Fritschi Tecton Ski Touring Binding — Mounted and Tested


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 20, 2017      

Shop for Tecton

Tecton on Black Diamond Route 95.

Our test rig. Tecton on Black Diamond Route 95.

Mounting Tecton seems easy at first, but get ready for a test of your mental cognition as you assemble the brake with the heel unit. This will definitely be worth a special blog post for the DIY crowd, though shop employees who get a few practice sessions under their mitts should have no problem.

The brake comes in three parts you have to puzzle together. I’d reverse the assembly right now for a video, but it’s so technical I’m afraid doing so could result in a situation like that first time I tried to rebuild my Jeep transfer case (result involved cardboard box, no more shall be said). I need to ski these things, not fiddle with pieces and parts.

(Upgrade note: I actually did swap my Tectons to a pair of planks that were hosting Vipecs, so I’ve got some experience. Tecton toe unit uses same hole pattern as Vipec or Vipec-Evo (indeed, it’s probably the same though we’re not entirely sure). Heel plate appears to be the same as that of the Vipec, but powers-that-be told me not to use the Vipec plate but to remove it and install the plate that came with Tecton. The Tecton plate I used had a different screw pattern than Vipec (same width but longer), so I drilled a new set of heel holes. I have not gotten clear on whether I have a demo plate and the regular Tecton plate uses same screw pattern as Vipec, or if you’ll always need new holes. When I clarify this I’ll update here and our Tecton FAQ.)

Fritschi Tecton lived for a while here at WildSnow HQ. He was sad to leave.

All hail, Tecton.

Setting Tecton forward pressure is confusing as well. Doing so involves first getting a rough boot length adjustment that allows the boot to snap in. You then set the adjustment screw so it’s flush with the housing. I wasn’t totally happy with that, so I suspended the ski to simulate flexing in a turn, and observed forward-back action of the heel unit as well as how the boot snapped down during step-in. A few half-turns of length adjustment got me satisfied.

No reason to get redundant. Below is the video we made last winter showing mode changes etcetera. Still does the job. Note how the binding is easily moved from downhill to touring mode, with the boot heel snapping the brake pad down. That’ll of course be sensitive to ice buildup. As always, I have to wonder if hardcore tour skiers might often be better off just running Tecton without the brake.

Out of the box weight: with 100 mm brake and screws, 678 grams. What’s that mean? Compare to another major brand “freeride” tech binding with brake but without the alpine-like heel, at 642 grams. Only 36 grams (1.3 ounces) for that impressive Tecton heel unit? That’s some mighty high-level engineering.

And, ta da, I whipped up a Tecton mounting template for you DIYers out there in radio land.

On to the testing:
I got out on the Tecton a number of times. As expected, they have that “heel hold” feel one comes to ask of a hybrid tech binding without rotating heel unit. I’m not sure this improves my skiing one iota, but it nonetheless couldn’t be bad (and of course eliminates a possible mode of accidental release). Major lateral travel at the toe (same as Vipec Evo) is beautiful. Combine that with the tricky tricky hidden nibs that insert in the boot heel tech fitting, as well as alpine-like heel clamp, and you have a binding that’s probably about as resistant to accidental release as anything else out there; alpine or touring.

First thing you notice with Tecton, in the field, is switching the modes and heel lifters seems way too complicated. At least at first. But after you fool around a bit, motivated by your wife jogging up the hill ahead of you, you’ll get it down.

Flipping the heel lifters requires the “personalized” methods most other bindings require. That is, you might have a ski pole with grip that does well, or perhaps a pole basket that’s just right, or perhaps you’re just fit and flexible enough to reach down and use your hand. Nothing new here.

As with all most recent of the Vipec binding persuasion, step-in at the toe is much improved though still slightly fiddly. You get used to it, and yes Virginia if you’re skiing sections of flat terrain totally inappropriate for a freeride binding you can switch modes between downhill and uphill (and reverse) without removing your boot from the binding.

How about the down? I’m still here with shoulders and skull intact after skiing at “normal” release values, so I suppose I didn’t pre-release. That type of reliability is what I expected. Beyond that, what’s to say? I’ll repeat, they skied solid; felt like an alpine binding.

