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AT (Alpine Touring) Bindings

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Me: 6 foot, 160lbs, advanced (not expert) skier,

I'm thinking about buying the S7 after l demo it this winter. This would be an OK alpine touring ski, right? lf so, l was thinking about putting some AT bindings on it and of course doing some alpine touring. But l would still mainly use the ski for the resort. Here are some hopefully simple questions:

What are the overall negatives and positives of AT bindings when used on the resort and in the backcountry?
Are there any durability issues with using AT bindings for the resort?
Say l got alpine touring 10 times a year, is it worth the money to invest in AT bindings?
What are some quality alpine touring bindings that would work for the resort?
post #2 of 25
for skiable bindings that you can walk in, best bets are the marker Duke's   Freerides are a close second.

downside:  more money, more moving parts, more lift of of the ski.

the dukes are damn close for durability to most other, high end bindings (salomon 14 or 16's, look/rossi turntables, etc)

Also alpine trekkers are an option, or renting.
post #3 of 25
I own both Fritschi Diamars and Marker Barons, though I haven't used the Barons yet. It's pretty clear that the Marker is an alpine binding and the Fritschi is a touring binding, there's just no comparison in terms of weight and heft. The Naxo looks a little beefier to me than the Fritschi, but it's still pretty light. I don't know if I'd want to do a lot of bump skiing or frozen spring snow on either of those two bindings. On the other hand, the Markers seem way too heavy for serious touring. I'm planning on hiking no more than an hour with the Barons, and will probably not even use AT boots.
post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

I own both Fritschi Diamars and Marker Barons, though I haven't used the Barons yet. It's pretty clear that the Marker is an alpine binding and the Fritschi is a touring binding, there's just no comparison in terms of weight and heft. The Naxo looks a little beefier to me than the Fritschi, but it's still pretty light. I don't know if I'd want to do a lot of bump skiing or frozen spring snow on either of those two bindings. On the other hand, the Markers seem way too heavy for serious touring. I'm planning on hiking no more than an hour with the Barons, and will probably not even use AT boots.

I plan to mount my Bros with Barons when they arrive for exactly this kind of use; lift assisted off piste with no more than 1hr skinning and probably in alpine boots. It often doesn't take much to get away from the crowds.

It opens up a lot of options since I can use the same pair of skis for lift serves resort skiing and not worry about bindings. I can't imagine using 'proper' touring bindings like Fritschis on my everyday skis in a resort.
post #5 of 25
I've used Fritschis and Naxos for patrolling quite a bit.  You lose a bit of edge control on hard chattery snow, but I like the big lift and I love to patrol with boots which have a vibram sole and unlockable hinge.

The durability issue is a concern, but it can be overcome to some degree by treating the bindings with respect-----don't kick and stomp your way into them, clean your boots and step in gently.

I broke a NAXO and they replaced it instantly, from an emailed photo.
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post

I broke a NAXO and they replaced it instantly, from an emailed photo.

BCA has great customer service.  But I believe that they no longer support Naxo and that after the few parts in the US are gone. Naxo is done. 
I currently have both Fritschis and Dukes and I think the Dukes ski much better. 
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Downhillin99 View Post

Me: 6 foot, 160lbs, advanced (not expert) skier,

I'm thinking about buying the S7 after l demo it this winter. This would be an OK alpine touring ski, right?
 

If you are talking about sidecountry skiing S7s might be OK, but as a real AT ski you might want to reconsider.  They are 115 mm wide at the waist, which means skinnng uphill will require a very wide and unnatural stance (unless you spend a lot of time on a horse), and the large tip and tail rocker means you will not be getting skin traction, except with the cambered section right under your foot, unless you are breaking trail in untracked snow.  The S7s are a great ski, but if you plan on actual AT skiing then you need to get them up the hill first, and a wide, heavy, big rockered ski is not the best choice for skinning.
post #8 of 25
I think all the advice you need is right there ^, so I'll just say Barons/Dukes.  Once you realize the positives & negatives of this set-up, you will consider a dedicated AT set.

Don't forget the avi gear & education.

