Race Bindings For Backcountry Touring Skis

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 10, 2014      

Shop for race bindings here.

Dynafit Speed Superlite is an excellent option for a race binding that pairs well with lightweight touring skis.

Dynafit Speed Superlite is an excellent option for a race binding that pairs well with lightweight touring skis. Click images to enlarge.

There was a time where weight was the one reason for choosing a tech binding for your next pair of touring skis. Now, adjustable pins, dynamic heels, new designs in boot retention, and a dozen manufacturers bursting on the scene, have made purchasing your next touring binding seemingly as big a decision as buying your next car.

Amongst this craze of ever bigger, ever better bindings has emerged a diverging trend in the ski touring world back towards the light is right and “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” There is a whole array of race bindings being mounted to fatter yet super light boards and you no longer require a photo ID and a spandex suit to attain one.

Unfortunately, pairing your new ski mountaineering or speed touring skis with a race binding can still feel a little daunting with dozens of models with very subtle differences. After studying the inverse relationship of dollars spent versus grams purchased, there are a few other guidelines to choosing your next binder for big days beyond racing.

Release Value: It is common for race bindings to have fixed (non adjustable) safety release values. Knowing the estimated release value can be an important factor in picking a binding. What is more, if you can access a ski shop release testing rig it’s perhaps a good idea to test such bindings in case they’re way to stiff (or too loose) to be safe. Depending on brands, getting release value information can be more or less of a challenge. Retailers who deal with these bindings every day may have answers, and you can compare bindings side-by-side by twisting the heel units with your hand (yields a rough idea of differences in lateral release levels, but not recommended for final decision making). Overall, race binding release values tend to hover around what would be number “8” on a DIN calibrated binding, meaning averaged sized men will do ok with them but smaller skiers can end up with a binding that’s too stiff. But again, some bindings may have very high values, so consumer awareness is key.

Climbing Riser Heights: This is everyone’s biggest concern, but becomes shockingly unimportant when pairing a race binding with a modern lightweight touring boot. Their incredible range of cuff articulation compensates for only having one or two climbing positions. However, if you have a 6 mile approach to your favorite peak, a flat position can come in handy. Or, you live in a place where the skin track is a more like a tractor pull competition and you need that high riser height to leave your friends backsliding in the dust.

BSL Adjustability (BSL=boot sole length, printed on the side of the heel of ski boots shells, measured in mm): For most bindings you can purchase an additional mounting plate for adjustability at some added weight and cost. However, a few bindings have it built into their system, keeping it light and easier to use. This feature is especially important if you haven’t made a final decision on your next lightweight ski shoe or if you have achieved full weight weenie status and have to choose between your light 2 buckle boot and your super light 2-buckle race day boot.

Although many more models exist, especially in Europe, following is a list of race binders most commonly distributed in North America.

Dynafit Low Tech Race

Dynafit Low Tech Race means business, but be careful with its auto locking toe.

Dynafit Low Tech Race means business, but be careful with its auto locking toe as you can end up skiing with no lateral safety release.

Dynafit Low Tech Race
128 grams
Auto locking toe, titanium U-bar
1 climbing riser height
BSL adjustable with purchase of additional mounting plate

Hagan ZR
116 grams
Not an auto locking toe
1 climbing riser height and flat. (Hard to turn at first but breaks in)
BSL adjustable with purchase of additional mounting plate

La Sportiva RSR

The La Sportiva RSR is an ATK binding that is everything you need to hold you to your ski.

La Sportiva RSR is an ATK binding that is everything you need to hold you to your ski.

La Sportiva RSR
130 grams
Not an auto locking toe
1 climbing riser height and flat.
BSL adjustable with purchase of additional mounting plate

Ski Trab TR Race and Ski Trab TR Adjustable

The Ski Trab Race and Adjustable are as light as an binding out there. Notice the nonslip single screw for adjustment.

Ski Trab Race and Adjustable are as light as an binding out there. Notice the nonslip single screw for adjustment.

Ski Trab TR Race and Ski Trab TR Adjustable
180 grams
$539 standard, $569 adjustable
Non auto locking toe
1 climbing riser height and flat. (needs to be mounted with extra space to prevent rubbing in flat mode when ski is flexed)
Adjustable track

Dynafit Speed Superlite

The Dynafit Speed Superlite featuring its two different riser heights.

