Black Vipec 12 Available in US, and Other News from Black Diamond


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 14, 2016      
The new, made-in-Austria, Black Diamond Helio 105s mounted with the updated black Vipec 12.

The new, made-in-Austria, Black Diamond Helio 105s mounted with the updated black Vipec 12. Click all images to enlarge.

During our meeting at the Outdoor Retailer Show, Black Diamond confirmed that the updated Fritschi Diamir Vipec 12 (the black) will be available in the U.S. A limited number will be for sale soon at select retailers such as Backcountry.com, REI, Outdoor Gear Exchange and Allspeed.

Vipec 12 Black

The updated Vipec 12 with Fritschi Diamir Vipec Crampon Traction. The crampon is offered in a medium and wide version. Medium fits up to a 95mm waist, MSRP $100. Wide fits up to a 125mm waist, MSRP $110. Both offer adjustable depth.

More news from Black Diamond: their new ski mountaineering line is the Helio Collection. We touched on the Black Diamond Helio fixed length carbon pole in an earlier post. Other new and redesigned products in the Helio series include skis, skins, harness, pack and clothing. Lighter, faster buzzwords abound!

2014-2015 White 12 above... Black 12 model for this season has numerous small changes.

Fritschi White 12 (2014-2015) at top of photo, Black 12 (2015/2016) has numerous small changes. Most significant, easier entry according to our bench tests.

Lou compared the updated black Vipec 12 to the white Vipec 12 here. While Lou is in Europe, WildSnow tester, Bob Perlmutter has been skiing on the blacks. He posted thoughts in a comment to Lou’s comparison. In case you missed it, here’s what he had to say:

From Bob Perlmutter:

Just the other day I received the latest 3rd generation Vipec, slapped them into the holes on my trustworthy Converts and off I went on a short tour behind Aspen Mountain. The following day, I went on an extensive tour which really allowed me to put them through their paces. I am happy to report that the 3rd generation Vipec is finally ready for the consumer marketplace.

The first thing I noticed was the new boot toe guides, improved yet again from the 2nd generation, which allowed for ease of entry on par with any other tech binding. Also improved is the toe wire, which is now a solid piece that sits lower than previous models. No doubt, this works in conjunction with the new boot toe guides. Gone are the days of having to manually hold the toe lever down with your ski pole to spread the toe wings open so you could get into the binding. Now one simply pushes the toe lever down, which automatically holds the toe wings in the open position, step in, and away you go.

Next, and almost startling, was how decisively and powerfully the tech toe wings engaged the boot at the tech inserts. Like the shark in Jaws clamping down on an unsuspecting swimmer. I had a person who has used both the 1st and 2nd generation Vipecs step into the new model and she also noted this distinct difference. Lou pointed out the new longer toe lever, but I couldn’t find any functional difference versus the length of the previous generations.

Another significant improvement is how much easier it is to get out of the new Vipec when in the ski mode. In the past, one had to first push the heel lever down into walk mode, then depress the toe lever to spread the toe wings to get out. A painful two step process unlike any other binding. Now simply depress the toe lever to automatically open the wings and step out just like every other binding. Yahoo!

My first tour was short and unremarkable except for the snow (which was great.) By unremarkable, I mean I had none of the issues I’ve had in the past with Vipecs.

The next day’s extensive tour exposed the Vipec to every sort of situation and condition one might encounter on any given tour including trail breaking through deep snow (potential icing,) numerous uphill kick turns and, of course, lots of skiing.

Like any product, the Vipec has its idiosyncrasies. Numerous times on the uphill, one of the brakes would deploy, causing the ski to drag, requiring some fiddle factor with lifters and sometimes getting out of the binding to put everything back in place. At first I thought something must be wrong with the brake which has happened in the past. Of course it turned out to be user error.