JF 
post #9 of 25
I did my first At trip last spring. I was on a heavy Nordica powder ski(can't remember model) with Marker Dukes. We climbed up Mt. Sopris and skied down. We skinned up 3000'+ and it took at least three hours. I was out of shape and the climb kicked my butt. Yet the performance on the way down was worth it. I would much rather suffer a little on the way up and be able to ski as hard as I want on the way down. They skis I felt were a little overkill but I never liked the huge wide powder boards.

I just purchased a set of Salomon Lords with Marker Dukes. This will be my AT setup and I plan on doing alot backcountry this year. At the sametime this will be my setup for powder days at the resort. So they will be put through lots of powder, jumps, and drops. I do not see the advantage of having a lightweight setup and always be wondering in the back of your head on the trip down if things wherre going to hold up.
post #10 of 25
  I am thinking of using the Barrons on my new all mountain dynastar sultan 85.  I use the Dukes on my Gotomas and love them.  The markers are great but wondering if puting them on a resort orientated ski is a bit much. I live next to a great Mt pass which gives me a great place to play after skining for 45 min or so.  I guess what I am looking for is someone to give me a little feedback on using a high rise AT binding on this particular ski?  Would it take away some of the performance of the ski?
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AKskiman22 View Post

  I am thinking of using the Barrons on my new all mountain dynastar sultan 85.  I use the Dukes on my Gotomas and love them.  The markers are great but wondering if puting them on a resort orientated ski is a bit much. I live next to a great Mt pass which gives me a great place to play after skining for 45 min or so.  I guess what I am looking for is someone to give me a little feedback on using a high rise AT binding on this particular ski?  Would it take away some of the performance of the ski?

Yea, l have that same question. Also what l'm looking for is a resort binding that can tour, would that be the Barrons or the Dukes, either, neither? (l hope you can understand that)
post #12 of 25
 A resort binding that can tour is the Baron or Duke.  The Fritzie or Naxo not so much in the resort although I know people who use them.  For a dedicated AT setup many people find the Baron and Duke too heavy.  Most people I know that use the Markers don't tour much with them and use them as resort/slackcountry skis.  I have a pair of Volkl Sumos with the Duke.  I haven't skied on them yet.  They are really heavy next to my AT setup with the fritchies.  I don't like the AT setup at the resort much, but expect to really like the Sumos for big powder days and slackcountry at The Village.  I have heard from many people that the Baron/Duke is no different than any other alpine binding when locked down.
post #13 of 25
I'm like you, have just got a pair of Barons and plan to use them for short forays only. There's just no comparison in terms of weight, which suggests much more beefiness for the descent and much less range uphill. If I were skiing powder all the time, I'd be tempted to use a Naxo or something, though.
post #14 of 25
I have a bit of experience using high stack bindings, and with my 101 waisted powder ski being flat mounted.  IMO raising the binding with a Fritchi Freeride or Duke is not that big of a deal, especially in the backcountry.   The advantage is that you can edge a wide ski more easily, and the disadvantage is that they are slightly more squirrely in deep snow, but the ski's sidecut effects this way more than binding stack height.

If I were to use a 100+mm waisted ski for everyday resort skiing I would definitely want a raised binding to improve edging.  If it is a powder specific quiver ski it doesn't matter.  I think the real issues of concern are binding stability and durability with the Fritchi.  I love these in the backcountry, but they are heavy for extended climbing, and not really durable enough for everyday area use, plus the are not as solid a connection on hard snow as the Duke/Barron.  For me the determining factor is bumps, if you want to do them on your setup then you need the Duke/Barron.

As the black diamond adds say, "it's all about the down," but at the same time you spend close to 90% of your time in the bc climbing, so weight is the issue.  After slogging your butt up hill for a couple hours it seems like a rip off to end up skiing down on less than adequate gear.   The other side of that is being too whipped from climbing with heavy gear to enjoy the ski down, or be able to do another climb/run. 

FWIW, after years of bc skiing I have gravitated to the Dynafit super light bindings and light boots and skis because we often do 3-4 thousand feet of climbing (either skinning or with skis on packs) in a day of bc skiing.  If you are going side country or limited bc where you are climbing less than an hour, then toughing it out on heavier gear starts to make sense.

