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Bindings for lift accessed side-country skiing? Marker vs Freeride Pros vs DF

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

There are plenty of threads here that touch on this subject (and I have read them all) but just to rehash it all so that I can get the perfect answer just for me.

 

I am looking for the perfect ski/ binding/ boot set-up for lift accessed side country skiing, that should be tough enough to handle in-bounds skiing too. The ratio will probably be 80/20 off-piste/ on piste.

 

The ski = Fischer Watea 94.

 

The boots = Nordica HR 125 alpine boots or Dynafit Zzero4 touring boots.

 

The binding = ???

 

 

I like DF but I will be inbounds 20-30% of the time, so how do DF stack up in fast skiing on hardpack (though I'm guessing that the Watea 94 might be the limiting factor here rather than the bindings?)?

 

Plus though I like my Zzero 4s, I prefer alpine boots for the descent, so unless I buy a 3rd set of boots (which I can't afford) like the Titans then I'm edging towards Markers or Fritschi Freeride Pros to use with my current alpine boots.

 

Fritschis don't seem to get good reviews on here, but are the new Freeride Pros any better? Would they still be good enough for what I want? I'm not sure that I can get Markers easily here in Switzerland (and certainly not from my friendly shop, who I'd rather not bypass).

 

So basically do I spend more money on a 3rd set of boots and go with DF, or annoy my local shop and order Markers over the net, or go with Fritschis which seem the compromise in terms of skiing?

 

 

Relevant details: I also have a lightweight set of DF fitted skis for long tours, so weight is NOT one of my concerns for the side-country set up...the priority is fun in off-piste conditions, then ability to handle hardpack as well. I'm 6ft, 180lbs, advanced & aggressive skier.

 

Thanks for your opinion,

 

Chris

post #2 of 7

Heh! Well, I've shot my mouth off about this in the past so I'll keep my observations tailored to your original question.

 

1. Are Dynafits okay to use on this ski (20% - 30% inbounds)? 

Categorically yes. I would have absolutely no problem recommending Dynfits for this type of duty. I do it to my Dynafit equipped Bros all the time. I think I've gone on record saying I would be fine using them as everyday bindings inbounds as long as I respected their limitations.

 

2. Should you use Dynafits on these skis given the fact that you'll probably have to purchase a third pair of boots?

Man, I don't know. I guess the begs a second question, for the out of resort activities you have planning for these skis, are you really cool with lugging your Nordica HR's around? If so, then as much as I LOVE Dynafits, I would be hard pressed to recommend shelling out serous cash for Titans just so you can use them in a side country application. Titans are great boots according to everyone I know who has them. If you were looking to retire the Nordica HR's and/or the Zzero4's I would say yes and I think you could actually do that (mainly taking aim at the HR's). But if you are going into this thinking of moving to a three boot quiver, I'd take a pass.

 

Fritschi - If you said yes to using your HR's on side country expeditions (e.g. skinning back to civilization), the I would go either FFR or Marker. I have a pair of Fritschi Freeride Pluses and used to ski them every day inbounds. They don't get high marks here because to me they seem to be a Jack of All Trades - Master of None type binding. They're heavier that Dynafits - and less rigid, but can accommodate a wider range of boots. They're lighter than Markers (with the exception of the Tour I believe) but less rigid. Kind of stuck in between. All that being said, if you can get a pair of Pluses or Pros at an attractive price, I'd do it. There isn't anything wrong with them.

 

The new Marker Tour got rave reviews when they came out. Stiffer than the FFR's, lighter than the Duke or Griff (and I think the FFR as well). Lower stack height than the FFR's. I've heard some complaints about durability but who knows. I think the jury is out on that. I probably wouldn't consider Griffs or Dukes because with their weight and the weight of your HR's you'd find the slog back to civilization to be so unpleasant that you just wouldn't do it. I know I wouldn't/don't (speaking from experience here).

 

So, to review:

1. Dynafits only if you are going to use the Titan to replace one or both of your current boots

2. FFR's if you can get a good deal on them

3. Or go Marker Tours if you can get them for a price roughly comparable to FFR's (say, +$75 - $100).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #3 of 7


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Que View Post

The new Marker Tour got rave reviews when they came out. Stiffer than the FFR's, lighter than the Duke or Griff (and I think the FFR as well). Lower stack height than the FFR's. I've heard some complaints about durability but who knows. I think the jury is out on that. I probably wouldn't consider Griffs or Dukes because with their weight and the weight of your HR's you'd find the slog back to civilization to be so unpleasant that you just wouldn't do it. I know I wouldn't/don't (speaking from experience here).

 

Interesting I'm putting together an 80-90% resort / 20-10% off piste setup and have been considering the new tours.  Really want to go with them but am afraid they just won't have near the rigidity and durability of the dukes.  I already have mostly backcountry skis with dynafit bindings, so forcing myself to buy a pair in the other direction that's going to hold up better at resorts... Plus I've noticed it's harder to initially learn new skills when you're skiing around on non alpine gear (e.g. far easier to learn how to do X on alpine, then learn to do the same on your BC gear than other way around).

 

I hope the tours continue to get the kind of feedback you mention maybe I'll go with them.

 

I'm planning on sticking with my Garmont Radiums for this setup, as I understand they're nearly as stiff as an alpine boot, I'd be curious to know if the black diamond quadrant is significantly stiffer at all however. When I switched from my garmont  mega rides to the radiums I was like woah! at how much better they skied due to stiffness.

post #4 of 7

jonjon,

Funny you mention the Radiums. That's what I ski 95% of the time this year - both in bounds and in the BC. They're not my alpine race boots but I had this silly notion this year that a super stiff race boot was making me a sloppier skier because I could just throw a ton of force into the boot rather than remaining in a more balanced position. It has made for some very early sore legs by now I don't even notice it. Jury is still out as to whether it made me a more precise skier or just made my legs stronger. Heh!

As for Dukes and Griffs - they are great bindings in their own right. I just never go to my Dukes when there is skinning to be done. I think if I owned a sled I might.

On the Tours - wildnow testa showed them for be uber stiff from a deflection standpoint. Result sort of blew me away

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Great reply, thanks Que. I agree with what you've written.

 

Starting from scratch I'd go DF + Titans, and eventually will do, but my current boots are only 1-2 season old and a 3rd pair is not going to happen. 

 

I've done a few 30-40 minute hikes up in the alpine boots before, and they've been ok (and worth it for the descent), and on longer climbs i'm happy with my Zzeros4 and light skis + DF anyway. So I'm happy to have the two polar extreme setups, which means that the Marker's weight is less of an issue for me. So if i can get those here I'll go with them, but if not the FR Pro is the back up option.

 

Cheers

 

C

post #6 of 7
post #7 of 7

Very interesting. Confirms my prejudice against being an early adopter -- and against plastic in touring bindings (see under "Naxo bindings, Uselessness of"). I've had no problems with Fritschis.

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