Dynafit Speed Superlite featuring its two different riser heights.

Check out the 4-10 adjustable release setting for the heel!

Check out the 4-10 adjustable release setting for the heel!

Dynafit Speed Superlite is an incredible option for that race binding that will go great on a pair of lightweight skis.
198 grams
Adjustable release 5-10, non auto locking toe
2 riser heights, no flat mode
BSL adjustable with purchase of additional mounting plate


The family of beautiful Plum race bindings. Although not pictured here the Plum 185 has even more adjustability for just a little more weight.

The family of beautiful Plum race bindings. Although not pictured here the Plum 185 has even more adjustability for just a little more weight.

Plum 135, 145, 165, and 185 all possess the same toe with small tweaks to the heel unit. The 135 has a titanium heel spring while the 145 has steel; for a few more grams the 165 has 20 mm of adjustability in the heel while the 185 has 40 mm.
The weight in grams is in the model number.
$600 -$650
Non auto locking toe, but can be modified auto lock
1 riser height and flat
135 and 145 not adjustable, 165 20mm, 185 40mm

There are dozens more race bindings especially for the European market, but mounting a Pierre Gignoux to your next light and fast powder board might be a little excessive. As the freeride tech binding arms race rages on, receiving the majority of attention in the touring world, there is a strong trend toward minimalist bindings where weight — or lack thereof — is still king.

Shop for race bindings here.

(WildSnow guest contributor, Doug Stenclik is an avid skimo racer, ski tuner, and backcountry ski traveler. Doug co-owns our local ski shop with Randy Young, Cripple Creek Backcountry in Carbondale, Colorado. If it’s ski related, they do it.)


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


54 Responses to “Race Bindings For Backcountry Touring Skis”

  1. Sedgesprite December 10th, 2014 3:26 pm

    Be nice. Is anyone running these bindings without brakes? I know, I know. I’d like the light weight but cant give up the security of brakes. What is the lightest brake set-up? I fear leashes.

  2. Sedgesprite December 10th, 2014 3:41 pm

    Oops, I meant with brakes.

  3. Manuel December 10th, 2014 4:14 pm

    I thought dynafit speed superlite has a flat mode. Turning the heel unit should work – or am I wrong?

  4. Nick December 10th, 2014 5:23 pm


    No flat touring for the speed superlight. I ski on ’em and can attest. Haven’t found any desire for a flat mode with TLT6 though – plenty of articulation to make up for it.

  5. Doug CrippleCreekBC December 10th, 2014 6:25 pm

    @ Sedge

    Not much luck with brakes for race bindings. I know that ISMF is considering mandating brakes for race bindings. The design will be something like a single brake on just the inside so skins can still be quickly ripped without the brake interfering. This could be a couple years out. Your next best bet is the Dynafit Radical ST for 3 times the weight.

    @ Manuel- There is definitely no flat mode for the speed superlite, but Nick makes a good point about the range of motion of new boots.

  6. Nate Porter December 10th, 2014 7:48 pm

    I have not used many of the race bindings, but the lack of a flat tour mode bugs me if the default isn’t pretty close to flat. Even with great cuff range of motion on today’s boots, I still don’t like to have the heel much higher than the toe when skinning on flat ground because it can make the foot creep forward in the boot. On any kind of uphill pitch this quickly becomes irrelevant, so maybe not a big deal.

  7. puddergud December 10th, 2014 9:09 pm

    Have anyone tried the Raider 12 or Raider 14 bindings?
    It seems like they are a bit lighter than other bindings with breaks.

  8. trollanski December 10th, 2014 9:10 pm

    Same goes. Want-no Need-a flat mode. Could there be a mod for this? Or is Dynafit working on incorporating this in an upcoming version?

  9. Doug CrippleCreekBC December 10th, 2014 9:46 pm


    I skied a few of the ATK Race bindings on the Hagan demo skis I tried last spring. They work great and are definitely way lighter than the other brake systems that are out there. Distribution in North America is still hard to come by, but we are working on it.