I encountered a good example of personal gear choice a few years back when I caught two guys half my age skinning up on a long bc climb.  I am a slow climber, but I eventually reeled these guys in.  I was on a medium weight set up that included light alpine skis and AT bindings.  They were young and strong and were using full on alpine boots and Rossi Bandit XXX skis with Trekker binding adapters, a ridiculously heavy set up.   On the way down they were ripping it and throwing flips off small cliffs.  They had sacraficed big time on the climb in order to have the heavy metal for the down. I had enjoyed the climb a lot more, and had no problem with the powder on the way down, but those guys would have quickly exploded my set up with their run.  We both got what we wanted, but on vastly different gear. 

You need to honestly assess how you will be using the setup and then decide where your priorities lie.  Regardlless of what you choose there will probably always be times when you wish your gear was lighter or heavier, but that's bc skiing.
post #15 of 25
I've been using Freerides for years. As long as you are on soft snow with fairly soft skis there is no noticable difference. Like somebody else said - just don't bang them around. I rutinely use the toepieces on my alpine bindings to scrape/knock snow off my boots before clicking in.Don't do that with Freerides - I've messed up the toepieces doing that. I just got a pair of Dukes that I mounted on some Sanouks. They look burlier, but they are also quite a bit heavier and the climbing bar doesn't go very high.

Having yet to ski the Dukes - I'd say if you're looking for a sidecountry binding and are going touse your alpine boots, get Dukes.
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
How would the Dukes or Barons hold up in terrain park jumps? These jumps aren't huge, but they are decent sized jumps. l don't see the how it would be different than a cliff. Is it OK to do terrain park jumps/cliffs with the Dukes or Barons or should you lay off the impact stuff?
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Downhillin99 View Post

Me: 6 foot, 160lbs, advanced (not expert) skier,

I'm thinking about buying the S7 after l demo it this winter. This would be an OK alpine touring ski, right? lf so, l was thinking about putting some AT bindings on it and of course doing some alpine touring. But l would still mainly use the ski for the resort. Here are some hopefully simple questions:

What are the overall negatives and positives of AT bindings when used on the resort and in the backcountry?
Are there any durability issues with using AT bindings for the resort?
Say l got alpine touring 10 times a year, is it worth the money to invest in AT bindings?
What are some quality alpine touring bindings that would work for the resort


What are the overall negatives and positives of AT bindings when used on the resort and in the backcountry?

Dedicated AT bindings are lighter in weight to let you walk up the hill and carry the skis with less fatigue.  As a disadvantage, they can add a lot of height between the ski and your boot to accommodate the walking mechanism and can be relatively flexible, meaning a less firm transmission of movement between the boot and the ski.  The AT bindings can also be more fragile.  The Marker Duke and Baron are well suited for resort use, have a lower stand-height and are stronger.  They are heavy for skinning, and require that you remove them to change from walk to ski mode and back again.

Are there any durability issues with using AT bindings for the resort?

Fritschi , dynafit and other dedicated bindings can be used on the resort, but are not an ideal daily driver, especially in firm conditions.  As long as you are not racing or stomping huge air, there is no reason you can't use them, but they aren't bulletproof, and the Fritchi has been known to go into free-heel mode when landing a jump in soft snow.  The Markers are much tougher with the disadvantages noted above for touring (weight and convenience).  Great for side-country.

Say l got alpine touring 10 times a year, is it worth the money to invest in AT bindings?

Start with AT boots.  Many hikes are actually boot packs anyway and the AT bindings mainly make a difference when skinning.  If you need to walk, an alpine race boot is a really bad choice.  IF you have AT boots, then a dedicated AT ski/binding setup makes sense.  Without the boots, AT bindings are kind of senseless anyway.  BTW if you o this way, get boots with the Dynafit fittings.  A Dynafit binding is the lightest on the market and has the best boot to ski interface possible in terms of not flexing.
post #18 of 25

downhillin99,

looks like you've got some good guidance here,

thought i'd chime in w/ my vote.

 

Marker Duke/baron is the only AT binding you should be looking at for your stated use.

