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AT bindings

Postby RobertKay » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:36 pm

I'm interested in people's opinion on bindings. I have a new pair of K2 Annex 108 skis and expect to use them 70% in bounds, 30% backcountry. I have a lightweight setup with tech bindings but don't feel like they are the smartest choice for resort skiing (I have terrible knees). I also have skis with Marker Dukes, Marker F10s and Marker Griffons, each with their pros and cons.

I'm torn between Marker F12 EPFs, Tyrolia Ambitions, Salomon Guardian WTR13 and Hagan Z01 or something else I'm not aware of. I think I want a lower stack height, I prefer less weight and I really want a reliable, consistently safe, great skiing binding. They are all about the same money so price shouldn't be a factor. I've read all the reviews but its tough to know. I settle on one choice and then change my mind the next day. What do you guys think?
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Re: AT bindings

Postby GregMiller » Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:51 pm

I skied Fritschi freeride plus this last year, and was a fan. Does definitely sound like you're looking in the right direction, though. One thing to think about, all the bindings you specify look like they're on the beefier end, what DIN setting are you skiing?

http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/naxo-mount/naxo_mount_5.html

There are some lighter options if you don't need a din that high. I am a fan of the various offerings from Fritschi (Black Diamond), not least of all for their customer service (worth thinking about, broke my bindings one weekend, and had the parts to fix them shipped in time to install them for the next weekend's fun, might be a little hard with a company with a smaller US presence).
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Re: AT bindings

Postby moff » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:37 pm

I picked up a new pair of K2 Kung Fujas. I also had the same thing in mind: 30% backcountry and 70% inbounds. For bindings I went with the 2013 Marker Baron's. Can't wait, I've been like a kid at Christmas for the past month. Went all out and also picked up the Salomon Quest 8 boots.

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Re: AT bindings

Postby Kevo » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:44 pm

Every AT Binding has issues.

I've had really dangerous prerealeases on Dynafit (yes, with the toes locked) and insta-teled Fritchis in no-fall terrain that I was lucky to self arrest on.

I have friends who have had serious safety issues with just about every other AT ski binding out there.

The best system I've found (my current setup) is using Binding Freedom Dynalook swap plates. I ski Look Pivot 14s inbounds and Dynafit FT12s for touring. After some very scary near disasters, I won't ski AT bindings inbounds. Some lighter people can get away with it, but at 190+ lbs, I think I'm just too big to ski AT bindings on hard pack.

Even if you can get away with it, no AT binding has comparable release characteristics to leading alpine bindings. Look/Rosi Pivot bindings are the best bindings I've ever skied. They are the most elastic, with the smoothest release (including vertical release, which most AT bindings don't have). This is extremely important for saving your knees. I had a crash last year where I drove a ski tip under a rock, necessitating a vertical release. Had I been skiing an AT binding, my leg would have easily been broken.

I can't discourage you enough from using AT bindings at a resort if you have bad knees. For your new skis, look into Binding freedom swap plates, MFD Alltime or just mount them alpine and use your tech bindings when your tour.

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Re: AT bindings

Postby RobertKay » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:06 pm

GregMiller wrote:what DIN setting are you skiing?

...I am a fan of the various offerings from Fritschi (Black Diamond), not least of all for their customer service (worth thinking about, broke my bindings one weekend...).


I don't suffer from DIN envy - I use a 7 to 7.5 and try to keep my skis on the ground most of the time. I feel like the beefier bindings are worth the extra weight from a durability standpoint. I don't want to risk being stranded in the middle of nowhere with a broken binding.

As to Kevo's concerns, I haven't encountered the troubles you have described with my current AT bindings. (I don't use my Plums very much and so far have only taken one good fall with them where they likely pre-released when they shouldn't have, the "safety" strap broke and I ended up post holing about a half mile to retrieve it) I thought the new breed Dukes/Barons/F12/F10/Ambitions/Guardians/etc are all DIN rated bindings that are essentially alpine bindings mounted to a plate. If this is the case, why would they be less safe than a traditional alpine binding? I like your idea with the swap plates but it does lock you into a particular style for that day and requires a lot more expense as you need to buy two pairs of bindings for one ski.

