), IT)
MARUELLI STEFANO & C. S.A.S.
IPC8 Class: AA63C900FI
Class name: Skates shoe attaching means ski fasteners
Publication date: 2013-01-10
Patent application number: 20130009387
Binding systems for skis are provided which include a support structure
mounted on a ski and bearing at least one binding for a boot, in which
the support structure is adapted to take up a first operational
configuration, in which it is rigidly mounted on the ski, and a second
operational configuration, in which it is articulated to the ski along a
transverse axis of rotation behind the boot and is capable of oscillating
in a longitudinal plane orthogonal to the ski.
13. A binding system for a ski, comprising a support structure bound to a ski and bearing at least one binding for footwear, which support structure is adapted to take up a first operational configuration, in which it is rigidly bound on the ski parallel thereto, and a second operational configuration, in which it is articulated to the ski along a transverse axis of rotation behind the footwear and it is capable of oscillating in a longitudinal plane orthogonal to the ski, the front end of the support structure being connected to the ski by a kinematic mechanism forming a system for guiding the lifting travel of the structure, the binding system being provided with a locking mechanism adapted to switch between a first stable operational position in which the kinematic mechanism is locked, so that the support structure is rigidly bound to the ski, and a second stable operational position in which the kinematic mechanism is released, so that the support structure is capable of oscillating with respect to the ski, and wherein the support structure comprises at least one longitudinal beam, articulated at the front end to a pair of arms of the system for guiding the lifting travel of the structure, so that the support structure and its associated lifting guide system define at least one opening for removing the snow.
14. The binding system of claim 13, wherein the kinematic mechanism comprises a front compass-like articulation which includes a pair of first arms rotationally articulated to the support structure at a top end, and at least one second arm at a bottom end, said second arm being rotationally articulated at the opposite end to a mounting base anchored to the ski, the lifting travel of the support structure being limited by the angle of articulation of said second arm with respect to the ski from a special end stop.
15. The binding system of claim 14, wherein the locking mechanism comprises a slidable stop formation, adapted to shift between a withdrawn position, in which the stop formation interferes with a shaped bearing surface of the oscillating support structure, and an advanced position, in which it is disengaged from said bearing surface.
16. The binding system of claim 15, wherein the locking mechanism comprises a slide which is mounted slidably in said mounting base of the articulated kinematic mechanism and is bound thereto by means of a first locating pin and a second interference pin, the ends of which are slidably received in respective shaped guide paths, said slide being urged in such a way as to make the locating pin follow the profile of the guide paths so that it is adapted to engage a first advanced location corresponding to the position of the interference pin in which the latter is disengaged from the bearing surface of the support structure, or a second withdrawn location corresponding to the position of the interference pin in which the latter interferes with the bearing surface of the support structure.
17. The binding system of claim 14, wherein the locking mechanism comprises a rotating fastening formation adapted to engage on a hinge pin of the top end of said pair of first arms with the support structure.
18. The binding system of claim 17, wherein the locking mechanism includes an oscillating assembly comprising a shaped fastener block having a cavity adapted to engage said hinge pin, said block being coupled to a balance fastener adapted to assume a first operational locking position, in which a pair of pawl formations surrounds said pin, and a second operational unlocking position, in which a stop pin integral with the balance fastener is in bearing engagement with said mounting base of the kinematic mechanism.
19. The binding system of claim 14, wherein the locking mechanism comprises an elastically deformable shaped plate including a pair of transversely opposite protruding formations which have an entry profile facing towards a hinge pin of the top end of said pair of first arms with the support structure when it is received at the mounting base of the kinematic mechanism in a position in which the kinematic mechanism is released, and an abutment profile facing towards said hinge pin when it is received at the mounting base of the kinematic mechanism in a position in which the kinematic mechanism is locked.
20. The binding system of claim 19, wherein the shaped plate comprises a flexible flat end portion including a seat which can receive the tip of a pole, which is adapted to bend downward so as to disengage said hinge pin from the abutment profile.
21. The binding system of claim 14, further comprising a safety locking system which comprises a transverse peg adapted to engage the support structure to the mounting base of the kinematic mechanism.