 

Naxo is a death trap (personal experience)

fritchi is a touring binding w/ a high din, (skis OK, tours OK)

others are much more touring.

 

Marker is a resort binding that you can walk in. (skis great, tours OK, fine w/ 10 days of touring as long as you arn't walking all day)

 

only drawback of marker over a full resort binding is stand height.

it is tall. ideal on pow skis for most peeps is closer to the ski, maybe 1cm up, not +/-2cm.

 

that said, stand height is also a feel thing, and debateable.

 

i love my dukes in the resort on my watea 94. i have 2 full years, maybe 150 days on them and they are still tight and bomber.

I didn't like my 2nd duke on my 100mm plus ski, as I wanted to a be a bit lower, but as said, that was a feel thing, and I already had my touring ski.

Also, I have a very close to new Duke I'll sell for $200, skied rarely. I'm still keeping my duke on my watea, but have an extra. i think it's the L ( i have a 302 bsl)

Cheers,
Wade

post #19 of 25
Naxo a death trap = hardly. They ski downhill better than any Fritschi; They don't climb as well.
Best touring binding 12 DIN Dynafit = light; bomber
Baron/Duke = better downhill than both Naxo and Fritschi. Heavy. Cumbersome. Tough uphill, but acceptable. 
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post


 Fritchi has been known to go into free-heel mode when landing a jump in soft snow. 

 

The older, non-Plus Freerides had that problem, not the Freeride Plus that's been on the market for the last three years. And there is a fairly simple fix for the regular Freerides.

I wouldn't get a real (non-Duke) touring binding without getting touring boots as well, but I wouldn't get a pair of touring boots and use them in alpine bindings. The exception are
a few of the new model touring boots that allow you to swap out DIN toes and heels.

If I didn't already have a dedicated touring set up, I'd get a Dynafit setup. That would be for actual tours, not resort skiing or side-country or quick road shots. The only problem I've ever seen people have with Dynafits is icing in the toe holes or toe piece mechanism, and every binding has icing issues to some extent. Fritschi's ice up in the heel in climbing mode and Dukes ice up on the lock-lever.Nothing's perfect.
post #21 of 25
The heavey din Dukes or the lighter Barrons have taken me through resort hard pak, bumps and powder with ease.  I love these bindings and use them to skin in my Lange Banchee Pros and Gotomas through thick near coastal powder to ridge top and down wild Alaskan bowls.  The Markers are good in anything.  No early release, solid going up and going down in resort or back country.

Tim
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canyons View Post

Naxo a death trap = hardly. They ski downhill better than any Fritschi; They don't climb as well.
Best touring binding 12 DIN Dynafit = light; bomber
Baron/Duke = better downhill than both Naxo and Fritschi. Heavy. Cumbersome. Tough uphill, but acceptable. 


"Hardly"... seems you're attacking my attack... :)

i had more pre releases in month skiing that death trap then in 10 yrs on all others, including some silly lightweight things back in the day.

once, in the middle of pow turn, where the ski disappeared and I walked, and walked, post holing, forever...

downright scary in my mind. aren't they giving up making them, or at least change the design...?

Cheers,
Holiday
post #23 of 25
Avoid Naxo as they are no loner being made.  They toured better than Fritchi as they didn't suffer from frankenstride.  If you are serious about BC, go Dynafit (or tech alternative eg BD)  from the beginning, it will save you a lot of money as you will end up Dynafit in the end.  FWIW my  $0.02.
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
I just googled the dynafits and they look like a torture mechanism from the '70s, scary looking things! Anyways,  they looked like dynafit solved the problems for most alpine touring bindings: being too high on your ski, and the weight.
Are there any drawbacks?
It looks like there might be some durability issues, are there?
Do you have to have special boots?

thanks in advance
post #25 of 25
No durability issues, dynafit bindings are the binding of choice for ski mountaineers.... sure they are not hucking 100ft drops, but they are skiing way more gnarly lines than most of us would ever.

Boots, yes they are specalised and must be Dynafir compatible.  Go have a look at wildsnow.com, Lou Dawson has a wealth of information on BC and randonee skiing.
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