  10. Nate December 10th, 2014 10:29 pm

    What would be really great is to know the comparative release values between the different bindings. In my limited experience, i’ve heard that race binding heel pieces have wildly variable release values between different brands even given that the “U” is made from the same material. Anybody out there have some beta on that? Maybe a chart?

  11. jbo December 10th, 2014 11:42 pm

    Sedgesprite – check out the Kreuzspitze brakes, ~90 grams. They slide into a crampon slot and have widths up to 105mm. Note crampon slots are sometimes sold as accessories to race bindings and sometimes need to be installed at mounting time.

    Nate – Unadjustable race bindings vary greatly with release values ranging from roughly 6 to 15. Choose wisely.

  12. Martin December 11th, 2014 2:05 am

    The lightest binding WITH brakes is probably the italian ATK Raider 12 at 330 grams per ski (including brakes).

    Last season it was quite difficult to get them here in Austria. This season most of the better known retailers have them in stock. I am having a pair of G3 Zenoxide Carbon 88 fitted with ATKs right now.

  13. Lou Dawson 2 December 11th, 2014 9:45 am

    Jbo, thanks for chiming in, I’ll work on some edits to make this more clear about the release values of non-adjust race bindings. Lou

  14. dave bass December 11th, 2014 11:26 am

    Any reason not to mix an old dynafit titanium toe with a plum 145 heel?
    They’re at the shop ready to go on some new boards later today unless there’s a downside I haven’t thought of…

  15. Lou Dawson 2 December 11th, 2014 12:07 pm

    Dave, just watch your ramp angle and test your release, I mix toes and heels all the time. Caveat is I’d not recommend mixing for aggressive freeride, due to various factors such as how strong the toe springs are, etc.

    I have an old set of Ti Dyna toes I swap around from ski to ski for my uber lightweight setup. They’ve got I don’t know how much vertical on them and seem to be moving fine.

  16. Jerry December 11th, 2014 12:21 pm

    @Sedge – take a look at the B&D leashes, they’re a long way ahead of other leash options out there:


    Seems like they’ve put some research in to make them safe in case of an any or fall. I was a leash skeptic before I got these, but now I’ll never run brakes in the backcountry again.

  17. Jim December 11th, 2014 2:25 pm

    RE Brakes

    Probably more of a problem them blowing away in the wind…

  18. scott December 11th, 2014 7:48 pm

    I’m starting to see more and more KREUZSPITZE bindings on the slopes. Don’t have much to share about weight, but I’m pretty sure the KREUZSPITZE SCCT model has flat tour mode and you can buy a little mini extension for added ramp angle for the steep climbs. This binding seems very attractive.

  19. DanZ December 12th, 2014 11:11 am

    @Doug – I just bought the Trab TR Race bindings and haven’t gotten them mounted yet. Could you elaborate on the extra space needed to avoid rubbing? I hadn’t heard of this problem before reading this article.


  20. Doug CrippleCreekBC December 12th, 2014 12:43 pm

    Dan- If you mount it with the recommend spacing you will be able to turn the binding sideways and tour with a flat mode. However, this will only work on a groomed run and if you are in deep or rutted out snow the ski will flex and you get a super annoying rubbing on the back of your boot against the binding. There are definitely issues with leaving more space, as the binding will be more likely to release, but if you are planning on doing a lot of flat touring you may want to take this into account.

  21. Michael Silitch December 12th, 2014 5:31 pm

    Great comparison. If you could do the grunt work and find out what each binding manufacturer states as heel and toe release values, or better yet, get hold of a testing machine and test them all, that would be some valuable information. I’ve actually talked to the engineer at Plum and ATK Race and it seems to me, they only have an idea, so yeah, an independent test would be awesome!

  22. Lou Dawson 2 December 12th, 2014 7:32 pm

    Michael, it would be a waste of time because even TUV DIN certified bindings are allowed up to 10% deviation, in other words a binding set at 8 can actually be at 7 or 9. I’ll guarantee that the non certified race bindings are not any better, and I’ll bet some are worse. Thus, you’d have to test dozens, from different manufacturing runs and publish an average, which would be useless for real-world but would be fun to talk about.

    I’d guess that release values to some of these race binding engineers are about as important as safety straps and brakes (grin).