22. The binding system of claim 13, wherein the support structure is articulated behind the footwear to a mounting plate integral with the ski by a transverse hinge or a flexible cross section.
23. The binding system of claim 13, wherein said oscillating structure comprises a seat for the anchoring of a rear binding which comprises a movable slide.
24. The binding system of claim 13, comprising at least one gull-wing plate associated with the support structure, below said at least one longitudinal beam, forming a wedge facing toward the surface of the ski or another device adapted to prevent the accumulation of snow between the support structure and the ski.
 The present invention relates to skiing equipment and more
specifically a system for binding a shoe or boot to a ski.
 In particular, the invention relates to equipment for use in downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, ski-mountaineering, off-piste skiing and roller skiing.
 At present, the known bindings for downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and ski-mountaineering generally provide for the tip of the boot to be fixed or hinged to the ski, for example by means of an extension of the binding or of the boot, so as to allow the skier to rotate his/her foot forwards during fastening/unfastening of the downhill skiing boot or to carry out technical movements when performing cross-country skiing or ski-mountaineering.
 This design solution does not allow the tip of the boot to be lifted from the ski, or allows this movement only to a minimal extent, due exclusively to the staggered position of the hinge axis with respect to the toe. However, this small lifting movement takes place only by rotation in the walking direction, which is opposite that which would be required by normal walking, which provides for the extension of the leg without a variation in the angle of the ankle.
 Support plates provided with a front hinge are also known, these being designed to allow the use of bindings of the known type and in particular of the fixed type for downhill skiing, which allow the skier to use fixed bindings for downhill skiing also for ski-mountaineering, i.e. bindings without a hinge, but these all revert to the known principle of providing the boot, or the binding, with a hinge at the tip of the boot, and allow no movements other than forward rotation.
 At present, the known bindings, both for ski-mountaineering and for cross-country skiing, allow the skier to rotate his/her foot so as to drag the ski, but only the heel can lift up from the ski inasmuch as the shoe or boot are hinged in various ways to the ski at the tip. The tips of the feet of the skier are therefore mounted on the ski vertically, and therefore every time the skier extends his/her leg they are forced to make an unnatural movement to raise the angle of the ankle so as to move the foot forwards, the tip of which cannot be lifted upwards owing to the rigidity of the hinge and of the ski. The only way for the skier to lift the tip of his/her foot is to lift the entire ski, a movement which is very uncomfortable, takes up a large amount of energy and is of little benefit in order to advance. This movement is not particularly efficient and takes up a large amount of energy above all when the skier is covering long level stretches, or worse slight descents which a skier cannot slide down and therefore require walking by pushing the skis. As a result, all skiers, but in particular people without great articular and muscular elasticity, are greatly penalized in level stretches. It is precisely for these reasons that people who have just undergone major operations for the blocking of the articulation of the ankle are prevented from partaking in this sporting activity.
 FR 2 779 659, to Oddoux describes a ski binding system with double articulation. A supporting plate for the footwear, which bears at least one tip of a binding, is articulated at the rear binding so as to allow the tip of the boot to be lifted. A rigid front rod or a pair of articulated plates form a mechanism for guiding and limiting the lifting travel of the front end of the footwear.
 However, Oddoux does not solve the problem of ensuring efficient movement in every skiing condition with a system which is both light and rigid. Indeed, after only a few movements the binding plate as presented in the invention would become blocked by the snow inevitably moved onto the advancing ski, and--in conditions of deep snow--the snow easily becomes wedged in and compacted under the lifting mechanism, until it ices up and thereby blocks the plate in the lifted position, with the risk that the strong bending movements caused by the weight of the skier tear the rear hinge up from the ski.
 In addition, although FR 2 779 659 mentions the possibility of providing a locking device which can prevent the lifting of the tip of the footwear, it does not provide any teaching relating to the practical realization of such a device. The locking device presented is external to the system and it is at a considerable distance from the point of application of the torsional forces arising during the skiing, owing to the weight of the skier who, when going around a curve, presses on a single edge of the ski, and the hypothetical mounting. The system is therefore extremely heavy and not very rigid.