Loaning the Tectons to a strong aggressive skier seemed like a good idea. You know, second opinion and all that… So I sent them out the door with Pete. His report:

“At first blush, Tecton appears rather finicky in appearance as well as in how they switch between modes (especially after dealing with simple tech bindings for so long). Messing with them on the bench at the WildSnow studio, I was thinking I’d never get these guys figured out but, like many things, once I was left to cognate on my own, it all came together quickly.

They uphilled nicely. Getting my toe in and secured was can-do-it-in-the-dark simple, and the big label WALK on the toe piece mechanism left me knowing I was very clearly locked and good-to-go.

Getting the heel piece in proper uphill position was rather easy, but wearing gloves while doing this might be advised as things do go “snap.” Managing heel lifters was easily done with a ski pole when pushing them out of the way to flatten my stance, but deploying the lifters with a ski pole required a dexterity I do not possess so I bent my over-worked body and deployed them manually (which without a glove on proved easy but if you’re wearing a mitten or heavy winter glove might prove not so pleasant).

Switching the Tecton to ski mode was easy, but as a rookie I had to pay special attention to the heel piece and remember it works like a standard alpine binding. That took all of two seconds. Stepping in was simple, skiing down felt very secure (set at DIN 7 lateral, 8 vertical) but never once did I think, as I cruised down pretty nice but at times chopping blue square corn at Snowmass, that I was at any risk of releasing.

I think for a side country or ski area binding Tecton will work well. They are clearly heavy, and complex compared to your basic tech binding (though weight competitive with the more complex “freeride touring” bindings). A lot to be pushing around the backcountry. As Lou alludes to above, you’ll have to decide if the downhill performance and possible additional safety of a Tecton is worth the significant weight penalty over basic tech bindings. Mainly, for the downhill skiing part of the equation they are very fine.”

Conclusion:
So far so good. Tecton delivers on the down, could be the holy grail of a tech binding that equals or surpasses an alpine binding in elastic travel, along with providing lateral release at the toe instead of heel. Brake concerns me not only because it’s tough to assemble during mount but because it seems a bit efforted in how it integrates with the uphill-downhill mode changes. That’ll be another blog post. For those of you who like to run without ski brakes, we’re assuming Fritschi will provide a stomp block. If not, the brake can probably be “trimmed.”

Tecton brake has a plastic prong (left arrow) that integrates with a cam (right arrow).

Tecton brake has a plastic prong (left arrow) that integrates with a cam (right arrow). This works with other pieces and parts to configure the brake for uphill or downhill modes. The brake stowage system seems like too much complexity and effort. If it truly works, through situations such as icing, dirt or heavy abuse, then shut my mouth. Otherwise, we’re hoping Fritschi will provide a no-brake option.

Tecton ski touring binding FAQ.

Tecton first look in our studio last winter.

Hanging out with Fritschi at ISPO Munich.

Shop for Tecton

Tecton ski brake installation.

Tecton growing pains.



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Comments

146 Responses to “Fritschi Tecton Ski Touring Binding — Mounted and Tested”

  1. Jim April 21st, 2017 2:43 pm

    thanks, subscribed

  2. Ryan April 24th, 2017 5:11 pm

    Those heel lifters seem to be the only real negative. I wonder if they can improve that.

    Big question…when/where can we purchase?

  3. Paul Lohnes May 5th, 2017 4:30 am

    Somewhat related. I have seen posts that the Scarpa F1 is not compatible with Vipec TUV. Unclear where the issues is? Can you say whether it is compatible with TUV, EVO, or Tecton.

    Thanks

  4. Lou Dawson 2 May 5th, 2017 8:07 am

    First and most important, the compatibility issue is simply this: For a full release of the ski from your boot, when the release is of the upward-vertical type, when your boot heel releases up from the binding heel, the boot toe box needs to impact the binding toe lever in such a way as to open it. Otherwise you have a situation where your ski is released at the heel but flopping around still held by the binding toe attached to your boot’s tech fittings.

    The Vipec 1 and Black are tuned for this by changing spacers clipped to the toe lever. I’ve tested them in the shop and could do this no problem (but you’d better be sure your ski shop tech does it, as it’s very easy to forget since the binding will appear to work fine without). The bench test is easy, just simulate an upward-vertical release, bring the boot heel up to the point where the boot toe impacts the binding toe, and see if the boot comes out fairly easily or appears to take excessive force.

