Welcome to a special Buyer’s Guide feature from FREESKIER. Here’s a close-up look at the best ski boots of the year. Click here to explore the entire 2022 FREESKIER Buyer’s Guide.
Dynafit ST Rotation
Designed for the freerider who covets far out lines and peak-bagging missions, the ST Rotation 14 is equally at home hitting cliffs or railing turns at top speed in the backcountry. If “hippie pow” is a foreign term to you and wind-scoured couloirs are your idea of a good time, then you should give this binding a long, hard look. Not only is it virtually indestructible, even if you did manage to break it, Dynafit has a lifetime guarantee. Given its weight, this is no hybrid binding—the ST Rotation 14 was made for the wilderness.
G3 Zed 12
Created by the stalwart G3—a company of and for mountain guides—we trust the ZED 12 for long, grueling approaches in the backcountry. A streamlined version of the ever-popular Ion, we appreciate that the weight savings don’t come with a decrease in maximum release value. The ZED is also constructed such that a single PoziDriv can adjust any screw on the binding, saving you headaches in the field. If simplicity and durability are priorities for you, the ZED 12 might be your ticket to the top and back again.
Marker Duke PT 16
If you ski hard and don’t want to “lock out” your toepiece on the descent, it’s time to click into the Duke PT at the top of your line. It’s a fully certified alpine binding, and the only touring binding in this roundup with an actual DIN release value. It takes a tad more finagling than a purist setup, but delivers that extra peace of mind you’ve come to expect from your everyday alpine binders. You don’t need to be Ian McIntosh to ride the Duke PT 16 but, if you ski like him, this binding is worth your attention.
Look Pivot 18 GW
Maxing out an 18 DIN binding is overkill for just about everyone, yet Look has developed a cult following with the Pivot 18 for its metal construction and outstanding elastic travel. The turntable heel puts many skiers’ minds at ease and there is no question that this beefy binding, which has the lowest stack height of any on the market, skis beautifully. If you’re a heavier skier or simply one who charges hard and hits big jumps, you may be swayed by Look’s reliability. And the retro Forza paint job is freakin’ dope.
Marker Jester ID
Trusted by park, pipe and powder skiers to maintain a consistent release value, the Jester 16 ID is for hard-chargers who value reliability and retention. The heelpiece is why skiers keep coming back to Marker year-after-year, and the rotating Inner Pivot Heel remains the centerpiece of this binding; it’ll spit you out safely, but only when necessary. Otherwise feel free to keep airing massive booters and pushing for that triple in the pipe. This sucker is equipped for greatness.
Salomon STH2 MNC 16
Newsflash—Salomon fully redesigned the classic STH2 binding for this season. The biggest story is Transfer Switch Technology, which, at the flick of a switch, changes the elastic travel of the binding between two settings: more travel—delivering increased damping on rough terrain—or less travel for more immediate response and better edge control on-piste. The STH2 MNC 16 also now has a sliding AFD, offering more consistent toe releases, even for AT boots with rubber soles.
Tyrolia Attack 17 GW
Tyrolia revamped its Attack series this season with four iterations of the freeride binder. The Attack 17 GW features fine-tuned details that helped shed some weight, including the new FR Pro3 toe with a 77-mm wide metal AFD and three-piece Race Pro FR heelpiece. We love the Attack bindings because they’re so easy to step into and offer best-in-class reliability, sure to boost your confidence as you stare down the gut of the biggest line of the day.