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AT Bindings ?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Trying decide if Salomon Guardian 16 is worth the extra roughly 70 dollars over the Marker Baron.  I am just getting into skinning etc. so apologize if I sound like a Gaper.

 

Scenario.  You are skiing/skinning down a road or skid trail.  You skin up and on level ground and then come to a straight say 100yard downhill.  Is it easier to ski in the lock down mode rather than the free heel - leaving skins on because after the l00 yrd downhill straight schuss you are going to climb again.

 

The reason I am asking (is it true) that in the Salmon you can lock down and then free heel with a push of your ski pole   versus    taking ski off with the Marker.

 

If this is true would it be worth the extra money for the Salomom binding?    Any comments appreciated.   thanks Pete   Anyone know where I can beat $449 for the Salomon Binding?

post #2 of 21
Yes. It would drive me nuts, but YMMV.
post #3 of 21

I haven't written my review yet because I need more uphill time on them, but I can tell you one thing: the Guardians are seriously solid on the downhill.  They feel just like regular alpine bindings.

post #4 of 21

why no dynafit?

post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post

Trying decide if Salomon Guardian 16 is worth the extra roughly 70 dollars over the Marker Baron.  I am just getting into skinning etc. so apologize if I sound like a Gaper.

 

Scenario.  You are skiing/skinning down a road or skid trail.  You skin up and on level ground and then come to a straight say 100yard downhill.  Is it easier to ski in the lock down mode rather than the free heel - leaving skins on because after the l00 yrd downhill straight schuss you are going to climb again.

 

The reason I am asking (is it true) that in the Salmon you can lock down and then free heel with a push of your ski pole   versus    taking ski off with the Marker.

 

If this is true would it be worth the extra money for the Salomom binding?    Any comments appreciated.   thanks Pete   Anyone know where I can beat $449 for the Salomon Binding?

 

Yes the solly design is much better for this type of rolling terrain. 

 

BUT, But, But! Almost every  AT skier trying to earn some turns will do all they can avoid the rolling tours regardless of bindings because they prefer short efficient approach.  If you are more focused on the tour, and/or  your tours typically involve a long rolling approach, there are much better options for you to consider than either of the ones you have.

 

dynafit + waxless/fishscale skis. 

post #6 of 21

Hey Pete,

Good to hear you are out there doing this. You must have the cardio in pretty good shape to be taking up AT.

 

Fat skis have made rolling approaches worth avoiding.  If you are climbing any sidehills, you need a skin pretty close to the width of the skis.  Wide skins have awful glide.

 

I have some skinny "gliding" skins I use for straight forward low angle and rolling approaches.  For those trips, I never lock the heel for a bit of downhill.  Just stand neutral and keep the heel down and the skis will handle just fine.  If you get carried away with heaving the skis around or try to do some tele turns you can damage the binding, but easy turns with the free heel down are fine.

post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

 

Yes the solly design is much better for this type of rolling terrain. 

 

BUT, But, But! Almost every  AT skier trying to earn some turns will do all they can avoid the rolling tours regardless of bindings because they prefer short efficient approach.  If you are more focused on the tour, and/or  your tours typically involve a long rolling approach, there are much better options for you to consider than either of the ones you have.

 

dynafit + waxless/fishscale skis. 

^^^+1 to what he said. I skin on Dukes, and don't really see the need for the Solly ski/walk mode.

There have also been some reported cases at TGR where one would go to insta-tele when the ski hyperflexes...don't know in how far those accounts are true, but worth checking out.

post #8 of 21

Whatever binding you get, Pete, make sure you can transition at the top without having to take your ski off.  I'm not familiar with the Salomon binding, but I know some of the Marker bindings REQUIRE that you remove your ski at the top to transition.  What a PIA.  It's a very easy matter to learn to rip your skin while your ski is still attached to your boot, and if you're standing on a ridgeline in the wind you'll appreciate a faster transition.

 

FWIW, I ski on Dynafits and wouldn't buy any other kind of binding.

 

EDIT:  Ah, I see in the other thread that you got the Coombas and Markers.  Congrats on a great deal for getting into the backcountry.  That setup will get you started, for sure, especially with a nice pair of BD skins.  You'll eventually turn into a weight weenie, though... ounces = pounds = pain in the backcountry, and the next time you go shopping you'll look hard at how much it all weighs vs. how well it all skis.  I find that the older I get the less I want to have to push uphill.  YMMV.