It is very important to be mindful of the heel lever in both the uphill and downhill mode. By this I mean it is very easy to push down on the heel lever for walk mode or pull up on the heel lever for ski mode where it looks like and you think the lever is fully engaged when in fact it is not. Make sure you go past that point for either mode to where you feel a decisive click. Then you are locked in preventing brake deployment in the walk mode (which I never experienced again) and worse yet, insta-tele in the ski mode. This problem can arise from either user error and/or any snow or ice build up on or between the heel lever or heel housing. This mandatory mindfulness is the small inconvenience one pays for the great convenience one gets being able to switch modes without having to get out of the binding.

The ski performance with any binding is very subjective. The only way to truly judge this is to take two pair of the same ski mounted with two different bindings, using the same boots and skiing the same runs back to back. I have done this before and in some cases have been able to feel a performance difference.

The Vipec provides a solid feel but beyond that I have no opinion to offer. I have never had occasion to release out of the Vipec(or Dynafit and G3 for that matter). I prefer the bury the springs and don’t look back school of skiing.

There were some Vipec disciples who were horrified that I was picked to do this review given my unpublished yet privately discussed utter disdain for the 1st generation. They assumed I could not present an unbiased opinion. My response was, “Step back and let a professional handle this.”

I am pleased to report that the 3rd generation Vipec are going to stay right where they are, mounted to my Carbon Convert. I will enjoy the advantage (if ever used) of fully functional lateral toe release, the convenience of switching modes on the fly with the mindful ease of use as any other tech binding. These Black Beauties are here to stay.

Black Diamond Helio Series

Tip of Helio 105.

Tip of Helio 105.

The Helio 105 is the plank designed for backcountry ski touring.

The Helio 105 is the next generation of light weight, carbon construction touring skis from BD with similar footprints to the Aspect and Carbon Convert but that is where the similarity ends. More from WildSnow testers soon. The Helio 105 is constructed of pre-preg carbon fiber layup, ABS sidewalls and balsa flax wood core.

Like the black Vipec 12, a limited quantity of 175cm and 185cm Helio 105s will be available for sale from select retailers such as Backcountry.com, REI, Outdoor Gear Exchange and Allspeed.

Dimensions and stated weight (weight per pair):

165cm

  • 131-105-118
  • 2.7kg, 5lb 14oz
  • Turn radius, 20m
  • Tip, 312mm rocker
  • Tail, 232mm semi rocker
  • 175cm

  • 132-105-119
  • 2.9kg, 6lb 5oz
  • Turn radius, 21m
  • Tip, 331mm rocker
  • Tail, 246mm semi rocker
  • 185cm

  • 134-105-119
  • 3.1kg, 6lb 11oz
  • Turn radius, 22m
  • Tip, 350mm rocker
  • Tail, 260mm semi rocker
  • Specs:

  • 105mm waist with early rise tip and tail
  • Pre-preg carbon fiber layup for torsional stiffness and balanced flex
  • Balsa flax wood core
  • Titanal mounting plate
  • 5mm beveled ABS sidewalls
  • ABS tail protector with integrated skin-clip tabs
  • Rockered tip and tail with traditional underfoot camber
  • Lengths: 165, 175, 185
  • Available fall 2016, with limited release of 175cm and 185cm January 2016
  • MSRP, $950
  • Other widths in the Helio series are: Helio 116, Helio 95, Helio 88.

    The new tip loop on BD's Glidelite skins.

    The new tip loop on BD’s Glidelite skins.

    The redesign of Black Diamond’s Glidelite skins shave 20% of weight from previous models. The tip loop is constructed of aluminum and Dynex (Dynex is the BD name for polyethylene material that is similar to Spectra and Dyneema). The mohair mix skin is 65% mohair and 35% nylon. The tail attachment provides 10cm of length adjustment.

    The redesigned couloir harness.

    The redesigned Couloir Harness. You guessed it, lighter. . .and more comfortable.

    The Couloir Harness is the lightest in BD’s line with a stated weight of 215gm. It’s unisex and designed for technical glacier travel and short rappels.