Moff: I feel your pain. I can't wait to go skiing!
Last edited by RobertKay on Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AT bindings

Postby Kevo » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:30 pm

You don't need two bindings for one ski- you can use the existing holes from your plums and put inserts in that other pair of skis. This will let you use your existing plum bindings on either ski. On your new pair of skis, you'd be mounting a swap plate that would allow you to swap your plums for an alpine binding.

How many days would you realistically want to tour from the top of a resort? This makes sense in places like Jackson or Whistler, but not in most CO locations.

All the bindings you listed are also known for slop- there is a lot of play in the toes of non-tech touring bindings. For me, this is a total deal breaker. If you are used to making precise turns, slop in the toes is miserable.

IMHO, Dukes/Barrons/Fritchi etc are not the best of both worlds, but the worst of both worlds. They are pretty miserable to tour in, weigh a ton and sloppy on the downhill.

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Re: AT bindings

Postby oldschoolczar » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:58 pm

Kevo wrote:All the bindings you listed are also known for slop- there is a lot of play in the toes of non-tech touring bindings. For me, this is a total deal breaker. If you are used to making precise turns, slop in the toes is miserable.


That is unfortunate to hear.. I've been hearing the opposite that some of these are "tourable" without sacrificing downhill performance. I'm about to pick up some Marker Tour F12 EPFs.. I plan on skiing 85% Resort, 15% backcountry.. and I'm hoping these hold up at the resort. I love to carve steep groomers aggressively.. I'm hoping I'm not a good enough skier to notice this slop :wink:
This is my first real year in the backcountry and I'm hoping to just do a couple hut trips and maybe ski a couple 14ers in the spring.. The Marker Tour seems like the perfect answer for a solid downhill binding that can still get out for some low-key touring stuff. Beats snowshoes at least..
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Re: AT bindings

Postby BKS » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:48 pm

I'm far from the most experienced person on this topic... but here's my 2cents worth. I ski marker griffons at resorts with big heavy alpine skis (Volkl Gotama). Backcountry and Skimo I use Dynafits with a midweight AT ski (K2 backlash). I skiied this setup today at A basin opening. The AT ski sacrifices more downhill performance than the tech binding. I've probably put 10 days on tech bindings at resorts. I like both setups for the different nature of each type of skiing.

I'm not an advocate of the one rig for everything approach. I prefer to buy 2 used sets of skis for each application and keep them separate than to try to have one new setup up for everything.
Both skis and bindings need to be different for the unique demands of in and out of bounds.

I have fritschi's but don't like them for either application - too heavy for touring, pivot point doesn't feel very natural while touring (as opposed to dynafits), don't like the extra stack height or slop in the binding for demanding downhill skiing. I agree its the worst of both worlds. I'd much rather use dynafits in and out of bounds than fritschi's anywhere.

I've used Marker F12's - I don't think they sacrifice nearly as much as fritschi's in downhill performance. But after most of my backcountry days that involve 5 hours touring/climbing and 30 minutes downhill - I don't really care to go out on anything else besides dynafits when its human powered.
Last edited by BKS on Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: AT bindings

Postby rickinco123 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:33 pm

Kevo wrote:IMHO, Dukes/Barrons/Fritchi etc are not the best of both worlds, but the worst of both worlds. They are pretty miserable to tour in, weigh a ton and sloppy on the downhill.


I strongly disagree with lumping the Markers in with the Fritchis. I have Barrons I ski mostly resort with, ice, trees, crud, powder, bumps. I have never observed any slop and would say they are comparable to a standard alpine binding for control.

They blow for cross country travel. The pivot point is way in front of the toe. They climb pretty well though. All in all they are way better than what I used in the 90s... boot packing. AT setups were unbelievably expensive back then for a super sloppy ride. The Markers are a perfect yo-yo binding. Climb up ski down. Try to avoid flat areas with them.

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Re: AT bindings

Postby oldschoolczar » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:52 am

Sale at Bent Gate! Just picked up some Marker Tour F12 EPFs and some new Scarpa boots and saved >$200!
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I'll cut the hearts from pharoahs"
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Re: AT bindings

Postby moff » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:17 am

Awesome! I don't know about you, but i keep trying on the new boots and skis in the house - wife and kids think i'm a freak.

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Re: AT bindings

Postby GregMiller » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:21 am

:lol: My roommates keep giving me s**t for playing with my new bindings and new-to-me skis, just can't wait to get out there!
Still Here
been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
Langston Hughes

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