Edited by mountaingirl1961 - 12/27/12 at 9:08pm
post #9 of 21
Quote:
the Guardians are seriously solid on the downhill.  They feel just like regular alpine bindings.

 

Agree completely. I've only had eight days on the Guardians so it's a fairly early review, but they feel rock solid on the downhill.

 

They're heavier than the Barons I was skiing last season and I do notice the weight difference on longer tours. It's enough to be noticeable, but not enough to be a problem. 

 

Before I got them I didn't think that I'd find that not having to take the ski off for the transition would make that much difference to the skiing experience, but now that I have them I find that I really do appreciate the convenience. Not having to remove my skis during the transition saves a bunch of time and wallowing around in deeper snow, which is important for me as I have circulation problems and this was always one of the times when my hands would get chilled. I've also noticed that the Guardians don't ice up nearly as much as the Barons - I'd almost always have to clean out the tracks before being able to switch modes with the Barons. With the Guardians, a quick stomp before switching knocks off any accumulated snow.

 

Based on my experience so far this season, I'd say the Guardians are worth the extra $$.

post #10 of 21

Don't obsess but a couple of observations (from someone who has owned and used Duke, Freeride and Dynafit bindings for side country to multi-day trips):

 

- Very few skiers are dexterous enough to change skins without removing skis. Seriously, how many can do a kick turn easily.

- All frame bindings (i.e. everthing except tech/Dynafit) suffer from lateral flexing when climbing diagonally.

- All frame bindings (except Naxos - which isn't currently made) give you Frankenstride.

- Salomon Guardian binding shouldn't be used with an AT boot as it doesn't have a moving toe ADF (doesn't mean it can't, but you are at a greater risk of injury).

- AT bindings and skins suck in rolling terrain. In rolling tessain you will wish you were on tele skis with patterned bases.

- The further you skin to earn your turns the more important weight (or the absence of) becomes.

- The away from a resort you ski the less important bomber bindings able to leap off tall buildings are (i.e. if you are a long way from rescue you are more circumspect about your skiing).

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taxman View Post

- The away from a resort you ski the less important bomber bindings able to leap off tall buildings are (i.e. if you are a long way from rescue you are more circumspect about your skiing).

 

Yes and no.  I would say that a binding that was more precise and responsive on the downhill would help you prevent injury, but of course they're also heavy as hell so you're not likely to be that far from help anyway, right?

post #12 of 21

I would not let the need to step out of the binding to take skins off be a determining factor in your choice.  I've toured extensively since 1983 and I can't ever recall a real need to remove skins without taking off the ski.  If you are racing, then yes, you need to be able to make that quick change. Otherwise, it's time to take a break, hydrate, take on some fuel, enjoy the view, adjust your clothing, and get your gear together for the trip down.

post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by choucas View Post

I would not let the need to step out of the binding to take skins off be a determining factor in your choice.  I've toured extensively since 1983 and I can't ever recall a real need to remove skins without taking off the ski.  If you are racing, then yes, you need to be able to make that quick change. Otherwise, it's time to take a break, hydrate, take on some fuel, enjoy the view, adjust your clothing, and get your gear together for the trip down.

 

It's not technically an issue of removing skins so much as being able to fix / release the heel, right?

 

As a newbie skinner myself, I got to a point recently where I got frustrated, gave up on all approved techniques, locked down my heels, side-stepped up a short section, then unlocked and kept going.  I didn't have to step out of my bindings to do that.  I'm sure that I "should have" been able to get up that slope without resorting to such tactics, and I'm guessing that there must be a way to side step with a free heel, but for me in that moment, it's what worked, and it was nice that it was relatively simple to do so (Fritschi binding).

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taxman View Post

Don't obsess but a couple of observations (from someone who has owned and used Duke, Freeride and Dynafit bindings for side country to multi-day trips):

 

- Very few skiers are dexterous enough to change skins without removing skis. Seriously, how many can do a kick turn easily.

- All frame bindings (i.e. everthing except tech/Dynafit) suffer from lateral flexing when climbing diagonally.

- All frame bindings (except Naxos - which isn't currently made) give you Frankenstride.

- Salomon Guardian binding shouldn't be used with an AT boot as it doesn't have a moving toe ADF (doesn't mean it can't, but you are at a greater risk of injury).

- AT bindings and skins suck in rolling terrain. In rolling tessain you will wish you were on tele skis with patterned bases.