    Features:

  • Material: 210d nylon ripstop, nylon webbing
  • Speed buckle for easy on/off while wearing skis or crampons
  • Two webbing gear loops
  • Four ice clipper slots with ice screw slot in each leg loop to reduce clanking
  • Full-strength belay loop
  • Sizes: XS to XXL
  • MSRP: $65
  • Black Diamond's  35L pack.

    Black Diamond’s Cirque 35L pack.

    Cirque 35 pack is a simple rucksack with a synch top. The 35 liter pack comes in S/M and M/L and has a stated weight 2lb 4oz. It’s compatible with AvaLung Element (sold separately).

    Features:

  • Avy tools pocket with drain holes
  • Diagonal ski carry and A-frame carry
  • Stowable helmet flap
  • Tuck-away rope strap and quick depploy piolet system is compatible with piolets, technical tools adn mixed tools
  • Detached lid pocket is sold seperately
  • Available sizes: 30L, 35L, 45L
  • MSRP: $200 for 35L
  • Lastly, if you’ve always wanted to work in Austria, Black Diamond could fulfill your dreams. Black Diamond Equipment is moving its European headquarters from Basel, Switzerland, to Innsbruck, Austria. BD is recruiting staff for the new office, with approximately 35 jobs across sales, marketing, customer service, operations and finance. The new office is expected to open May 2016.



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    Comments

    50 Responses to “Black Vipec 12 Available in US, and Other News from Black Diamond”

    1. biggb January 14th, 2016 10:50 am

      BTW: I believe it’s ALLSPEED … not Allseed.

    2. Lenka K. January 14th, 2016 11:02 am

      Re. Couloir harness

      Lighter, maybe, but is it more packable too? Because that’s IMHO the main beauty of the original Couloir: you can pack it into its double-cigarette-pack-size pouch, rather than having it take up half of your 25-Liter hut-to-hut pack, like other harnesses do.

      Lenka K.

    3. Robin January 14th, 2016 11:05 am

      Dimensions and weights for the Helios? Thanks.

    4. Lisa Dawson January 14th, 2016 11:12 am

      Hi Lenka,
      The updated Couloir Harness comes with the same size pouch. It is as packable as its predecessor.

    5. Lisa Dawson January 14th, 2016 11:14 am

      biggb, thanks for the edit. I made the correction.

    6. Lisa Dawson January 14th, 2016 11:33 am

      Robin, I added the dimensions of the Helio 105.

    7. CHRIS January 14th, 2016 12:40 pm

      RE- helio ski

      Also manufactured at different factory if I have heard correctly? Made by Blizzard?

      Is there other waist width helios?

      or still the aspect in the narrower waist ski?

    8. chrisL January 14th, 2016 1:14 pm

      I’ve been testing some of the new BD gear and thought I would chime in. I skied on the Convert and Carbon Convert for two seasons, and can compare the Helio 105 to those skis. I can confirm that the listed weight of the 185 is accurate, mine may even be an ounce or two lighter. The difference in construction quality is impressive over the Carbon Convert – you can tell it’s not made in China anymore. The tip rocker is the same length but the splay is significantly less. The tail rocker has been mellowed out considerably. With a longer running length, the overall feel is of a higher performance ski that likes speed a bit more than the CC, I feel like I can drive it harder and there is more front to back stability. There is definitely less of a playful, smearable feel compared to the CC – some may prefer the old shape if you’re into that sort of thing.

      I could be way off base here, but I feel like when you really lean into a heavily rockered ski like the CC, there is a lot of forward resistance as the splayed tip plows into the snow. The Helio has less splay and I feel like I can drive them more aggressively. Could be my imagination or other factors of the design?

      As a ski mountaineering tool, this ski will likely be much more capable, I felt like the CC had a short sweet spot for hop turns in difficult snow – you really have to land balanced as they ski so short. I think the Helio 105 will be much better in this regard.

      Other details – the new skin notch is simple and skin clips stay on it way better than the old metal notch. Nice looking ski too – shows up better if you need to find your ski in the snow.

