Joi Hoffmann Interview
We were talking with the first test dummy of the PINDING®
Born and raised in Innsbruck, Johannes Joi Hoffmann started skiing when he was 4 years old. But in the beginning rather unenthusiastic.
His interest for freeskiing and later for filming aroused when he first watch the ski film Ski Movie 1 by MSPFilms. Soon numerous Big Mountain and Freeride competitions and sponsorship deals with Arc'teryx, LIEBLING Ski, Dale Boots and Alpina followed. Today Joi is co-founder of Whiteroom Productions, an independent film and video production from Innsbruck with the main focus on skiing. At B.A.M. Joi also plays a very important role: he is the first test dummy the PINDING® and responsible for all visual performances of B.A.M..
Servus Joi, how are you? What are you doing now?
Servus! I'm fine, thanks. At the moment I'm trying to spend less time in the office preparing myself physically for the upcoming winter.
Well, good idea. What do you think, how many days a year you're on skis?
A few years ago I used to have around 100 days on skis. Unfortunately it has become less. On the one hand, because of work. On the other hand because of many ski trips I was doing in recent years. This year we have been three weeks on the road towards Albania, but to be honest I had only 2,5 days on skis during this trip. But I think today it's around 60-70 days of skiing per year.
That's definitely still a lot! So what do you prefer? ski touring or freeriding?
That depends entirely on the snow. When there's around a meter of fresh powder, I don't want to force myself hiking up in deep snow. In such moments I simply want to make one run after another with as little ascending as possible. But if there's a longer sunny period, then I prefer ski touring with friends discovering and enjoying the mountains in peace.
With Whiteroom Productions you run your own small film production. Some new, visual projects right now?
Projects we do have enough. However, we have stopped communicating that in every form. Otherwise, it happens again that we have planned an island project in the remotest Kamchatka and then, some colleagues got to know about it, stole our idea and made it to their own project.
Oha. That's a bad idea. Another issue: Did you purely specialize on producing ski films other video content?
We have started with ski films and will surely continue to make ski films. However, this year we did well with other projects far from the ski sports. Today we make everything. It just has to do with film and video: From image clips to large advertising trailers.
Who is part of the team of Whiteroom Productions?
Simon Platzer, Jakob Schweighofer and me. Simon came originally from the skateboarding scenes, and Jacob is a professional mountain guide and mountaineering is his passion. I think, this colorful diversity and all the individual influences give our projects a special touch.
You are part of the B.A.M. tribe. What exactly is your job at B.A.M.?
As an athlete of B.A.M. I am involved in product development and optimization. Specifically, this means that I test products for example like Bambam's skis or his PINDING® and then give him my detailed feedback. Also, with Bambam I philosophize frequently about the naming of new products ;-).
How and when did you meet Bambam?
A few years ago I got to know Bambam at Skylotec. One day he confessed to me that he once was bored in the office and he randomly fished my sponsorship request out off the trash, and then watched my video. Thereupon he spoke to his former boss and ordered me to Munich for a personal meeting. Since that day I'm skiing his skis and in this winter season I'm riding his ingenious idea called PINDING®.
What did you first think when Bambam told you about his idea, his innovative binding construction?
Bambam had told me about his idea of a special freeride binding already a few years ago, but I couldn't really imagine the construction. His binding idea then disappeared for a while in our conversations. From one day to the other he suddenly came up with the first concrete sketches of the PINDING® and explained this binding system to me again. In this special moment his PINDING® suddenly made sense and I've just thought to myself: How awesome!
What do you personally think about the PINDING®? What are the potentials as well as potential weaknesses of this binding system?
As I said, the PINDING® is awesome! The potentials are that clear: I have a lot less weight to carry up the mountain and I can definitely rely on the security of an alpine binding. In addition, the platform height is lower, resulting in a more precise power transmission. If you like to, you could also build a PINDING® with DIN settings of up to 30. Again, I can just repeat it, that's awesome! I believe that you won't find any weaknesses in the PINDING®. What I could imagine, however, is that many people still want to ski a frame binding, because they prefer hard racing boots. Right now there are still not many boots with pin inserts, which are as hard as a racing boot. The solution is either that people understand that it's not necessary to ski such stiff shoes or that the shoe manufacturers start to develop their touring ski boots.
What are your demands on PINDING®?
Top performance during the ascent, top performance on the descent. And that, without any compromises on the safety aspect!
The first maiden voyage of the PINDING® - how did that feel?
It was a day with poor visibility and we stood at the top of a steep and rutted terrain. We seriously asked ourselves, if the PINDING® will already break in the first turn. Oh man, for the first ten turns I was so afraid and I was sure that I will spend the rest of the trip in the hospital. But with every successful turn, the feeling was getting better and I developed more and more confidence in this Pinding ;-) In the end and after four weeks of testing there was not one false triggering! Even not the smallest thing at the PINDING® was damaged.
That's great! What do you think, who is the target group of the PINDING®?
Every skier who likes going ski tours and takes care about a perfect downhill performance. Whether he goes ski touring twice a year and the rest of the season he spents in the ski resort or throughout the entirely year. The PINDING® is a ski binding made for all different playgrounds in the snow. Quasi a panacea, as Bambam would say...
Suppose, you have to sell the PINDING® in a ski shop. How would you do that?
"You just want to have fun while skiing without any compromises?! The PINDING® is made for you!" The combination of performance and security - that's the sales pitch of the PINDING®! I've been skiing and touring with many friends, who stood at the entrance to a steep run and hoped that their pin binding won't release when they drop in. I was hoping that my frame binding won't be fixed too tight what can result in a heavy and uncontrolles rebound effect. With the PINDING® you won't have those unpleasant feelings no longer. In addition, thanks to the integrated, frameless Pin system for walking the ascent will be less exhausting and at the top you'll have much more power for skiing downhill.
That makes sense. What do you think of "Pin Up Your Ride"? Alternative proposals or how did you actually come to that claim?
"Pin Up Your Ride" That's really a successful slogan, what wasn't actually my work! Sometimes I played and worked with the idea of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings :-) "One Pin(ding) to rule them all" Hehe!
"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - PINDING®. Is there something else to say?
And what are you up to in the summertime?
Travelling to New Zealand with Bambam and testing the PINDING 2.0 ;-)
Hehe, thanks for the sympathetic conversation, Joi!
Here we go - listen to Joi's 5 songs for B.A.M.