- The further you skin to earn your turns the more important weight (or the absence of) becomes.

- The away from a resort you ski the less important bomber bindings able to leap off tall buildings are (i.e. if you are a long way from rescue you are more circumspect about your skiing).

Mostly agree.

 

"- Very few skiers are dexterous enough to change skins without removing skis. Seriously, how many can do a kick turn easily."

 

I am 49, and really inflexible.  I can do it easily.  Since much of my skinning is walking the dogs from the house, then skiing back, I do it often.  And, tele and Dynafit gear being a relative PITA getting in and out of, it's worth it. On the rare occasions I use Markers, not much hassle to take them off, especially as getting back in is so easy.

 

What is more of a problem with markers and dynafits is rolling terrain where you might want to go briefly to tour mode with skins already off.  This is where tele rules, and Fritchis come in a distant second.

 

As far as kick turns being hard- How does anybody get anyplace worth going in the BC without kick turns?

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by HHTELE View Post

Mostly agree.

 

"- Very few skiers are dexterous enough to change skins without removing skis. Seriously, how many can do a kick turn easily."

 

I am 49, and really inflexible.  I can do it easily.  Since much of my skinning is walking the dogs from the house, then skiing back, I do it often.  And, tele and Dynafit gear being a relative PITA getting in and out of, it's worth it. On the rare occasions I use Markers, not much hassle to take them off, especially as getting back in is so easy.

 

What is more of a problem with markers and dynafits is rolling terrain where you might want to go briefly to tour mode with skins already off.  This is where tele rules, and Fritchis come in a distant second.

 

As far as kick turns being hard- How does anybody get anyplace worth going in the BC without kick turns?

 

Tele is better or rolling terrain and "short laps". Tele + waxless skis is even better for that sort of thing. 

 

I have really gotten good at snap kick turns this year. Once you get it down it is so easy to do. Still, I never have been able to rip my skins off with out removing skis, things that cause me trouble:

 

  • Lack of leverage / good grip on the tip or tail of the skin, I use the climbing skins direct skins and there is no real grip on the skin to grab and yank them off. I could add a ring / rat tail to grab I suppose. 
  • Length of skis, I am about 178cm tall and my shortest AT setup is a 184, my other setup is a 190cm ski. I really cannot reach .the tip or tail of my skis while clicked in. Most people I see in the BC my size are on a ski at least 1 or 2 sizes smaller e.g. around 175-180cm.  Were I on skis this size both kick turns and ripping off skins while clicked in would be cake. I don't have a dedicated touring setup, more like two rigs that split time at the resort and in the BC. If I were to buy a dedicated touring ski, it probabbly would be 175-180cm, but I would want something longer than that in the resort. 

Edited by tromano - 1/1/13 at 7:43pm
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for input.

 

After some demoing etc. I ended up with the following because of what I read here on Epic etc. and money considerations.

 

Rossi S7 176cm skis used.   Why?  Love my S7 188 in powder and that is mainly why I will be skinning, either to reach the powder or to get out of where I just skied powder.  Went with the shorter S7 a few years old.  Purchased Marker Baron bindings, new for their downhill attributes and DIN (I run at 8 so more in the middle of range).  Got a decent buy locally a little off and free mounting. G3 skins for $114.  Did my lst practice two days ago skinned out of the back side of Silver, slight uphill, worked well and sort of got the hang of the keeping skis on the snow, upright stance etc., only trouble was when I came to a baby downhill and forgot I was free heeling and did an immediate face plant.   As I understand from my two partners this is a pretty common occurrence for first timers, so guess I am joining the club.   Cut my own skins today and don't think I screwed anything up.   Ordered some skin savers today from Mountain Gear.

 

Anyway other than finding a couple new muscles where my calf muscle attach's behind the knee everything is going ok.   Thankyou everybody for the advice and comments.

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
 only trouble was when I came to a baby downhill and forgot I was free heeling and did an immediate face plant. 

 

roflmao.gificon14.gif

 

Feeling properly alpine-downhill-balanced after a climb up can be a bit tricky.     

 

I tend to stand too tall and put too much weight on my heels, so I have to focus on projecting the upper body towards the ski tips when I shift modes.

post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post

Did my lst practice two days ago skinned out of the back side of Silver, slight uphill, worked well and sort of got the hang of the keeping skis on the snow, upright stance etc., only trouble was when I came to a baby downhill and forgot I was free heeling and did an immediate face plant.   