      I also have a few days with the Cirque 35 pack and excellent initial impressions. It carries amazingly well for a superlight frameless pack, and you don’t sacrifice many features as it still has a functional tool pocket, axe/tool loops, a helmet carrier, and a sweet ski carry. Some may not like the top entry but I think it works great and keep things super simple. This will be my regular touring pack when I’m not carrying an airbag.

      That harness looks sweet!

    9. chrisL January 14th, 2016 1:16 pm

      @CHRIS – I’ve heard there are other waist widths in the carbon line up but haven’t seen them. Yes, they are made by Blizzard. Really nicely built ski.

    10. VT skier January 14th, 2016 2:19 pm

      Too bad the BD Helio 105 ski isn’t available in a 180 cm length. I am on the 180 CC now and it’s a perfect length, a great light ski, for touring and powder.
      Maybe not a true mountaineering ski; for those spring, firm conditions I like my Cham HM 97s (old light blue/green ones)..
      both mounted with Dynafit.. Speed Turns on the CC, Verticals on the Chams.

    11. Charlie Hagedorn January 14th, 2016 7:28 pm

      Agreed; I’ve been waiting for a Spring sale to nab a ~180 cm 105mm carbon ski to replace some 177cm 105mm skis.

      A question for the wildsnow hive-mind. Why are tail-widths getting narrower? The skis I like are 135/105/125, and it’s nigh impossible to match those dimensions in an ultralight ski these days. Is it weight? The fact that narrower tails sink a little more, so they feel floaty?

    12. Lou Dawson 2 January 15th, 2016 12:39 am

      Charlie, I’m just guessing but I’ve been seeing most skis are mounted father forward these days, and the tails sometimes don’t sink nicely in pow, but the same ski feels super carvy and fun on hardpack, since most magazine ski tests are done at resorts on either skied out powder or piste, that might drive the trend to designing a ski that can feel good on piste, but have some tail “sink” in pow so it feels good and not like you’re struggling to get your body center of gravity back to the rear. In any case, It might be my bad knees or lazy technique or something, but I’ve been mounting everything one to three centimeters back from the factory designated mount position. Lou

    13. Lou Dawson 2 January 15th, 2016 12:40 am

      P.S., I’ve skied some of the planks with super narrow tails over past couple of years, and they were definitely not to my liking. Perhaps an acquired taste. Lou

    14. jasper January 15th, 2016 2:04 am

      Funny to see the new tip loops after having just spent the evening refabing mine for split skins. The split skins, meant to shave weight and bulk on skis with 140mm ro]ckered tips, had a 120 mm loop forcing the user to carry extra skin on those big tips. A trip to the hardware store, two cms of extra cable, and a dash of aluminum dumped 140 square cms of skin. Is it a win? I don’t know, but maybe the folks at BD have the answer.

    15. CJ January 15th, 2016 3:16 am

      The BD HELIO Series comes in 115, 105, 95, 88. At least this is what they say here (in German): http://freizeitalpin.com/42498/blood-diamond-kollektion-fall-2016/

    16. Lisa Dawson January 15th, 2016 8:26 am

      CJ, you’re correct. Fall 2016, the Helio will be available in 116, 105, 95 and 88.

      Helio widths and lengths:
      116: 166, 176, 186
      105: 165, 175, 185
      95: 163, 173, 183
      88: 158, 168, 178

    17. Brad Fowler January 15th, 2016 4:39 pm

      Lou and others, has anyone skied or review the G3 Boundary Ski out this year. Further did those who attended ORS get some eyes on the new G3 Findr skis. Any comment on either? Thanks!

    18. jasper January 15th, 2016 7:33 pm

      Is this the end of the Megawatt??? 🙁

    19. Lisa Dawson January 16th, 2016 6:10 am

      Brad, we skied the new G3 Findr and liked them. Ski review coming next week.

    20. Lisa Dawson January 16th, 2016 8:37 am

      Jasper,
      No Carbon Megawatt for next year. The Helio 116 will be the biggest ski underfoot. (Carbon Megawatt is 120.)

    21. Charlie Hagedorn January 16th, 2016 2:32 pm

      Too bad; some days are made for a lightweight clownshoe. So much fun.