 A further disadvantage is that it is not possible to mechanically control the lifting excursion by means of a movable slide on the front lifting guide rod, shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, because this would interfere with the rotation of the footwear, in addition to the fact that the strong thermal expansion as well as the exposure to snow and ice would quickly impair the functionality.
 In addition, the solution described does not give the system sufficient rigidity, because even if the rigid front rod were to have a rectangular section to ensure a minimal torsional rigidity (which would involve a difficult execution of the cursor seat, however), the wear resulting from the frequent sliding movements would inevitably introduce a high degree of play such as to quickly impair the stability of the system. In addition, the unavoidable asymmetrical loads bring about torsional loads on the lifting rod, i.e. ultimately increase the friction, and this would impair the object of the invention, which is that of leaving the tip of the footwear free to lift up from the ski. In order to bring about further loads on the articulation of the skier's ankle, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 there are elastic return or end-of-travel systems which render the system nonfunctional and completely inefficient.
 In addition, said document does not indicate how the system for locking the shoe or boot on the plate may actually operate, both when it is in the free position and when it is in the locked position. Indeed, the invention does not take into account the fact that the rotational movement of the boot needs further space if the bindings are external to the plate, as shown, and this is something that a fixed binding at the tip and at the rear external to the plate cannot ensure. Therefore, it is not possible to use bindings of the known type with the device realized in this way.
 It is an object of the present invention to provide a satisfactory solution to the problems outlined above.
 In order to provide a device for anchoring a shoe or boot to a ski which allows the disadvantages of the prior art to be overcome, the invention relates to a binding system having the features indicated in claim 1.
 Particular embodiments form the subject of the dependent claims, the content of which should be regarded as an integral part of the present description.
 The binding system according to the invention, which has a considerable toughness and a very low weight, notwithstanding any other known function typical of a binding for skis, advantageously allows the tip of the boot, and therefore the tip of the skier's foot, to be lifted from the ski to a predetermined height, such as to allow a normal walking or running movement, so that the angle of the ankle, during the extension and advancing phase of the leg with the foot raised, remains virtually unchanged with respect to that which would be present in the case of a natural walking movement without skis.
 In a free position, the system according to the invention allows a skier to walk or run easily by dragging the ski under his/her feet, it being possible for the skier to lift the tips of the shoes or boots and at the same time also the heel with respect to the ski for a predefined travel. The aim of the system is to allow the skier to move skis forward by foot with a natural walking movement, i.e. by completely lifting the whole foot to different centimetres with respect to the base of the ski, respectively first the tip and then the heel of the foot in the phase in which the front leg moves forward, and the same for the back leg, meaning that the skier, irrespective of the anthropometric measurements and the walking style, does not have to lift the ski from the snow and can have his/her feet almost completely free.2
 Advantageously, in combination with a flexible boot, it is possible to also make the sole of the foot perform the same bending movement, "roll" in technical terms, as that performed for example during walking or running with soft footwear, ultimately reducing the energy required for the walk and/or the run and making the movement more efficient, which allows greater speeds even in the case of athletic performance.
 When it is no longer necessary to carry out the walking or running movement, it is possible to operate a locking mechanism and to thereby rigidly bind the tip lifting device on the ski so that the skis can be used to the best of their ability for very steep climbs and for descent and in every other circumstance which requires a rigid mounting of the boot on the skis. This mechanism can be realized in the manner of an additional plate system, along with a binding of the known type, or itself can constitute an integrated dual-function system for lifting the tip and fastening onto a ski of the known type, for specifically designed flexible shoes or boots which can ultimately improve the efficiency of the skier's movement in the running or walking phase with any type of skis on his/her feet.
 In a currently preferred embodiment, the locking mechanism is movable and can engage on a shaped support surface of the support structure, so that it assumes a stable open or closed position on account of a contrast spring. In a tougher embodiment, the locking mechanism is rotatable instead of movable and, for example, engages directly on one of the pins of the articulation of the tip lifting device.
 To retain the locking mechanism in the open or closed position, even in the presence of strong stresses on account of skiing downhill or the banging and knocking during an ascent, provision is made of a secondary fastening locking mechanism, driven by a spring, which makes the stable positioning easier in the open and closed positions.
