Gear: Marker Tour Bindings on K2 SideKicks

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With shop aprons on, we set up the Marker jig to mount my new Marker Tour AT bindings. A proper jig makes the job easier, but Marker gives thorough details with a paper jig you can tape in place. Just make sure you find the boot mounting mark on the skis!

With a brand new pair of women’s specific backcountry touring skis — K2 SideKicks, a box of Marker Tour bindings, and snowy Alaskan peaks right out my backdoor, I was on the lookout for a guru to help me assemble my shred sticks. Long time Alaskan local, Gary Stambaugh, was the man and I entered his garage/warehouse/condo cave for a tutorial on mounting skis. Gary has been skiing Juneau’s local resort, Eaglecrest, for 37 years, was around for the heli-ski beginnings up in Haines, helped pioneer glacier mountain guiding with Juneau based helicopter companies, has worked in ski shops long gone, and has patrolled the ski area. Now that he’s “retired,” he runs a “ski shop” out of his garage for fun. Business is word of mouth…”Hey Gary, I got your number from so and so…” His work is bomber. Not only did I glean information about the best skiing in southeast Alaska from a man who’s seen it all, but I learned the ins and outs of mounting AT bindings.


It is imperative to find the mounting marks on the skis, and make sure they're in the same location. It's smart to double check with a measuring tape and carefully mark so you can see it with the jig on.


Next find the proper drill bit, size 9.5 as stated in the paperwork with the bindings.


Time to start drilling! I was so nervous, but the step drill bit and jig leave little room for error.


The holes are drilled, now add some glue and one ski is done!


Concentrating on the task. I don't want to mess up these beauties!


Gary checks my work. What a great experience learning this hands on. I now have a greater understanding for my ski setup and an appreciation for the fine details in ski tuning.


After the bindings are in place, we set the AFD gliding plate to the right height using Marker's specialty tool. Red means the height is too tight and your toe won't release easily.


After careful pulling, and adjustment of the forward screw, we got the green.


Here you can see the gliding plate in action. This feature is something new to me, as I come from a tele background.


Torque check to ensure proper release of the toes and adjustment of the DINs.


After testing the release, Gary says this setup is good as gold.


Perfectly mounted bindings if I do say so! We add 6 layers of soft yellow wax to ensure these new skis stay tuned for the early season. It's important to impregnate new skis with wax to ensure their long life.

If you’re in the market for Marker Tour bindings, find them here.

For a sweet pair of women’s AT skis with perfectly pre-cut skins, check out the K2 SideKick.


17 Responses to “Gear: Marker Tour Bindings on K2 SideKicks”

  1. cdubya January 2nd, 2013 11:37 am

    Hey, I know that guy! Gary’s always willing to help ya out. Nice write up.

  2. brian h January 2nd, 2013 4:25 pm

    Yep, cool post. I’d guess that torque tool aint something everybody’s got access to. What’s the protocol for checking din settings without it? Brute force guestimation?

  3. Lou Dawson January 2nd, 2013 5:16 pm

    I’m crying because he has a tool I don’t have. Or possibly several.

  4. Damian D. January 2nd, 2013 6:03 pm

    That’s a sweet set of tools. I used to ski a lot during my college days in Edmonton, Alberta and me and my friends used to do all crazy setups at local ski shops. While most craftsmen had some cool equipment, I have to admit that it is not as impressive as Gary’s. How much does he charge for a job like this?

  5. brian h January 2nd, 2013 7:48 pm

    that is also a serious array of skis! AK all the way!

  6. See January 2nd, 2013 8:15 pm

    Beam torque wrench with limit markers. Again, turn it 180 degrees (handle pointing forward) to use with tech bindings?

  7. Amy January 3rd, 2013 12:28 am

    Gary is a wealth of knowledge and a generous man. He gave me the “wildsnow discount” with the promise of passing on this information. If you’re in the Juneau area I could get you in contact with him.

    Lou – you would be fizzing in his shop! so many ski relics and vintage antiques! the man really does have just about every tool imaginable :)

  8. carlo January 3rd, 2013 8:58 am

    may i ask which kind of glue did he make you use?

  9. See January 3rd, 2013 11:30 am

    Regarding the binding torque tester– I’m guessing this link might be of interest:

  10. Amy January 3rd, 2013 2:45 pm

    He called it “Roo Glue” and it had a picture of a Kangaroo on the bottle.

  11. Lou Dawson January 3rd, 2013 3:03 pm
  12. Seth January 3rd, 2013 3:19 pm

    Congratulations! You are now a ski tech.

  13. Maciej January 3rd, 2013 4:33 pm

    One tip-several coats of soft (warm temp) wax don’t do much to harden a new ski base. The best way to prep new bases is a coat (or 2) of molybdenum wax, followed by a couple of coats of Swix CH4 (or equivalent) wax. Cold temp waxes are harder, and harden the bases of skis. Warm temp waxes are soft, and (literally) soften bases.

    If it’s going to be warmer out, you can finish your base prep with an appropriate temp. wax.

    Otherwise, neat article. I’ve worked at alpine shops (and work at a nordic ski shop now), and it’s rare for someone to have stuff like jigs and a tester foot in their home shop.

  14. Ronald Cassiani January 5th, 2013 7:20 pm

    The softer wax is used as a binder wax. The harder wax will adhere to the ski longer if the base wax is warmer. Conversely hard wax base will not accept softer wax over it.

  15. Dirk January 6th, 2013 11:20 pm

    Why such a burly setup? I thought Lou “king of dynafit” woulda convinced you to get some tech binders.

  16. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2013 5:29 am

    She’s doing some mechanized skiing and is new to ski touring, so we figured a more alpine like binding would be a good entry with less fiddle factor. If she starts doing a bunch of ski touring, we’ll set her up with some tech bindings for sure!

  17. AK.Joe January 28th, 2013 11:39 am

    I noticed Amy was using tech soles in Marker AT bindings: There is great divergence of opinion about how switching between DIN and tech soles in Marker AT bindings affects the release values.

    Every binding tech I ask gives me a different answer. Given the large volume of Marker AT bindings and new interchangeable sole options (ie. Tecnica Cochise) can you provide advice on this question of better boot pack traction vs. reduction of consistent release.

    Many thanks

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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