    22. See January 16th, 2016 7:13 pm

      I’ve wondered for quite a while about how low splay (which I think means the tips have a gradual rise) skis deal with small, steep obstacles like stream crossings, sharp bumps, logs, etc.. I’ve never skied such skis, but they look to me like they would spear that kind of terrain feature.

    23. Jim Milstein January 16th, 2016 7:50 pm

      Just looked closely at CJ’s link: “blood-diamond-kollektion”

      Sounds really sinister! Hope BD isn’t getting into that trade. They were so benign until now.

    24. Hayden Beck January 17th, 2016 12:28 am

      I have a lot of connection to BD and knew this was coming, but I must say that the discontinuation of the convert, and Carbon convert is very disappointing. I have never loved a pair of skis as much as my 172 converts. Light enough, nimble, stable, fun. Truly a perfect ski for my preferences. Maybe they will keep the link 105? I hope so

    25. Jonny B January 17th, 2016 9:25 am

      New Helio 105 looks amazing. I never gave BD skis a real look when they were made in China. Too many great skis coming out of the US and Europe to spend my money on them. But these have fantastic dimensions and I’m happy to support production from a country that has better environmental and workers rights policies. Just my 2 cents. Thanks for sharing the new products!!!

    26. Lisa Dawson January 17th, 2016 9:34 am

      Hayden B,
      Link 105 is still in the line and will continue to be available.

    27. See January 17th, 2016 10:18 pm

      I’ve have a number of BD skis made in China which I like just fine. Likewise with skis made in Austria. What are the specific labor/environmental issues pertaining to BD? Their website claims they are “committed to acting as socially and environmentally responsible as possible.” Is this not the case?

    28. Lou Dawson 2 January 17th, 2016 10:49 pm

      See, EU is known for VERY strict environmental laws that are heavily enforced. I’ve witnessed. China, not much. Black Diamond might have made a stab at operating a factory in China under enviro standards more like the EU, but I doubt that was achieved though I don’t have any direct knowledge. By virtue of them moving ski production back to EU it’s more of a sure thing. That said, the location of manufacturing tends to be rather flexible, and while BD could indeed have a company such as Blizzard or Hagan or whomever “make” their skis, where that “make” actually happens can be somewhere without as much compliance. My take? Drive 1 mile less a week to compensate for any pollution the making of your skis entails, and don’t worry about it.
      Lou

    29. See January 17th, 2016 11:01 pm

      Sure thing like VW’s compliance to environmental regs?

    30. Lou Dawson 2 January 17th, 2016 11:15 pm

      Cynicism aside, in my opinion EU is NOT known for particularly strong pollution controls on automobiles. But they’re pretty strict about their factories from what I understand and have observed first hand. As for cheating on environmental regs, it probably happens a lot, all over the world, due to the economics of incentives and human nature.

    31. See January 17th, 2016 11:25 pm

      Is there any reason to believe that BD’s claims of operating in an environmentally responsible fashion are not true? Sorry, but assuming that cheating is the norm seems pretty cynical to me.

    32. See January 18th, 2016 6:54 am

      Blizzard definitely makes some excellent skis. And I don’t doubt that European manufacturing is generally more environmentally friendly (and expensive) than Chinese. But for BD to make the investment in developing a line of pretty decent skis and building a factory to produce them, only to go back to outsourcing production a few years later makes me wonder what’s going on.

    33. Jeremy C January 18th, 2016 9:23 am

      Didn’t DPS switch manufacturing from the US to China and back again? Maybe not quite the same scale as BD, but I suspect that was for quality rather than pollution reasons though.

    34. RyanG January 18th, 2016 11:09 am

      Hey all, thanks for the conversation, I am the ski Category Director for Black Diamond Equipment. I thought I would chime in and offer a true explanation of decisions being made when it comes to both skis and manufacturing.