 In all the configurations, it is possible to add another safety locking system, realized by means of a transverse peg which directly engages the oscillating structure to the part integral with the ski.
 Further features and advantages of the invention will become clearer from the following detailed description, provided purely by way of non-restrictive example and referring to the appended drawings, in which:
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the tip lifting binding system in the configuration for skiing and ski-mountaineering, provided with systems for removing the snow, in the version with an integrated tip binding for the boot, with a locking system with a movable pin moved by the front compass and a retention spring;
 FIG. 2A is a perspective view of the tip lifting binding system in the configuration for cross-country skiing, provided with systems for removing the snow, in the version with an integrated tip binding for the shoe, the opening of the system being activated by the front compass and opposed by retention springs, with a locking system by means of a movable slide;
 FIGS. 2B and 2C show details of the locking system;
 FIG. 3 is a side view of the boot relative to the advancing leg, in which it can be seen how the tip thereof can be lifted owing to the presence of the kinematic mechanism with the tip hinge binding and that at the rear in a free position;
 FIG. 4 is a side view of the boot relative to the back leg, which, having just completed the roll on the ski, is lifted in the rear part of the heel so as to drag the ski forward;
 FIG. 5 is a side view of a skier running with the skis on his/her feet;
 FIGS. 6A-6C are two side views and a top view of a locking mechanism of the binding system according to the invention in an unlocked state, in which the oscillating support structure can be seen in a lifted or resting position;
 FIG. 7 is a side view of a locking mechanism of the binding system according to the invention in a locked state, in which it can be seen that the front pin, pushed by the front compass into a lifted position, engages in a double seat realized in a base integral with the ski and is retained in position by a beak spring;
 FIGS. 8A-8C are respectively two side views and a top view of a possible shape of the beak retention spring and of the development thereof in plan view;
 FIG. 9A is a side view of an alternative version of the quick-action locking mechanism of the binding system according to the invention, where FIGS. 9B and 9C show components on an enlarged scale;
 FIG. 10 is a side view of a version of the quick-action locking mechanism adapted in particular for use in cross-country skiing, for example;
 FIG. 11 shows two side views of a version of the quick-action locking mechanism adapted in particular for use in cross-country skiing, for example, which highlight the possible operational positions; and
 FIG. 12 shows a side view of the locking mechanism of the invention in a condition in which the ski is deformed.
 FIG. 1 shows a dual-movement binding system 1 which has a front integrated binding 30 or adapted to be used with a front binding 30 and a heel binding 31 of the known type, and includes a lifting or tip lifting device. The binding system according to the invention, which can be used in particular in downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, ski-touring or in ski-mountaineering, is indicated as a whole by reference numeral 1. The binding system 1 comprises an oscillating support structure 2 formed by at least one longitudinal beam and preferably by a pair of parallel longitudinal beams, which simultaneously allow for connection of the front mounting system 14 and fixing of a binding of the known type, for example a binding provided with a front hinge system of the shoe or boot. The oscillating structure 2 is connected to a mounting plate 3 made integral with the ski 12, bearing a hinge 6, preferably a dual hinge and transverse with respect to the longitudinal extension of the ski, or analogously a flexible cross section.
 The rear part of the oscillating structure is provided with the seats for anchoring the rear binding 31, also of a known type, which can be mounted in different positions depending on the length of the skier's boot or, in a version with an integrated rear binding 31, this is mounted on a horizontally movable slide, driven for example by an adjusting screw.
 In the front part of the oscillating structure, a gull-wing plate 18 is arranged between the tip binding and the beams, having a triple function of a wedge able to expel the snow which has possibly collected on the ski, a connection between said beams and protection of the moving parts of the tip binding 30.
 The hinge or flexible section 6 of the beams 2 defines an articulation of the structure bearing the bindings about a rear transverse axis of the footwear. The front section is provided with a kinematic mechanism 14, which forms a system for guiding and limiting the lifting travel of the beams and is conveniently provided with a locking mechanism 8, for example with a beak locking spring or a spring implementable in different versions.
