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Frischi Freerides?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am curious about the Frischi Freeride bindings. I'd like some comments from someone who has actually used them. I am toying with the idea of buying a pair for a new set of mid-fat skis so that I can start exploring the backcountry a bit. Problem is that I expect to use these skis for lift-served most of the time and can't afford two new pairs of skis at the moment. I have heard some scary comments about injuries involving AT bindings and I am wondering if these problems still exist with the new Freerides.

How stable are these bindings compared to regular alpine bindings? While I ski mostly lift server at Telluride, I don't ski groomed much.

Thanks for any help!

post #2 of 11
I have been using the Freerides. Short review is they are very good bindings.

More in depth. I have used them both at ski areas and for backcountry. I get good performance out of them in all conditions so far. No problems with using them on high speed groomers, I even ride some park in them as well.
In the backcountry they handle well, also. Ascents are just fine in them.
The Freerides are a pretty beefy construction. I am seeing that their breaking point exceeds my skiing abilities, and I do hit some steep and gnarly stuff.

If you haven't thought of them yet, check out the Naxos as well. They are suppose to be pretty good too. I haven't riden them myslef but all reports I have heard so far have been positive.

Hope this helps.

post #3 of 11
Hi, Clayton.

I have a pair of Freerides mounted on a pair of Rossi Bandit XX's. That setup is my "everyday" rig for inbounds and out-of-bounds skiing here at Jackson Hole. I ski them with either my alpine boots (Technica Icon) or my AT boots (Scarpa Lazer), depending on whether I think I'll be skinning or not. I use them for those days when there's powder or crud around, which is most of the time here.

I've probably put in about 60-70 days on that rig and I've been incredibly pleased with the bindings. They've released when they should have (I ski a DIN 9.5) and stayed put all the rest of the time and I couldn't be happier with them. I wouldn't necessarily choose them for high-speed race skis or for mogul skis, but for an all-around setup that would go off-piste a lot, I think they're excellent.

Good luck.

post #4 of 11
I've got a pair of K2 AK Launchers with Freerides. I've used them a ton both on and off piste, plus for 13 days of Snow Cat Skiing. Used them with both my Alpine and Touring boots. They work great, just as expected. I've gone with a lighter weight Dynafit set up for most of my actual touring these days which also work great. I'm an aggresive skier and I've found the AT bindings on the market these days work great for me.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great info guys. I am going to give them some serious consideration based on your comments.

One other backcountry newbie question. Is skinning with alpine boots realistic?
post #6 of 11
Originally Posted by Clayton

One other backcountry newbie question. Is skinning with alpine boots realistic?
The short, glib answer is "no".

Of course, that's not totally fair because plenty of people do skin in alpine boots. Personally, they're too heavy and stiff to be comfortable for long skinning sessions. If you're yo-yo'ing say 1,000 vertical foot or less slopes, alpine boots aren't exactly horrible. If you start doing pretty big skins, however, I think you'll appreciate an AT boot much more.

The great thing about Freerides is that you don't need to get AT boots right away. You can clomp around in your alpine boots and get a feel for the sport. If you don't get worn out or develop feet that want desperately to escape, you can just keep going with the alpine boots.

post #7 of 11
Originally Posted by Clayton
I have heard some scary comments about injuries involving AT bindings and I am wondering if these problems still exist with the new Freerides.
I've heard lots of scary stories about spiral tib/fib breaks on the old Silvretta 404 and the like, but never anything about the Diamirs -- basically just a middling alpine downhill binding on a pivoting Ti/alu central rail.

Two big problems with alpine downhill boots for alpine touring are:

-- weight, which can be pared significantly by sticking in an Intuition Thermoflex liner (marketed under Raichle, Morrow, Scarpa, and Dynafit brand names); and,

-- inability of rear cuff to open-up/straighten-up entirely, which apparently is compensated for somewhat by the funky pivot of the Naxo (though check out wildsnow.com for the details to be sure you're buying this year's version).

But as Bob points out, you can always start out using alpine downhill boots, then switch over to alpine touring boots.

I use my Diamirs for plenty of lift-served with alpine downhill race boots, and have never had any problems, although I don't weigh much (145 lbs.) and don't do air. The binding definitely has more lateral/torsional/slop than my alpine race bindings, but when I'm not racing I don't really notice such things.
post #8 of 11
I skied a day with Whistler Alpine Guides last season, 5500 vertical feet of skinning and skiing the Musical Bumps and the other client on the trip did the whole thing in his Alpine Boots using rental skis with Freerides.

He did it, I wouldn't want to. I like my Scarpa Lasers so much that I've started to ski them most of the time, even in the resort and on the cat.
post #9 of 11
I've seen some freerides pick up a bit of play in the heel lock down after too much hard lift use, but nothing like the horror stories of broken Naxos (Google search Naxo broken break). I haven't seen anyone blow out of the bindings. I wouldn't race an icy DH on them but they are the real deal for sure. They are heavier than Dynafit but way more convenient and featherweight compared to many Alpine bindings. My next trip to Europe will be with Freerides on the skis.

I have a friend who did about every volcano in the northwest in my wife's old alpine boots. He couldn't get a good fit in any Rando boots and her boots were pretty soft, so they worked. The redesigned Scarpa Laser with some custom grinding finally fixed his problems and he won't be going back to the Alpine boots any time soon.
post #10 of 11
I own and use both alpine (Lange 120's) and AT boots (Lowa EVO's) in my Freerides. Unless I'm planning on covering a lot of distance without much in the way of steep, icy descents, I'll use the AT boots. For most day tours (unless I know I'll be scrambling around in the rocks for a while or if there's a long walk out at the end), I'll use my alpine boots. Buckle the bottom two buckles and leave everything else unbuckled as you climb and they work just fine. Yes they are heavier, but I like to have a little extra beef in the boot when it comes time to pay off the sweat equity of the climb up. If you're riding fat skis, the stiffer alpine boot helps as well.
post #11 of 11
The three guys I usually ski with are younger and srronger than I, and thry all use full-on downhill boots with their Freerides. We only ski backcountry, and they consider the full-powered boots to be a luxury they have earned by being in good enough shape to skin in them. In fact, they claim that the boots allow them to ski fast enough to outrun their slough, and therefore are a safelty device.

Sometimes, at the top of a particularly long approach, they peek jealously at my featherweight Laser, Tri-step, Jak BC combo. Sometimes, at the bottom of a line on which I had to bail sideways a few times to let the slough pass while they just bombed on ahead, I peek jealously at their heavier boots, skis and bindings.

But, yes -- you can ski bc in downhill boots with freerides. You might ever prefer it!
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