      Environmental standards – This is not my expertise I leave this to Peter M. but I will say. BD still stands for everything it ever has when it comes to environmental protection and standards. The move to EU over China was not due to environmental concerns at all. Yes, China my have standards that are more lax than most other countries, but please keep in mind that the majority of companies that are managing their own factories in China, or the factories that are 100% Chinese owned, each have their own sets of standards; these are typically way beyond what is required by the country.

      Manufacturing – Black Diamond is in a massive process of moving all ski manufacturing to Austria, and all climbing equipment back to the USA. To confirm, We have closed our factory in China. The reasons behind this are numerous, I will speak towards the ski line since I was one of the decision makers for this move. Originally we moved ski production to China because it was the only feasible option for us to open our own ski factory. As an engineering based company we wanted full control of the product leaving the factory as well as the factory and its working conditions as well. The best solution at the time was to do it ourselves. We put the correct feet on the ground and in the factory. Unfortunately, in the long run this was not enough, we were not satisfied with our overall quality and we had challenges stacked on top of challenges when it came to sourcing and delivering the highest end materials (all of which come from Europe and the US) to China.
      Two years ago we had a team visit every ski manufacturer in both the US and Europe to find a partner that would allow us to design and control the process of our own skis. This partner had to meet our qualifications on quality, qty, graphic capabilities, enviromental concerns, price..etc.. We have now found that partner and we are building the best skis to come from BD in a long long time. The entire Boundary line and Helio line are currently coming from this factory and the Links will move over shortly.

      If you have not been on a BD ski in awhile- its probably time to have another look!

      The Helio Series – To speak to a few concerns I hear about the loss of the carbon converts. Please understand that the Carbon convert is the #1 selling ski for BD. I will not take a chance at screwing that up! The Helio 105 – is generally speaking, the carbon convert. We have made a few slight changes – the tip splay and construction but overall as ChrisL mentioned above this is an improved version of the Carbon Convert. This ski will have better overall performance, It will ski damper than its predecessor, and a more durable construction overall without sacrificing weight. Most importantly this ski is made in Austria!
      The Helio skis are all focused on building the highest performing carbon skis on the market. These skis do not skimp in any way – from the highest end pre preg carbon, to ABS sidewalls, and 4000 series bases. Yes, we could build a lighter version. Yes, we have built a lighter version. But knowing this blog and the discussions associated leaning towards a 1kilo ski, we have made a decision to focus on ski-ability and performance over weight (Obviously its still going to stay super light, but only to a point). We’ve skied the 1-2 kilo skis, One great aspect of our job as a design team is that we get the ability to ski everything. We were not satisfied with the performance or overall experience that these ultralight skis provided. If you are an individual who is looking for weight over general ski-ability then the Ski Mo category is probably going to be a better fit for you. Our customers want a ski that skis great while providing a tool that will hold up the the harshest conditions you can throw at it, yet still rip on the days you have to take it inbounds.

      The Black Vipec – I personally have 28 days on the new Black Vipec this season – not counting test days last season. This binding is a significant improvement over the white vipecs. But I will let Bob finalize his review and opinion before I chime in too much on this topic.

      Feel free to rip me on paragraph length, punctuation, run on sentences – I’m a skier, not a writer!

      Thanks all,
      Ryan

    35. Lisa Dawson January 18th, 2016 11:34 am

      Hi Ryan,
      Thanks for the info. Hearing from the industry insider is much appreciated!

    36. Witold January 18th, 2016 12:46 pm

      Hi Ryan,
      This type of communication will probably win some new customers for BD!
      Witold

    37. Lou Dawson 2 January 18th, 2016 1:09 pm

      Excellent Ryan, thanks!

    38. Mike January 18th, 2016 1:11 pm

      RyanG – thanks for chiming in. When do you expect BD will have the Vipec black up? Seems strange to still have the old versions posted for sale when the new is a significant improvement.

    39. RyanG January 18th, 2016 3:01 pm

      When I am able I will chime in, glad this helped.