 The kinematic mechanism 14 of the binding system 1 comprises a front or side compass-like articulation. The embodiment of the compass-like articulation shown in the figure comprises, for example, two articulated arms in the form of a V and a central arm, and on the whole is integral at a first end with the top surface of the ski, by means of a pin 16 articulated at a base 10, and at the opposite end with the front section of the oscillating structure 2, by means of one or more pins 4. The tip lifting device has a system for guiding and limiting the lifting travel, given by the maximum opening of the compass which is limited by a ledge and by a transverse pin 17. In addition, the kinematic mechanism 14 has an associated locking mechanism 8, adapted to lock the articulation and mount the oscillating structure on the ski. In a currently preferred embodiment, the locking mechanism 8 comprises, for example, a beak spring element 5 which, once the compass 14 has pushed the pin 4 within the seat in the front base 10, prevents this from coming out. An extremely rigid torsional engagement is thereby realized for the pin 4 and therefore the beams 2, but the pin 4 is left free to move horizontally by several millimetres within the eyelet 19 so that the ski can be elastically deformed without being stiffened by the binding system 1.
 The realization of the compass-like kinematic mechanism with a reduced cross section advantageously prevents the formation of compacted blocks of snow or ice in the articulation structure of the oscillating structure, so that the system can operate in every snow condition.
 The beams 2 of suitable height advantageously have a small plan thickness and therefore avoid the accumulation of snow, and, even in the case of the accumulation of ice, the pressures that the skier is able to exert on the profile are such as to prevent the growth of incrustations which could impair the functionality of the binding.
 FIGS. 2A-2C show the version adapted particularly for cross-country skiing, in which the connection beams 2 with the rear hinge 6, and therefore the mid-opening between these, are realized in a form and dimensions which are compatible with the grooves present in the footwear of the known type, and exploit the presence of this groove so as to have a height which makes them sufficiently strong and to support the bending moment which can be exerted even in accidental cases, for example the intrusion of a branch which blocks the device. The stresses during normal use, however, are very small because they are only applied by the weight of the ski.
 Bindings for cross-country skiing of varying nature which differ by small dimensional details of the locking system of the front articulation pin of the shoe are known, but the only true special feature which distinguishes these bindings is in fact the disengagement of the locking system, which may be operated manually or by means of the pole.
 The binding system according to the present invention differs from those known in that, in order to make the assembly as a whole lighter and more practical, the footwear binding also uses the movement of the tip lifting kinematic mechanism to fasten or unfasten the footwear to or from the ski binding, in a particular position and owing to that explained in more detail below.
 The locking system for the footwear comprises two clamps, a fixed clamp and a mobile clamp which is supported and moved by the binding system according to the present invention, therefore benefitting from the possibility of having an integrated binding which combines all the features of an oscillating structure system for lifting the tip of the footwear, locking the oscillating structure in a lowered position and the fastening of the footwear.
 An improvement of the invention is formed by a system for moving the locking clamps for footwear, in which the front end of the compass-like lifting kinematic mechanism can be activated by the skier and can be lifted so as to unfasten the footwear from the binding owing to the fact that the articulated arms of the lifting kinematic mechanism are not rigidly connected to the oscillating structure, but to a movable slide urged by a plurality of springs in turn connected to the mobile clamp, which is adapted to assume a fastening or unfastening position of the pin of the footwear.
 FIG. 2A shows the currently preferred embodiment of a multifunctional integrated binding system 101 adapted in particular for cross-country skiing, comprising a mobile clamp 102 adapted to move longitudinally so as to release or lock the articulation pin of the skier's footwear 104 from or to the binding. The mobile clamp 102 is fastened to a slide system 103, shown in an enlarged view in FIGS. 2B and 2C, which includes for example two pins slidable in respective bushes 105 connected rigidly to the oscillating structure 100. A plurality of contrast springs 107 press the mobile clamp 102 in the locked position (A) against the pin 104, or, if absent, in a starting position (B) such that, if the pin 104 of the skier's footwear is pressed onto the V-shaped top ends of the clamps 102 and 108, the springs and the fact that the compass-like lifting mechanism is freely movable mean that said pin will engage in the clamps and be positioned in such a way that the mobile clamp will automatically return into the position in which it locks the pin A under pushing by the springs.
