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Knee friendly AT bindings?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I am looking for opinions on the most "knee friendly" AT binding..


I am currently using Fritschi Freeride Plus bindings for touring and occasionally at the resorts.. I would consider both myself and my wife beginner AT skiers.. we don't do anything extreme and just enjoy getting out in the woods now and then but need something heavier duty than an XC setup..


Last spring I bought my wife a new pair of BC90s for touring.. 3 days later on her alpine skis she blew out her left knee (ACL/meniscus/MCL) and is not yet fully recovered.. skis/bindings were Salomon set on DIN 5 and they completely failed to release..


Wife weighs only 100lbs.. I have a set of Fritschi Pros that I planned on putting on her new skis.. now I am worried that if she can't release out of the alpine bindings, the Fritschis are just a recipe for another blown knee.. I sometimes find myself falling hard on my Fritschis and them not releasing, so I'm sure she would have problems unless the Pros are much better than the Freerides..


I tore my left ACL two years ago (not skiing).. between that and my wife's we can't handle another knee injury anytime soon.. she will probably ski again this season but not sure yet..


Any advice is appreciated..

post #2 of 8

I've had the same experience as you with Freerides not releasing; IMO, the most consistent release would be the Marker Duke/Tour used with an AT boot with a DIN sole (not the Vibram AT sole).  The release should be as consistent as any alpine binding/boot set up.  Given your wife's weight, the Marker Tour 10 should work okay.

post #3 of 8

My thoughts:


Plum/dynafit is clearly the preferred touring binding. Light weight, stable, bomber.


Fritschis pre-release, especially with aggressive skiing.


Barons/Dukes are a heavy alpine binding with a the ability to walk uphill; they are not a touring binding.  


F10/12s are flimsy and mediocre at best, and not nearly as dependable as even Fritschi.


If you're trying to stick with a one ski quiver for alpine and touring, you should consider investing in a dyna/duke plate. Other than maybe the Plum Guide (jury is still out), there simply is no binding that does it all without drawbacks. 

post #4 of 8
I am 190 and blew out my acl on dins of 8 the 7 with solomons then looks. Nothing is perfect for an at set up, but 5 might be too high a din for her unless she pushes hard with a small foot.
post #5 of 8

Lightweight skiers may need aftermarket springs for their AT bindings to work well; for example, B&D makes lighter weight aftermarket springs for Dynafit bindings.  Also important, IMHO, for AT skiing and reducing stress on knees are lightweight skis and lightweight skins; your wife is not very heavy so going to narrower skis 80 mm +/- gives plenty of flotation and an early rise tip or tip rocker helps with breaking trail and reducing snow buildup on the top of the ski (also wax or silicon the top).  Might want to look at shims under the toe of the binding to reduce ramp angle for small feet.  Boots with large amounts of back and forth cuff movement, removable tongues, and easily loosened buckles can also do a lot to reduce stress on knees on the flats and the up--Dynafit came out with a woman's TLT5 and Scarpa makes the Gea (female version of the Maestrale).  I think a lot of stress is put on the knees when trying to walk/stride/climb without releasing the heal and with the boot cuff too tight or too limiting in movement; also, pulling the ski up through the snow (I'm rehabing a blown knee right now for some of these reasons).

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the comments everyone.. some good advice!


I am looking at the Diamir Eagles that go down to a DIN 3 and also the Marker Tour F10s that go down to DIN 3.. it seems that the Markers don't have great reviews..

post #7 of 8

Random linguistic note: AT bindings that are bomber, don't pre-release, stick big air, etc. are important, but may not relate to what this guy's asking about. Which is what AT binding will release before his or his wife's knees do (again). Agree that spring values are important, but some of this is about basic design constraints. 


Far as I know, no AT binding can be as knee friendly as most alpine setups because of no toe upward or diagonal release. Most AT setups are based on old-school alpine designs with lateral movement at the toe and upward release at the heel. And while some have argued from engineering grounds that a Plum/Dynafit will be better than traditional AT because of lateral movement at heel, I know of no evidence to back this up. Would love to see some more serious discussion of this, beyond the always popular "I've logged xxx years on my xxxx and my knees are fine." Meanwhile, my reaction to OP is why are you trying to do this in this way? Personally, I'd think about tele instead. duck.gif

post #8 of 8

Always a comprimise.  If you want light weight and tourability (no frankenstride), tech (Dynafit, Plum, Onyx etc) is the way to go; but, none are DIN certified, so the release may not be as consistent as a well though out alpine binding and boot combination.  The Marker Duke/Tour is a tour adaptable plate with a quality alpine binding plonked on top so with a DIN compliant boot sole it will work as consistently as any quality alpine binding and boot combination.  No comment on the durability of the Tour, the climbing bar still sucks and taking the ski off to change modes can be a PITA (especially if you are a contortionist capable of changing skins without getting out of your bindings), but it is lighter than the Freeride + .


Like anything to do with backcountry skiing you can have any two of the following: 1) lightweight; 2) durable; and 3) cheap.

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