      @Mike the Black Vipec should be available at retailers in the next day or so, and will be available online soon.
      Why are we still going to sell the white binding? – The white Vipec is still a great binding. Yes, the step in is tough, and some environments have an icing issue with the heal piece. But overall this binding out skis most on the market, and is still the safest option when looking at tech; besides the Black version of this same binding. Keep in mind, we sell thousands of these bindings a year, the only issues the white binding has are inconvenience related. If a user can now find the white Vipec at a discounted price, and they are okay with a few of the inconvenient nuances of the white binding, and not concerned with TUV certification; I feel like people will continue to buy and it still has a place.

    40. Mike January 18th, 2016 9:08 pm

      Ryan – is the white version certified by the TUV? When do you expect BD will have them for sale directly?

    41. Dorian Alexanderson January 20th, 2016 7:22 pm

      @RyanG

      Do you foresee opportunities coming down the pipeline in support of BD manufacturing?
      Currently a manufacturing analyst in another industry— curious about the possibility of transitioning to outdoor tech.

      -Dorian

      dorianalexanderson@gmail.com

    42. Jonny January 21st, 2016 1:54 am

      Any info when the new crampons will be available for Europe?

    43. Dan F February 1st, 2016 8:06 pm

      Somewhere last year I read that the new Vipec iteration might address the problem of the heel carriages sliding / unscrewing backwards on their own while under the pressure of steep climbing (which I have experienced, with dismay) I believe there was mention of a beefier screw mechanism and/or some sort of internal keeper / friction device. Anyone know if such things materialized? It’s the one major gripe I still have about my first-edition Vipecs.

    44. Jim Milstein February 1st, 2016 11:00 pm

      Dan F, are you using the brakes? Otherwise, I can’t think how the heel carriage adjustment could change.

      Even so, I still have a hard time thinking how climbing steeply could get a worm screw at the heel to back off. When climbing the boot heel goes up and down, not fore or aft, and there is no obvious way for it to impart a backwards force on the heel pad. I mention the brake since it’s spring loaded. Springs do strange and wonderful things. Hope springs eternal, for example.

      I have done a lot of steep climbing with the v2 without seeing that problem.

    45. Willis Richardson February 10th, 2016 5:31 pm

      I was interested to know the dimensions on the other two skis, Helio 95 and 88 but can’t find any information not even from BD.

    46. VT skier February 11th, 2016 3:20 pm

      I believe the store you mentioned, which will carry the Helio 105, is Gear-X, ( or Gear Exchange).
      They have the Helio 105 in stock now. I hefted a pair today, both the 175 and 185. They look nicely finished, with a made in Austria logo on the tail.

      They were selling for the same price as this years Carbon Convert

    47. Lou Dawson 2 February 11th, 2016 5:59 pm

      Dan, it seems to never end (groan), I’ll check on that but I’m pretty sure it’s totally fixed. Lou

    48. Bruce March 18th, 2016 6:24 pm

      Black version toe piece icing problems… Anybody else having this issue??
      2 out of 10 times used so far this season in a wide range of conditions I encountered the inability to lock the lever into “step-in mode”. Pushing the lever opens the jaws far enough to step-in but only if you hold the lever down while stepping in since it will not lock open the jaws. First time it happened after several hours of running laps in freezing/above freezing temps in 1 binding only. Problem not resolved until I got home. 2nd time same spring conditions with opposite binding having the problem. Interesting to note leaving the ski in the sun while taking a short break was enough to melt whatever internal ice was causing the problem. In both cases I brushed away any excess snow so my assumption is the freezing was internal….sking again tomorrow in Tahoe backcountry in spring conditions and will update this post if it happens again….

    49. Jim Milstein March 18th, 2016 9:25 pm

      I’ve experienced sticking once in a while with the latest Vipec, but operating the toe jaws a few times has always restored function. Until now I hadn’t considered it possibly to be a real problem.

    50. Bruce March 20th, 2016 8:46 am

      Jim, thanks for the input. Skied yesterday and no problems whatsoever … overall I very happy. Have been skiing Fritschi bar type for over 10 years so this is my first pin binding.





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  • 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.

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