  23. See December 12th, 2014 9:37 pm

    Maybe it would be useful to develop a way to measure release values using tools and materials available to individuals or shops (adapt existing alpine test machines?). The numbers alone would be meaningless, but one could at least compare a known binding setup with an unknown one. DIY TUV.

  24. jbo December 13th, 2014 1:26 am

    See – Shop tools can measure these bindings as is; I do it regularly. The resulting torques have some meaning, but it would be negligent to publish a simple release value chart for a number of reasons. For example: in-line fork changes, which just happened to a binding listed above. You have to know your stock intimately.

    Michael – I’ve collected most manufacturer numbers and they are sometimes close. Such numbers reveal little about the overall release mechanics, however.

  25. Mark Worley December 13th, 2014 6:32 am

    Almost went for Dynafit Speed Superlites, but wanted more adjustability and flat-on-ski mode. Many of the race bindings are really nice, though, and I could see using them for everyday touring.

  26. Lou Dawson 2 December 13th, 2014 6:32 am

    The operative word is “sometimes.”

    Also, at least in theory, the whole legal world of ski binding safety release is based on _measurment_ of the binding values for a specific customer with a specific set of bindings. It’s not based on the numbers printed on the binding housing, they’re only a rough guide. As I mentioned above, even the DIN/ISO specifications allow quite a bit of deviation in values, with that in mind, why would a race binding company making a binding that doesn’t even adjust, worry about how exact their numbers are?


  27. Mark Worley December 13th, 2014 6:35 am

    I have considered mixing different models of heels and toes now that I have a few to choose from, but only within Dynafit.

  28. jbo December 13th, 2014 10:10 am

    Lou – To clarify, by ‘sometimes’ I meant some of the manufacturer numbers match up with what I see (noting that not all inquiries made it all the way to the engineers). I actually find less out-of-the-box internal deviation with unadjustable bindings, presumably due to their simplicity. But variations in other things like boot fittings & mounting position can’t be corrected for by turning a screw.

    Mark – I’ve tested a number of those configurations as well. You can get away with a lot but certain combos would be inadvisable for you release-wise.

  29. George December 13th, 2014 5:29 pm

    Speed Superlites on BD Carbon Converts with mohair skins is pretty ideal IMHO. This year I am still using older rock ski setup. Do more snow dances.

  30. Lou Dawson 2 December 14th, 2014 5:53 am

    Thanks Jbo, and George, yes, Convert with mohair skins and any of the lighter but still full function bindings is the type of setup many serious human powered skiers are gravitating to. The whole heavier “freeride” thing has validity, but some of it is a marketing construct for sure and the setups I see in the backcountry prove it. Not everyone skis inverted and backwards.

  31. Jason D December 14th, 2014 3:16 pm

    The super lightweight bindings are incredibly appealing. Thanks for putting this guide together, it’s not always easy to figure out which bindings have a flat mode. Went up the Coleman-Deming route on Mt. Baker yesterday with a tech setup for the first time, and it completely changed the character of the route. What was a huge slog for me a few years ago on heavy gear felt like just another nice day out. Makes me wonder what doors a race ski-binding-boot combo could open.

  32. Rick Howell December 15th, 2014 5:44 am

    The need for education about the measurement of release (and, independently, retention) is so woefully evident by the above posts. Education about the interaction between release and biomechanics is needed even more.

    The above comment about ‘DIN allowing a 10% deviation’ is way off the mark: the standards assume rotational pivot points that are co-planar to the snow-surface to be located under the tibia: in the absence of such pivot locations, the numbers on pin-tech bindings and the measured release values (torque or force) with pin-tech bindings have nearly NO correlation to anything relating to DIN or ISO. “Deviations” are therefore fully moot: with pin-tech bindings, what the leg feels and what the binding feels are two completely different worlds.

    Also, only in lousy binding designs are release and retention correlated. In ‘good’ binding designs, they are fully decoupled: in a ‘good’ binding design, elevated settings are not needed to command proper retention (and edge control).

    Hopefully, proper information on this topic will be posted by Jason Borro of Skimo, soon, to rectify the long-standing myths that seem to be remarkably pervasive in the alpine-touring (and even pure alpine) category.

