Your ski bindings are the unsung heroes of your ski set-up. They keep you connected to our skis, while also maintaining the capability to release you when needed and make the inevitable high speed crash as safe as possible. With that in mind, we’ve assembled the top eight options of 2017-18, from in-bounds-focused to Walk-to-Ride compatible to backcountry-specific, below.
The Jester 16 (6-16 DIN) is celebrated as one of the most reliable bindings on the market. A horizontally-oriented spring in the toe piece brings about ultra-high energy absorption to prevent early, undesirable release. A large contact area on the toe lug also yields awesome power transmission. Furthermore, a gliding AFD moves with the boot to reduce release friction. In the rear, the heelpiece is also particularly crafted to deliver the utmost grip on your boot. Magnesium—boasting a high strength-to-weight ratio—is utilized for burliness sans bulk. Marker’s SOLE.ID technology also accommodates Alpine and A/T norm boot soles (as defined by ISO)—a welcome feature for the skiers who covet boots that aid in backcountry and hiking pursuits.
Tyrolia’s AAAttack series bindings have flown off the shelves for years, and the brand has made updates to the award-winning line for 2017-18 giving you even more to love. The new FR PRO² toe piece has an adjustable AFD that accommodates alpine and GripWalk soles, upping its versatility factor. On top of that, the binding utilizes Tyrolia’s NX FR heelpiece—it’s lighter than those of higher DIN models in the AAAttack franchise. You’ll appreciate the lower weight no matter if you’re boosting off your favorite cliff or shouldering your skis up the bootpack this season.
The Marker Griffon is the best-selling binding on the market—it has a widely attractive DIN range of four to 13, it’s lightweight at 2,038 grams per pair (with a 110 mm brake) and boasts all of the safety and retention capabilities that Marker is known for. The use of the brand’s SOLE.ID construction makes it even more appealing: With the turn of a screw (either direction) in front of the toepiece, the AFD is heightened or lowered, making the binding compatible with both ISO alpine 5355 and touring boot 9523 certifications. No matter if you shred the resort all day, everyday, or utilize touring boots to get yourself out-of-bounds, the Marker Griffon 13 ID abides, dude.
Just call the Pivot 12 Dual the Rubber Band Man, because elasticity is the name of its game. Forty-five mm of lateral toe- and 28 mm of vertical heel-elasticity result in a binding that’ll keep you locked in whether you’re stomping a perfect corked out 720 or hop-turning down a 50-plus degree couloir. On top of that, it accommodates both alpine and rockered Walk-to-Ride boot soles, making it compatible with most any resort-focused boot.
The Ion 12 received an update for 2017-18 in the form of a redesigned boot stop in the toe. The new mechanism guides your toe for a pain-free step-in, as always, but it’s lighter than before, bringing overall weight down a smidge’. And as every backcountry skier knows, every gram counts. What remains the same: The Ion 12 is still built with a combination of durable glass-filled nylon and aluminum for weight savings and bombproof-ness. Also, a wide toe jaw provides exceptional power transmission to your skis and forward pressure adjustment in the heel piece ensures consistent release values for an orgasmic downhill experience.
Besides being 50 grams lighter than the ever-popular Radical 2.0 binding, Dynafit’s new Rotation 10 utilizes the brand’s new hub centering toe piece, defined by a special notch that helps to hold the toe unit straight after stepping in. When your toe is centered, your boot-heel is aligned with the binding’s heelpiece for easy-as-pie step-ins. Furthermore, that notch ensures the excenter unit (the toe lever that engages ski and tour mode) is centered, as well, making it easier to flip. Beyond its superb ease of use, the Rotation 10 is the only tech binding with elastic travel in the toe and a TÜV certification.
Salomon enters the pin-tech binding world in 2017-18 with the MTN binding, and it took no time for the alpine giant to produce a product that rivals all comparable offerings on the market. It’s mighty lightweight—780 grams per pair with brakes, 595 grams per pair without brakes—and has climbing aids of two, seven and 13 degrees for efficient uphill travel. A wide screw orientation helps to promote power transmission when it’s time to transition and rip back down the mountain. In short, we’re damn impressed.
The Tecton 12 utilizes Fritschi’s updated Vipec toepiece in conjunction with a beefier, lock-down heelpiece and weighs just 550 grams per pair (without brakes). The refined Vipec toe has a pre-defined lateral safety release as well as a step-in system that’s delightfully user-friendly compared to previous generations. A massive spring in the alpine-style heel ensures optimal power transmission to your skis and two vertical rails integrate with standard heel tech inserts for a vice-like grip on your boot, yielding peace of mind while ripping. On top of its performance and safety capabilities, you can customize the colors on your toe lever and heel risers for a binding that’s certifiably you.