    Vipec Evo and Tecton do not have the spacer clip but instead have a permanent bumper that the boot toe box is supposed to impact. This is shaped so most boots work fine with it, again easily testing on the bench. I’ve tested this as well and found that most boots work fine, including F1, but that _some_ boots in certain sizes might have a toe box that does not impact the bumper in such a way as to open the binding.

    For examples, I’ve got all sorts of test boots here. A size 26 TLT5 works fine, Arcteryx works fine, but Dynafit TLT7 does not.

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time fooling around with this and I’ll do more research.

    BTW, the “official” word I got back from Fritschi some time ago said that the bench test is the most important part of this. That makes sense, how could anyone ever test every boot brand, model and size in existence, with one binding? Indeed, we make assumptions about compatibility all the time, but in the end, before the boot/binding combo leaves the workbench, that’s when we find out if it really works or not.

    P.S., I suppose that specifically to the Tecton, the boot has to have room for the alpine-like heel unit to close correctly as well as the special shaped heel cup to interact with the boot heel tech fittings. I’ve not been aware of any issues with that, but can assume most certainly that the Tronic version of F1, sold in Europe, would NOT be compatible due to the Tronic system possibly blocking interaction of the heel cup with the tech fitting.

  5. Pau Lohnes May 5th, 2017 10:25 am

    Great stuff Lou..thanks.

  6. Pau Lohnes May 5th, 2017 11:06 am

    Lou, here is a loaded question. If it was your money, would you buy the Black TUV (good prices right now), or wait for one of the two new bindings coming out? Seems the EVO would be a safe bet, but always leery of Gen 1 (Tecton) especially considering the recent past of this Fritschi binding.

  7. Lou Dawson 2 May 5th, 2017 12:38 pm

    Me, specifically? And my job wasn’t trying new stuff? I’d never buy a first-year tech binding. The overall history in the industry is scandalous. Lou

  8. Pau Lohnes May 5th, 2017 12:42 pm

    Thanks

  9. Gustav May 27th, 2017 4:10 pm

    Could you let someone who has din set to 12 vertical and 10-11 lateral try them? din set to 8 has never worked for me.

  10. Lou Dawson 2 May 30th, 2017 1:00 pm

    Hi Gustav, I’ll be having more aggressive skiers test, but it’s a gradual progression. We don’t want anyone skiing out of test bindings when they’re going mach 10 and need those kinds of settings. May I ask what bindings you have had success with so far? Thanks, Lou

  11. Orhun Kantarci June 11th, 2017 10:50 am

    First of all thank you for the reviews. Very helpful. Wondering about three points. 1) atomic backland carbon (mine) and scarpa gea (boss) compatibility. 2) fore aft adjustment amount for different boot soles. 3) does the mounting pattern by chance match voelkl bmt. I am planning for a new set of 108 range skis next season and trying to see if these would be an option. I am suspecting of course many new generation issues will be there and hopefully sorted by the time I get to it.

  12. Andrew Garcia July 7th, 2017 3:25 pm

    Following these as possible upgrade for Market TourF12 mounted to DPS W99’s. Skis are intended as non East Coast one ski quiver, so will get a lot of resort and side country use as well as a few days of real touring.

  13. Ben September 20th, 2017 1:03 pm

    Pete writes about the “significant weight penalty over basic tech bindings”, but according to the BD site these are only 70 grams heavier than the Vipec Evos.

  14. Jim September 20th, 2017 10:46 pm

    Just checking in to see if there is any new info on if the Techton will be the same mounting pattern as the Vipec (black)? Thanks!

  15. Greg September 21st, 2017 2:27 pm

    I have a new pair of these sitting on my workbench that I’m going to mount up to some K2 Annex 108s in the next few weeks. Any tips or quirky things I need to be aware of when aligning and mounting the heel-pieces? I was planning on using the same method as a Kingpin mount.

    Cheers!

  16. Daniel September 25th, 2017 9:10 am

    Obviously the heel Of the tecton and evo are very different, but do they still feel the same or similar? I am curious as to how much better the heel hold actually is over the pins? Having never used to vipec, it appears the fixed heel would still have a superior power transfer compared to traditional tech bindings. Being that I want to upgrade to these new safety features fritschi has developed, I just wonder if going with a 4th gen product (evo) over a first gen heel (tecton) is the best bet, especially if they ski the same? Also seems like the evo might be easier to use in the field as far as risers, transition, etc.
    thanks!