    I am qualified to make the above comments because I am a co-author of the DIN-System.

  33. Lou Dawson 2 December 15th, 2014 6:16 am

    Rick, I was using lay terminology. It was an off-the-cuff interpretation of the variance the standards do allow in how the actual binding release levels, when set to the printed numbers, match the specification. The exact wording in the ISO standards is of course more complex than just “10%”

    All I meant is that the numbers printed on ski bindings do not perfectly represent an exact level of torque, and the user can’t assume that setting a binding to “8” for example results in a setting that’s exactly “8” as set forth in ISO 9462 for a given sole length (example being Setting Mark 8, Sole 350, Release torques 80 Mz and 330 My, as specified in ISO 9462, table 2. Apologies for using the word “deviation” it’s a math/engineering term that I should have avoided. Please know that our mission here is to help people be safer. The main goal is that our readers know that the numbers printed on ski bindings are only a guideline, and if they want accurate settings the bindings need to be testing in a shop. That’s correct, is it not?

    As for Jason, we’ve been working on an article he wrote about your binding tests. No guarantees on publication but it’s looking good. In the future, would appreciate it if all contributors or those involved in contributions would refrain from mentions of works in progress, to avoid false expectations etc.

    Thanks, Lou

  34. Rick Howell December 15th, 2014 6:39 am

    The numbers that are present on all pin-tech bindings for release in the direction that’s co-planar to the snow surface are not mere off-sets, variations, discrepancies, etc: they are not even in the ball-park in terms of what’s intended: that’s why (among other reasons) no pin-tech binding can come even close to meeting the alpine binding standards DIN / ISO 9462, 9465 and 11087 (as well as the feeder-standards that are referenced in the preamble to 9462) and the release recommendations in DIN / ISO 8061.

    (( Also, independently of how far-off pin-tech bindings are, biomechanically, DIN / ISO 9462 specifies 10% at Z = 10 and 50% at Z = 1 and linearly extrapolated between 10 and 1. “Z” is the number on the bindings that North Americans refer to as “DIN”. Therefore a deviation of 1 Z-value is permissible at 10 (not “9”), meaning that 10 can be 9 or 11; and a deviation of 0.5 is permissible at Z=1, meaning that 1.0 can be 0.5 or 1.5. If we’re going to throw these numbers around, let’s get them right. But, again, pin-tech bindings do not conform to the intention of having the pivot for lateral release being located under the tibia-axis: therefore, with pin-tech bindings, the resultant torque on the tibia is far-far-far away from any of the shades of gray in the tolerance deviations.))

    If anyone thinks this engineering-speak is misplaced within reality — please note that I was once 5th-ranked in the U.S. in DH with 29-FIS points (a long time ago) and was more recently on the first American maxi-team to win the Canadian Ski Marathon (~100-miles; from Ottawa to Montréal). I ski nearly every day here in Stowe, Vermont … including frequent BC excursions between Bolton and Trapp. My comments are based not only on my professional engineering experience in the ski industry, but also on the real world of REAL skiing.

  35. Lou Dawson 2 December 15th, 2014 7:13 am

    Thanks Rick, point taken, I’ll be more careful. Operative point here is made by you, that “therefore a deviation of 1 Z-value is permissible at 10 (not “9”), meaning that 10 can be 9 or 11…” Perfect, point being that EVEN IF pintech bindings had the shape/geometry to behave like an alpine binding the user needs to know if they set their bindings to “10” as printed it could actually be “11” even if the bindings are “certified.”

    This variation in what is real vs what is printed could be the root cause of many do-it-yourself problems with both alpine and touring bindings, when people claim they “just can’t stay in the binding at normal settings.” Or, conversely, get hurt at their “normal setting.”

    The fly in the ointment here is that even if tech bindings are so whacked out, they still behave in real life somewhat like an alpine binding set to the same settings. In other words, if I ski an alpine binding at “6” I can set a tech binding to “6” and expect to stay in it, and release when required (most of the time in either case, but not perfect of course).

    So while I appreciate your testing and ideas showing how the numbers printed on tech bindings are off in one sense, they do work to some degree or another as a guide for setting to the DIN/ISO numbers indicated by the settings chart (weight, age, etc). So there must be something else going on here.

