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Universal Bindings - Altai and Berwin

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I'm intrigued by the idea of being able to use a comfortable/regular winter boot with skis for modest cross/back country skiing.


Looks like there are at least two universal binding alternatives that provide that capability...


Berwin Backcountry Bindings


Altai Universal Bindings


No doubt this approach will not give anywhere near the downhill turning control of an alpine or AT setup, but I wonder how it might compare to something like NNN BC in that regard? Just for getting out and tromping around low elevation stuff looks pretty user-friendly.


Here are a couple of vids on the Altai universal bindings...both feature "Hok" skis, which have an integrated skin, but I'm focused on the bindings...




Anyone have any experience with this kind of universal binding?

post #2 of 5

Not those two specifically - I have used the old Pika Sastrugi    


Compared to NNN-BC?   The boots and stride are so different that it's apples and cucumbers.      Sure, one got more steering type control of the ski.    Tipping and edging was vague as all get-out, because the boots had to have soles flexible enough to conform to the ski.     Dunham waffle stompers or softer- anything with a heavily rockered or crampon-compatible sole would force me to stride like a 16 year old in a too-long tube skirt,  complete with mincing knees, bum swiveling and head bobbing to make up for lack of balance lower down.  Pressuring the tips?   Unpossible.    Recovering from back-seating?  Hmm.   Better not back-seat in the first place.


It's possible that the snowboard-style ratchets on those bindings you post have changed the game somewhat - but I still wouldn't use those bindings on anything longer than 150cm or thereabouts.


If by 'modest' you mean 5-6 miles or shorter, sure, go for it.    Otherwise I feel a light tele setup (T4s and chilis, for example) is a far better skiing option, and perfectly adaptable to  all-day comfort, including walking.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Pika Sastrugi? Not a lot out there on them, but did find this. Look interesting...

Could you lock the heel down on those?


Altai doesn't sell the universal bindings separately anymore, only as part of their Hok ski package. I think it would be fun to experiment with those bindings if I could ever get my hands on a pair, but I suspect if I continue exploring cross/back country skiing at some point I'll probably end up with some kind of tele/cable binding setup. Seems to be the way to go. For now, yes, XC excursions are modest in terms of slope and length (< 5 miles). I do have a couple of options (Alpine Trekkers, Fritschis) for modest/safe turn earning.


"stride like a 16 year old in a too-long tube skirt"


Nice imagery - too funny!  ;-)

Edited by jc-ski - 2/28/13 at 10:08am
post #4 of 5

No heel lock.


I would suggest 2-layer anti-blister socks, and bring some bandaids/blister pads along for the top of the foot if/when you get constriction pinch or boot bending chafe.



EDIT: Have fun!   This thread has made me have another look at my Rossi Free Ventures - hmmmm I need to use those more. 


post #5 of 5

Those Berwin bindings are the same design as the  bindings on the XC skis I got for my 5 y circa 1980. Except they were made of leather. The Berwin's together with some Outtabounds or such at 2 sizes too short would make for a great sliding snowshoe rig for someone who is off skis and wearing regular boots most of the time. Maple sap farmer, forester, trapper, ice fisherman. Wouldn't want to do much downhill over 10 deg.on anything other than 6" + of powder snow.Actually thinking of making a few pairs like that to get the grand kids started in fun on snow.

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