 The locking system 8 is described in more detail below in relation to FIGS. 10, 11 and 12.
 Therefore, the skier will no longer need to act manually on the binding so as to lock the footwear, but instead only so as to unlock it.
 The footwear is unlocked by pulling the end 109 of the compass-like lifting mechanism 14 of the tip lifting system upwards, and, since it cannot make any other movements, this pushes the slide 103 connected to the mobile clamp 102 backwards, and the slide clears the passage for the pin 104 as it moves into a sufficiently withdrawn position.
 The tip lifting device is adapted to assume a lifted position which allows the tip of the shoe or boot, also of the known type, to rise with respect to the ski to the necessary extent for walking to the maximum extent allowed by the end-of-travel determined by the kinematic mechanism 14, as shown in FIG. 3 in the side view. In this first operational position, the shoe or boot is bound entirely on the oscillating structure of the binding. FIG. 4 shows a second operational position, in which the tip lifting device assumes a lowered and locked position, in which the oscillating structure carrying the binding is resting entirely on the ski and, on account of the known features of the hinge of the binding, the shoe or boot is dismounted from the binding at the heel and rotated forwards, for the second part of the walking or running movement.
 Advantageously, the articulated kinematic mechanism 14 simultaneously constitutes a protection against the intrusion of snow or ice under the structure in the lifted position, and a torsional stiffening element, which limits the torsional rotation of the oscillating structure 2 with respect to the ski.
 FIG. 5 clearly shows a skier making a walking or running movement with the skis on his/her feet. The dual-movement binding system 1 according to the invention, in the configuration of independent binding which can be used with special flexible shoes or boots, includes a tip lifting device provided with a fastening system 30 which can be connected to the ski, for example a cross-country ski. This comprises a base 2 which is flexible or hinged to the ski or in any case designed so that it can allow the tip of the shoe or boot to be lifted therefrom, and this base respectively comprises a front fastening system for the shoe or boot 23 and, in the case of skis for ski-mountaineering or downhill skiing, also a mechanism for locking the skier's heel, which can be used to deal with descents. It can be seen that this permits the flexible shoe or boot provided with a special fastening system for the binding in question to rotate, lifting the tip thereof from the ski, both for the advancing foot and for the withdrawn foot. The figure shows the posture of the skier, almost identical to that of a runner, with both feet free to move depending on the most energetically advantageous movement which is most responsive ergonomically to the anthropometric features of the skier. The same configuration with the addition of a suitable heel, which is lockable if needed, can be used for ski-mountaineering with flexible boots that can be locked for descents.
 With reference to FIGS. 6A-6C, which show two side views and a plan view of the tip lifting system realized, for example, in stainless steel or titanium sheet and in the version as a support with bindings of the known type, a front gull-wing plate 18A and a rear gull-wing plate 18P coupled to the oscillating structure perform a multiplicity of tasks, for example:  i) the joining of the two beams which connect the front hinge and the rear hinge;  ii) the protection of the binding (tip or heel, both integrated and of the known type, screwed on) against the intrusion of snow, which would impair the operation (the removal of the snow is indicated by the wavy arrows);  iii) an increase in the pressure exerted by the skier's weight, owing to the wedge-like design, in order to dispel possible incrustations of snow or ice which could inevitably form and grow, particularly in the rear part, until they block the articulation and eradicate the rear hinge from the ski (the skier's weight 40-100 kg by the length of the base (30-50 cm) forms a large bending moment as compared to the small arm of the screws of the plate of the rear hinge (2-3 cm));  iv) the formation of the largest possible solid support base owing to the orientation of the front plate, inasmuch as it contributes considerably to the torsional rigidity of the system as a whole when the tip lifting device is locked.