    ‘best, Lou

  36. Martin December 15th, 2014 7:58 am

    I think you’ve got a point here, Lou: Although the pin bindings manufacturers don’t stop to emphasize that their bindings do not comply with any DIN ISO standards, they at the same time refer to the adjustment table according to DIN/ISO 11088 for the selection of the correct settings.

    So from the user’s point of view there is – in this respect – no difference between a pin and an alpine binding.

  37. Doug Hutchinson December 15th, 2014 9:59 pm

    KREUZSPITZE SCCT are the way to go. They have a flat on ski mode and an extra optional (really pricy) riser for an elevated heel position. They can be mounted direct on ski w/o BSL adjustability, or can mount on a plate with the same heel hole pattern as Dynafits (or, they even have a demo plate for more length adjustment). I bought the heels only with the adjustment plates and swapped in for my old Dyna TLT Speed Turn heels. Didn’t need to redrill, lost a bunch weight and even with plate, the ramp is only about 6mm (or almost 10mm less than the Speeds). They are beautifully made too. Hint – skimo.com

    Many say that a flat-on-the-ski mode is not necessary with modern boots with lots of cuff range of motion but why not have this option if you give up nothing? I ski down mellow slopes all the time without my heel locked and hate the high heel/tip toe feeling when in a riser, even the lower ones on race bindings. I want flat on ski for long flat road approaches too.

  38. Wynn Miller December 15th, 2014 10:07 pm

    Rick – How much difference does a slightly worn toe/heel of the boot sole make to binding release? Atomic’s certification manual requires technicians to inspect boots for wear and tear “at contact points with the binding” – which consists of the top of the sole, not the base, correct? In order to bring this question within the purview of tech bindings, does the metal-to-metal contact points of Dynafit-type systems eliminate variations in contact (as the old Cubco promised)? (Please excuse the tangent, Lou — or do you have another thread where I could pose the boot-sole question?)

  39. Dan December 15th, 2014 11:45 pm

    Nice article. I’ve spent a lot of time mulling over Race bindings this fall. I ended up Speed Superlite’s for my wife, as she wants an adjustable DIN and the extra heel riser. Flat mode isn’t important as she mostly chases pow.

    I’m putting together a “multi-day traverse” ski setup with fishscale skis (Karhu Guide) and race boots (Scarpa Alien), so I opted for Plum 145 heels to gain the flat mode, and I’m going to mod the binding so I have two heel heights (0 degrees and 180 degrees) similar to the Kreuzspitze heels but at a lower price. It’s nice that Skimo.co sells heels and toes separately. I grabbed Speed Superlite toes.

  40. Lou Dawson 2 December 16th, 2014 6:42 am

    Wynn, tagent ok, we’ve seen some wear in boot fittings depending on brand and vintage, but the system is supposed to be designed so that the binding wears more than the boot and you should indeed inspect tech binding pins for wear. BUT mostly, the whole concept here is you do inspect stuff, but more importantly do release checks either by hand, or on the carpet, or with a machine. Inspections of the gear just inform you as you do the checks, if you see wear, it’s just wear… Lou

  41. arnie December 16th, 2014 11:41 am

    @ Doug Hutchinson,
    Doug which plate fits the dynafit hole pattern? (there are three listed on their website K14, K18, K40 which I assume is the demo plate)
    many thanks

  42. Doug Hutchinson December 16th, 2014 11:56 pm

    @arnie. The K14 = 14mm plate is the the one. http://skimo.co/kreuzspitze-adjustment-plates

  43. arnie December 17th, 2014 4:42 pm

    thanks Doug

  44. John Baldwin December 17th, 2014 6:56 pm

    It is important to also look at the binding ramp deltas for each binding when talking about flat mode. For example, if you want to compare to the speed superlite you need to look at the toe and heel heights. The low heel position in walk mode on the speed superlite is actually only 4mm higher than the lowest position on a Dynafit vertical binding – which is why no one complains about when they tour on flat ground. This is because the speed superlite has a binding ramp delta of 3mm versus 15mm for a radical or 17mm fro the vertical.

    Lou you probably have more numbers on this somewhere.

