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AT vs. downhill binding question.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I just got a new pair of skis, and I'm debating wether or not to mount AT or downhill bindings. The skis are 120mm under foot, and I've heard, in other forums that that could be a bit wide for touring applications. The bindings under consideration are the Marker Baron(AT) and the Look Pivot 14(non-AT), but I'm also open to suggestions. There's also the issue of brake width, with Marker offering a 130mm brake, and Look a 120mm brake.
Any advice would be appreciated.
post #2 of 12

What do you wanna do with your new ski?

 

That's the primary question, is it for resort skiing or touring... that will pretty much answer the question. whether or not it's the right equipment for the kinda of touring you wanna do is a different question...

 

looks like you wanna start touring or at least doing some sidecountry activity, that you would need an AT binding, but why are you considering the look pivot as well? Just because you think the skis might not be the best ones for touring?

 

I don't see an issue with the break sizes, they both should work just fine. You need to state your objectives, so people can help you better as well as with other suggestions

post #3 of 12

There are pros and cons to touring on wide skis. A fat rockered ski tours great through deep snow. But poorly on hard snow.

 

As far as bindings go. I hate being on my barons and love my pivots. For me now, both sets collect dust as I usually am on dynafits everyday. 

 

My 2 cents is you need 2 sets, pivots for inbounds, dyna for touring. And barons suck. 

post #4 of 12

FWIW I ski on Dynastar Early Tram Legend (rebranded Naxo NX 21) bindings for both AT and regular inbounds skiing.  I love them.  They are as rigid and as secure as any alpine only binding.

 

They are no longer made and spare parts are unavailable.  That said, there are still some new ones for sale out there, usually at a very good price.  Not sure that they would fit that wide a ski though, as the brakes are 95 mm, AFAIK.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I was in a hurry when I posted my question.
The primary use will be resort, but I'm interested in sidecountry or, at the most, half-day tours. The other reason I'm considering the Look Pivot is because I'm still on the fence about mounting an AT binding since the main use would be resort. My concern regarding the brakes was how much they hung over the edge of the ski. Additionally, on REI's website they list the recommend skier weight for the Baron as 80-250lbs, & I weigh 220lbs without gear on. I may be over thinking that last detail, but that's why I'm here asking for advice.
post #6 of 12

1) It's useless posturing to have AT unless you skin. Do you?

2) If you do, you'll know that 120 is silly wide. The snow load you're pushing on the front of your ski, plus the total weight, will make you wish for summer sports. 98-108 seems to be a sweet spot for AT, maybe less if you tour, maybe up to 110 if this is for sidebounds lift served.

3) Brake width is vapor-thought. You can bend a 115 to fit a 120 ski without any effort or risk. Routine.

4) If you've never skinned and are thinking on it: You will die out there and/or put others' lives at risk sooner or later unless you take a good safety course before you go past the ropes. And practice using your gear, skinning, etc. in-bounds. And go with friends who know what you're doing.  

5) AT will be as rigid as many alpine set-ups for a while, but will develop slop sooner. Especially if you ski it mostly inbounds, hit bumps once in a while etc. Nature of the beast. If you're serious about backcountry, have a tech set-up. AT is fine for the occasional foray (but see #4).

6) The Pivot is a fine binding for racing, no fall zones, bumps, wherever retention is vital. It may be tough on you if you don't put much time in those activities, or ski fast, since the idea is not to be easy peasy in release, just to save joints from blowing up while otherwise keeping you in. It can yank more than other brands, but it won't fail you.

post #7 of 12

He was looking at the Pivot 14 not the 15 or 18 which have the one pivot toe.

 

Gearing up for this stuff is expensive.  Boots, skins, beacon, probe, shovel, pack, classes.  

post #8 of 12

You'll get answers all over the place.

 

I love the feel of my Griffons (non-AT), and love the feel of my Barons (AT, but obviously not Tech) on the down. The stack height doesn't bother me at all; I don't really notice it. I tour  and ski resorts in the Alps, and half the people I tour with are on tech setups. Last year I was on Rocker 2s (115 waist), alpine boots, and Barons. Heavy to say the least, with a shitty stride. It was fine, but by 1,200m (almost 4,000 ft) of vert I was pretty wiped out, slower than the rest, and I wasn't the one breaking the skin track. 

 

All of this is to say that if you can afford it, there's not much risk in getting Tours/Barons/Dukes on your skis. You can add the rest later (but don't be an idiot and get anything else until you're carrying a shovel, probe, and beacon-- and know how to use 'em). 

