One of my friends and readers of my blog, triathlete Jonathan Rice, just sent me this question:
Oh queen of ski, I just bought skins. I'm going to, some day, convert one of my tele skis into an AT ski. What binding should I be looking at?
Hello, Mr. Rice! Depends on the ski you are on and the terrain you want to shred, how much weight you are willing to pull up the hill with you. I ski on Dynafit, but you need Garmont or Dynafit compatible boots. They are super light weight and excellent as long as they don't fail. Angela and I were skiing Saddle two years ago and one fo my bindings wouldn't hold, we were six turns down the face and had to do some surgery on the binding. I usually ski downhill with them locked on in touring mode now, but that means they WONT come off if they need to.
An EXCELLENT FAQ on Dynafit bindings by the talented Lou Dawson at WildSnow can be found HERE.
On the other had, they weigh NOTHING, and in over 100 days in the back country in the last three seasons, they've only ever failed that once. Now I make sure to rinse the springs in the creek when I'm done.
Fritschi and Naxo make great successively heavier rando bindings, fairly stable, you will find people that swear by both brands. I'm a fan of Fritschi over Naxo, I just felt like it transfered more energy to the ski. Naxo's binding is discontinued, but you can find it used or in backstock. A good FAQ on the Naxo is also at Lou's blog, HERE.
From Altacam.comThe Swiss Company Fritschi Diamir built an incredible reputation for the design and development of alpine touring bindings. Add the Black Diamond name to the mix and you have the AT bindings of all time. The Freeride Plus goes up to a 12 DIN setting, and can handle your aggressive skiing.
Introduced in the 2006 season, the Fritschi Diamir Freeride Plus Binding has remain virtually unchanged. Just like the original Freeride, these bindings are designed for big-mountain freeskiing or whatever you can throw at them. The adjustable toe height and Teflon anti-friction plate guarantee that the Freerides will fit any alpine touring or standard alpine ski boots.
As stated above, the all time Alpine Touring Binding.
Megan's favorite binding is the Duke, its heavy as all get out, but its the best Alpine binding she's ever been on, AND its a good quick convert rando binding. I don't mind a little weight for day trips, I'd probably buy the Duke and put it on some heavier skis for things like Saddle and the rest of the the Bridgers. Blackmore is a bit of a haul, I'd maybe want a lighter ski and binding for a day like that. Either that, or just train a little heavier and take the big guns everywhere!
Read what Lou has to say about the Duke "A binding John Wayne would be proud of..."HERE.
Hope that helps!