  17. Greg September 25th, 2017 11:07 am

    So I did a few test mounts on some junk skis over the weekend. There really wasn’t anything funky to deal with. The brake assembly was interesting although nothing complicated. Clicking into the heel-piece felt very solid and smooth going in. The transitions (on carpet at least) were pretty easy once I did it a few times. I’m wondering though about what a little ice will do to some of the openings in the tight tolerances moving parts.

    I’m also a little leary of having a 1st gen heel-piece on my rig, but I don’t see anything that makes me feel sketched about using them. Time will tell.

  18. Lou Dawson 2 September 25th, 2017 11:52 am

    Excellent Greg, keep us informed on how it goes for you.

    I thought the brake assembly was indeed “interesting.”

    https://www.wildsnow.com/22447/fritschi-tecton-brake-remove-install/

  19. Greg September 25th, 2017 9:48 pm

    Forward pressure on heel-piece: In going back over my weekend practice mounts tonight, it’s become clear that setting forward pressure on the heel-piece is not as intuitive as an alpine binding. Maybe because of the “power rail” protrusions on the heel cup. I got the heel-pieces very close to where I think they need to be (with heel of boot barely touching heel-piece in the “open, ready to click in” position, and then after clicking in to “ski” position I do final adjustment via the worm-drive screw until it’s flush with back of heel-piece. There is a gap of about 1-2mm between heel-piece cup and where the edge of heel sole on boot goes from flat to the vertical portion on the shell. Does that make sense? There is no slop in the fit, but I have to wonder if I have in fact set it up correctly. What happened to the good old days when manufacturers included this setup info in the box? Nowadays you get an IKEA picture of stepping into the binding and a disclaimer….

  20. Greg September 25th, 2017 10:07 pm

    Lou, I just re-read your article on this page and caught the info on the forward pressure. Um, looks like I am following in your footsteps RE my experience as well. Sorry for not catching that first time around.

  21. Patrick September 29th, 2017 2:46 am

    Are these compatible with the atomic backland boots? Kingpins are not, I would like to try a pair of alpine like heal tech bindings with my boots!

  22. Doug September 30th, 2017 11:46 am

    Greg, I’m curious about the heel piece in uphill mode, and whether or not the vertical orientation of the heel interferes with engaging the lifters with a ski pole. It all looks very straight up and down to me and that getting a ski pole tip in there could be problematic. Does the heel piece actually adjust downward so that you don’t need to position it in a vertical manner?

    Also, and to Lou’s point early on last spring, buying a binding the first season out is a well-chronicled risk. I was badly burned by doing so with the first generation Vipec while on the Haute Route in 2015…the documented issues with getting into toe pieces were ridiculous and I sore I would never use a Fritschi product again.

    But…here I am, seriously thinking of ignoring my instincts and Lou’s advice. The novel heel retention cups and safety release features are a significant upgrade that has me thinking I might purchase this binding over the Marker Kingpin, which I replaced the old Vipec’s with and performs exceedingly well on the down.

    Am I foolish to consider purchasing the Vipec Tecton in year one? Appreciate in advance your thoughts…

  23. Lou Dawson 2 September 30th, 2017 1:03 pm

    Patrick, the Vipec might be compatible if you install the “DIN” adapter on the Backlands. I just bench tested, and the boot is clearly not compatible with Vipec in stock configuration. Not enough heel shelf. The boot does “fit” in the binding, but it’s pretty obvious that as the boot heel moves upwards, taking advantage of the vertical elasticity of the binding, it could pop out. There you are. Lou

  24. Greg September 30th, 2017 3:46 pm

    Doug,

    A few things before I answer your questions (based on carpet usage of the binder lol):

    1) I would never pay pay full retail for anything. I got these at less than 50% of retail and that’s all I’m gonna say.
    2) I’ve been on rail binders the past 8 years (Freeride Pros last 4) with only limited exposure to pin bindings which was last year for a total of 3 short days (Vipec Black). I charge hard and the need for dh retention and ability to drive burly boards is a main factor for me.
    3) I’ll be 51 in Dec and #2 isn’t as important as it used to be :-). My old ass craves a lighter setup so that have the energy to actually charge going down.
    4) I’m a mechanical engineer and anal-retentive about release safety because my knees have been to hell and back.