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

1) It's useless posturing to have AT unless you skin. Do you?

2) If you do, you'll know that 120 is silly wide. The snow load you're pushing on the front of your ski, plus the total weight, will make you wish for summer sports. 98-108 seems to be a sweet spot for AT, maybe less if you tour, maybe up to 110 if this is for sidebounds lift served.

3) Brake width is vapor-thought. You can bend a 115 to fit a 120 ski without any effort or risk. Routine.

4) If you've never skinned and are thinking on it: You will die out there and/or put others' lives at risk sooner or later unless you take a good safety course before you go past the ropes. And practice using your gear, skinning, etc. in-bounds. And go with friends who know what you're doing.  

5) AT will be as rigid as many alpine set-ups for a while, but will develop slop sooner. Especially if you ski it mostly inbounds, hit bumps once in a while etc. Nature of the beast. If you're serious about backcountry, have a tech set-up. AT is fine for the occasional foray (but see #4).

6) The Pivot is a fine binding for racing, no fall zones, bumps, wherever retention is vital. It may be tough on you if you don't put much time in those activities, or ski fast, since the idea is not to be easy peasy in release, just to save joints from blowing up while otherwise keeping you in. It can yank more than other brands, but it won't fail you.


As usual, I find myself agreeing with Beyond.  However, I do have Guardians on my Automatics (about a 117 waist) and they are used for lift assisted side country short hops.  That binding is solid for inbound skiing and allows for a pretty good AT experience. Just be sure all the snow is out from between the binding and ski when you go to click it back down or you may break it at the toe swivel.  Be sure you buy skins that are at least as wide as the tail of the ski, so you do not go for a trip backwards.  I am going to assume you know what your doing and have or will buy all the gear needed to keep you and your partner(s) safe and er ya, an Avy 1 course before you go.

post #10 of 12

How much vertical do you plan on skinning? (Not skinning? Then don't bother with a side country touring binding at all) If you're doing more than about 2500' for the day, and doing it pretty often, then skip 'GO' and set up a dedicated 'tech/dynafit' touring rig. As others have mentioned, beyond a certain amount of vertical, really wide skis get very very heavy... I'd say 110 max, but 95-105 would be better. Just MHO. 

 

If you're touring big vertical once in a while, or more than about 2500' on occassion, then do the side country AT binding. It's a compromise, but that's fine. 

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
My background: I'm an experienced in-bounds skier and instructor, but a noob to the touring world. I've got friends who tour, and from them I've picked up enthusiasm and the suggestion to take a safety course.
In response to Beyond:
1) No, I don't have skins. If I got AT bindings then skins would follow.
2) Like I said in my original post, I'd heard that 120mm could be a bit too wide for most touring situations, just wanted to make sure that was solid advice.
3) Thank you for the clarification on this point. In some of the older forum posts I read(probably before brake bending was as common) they made bending brakes to fit sound rather daunting.
4) I've never toured, but let me reassure you that proper training and gear was always part of my plan before I ever set foot beyond the rope. AT bindings would just be the first step, but at this point the general concensis is that I should get a dedicated setup for either application, and that's what I think I'll do.
5) Thanks for the tip about the slop, good to know.
6)Like Maineac said, I'm not considering anything higher than the Pivot 14.
Thank you everyone for all the advice. I'm still interested in touring, but I think I'll wait until I can get a proper, dedicated setup.
post #12 of 12

What works best depends alot on the local geography and expected conditions. It also depends on your goals and why you are going into the BC, seeking pow? Harvest corn? Improve fitness? Get away from the resorts? Other?

 

SC means lift served BC. How much actual climbing you do on skis depends on where you are and how it is all laid out. At my home area the most popular side country the return to the resort is all traverse / side step back (or alternatively do a car shuttle). Few people skin back. The whole point of SC is that its easy to access and a real touring setup is not needed. If you are just going out the gates to milk extra pow runs in the afternoon/ few days later and then meandering back to the lifts your normal resort setup for euqivilant conditions will work. .

 

If you truly have to skin back from the side country at your area then a "side country" style binding and skins like a duke or whatever makes sense. 

 

For human powered touring, you want to go with the narrowest and lightest  ski  that you enjoy skiing in a variety of conditions, e.g. skis good in pow and  works well if the condition are not what you hoped. Lighter AT bindings and boots are also preferable for actual touring. 

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › AT vs. downhill binding question.