  45. Jerry January 12th, 2015 9:06 am

    Hi Lou/Wildsnow community –
    I found a crack in the plastic housing of one of the heelpieces of my beloved Dynafit Race Ti’s today. I’d really like to be able to fix the current bindings (they have a weird mounting pattern and I don’t know if I can get another mount onto these skis) – do you know if there are any other Dynafits that use the same plastic housing as this somewhat obscure Dynafit vintage?


  46. Tore January 18th, 2015 12:19 pm

    Are these really an option for a non-racer?

    I had a go at the Skitrab Magico with matching skitrab race bindings this weekend. I am a little experienced, when it comes to AT, but never raced nor tried any of the super lightweight stuff or anything without lateral release. The last two seasons I’ve spent most time on either the Dynafit Grand Tetons and Denalis with FT and ST radical.

    Buttheuber-simplicity of the Skitrab binding paired wih the superlight magico blew me away. I want, no, I NEED something that light! But are the bindings really made for someone like me? I’m 5″11′ and weightsomewhere around 160lbs. Im perhaps average plus when it comes to skiing. I don’t like skiing super steep or in very narrow chutes, but otherwise I ski in all conditions. So I guess Im your typical AT-guy really. One heel riser position is no problem, but the non-lateral release makes me nervous… Should I be? Will it break my legs or spit me out when I go sideways down the icy bit?

  47. Tore January 18th, 2015 12:26 pm

    Touring effortless, for once with my head up and really looking around and enjoying the stupendous view – that is something… Im not gonna drag my feet, pulling myself up the hillstaring at my boots if I can help it! I really want someone to tell me this superlight stuff is something for someone who doesnt care about racing!

    The siper simplicity of a non-turning, no heel-riser, just pure set & forget also appealed to me. Good engineering is to remove parts and keep functionality, not lake up a problem and construct something overly complicated. I want this to be for me 🙂

  48. Lou Dawson 2 January 18th, 2015 12:42 pm

    Tore, sure, but you have to be very intentional about what you’re getting into. You can get hurt.


  49. Tore January 18th, 2015 1:01 pm


    I don’t know how important lateral release really is. I telemarked for a while, and took a few falls, never thought about how they dont really release at all (well, they do, but absolutely not consistent). As a skier I feel confident about my own skills and judgement, and I guess Im relatively able to stay out of dangerous situations to begin with. But Im not quite sure when lack of lateral release becomes an issue!

    The ATK RT, Raider 12 & 14 and Speed Superlight is probably made for me. I, just compelled by the simplistic beauty of the Race-bindings.

  50. Lou Dawson 2 January 18th, 2015 11:28 pm

    Tore, honestly, I’d suggest using bindings that do have lateral release…

  51. See January 19th, 2015 8:54 am

    I’m not up on AT race bindings, but is it actually the case that some of them have no lateral release function with the toes unlocked?

    In my opinion, non-releasable bindings may be ok for skinny skis without steel edges used with sneaker boots (nordic), otherwise not (except maybe in extreme conditions— no fall zone with locked toes).

  52. Tore January 19th, 2015 9:14 am

    Theyre not “non-releasable” – but they release in a way that under certain conditions might cause harm. As I mentioned, I dont really know what “non-lateral release” means out there in the real world, though I know what the words mean. So as Lou says, they probably arent for me… Yet. Hope someone finds a way to shape the U-bit so that it does release lateral as well! Theyre elegant as nothing else!

  53. jbo January 19th, 2015 5:04 pm

    Tore, the Trabs have a lateral release like most tech bindings, with both locked and ski modes. They are set at a fixed value that may or may not be appropriate for your height, weight, age, boot sole length, and ski-style (send an e-mail with that info if you want me to verify – jason at skimo dot co). More info on how the release compares to alpine bindings can be found here: https://www.wildsnow.com/15123/tech-binding-release-testing-acl-broken-leg/

    See, the Dynafit Expedition has no lateral release.

  54. See January 19th, 2015 7:14 pm

    Interesting. I guess for a specific, highly technical “Expedition” those bindings make sense. I’m curious if they get used much aside from such specialized applications. Are many people using them as “daily drivers?” I’m beginning to appreciate the size of the “elephant in the room”– locking the toes as a rule or as an exception.

  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring 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 ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version