STEVE: Hello and thank you for joining us on another Summit Sports Podcast for skis.com and snowboards.com. Today I have with me, Tim, he’s the East Coast regional sales manager for Flow and has been with the company for 10 years. Tim visited us in order to participate in some vendor videos which are available on our sites and was kind enough to sit with us for a couple minutes to discuss what sets Flow apart from their competitors as well as talk to us about some of the upcoming products for the 2014-2015 season.
My first question for Tim was what sets Flow Bindings apart from their competitors.
TIM: Well, Flow kind of invented the retractable highback-style bindings…meaning that the highback itself actually drops down making it easier to get in and out of the binding.
S: What are the general benefits of Flow Bindings?
T: Well, obviously the ease of entry is one of the big attractions for the binding but when you get into performance the hybrid strap which is more of a toe strap design as well as the iStrap which is a one piece strap disperses the pressure of the boot over the binding contact or interface and making a much more comfortable and much quicker edge-to-edge binding design. We utilize a thing that we call the Power Triangle which is the cable portion to the Flow Binding and it generates more power to the edge and makes the boot and binding interface much more concise.
S: You guys have a new Hybrid Strap option. Tell me about that.
T: Yeah, you know with Flow we started out with the iStrap design. For years we ran with that and, you know, the thing is a lot people either love or hate Flow or don’t understand it and at the same time a lot of our competitors were coming out with toe strap design bindings and we felt that we should try to placate that type of customer as well so we came out with a hybrid strap and it increased our sales quite a bit and it opened the eyes of some people who were not believers and gave them the opportunity to at least embrace Flow.
S: And what does the hybrid strap actually do?
T: The hybrid strap it has 2 contact points: one across the instep and one at the toe of the boot which actually drives your foot right back into the heel pocket.
S: Now, going back to something you said a bit earlier, you said that some people either don’t understand or don’t like Flow. If you could sit them down in a room like this, what would you say to change their minds?
T: Well, first of all, be open-minded. I mean, let’s be honest, ya know, it seems like our sport is very opinionated and once somebody is like in the mindset of this and it’s that and that only so I would tell them to at least give it a chance. Flows are extremely comfortable and they’re super, super easy to deal with and those two things alone should sell you or at least entice you and I should hope that people would be open-minded enough to at least give them a try.
S: So, be open-minded enough to go to Flow then once at Flow, close your mind.
T: Yeah. Precisely.
S: What level riders generally use Flow?
T: We run the gambit. I mean, we’ve been to the Olympics all the way down to rental equipment. We actually have something for everybody.
S: Do you find that Flow appeals to a certain kind of snowboarder? For instance, do you find that those that ride Flow are more freestyle riders or park and pipe riders?
T: No, not necessarily. I mean, when we originally started we were kind of appealing to the backcountry guy because the binding is super easy to get in and out of. And when you’re standing on the edge of drop-in it’s kind of important that you can get into your bindings while you’re still standing - not having to sit in the deep snow.
S: Yeah, and then you guys have something called Freeballer which is a no highback binding.
T: Yeah, it’s a very interesting binding. You know, originally we were marketing that towards backcountry powder-type rider that kind of gets the surfing sensation but having covered the east coast, I don’t get a lot of that and I still manage to get a bunch of people into them up at Stratton Mountain and Vermont and they work great on hard pack. It was kind of an “aha” moment, if you will. They’re for somebody that likes a soulful feel not actually lock in with the highback.
S: So do you generally have more riders in the mountain areas of the country like Utah and Colorado gravitating toward Flow?
T: No, actually, we’re pretty spread out. We have penetration in all markets right now. Again, through our dealer network supporting us and talking about the brand, more and more people are receptive.
S: Finally, Tim, is there anything you would like to highlight when it comes to technology and features found on Flow Bindings?
T: Well, with our bindings we really focused…we had new product three years in a row with our bindings including that hybrid strap you were asking about and also a new thing that we launched two years ago called Active Strap Technology has really been a game changer for us. Active Strap Technology is a new design that as you drop the highback down, the strap itself goes up because on our high end bindings they do require a little bit of break-in period. You’re talking about a high performance binding so the strap is thicker and as a result it requires 5-6 days of riding to really start taking on the shape of your boot. Well, we wanted to speed up that time and give that type of rider the advantage of easy entry so we’ve started working with this active strap and it’s been a real game changer for us. Now, we’re offering it all the way down to $269. Originally when it came out you had to go over $300 to get that technology.
S: So if you’re looking for something unique, high quality and high performance, you’re going to want to check out Flow Bindings. And while you’re over there, be sure to watch the vendor videos for in-depth breakdowns of the features and technology found on their products.
I’d like to thank Tim from Flow for joining me on the Summit Sports Podcast for skis.com and snowboards.com and, of course, thank you for listening.