    On to the good stuff:
    –> In uphill mode, the heel-piece does need to be in completely in the vertical (ascent) mode for two reasons: 1) It gives full clearance of the boot heel to binding and allows the 2 pivot risers to be moved into the correct position under boot heel. 2) It enables the mechanism by which the brake locks into climb mode when the brake pressure plate is depressed.

    –> The risers(which are metal BTW) have wings on them which allows the use of a ski pole basket to move them up and down. It’s not hard, but it does take getting used to. Take that with a grain of salt as I’ve only played with this on carpet. Getting snow, ice in there may be a potential problem, but…

    –> I think I figured out the forward pressure setting issue, but it I’m not giddy about it: The screw on the worm-drive, which sets forward pressure and should be flush with the back of the heel-piece, seems to have a hug range of motion where it it almost or at the flush mark. My solution: I adjusted the screw until it was inside the heel-piece, then back it out flush. I then ejected the boot manually and clicked in again noticing the screw was not flush. I repeatedly ejected and adjusted until the screw was consistently flush with the end of the heel-piece. This done with DIN set at 6. A quick carpet release test proved a smooth release, but I may this check by a local shop before I hit my first tour on them.

    From a mechanical/failure point of view, the following risks came to mind:
    1) Plastic. Almost everything is plastic, but Fritschi has some damn good plastic. Most noticeable out of the box would be the rail mount for the heel-piece.
    2) Brake interface with heel-piece: Innovative, but not overthought or overly complicated (just “different”). Possibly too much part-on-part friction to overcome for 100% reliability, but my carpet tests showed no issues.
    3) The “rail” nubs molded into the heel-piece/boot interface: Great idea, but we have plastic in an area of lateral and twisting stress on the heel component. Here we are back to Fritschi’s expertise in plastic which has proven to be quite good, in fact excellent as long as you get a good batch of plastic.

    If I was going to wait (too late now) to buy these, it would simply be to see how they handle variable snow and temperature conditions, but most reviews to date are favorable.

    Greg

  25. Greg September 30th, 2017 3:50 pm

    Sorry for all the typos in my last post. Sitting at airport after several ales and mind wandering aimlessly thinking of upcoming season. 🙂

  26. Lou Dawson 2 September 30th, 2017 4:02 pm

    All ok Greg, nice comment, when I have time I’ll fix it up for you! Lou

  27. Don October 2nd, 2017 3:06 pm

    Asked a couple of questions regarding Tecton compatabilty of Black Diamond and here the response:

    “Thanks for reaching out to us regarding our New Tecton bindings. The Dynafit Vulcan boots are compatible with the Tecton binding. The hole pattern for the Tecton will be the same as the previous Vipec and we do offer a demo plate for the heel for the Tecton bindings.”

  28. Lou Dawson 2 October 2nd, 2017 6:22 pm

    Good info from the source Don, thanks.

  29. Greg October 3rd, 2017 2:05 pm

    FYI, I’m using Scarpa Freedom SL boots with my setup. They fit the Tectons just fine.

  30. klinkekule October 13th, 2017 4:04 pm

    (double post from the 2017 pick thread, but thought to update it here as well) Having just gotten my new tectons i have yet to use them, but oh my, the new front binding is some much better than the vipec blacks that it is frankly just pathetic. All of a sudden i need to get som more new bindings – having seem how much better the new, evo front facilitates vertival frontal release i have no choice but to do so. And yes, the new front works wonderfully with both Dynafit Beasts and Arcteryx Procline, much much better than Vipec Blacks for frontal vertical release.

  31. Dave October 22nd, 2017 3:36 pm

    Has anyone heard that the advertised brake widths are much wider than the actual brake widths out of the box?

    In one of the reviews I read of the Tectons they stated that given a 120 mm ski, you could easily use the advertised 110 mm brakes with no bending or home made engineering required. They even said they called Black Diamond and the rep confirmed that the advertised brake widths were overstated.

    Can anyone confirm this?

    Thanks!

  32. Jeff October 22nd, 2017 9:10 pm

    The Tecton brakes seem to be the same (i.e., interchangeable with) the Vipec brakes. If that’s correct, my experience is that the brakes have been much, much narrower than labeled, such that you need to size up. There is some discussion of this on one of the Wildsnow Vipec threads.

