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Is One Rig AT safety still a question?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have noticed that many people are going out and mounting dukes on skis that will probably see as much use inbounds as earning turns in the BC.

There is an article on wildsnow.com where he explains that one rig setups aren't that great from a safety perspective. In the past AT bindings and boots or even mixed binders/boots haven't released a consistently as alpine boots with good quality alpine bindings. Its not a big deal if you skin up since you ski far less vertical when skinning than when riding lifts.

I have heard that the duke will ski better than naxos and fritschis but does the Duke defeat this problem? Is skiing any AT binding (including the duke) inbounds for 20K vertical a day every day really a good idea?
post #2 of 9
I'm hardly an expert with the Duke, although like you I've read and have a pair on the way. This is a downhill alpine binding that happens to have a heel release mechanism. In every way, this binding has a traditional downhill alpine release mechanism and its actually not 1.5 inches off the ski! The binding isn't balanced on a little rail held down at the heel and with an adjustable height toe with a single center screw holding it down. Instead, this binding uses a full width track mounted on a wide platform on the ski. The heritage of the attachment is the system ski. In the case of the Duke, you are installing mounting rails rather than having them integrated in the ski, but the binding mounts to this fixed system and it should be a very solid attachment in the fixed position.

The toe height is fixed and the AFD is elevated to accommodate ISO or DIN boots. The binding could be used everyday at a resort and never put into walk mode...I would bet that this will be true of many of their consumers. With the weight penalty of a 16 din binder and burly attachment system, this unit is releasable at the heel. It is certainly a compromise for touring, but I don't see much, if any, compromise for downhill. The heel release slides the entire heel back off its attachment rail. Wow!

I guess you just had to ski the old AT bindings to appreciate what this beast really is. :

What do you think is next? This new attachment system has so many advantages over the Naxo / Fritschi rails. A lightweight system at 12 din built of lightweight components? I for one, don't need a 16 din binding.
post #3 of 9
Cirquerider did a pretty good job of capturing things as I understand them. I believe the ability to do this was in part connected to ditching narrower skis (duke/jester require 76 or wider)...
post #4 of 9
I don't believe that the majority of Duke users will be single ski users. They will be skiiers with skiis to suit the occasion. My Stormrider XXL/Freeride setup is just too heavy for serious BC trips. The Freerides will be replaced by Dukes making the XXLs/Dukes a side country setup or a single ski setup for trips to out the way places. For serious touring/BC trips, the Freerides will go onto a lighter ski. For pure resort skiing I'll stick to my alpine skiis and alpine boots, much stiffer and more responsive.
post #5 of 9
I think the average Duke will see less than 25% of its days in touring mode.

I think the Duke will release better than a Freeride and probably equal to a Naxo.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Summit View Post
I think the average Duke will see less than 25% of its days in touring mode.

I think the Duke will release better than a Freeride and probably equal to a Naxo.
Thanks for the insight.
post #7 of 9
The Duke has a sliding AFD, so it ought to release well with a Vibram boot sole. Fritschis used to, but don't anymore (why?) Basically it's an alpine binding with no upward toe release.

The only long-term issue I potentially see is wear on the plastic-plastic interface between the binding and the toe and heel tracks on the ski that lock it down in ski mode. This would cause slop between the two and isn't really fixable. We'll just have to see how this shakes out in the long term.

It's still about a million times more solid than a Fritschi or Naxo.
post #8 of 9

It works

As many have said, The Duke is an alpine binding that can tour.

However many of us put in MANY MANY days on touring binding that could survive inbounds abuse.

I put about 60 day on my AT setup during the epic 05.06 season.

I am not going to say that the Freerides were every bit as good as say Loop p-14's But by no means was I ever in danger doing what I do!!

Powder day Mt. Rose (one of many)

HARD Right hand Turn (If this did not cause pre release) NOTHING WILL

Hitting the Spring Snow (Thanks Tracey)

Anyway I did everything for about 60 days on Free rides that I would do on any other setup. Yes I had to make some minor adjustments, but not much.

I know several prople who ski inbounds and tur on the same dynafit set-up.

My thoughts. Markers are Marker

Dukes are HEAVY and have almost the same Stack hight as the other AT Bindings.
Lets just wait and see aaye.
post #9 of 9
Many of the comparisons here between the Dukes and the Fritchi Freerides mention the greater instability of the FRs. This is definitely the case with the original model, but the FR-Plus that came out 2 seasons ago was designed to solve that issue and massively improved the stability of the top line Fritchi by changing the heel connection. I moved from from the old Fritchi Titanals to the FR-Pluses last year and find that it skis much more like an alpine binding.

The Dukes are definitely more of an alpine binding than the FR-Plus, but the Fritichis can hold their own in most conditions. I see the Dukes as a 15-25% backcounty binding and the FR-Plus as a 15-25% area binding. I have been switching mine back and forth between AT and alpine boot use for years and have never had any release or pre-release problems, and I run mine on a pretty low DIN for my size.
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