 The rear plate 18P ensures that the snow cannot solidify and turn into ice between the rear binding and the ski. In addition, the hinge is divided for example in two so as not to represent an obstacle to the outflow of the snow towards the rear side (indicated by the wavy arrows), towards which the snow is normally also pushed by the advancing ski and by the pushing of the snow plough wedge. If the pin were in one piece, this exit route would be precluded and it would therefore be impossible to prevent the accumulation of snow and therefore the blocking of the articulation.
 The binding system according to the invention, shown in more detail in FIG. 1 or FIG. 2, therefore realizes the triple function of fastening, tip lifting and hinge for a shoe or boot 23, which are of the known type and are characterized by the fact that they are flexible enough to also allow placement of the ball of the foot and therefore so-called rolling of the foot, which takes place on the beams 2 instead of on the ground.
 Conveniently, it is possible to also mount on the special triple-function binding 1 all the known technical devices or mechanisms, such as crampons for the ice or rear heel lifting device.
 One embodiment of a locking mechanism 8, which makes it possible, with a rapid manoeuvre, to lock or unlock the oscillating support structure 2 of the ski with the tip of the pole by lifting the ends 109 of the compass 14, is described with reference to FIGS. 6 to 8 and 11. The locking mechanism can adopt at least two stable positions, respectively a position in which the lifting movement of the tip lifting device is allowed, so that possible stresses arising from banging and knocking on the ski do not make the latter change position (position A in FIG. 6 and FIG. 11), and a position in which the lifting movement of the tip lifting device is inhibited (position B in FIG. 7 and FIG. 11), so that the stresses resulting from the deformation of the ski do not induce automatic commutation towards the operational position of consent.
 FIG. 8 shows two side views and a plan view of an elastically deformable shaped plate, which forms a beak retention spring 5 in which it is possible to see a pair of transversely opposite protruding hooks 65 which can prevent the pin 4 from coming out when it is in the locking position and the entry profiles 67 characterized by the fact that they allow the free flat end 66 of the spring to be lowered when the hooks 65 are lowered, thereby freeing the entry of the pin 4 into the concave seat in the front base 10. The free end 66 also has a hole or a concave seat, into which it is possible to insert the tip of the pole or which can be pressed by the tip of the pole, which, once the ends 109 of the kinematic mechanism 14 have been lowered, allows the pin 4 to leave the seats in the base 10 and therefore the oscillating structure 2 to be freed again.
 FIG. 9A is a side view, shown merely by way of example, of a variant of the locking mechanism 8 of the stiffened quick-action positioning type, for example for ski-mountaineering or telemarking. The support structure 2 for the bindings is locked by means of an oscillating system formed by a shaped fastening block 50 (shown in detail in FIG. 9B), the central section of which has a cavity 51 into which the pin 4 can engage in the operational locking position and which may be led to a position of disengagement from the pin in the operational position in which the lifting of the tip lifting device is allowed. The block 50 is provided with a balance fastener 52 integral therewith (shown in detail in FIG. 9C), which has the dual function of retaining the block 50 in the locking position when the pawl formation 53 engages in a respective portion of the pin 4 by surrounding it, or in a free position when a pin 70 integral with the fastener 52 engages on the protuberance 68 of the mounting base 10 of the kinematic mechanism 14.
 The shaped fastening block 50, which rotates pivoted by the pin 59, and the horizontally pivoted fastener 52, which rotates about the pin 58, are stressed by a spring 56, connected to the pin 57 which has the dual task of ensuring an elastic reaction between the block 50 and fastener 52 so that these normally adopt the mutual position shown in FIG. 9A, but if necessary--i.e. if the mechanism is to be moved into the locking position--the fastener 52 can be rotated with respect to the block 50 such that the pin 70 is liberated from the protuberance 68, as well as of making it easier for the mechanism to reach the stable operational locking position, in which the free ends of the block 50 rotate until they stably lock the pin 4 within the cavity 51 owing to the fact that the axis joining the pins 57 and 59 in which the spring is extended to the maximum possible extent is half way between the two positions of open and closed, in which the spring is of a reduced length and is therefore stable. The spring 56 makes it possible to hinder the possible vertical forces which would tend to lift the tip lifting device, while the fastener 52 contributes to the closure of the cavity 51 on the opposite side, which can keep the pin in the locking position in the case of horizontal stresses arising, for example, from the different deformation of the ski 12 with respect to the structure 2.