  33. Jake October 23rd, 2017 11:01 pm

    Hey Lou – and team.

    I just bought a pair of these bad boys and am real excited. I’ll be using them to tour – amazing, I know – however I’m a bit nervous to really push these with some larger airs. I’ll certainly be doing so…but I’m nervous. Now I’m not going to be on the Free-ride World Tour, but I do get after it on 20-30 footers. Should I just not even go there, or will the these fellas get the job done?

    Best,

    JB

  34. Lou Dawson 2 October 24th, 2017 5:56 am

    Hi Jake, I’m as confident as I can be in a first-year product, meaning I’m pretty confident. Just progress your goals gradually. If you’ve had problems staying in alpine binding heels, for example, due to blowing out to the side when you land an air, you are back to using an alpine-like heel with Tecton, so pay attention to what seems to occur. The “power cup” of the Tecton that interacts with the boot heel tech fittings is an amazing concept, about which I’m very optimistic, but it’s all just theory until 500 guys like you are landing 30 footers.

    One thing that gives me confidence is a principle developer of Tecton, at Fritschi, is a former World Cup racer who’s fit and strong, and has not patience with bindings that don’t support hard skiing. Optimistic!

    All that said, remember this is still a ski touring binding that’s built to be lightweight and user friendly for the uphill as well as the downhill.

    Lou

  35. See October 24th, 2017 8:10 pm

    I know I sound like a broken record (and I listen to a walkman), but how are those 500 guys dropping 30 footers going to get the word out to the masses re. their bindings retention/release characteristics? Who’s collecting and reporting that data?

  36. Frame October 25th, 2017 7:31 am

    Instragram

  37. G October 25th, 2017 10:16 am

    “I know I sound like a broken record (and I listen to a walkman), but how are those 500 guys dropping 30 footers going to get the word out to the masses re. their bindings retention/release characteristics? Who’s collecting and reporting that data?”

    TGR forum will likely have the best info moving forward once these start getting downhill time logged.

  38. See October 25th, 2017 1:12 pm

    Thanks Frame and G. I’m told Instagram is more than just people sharing selfies and pictures of what they had for breakfast. Maybe I should check it out. I used to read stuff on TGR but decided the +/- ratio wasn’t worth it to me. While I obviously know very little about either one, I still wonder if they qualify as generally reliable sources, (although individual users undoubtably are). I guess I’m skeptical about with the way we consume “information” these days. The truth is out there, as the saying goes, but it’s often buried in an avalanche of bs.

  39. See October 25th, 2017 6:54 pm

    Also, modern communication is notoriously “siloed”— people within a group share with each other but that content doesn’t spread to other groups or a more general audience. So if you guy’s who are plugged into the freeride network care to share lessons learned with people like me (I get most of my internet sourced alpine information here) that would be much appreciated.

  40. Frame October 26th, 2017 8:37 am

    Tongue firmly in cheek with my Instagram comment. On review, I can’t even spell the word right. I’m not on Instagram… TGR is to much for me too.

  41. G October 26th, 2017 12:51 pm

    I’m typically just a lurker/info-gatherer when I’m on TGR, but I’ll make it a point to drop any Tecton news here. You might catch me dropping 10-15 footers in perfect conditions, but my body is too beat up to just huck wherever/wnenever anymore.

  42. Bruno Schull October 27th, 2017 2:09 am

    Hi. I have two Vipec Evo questions.

    1) Is the entry, or the general operation, of the toe, significantly easier than the last generation (Viper Black)?

    2) What is the purpose of the prominent black ribber block at the toe? is this to prevent the toe of the boot from hitting the lever in walk mode? Is this to help the toe of the boot engage forward release? is this to help guide the boot during entry?

    OK, thanks,

    Bruno

  43. Jakob October 27th, 2017 5:59 am

    Hi, Anyone know how the plastic “inserts” on the heel piece fit Dynafit Beast boot’s wider inserts?