 

biggrin.gif

 

Enjoy your new experiences!

post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mountaingirl1961 View Post

Whatever binding you get, Pete, make sure you can transition at the top without having to take your ski off.  I'm not familiar with the Salomon binding, but I know some of the Marker bindings REQUIRE that you remove your ski at the top to transition.  What a PIA.  It's a very easy matter to learn to rip your skin while your ski is still attached to your boot, and if you're standing on a ridgeline in the wind you'll appreciate a faster transition.

 

FWIW, I ski on Dynafits and wouldn't buy any other kind of binding.

 

EDIT:  Ah, I see in the other thread that you got the Coombas and Markers.  Congrats on a great deal for getting into the backcountry.  That setup will get you started, for sure, especially with a nice pair of BD skins.  You'll eventually turn into a weight weenie, though... ounces = pounds = pain in the backcountry, and the next time you go shopping you'll look hard at how much it all weighs vs. how well it all skis.  I find that the older I get the less I want to have to push uphill.  YMMV.

+ 1

post #20 of 21
Quote:
 only trouble was when I came to a baby downhill and forgot I was free heeling and did an immediate face plant.

 

Heh - on my very first downhill stretch on skins (and it was more embryonic than baby) last season, both my ski buddy and I did exactly the same thing. As we picked ourselves up we observed that learning to skin really puts you back in that same place as a brand-new skier, where you have these enormous great planks on your feet and are trying to figure out how the hell to make them do what you want. Fortunately when you already know how to ski it's more of an adaptation than a new skill, and therefore much faster - by your third or fourth time out you'll be cruising the downhills in rolling terrain. :)

 

Based on our learning curve last year, the other thing that will make you feel like a total gaper is the steep or iced up stretches where you slip back and then fall on your face. Resist the urge to lean forward, even though it's what your body naturally wants to do. Keep your weight back and plant the ski solidly and the skin will grip even in places where you don't believe that it will.

 

Quote:
Very few skiers are dexterous enough to change skins without removing skis. Seriously, how many can do a kick turn easily

 

I have to disagree with this. I'm insanely inflexible - it's a running joke with my physiotherapist - and have additional difficulty with my left leg due to some residual hamstring weakness from ACL surgery. It's taken a bit of time and practice, but I can now (very inelegantly on the left side) rip my skins off both skis without taking them off. It's much more down to technique, practice and the smoothness of the skin pull than overall flexibility. My ski buddy, who is even less flexible than I am, has also been practicing and is very close on both sides.

 

Quote:
I've toured extensively since 1983 and I can't ever recall a real need to remove skins without taking off the ski

 

Ah, but I do have a need - I have bad circulation problems (Raynaud's) and last season I had horrible problems with my fingers turning into blocks of ice when I was dealing with the transitions. Not having to handle cold skis, brush snow out of the tracks (which ALWAYS iced up on the Markers) and flip the switch has made a huge difference for me during transitions. I realize this probably sounds wussy, but with the circulation issues it was a huge issue for me. For this reason alone, I personally consider the Guardians have been well worth the extra $$. I can still pause and enjoy the scenery, fuel up and hydrate, but without a guaranteed case of the screaming barfies in my immediate future.

 

I realise this may have given me a bit of a bias toward the Guardians, but when I think about it there's just a level of ease with them that was missing with the Markers. Each aspect of getting set up, skinning uphill, transitioning - it all seems just a little bit quicker and easier. That said, the Markers did me proud for my first season in the backcountry and they're a really solid choice. I didn't make the switch because I was dissatisfied with the Barons in any way; I got offered a killer deal on the Guardians when I bought my current skis that made more financial sense (selling previous skis and bindings as a package) than hanging onto the old bindings. 

 

Quote:
 You'll eventually turn into a weight weenie, though... ounces = pounds = pain in the backcountry

 

Truth. I actually don't mind the weight at all - I have a strange love for uphill suffering that probably comes from cycling - but it makes it hard to keep up with my backcountry buddy, who switched to a Dynafit setup that weighs over 5lbs less than my rig. He has his skis drilled for both alpine and Dynafit bindings, so I'll probably do the same on mine next season. NOT changing the skis, though - the Rocker 2 108s are the bomb.

post #21 of 21

One of my setups is very similar to yours and I love it.  As you discover different ways to approach the mountain you can purchase new gear.  I have all types of setups from tele to dynafit to dukes and choose the weapon of choice for the day. 

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