 In consideration of the forces which are active during downhill off-piste skiing, in all of the cases presented the locking mechanism 8 according to the invention can also provide for the presence of a further pin 60 of the known type, for example a pin or of the "push-pin" type, which can be inserted into appropriate seats (holes or eyelets) present at the front end of the support structure 2 and of the base 10, so as to ensure complete and irreversible locking of the structure 2 which is free from significant play, which at most limits the possible torsions of the structure 2.
 The locking system described advantageously makes it possible to lock or unlock, as required, the support structure 2 of the bindings 30 and 31 with a simple motion, with one hand or the tip of the ski pole, in the latter case without the skier having to bend down.
 Conveniently, the locking system described can prevent or, vice versa, allow the vertical lifting of the oscillating support structure, but advantageously in every operational condition always allows the relative horizontal sliding movement between the support structure and the ski owing to the different elastic deformation of the ski, which is considerably greater than that of the tip lifting structure thereabove.
 Finally, it is possible to integrate the features of lifting the tip of the footwear and locking thereof on the binding of the ski by means of said compass-like articulation kinematic mechanism of the tip lifting device.
 FIG. 10 shows in a side and a top plan view a light locking mechanism 8, for example for cross-country skiing or roller skiing, which is also shown in FIG. 2A. The locking mechanism has a mobile slide 40 which is mounted slidably in the base 10 by means of two pins 43 and 44, respectively a first locating pin 43 and a second interference pin 44, the ends of which are slidably received within respective shaped guide paths 45 formed on the internal sides of the base 10. A contrast spring 42 acts on the slide 40 so as to make the locating pin 43 follow the upper profile of the guide paths 45 and therefore to make it take up one of two locations A or B at its end-of-travel, respectively a first advanced location corresponding to the stable operational position in which the lifting of the tip lifting device is allowed, and a second withdrawn location corresponding to the stable operational position in which the lifting of the tip lifting device is blocked.
 The tip lifting device and therefore the front section of the beams 2 are locked with respect to the ski by means of the pin 44, or an extension thereof, which engages on a shaped bearing formation 41 integral with the structure 2 by means of a support pad 46, for example made of rubber or a similar material with mechanical and elastic properties which avoid the noise caused by the impact of the snow plough wedge 47 on the ski 12 and ensure a sufficient upward and torsional constraint reaction, which increases the stability of the locking mechanism when the latter is in the operational locking position. The elasticity of the rubber pad also makes it possible to recover the possible play caused by the deterioration owing to wear of the sliding surfaces present on the structure 2 or on the locking mechanism 8.
 FIG. 11 shows two side views which illustrate the operation of the locking system 8 in free position A, which allows the beams 2 to oscillate between the lifted position and the position in which they rest on the ski, and in locked position B in which the beams 2 are integral with the ski 12.
 With reference also to FIG. 10, the operational position indicated by A, in which the tip lifting device is completely lifted, is attainable if the locking mechanism 8 reaches a configuration in which the slide 40 is moved within the frame in an advanced position with respect to the longitudinal direction of advance of the ski, so that the pin 44, or an extension thereof, does not engage on the shaped formation 41 integral with the structure 2 and allows the lifting excursion of the front section of the support structure 2 of the bindings.
 By withdrawing the slide 40 into the operational position indicated by B, the pin 44, or an extension thereof, engages on the shaped formation 41 integral with the structure 2 and prevents the front section of the structure 2 from lifting with respect to the ski 12.
 FIG. 12 is a side view of the binding system according to the invention, which shows how possible inflection of the ski 12 can take place without a modification to the operational position of the locking mechanism, in particular when the latter is in the locking position B, due to the fact that the surface 41 can slide horizontally below the pin 44 yet always remains bound vertically.
 Clearly, without departing from the principle of the invention, the embodiments and details of construction may differ considerably from those described and illustrated purely by way of non-restrictive example, without thereby departing from the scope of protection of the invention defined by the appended claims.
Patent applications in class Ski fasteners
Patent applications in all subclasses Ski fasteners