    Jakob

  44. Lou Dawson 2 October 27th, 2017 6:11 am

    Hi Bruno, it’s easier but not significantly easier, in my opinion, but that’s by my own definition of “significantly.” The black PLASTIC block on the toe is clever, in downhill mode it is simply there to create the correct geometry between your boot toe and the binding, so you get a complete forward release during vertical release, among other things. In uphill mode, when you lock the toe lever doing so disengages the “black block” so you disable the forward release mode, thus staying in the binding while touring even if you bump the toe lever with your boot. Again, very clever and quite complex, in what appears to be a good way. Overall, both Tecton and Evo are pretty amazing in terms of mechanical engineering. Whether the complexity is a benefit or not remains to the retail market test to be decided. I like both bindings myself, but they’re unnecessarily heavy for my style of ski touring, though they work fine when I use them, in terms of function. As I’ve alluded to numerous times now, Tecton could be a game changer for skiers wanting a binding that really does perform as an alpine binding as well as a touring binding. REALITY CHECK: But keep in mind that most alpine bindings are essentially thirty year old or older (40? 50?) technology based on an archaic (IMHO) ISO-DIN standard that for example does little or nothing to address the scourge of knee injuries. Lou

  45. Lou Dawson 2 October 27th, 2017 6:15 am

    Jakob, I’m not sure what you exactly mean, but if you’re asking if the Tecton heel will fit the “horseshoe” Beast insert configuration, I’ve examined on workbench and it appears ok, but each case is different so be sure you do extensive bench testing with your exact boot-binding combo before making assumptions. Lou

  46. See October 27th, 2017 8:44 am

    Thanks, G. Anecdotal information is better than no information (unless it’s faked/manipulated).

  47. See October 27th, 2017 8:57 am

    Re. the guys dropping 50 footers: that data (if it existed) would be useful for evaluating retention for top level skiers but, problem is, they mostly don’t fall much. Their observations may not be very helpful regarding release function for lower level skiers.

  48. Lou Dawson 2 October 27th, 2017 10:10 am

    IMHO, the forces put on a binding when landing after going ballistic are somewhat of a measure of binding durability and retention, fall or no fall, but generally not very applicable to “normal” skiing. Bindings are indeed built for such use. They’re called World Cup downhill racing bindings combined with CAST swap plate system. Lou

  49. G October 27th, 2017 1:48 pm

    I have some feedback on the brake width from my own experience. This is for the new Tectons only. BTW, my other posts are under “Greg”. Call me lazy or whatever for shortening it to “G”.

    When I first purchased my Tectons, I went with the 120mm brake because I was undecided on which skis I was going to mount. One set has 108mm waist and the other 123mm. I figured if I went with the 108mm that who cares if there’s 6mm of overhang on each side. To make a long story short, the 120mm brakes were massively wide. I don’t have the measurement, but when I laid them on top of the 108mm waist skis I was like “dayyyumm”.

    I exchanged the whole binding kit for one with the 110mm brakes and although they are less wide, they are still huge. The brake arms have the usual segment of arm that is perpendicular to the length of the skis and the measurement from one side to the other is indeed 110mm, but then there are 2 bends in the arms instead of the usual 1 bend. The first bend is about 60 degrees and kicks the width out another 6-7mm on each side followed by a 30 degree bend that puts the arms parallel to the skis. When the brakes are in the deployed position I measure the widest width at 125mm.

    So, yes, the brakes on the Tectons run about 15mm wider than their stated width. I don’t have ready access to Vipecs, this years or last, to compare.

    Hope this helps someone.

  50. G October 27th, 2017 2:51 pm

    We have to rely on people’s opinions and questionable feedback quite often when liability for injury comes into play. You’re not going to see the manufacturer do a scientific study published saying their binders are good for 50 foot hucks.

    Most feedback we will see is going to be basic issues with wear and breakage during “normal” (as Lou put it) use. Skiing uphill and the toe-piece keeps popping open, or going down in chunder and the heel consistently prereleases.

    I always end up with my binders set 2-3 clicks higher than what a DIN chart would recommend as do most skiers that frequent this website or TGR for example. That adds another dimension of questionability to any feedback that is out there.

  51. Doug October 27th, 2017 4:13 pm

    Great posts, most useful and informative, as usual…From my reading here, as well as from checking out Martin Volken’s video review detailing his 40 days of use on the Tecton, it appears the Tecton launch has a coin flip’s chance of defying past AT binding history…we’ll see. I’m inclined to wait a season but just can’t resist kicking tires here a bit more.

    My question – and this keys on those folks here who are considering hucking cliffs on these things – is whether or not there is an alpine binding precedent that uses as much plastic as the Tecton? In other words, in the 40 to 50 years of alpine binding history that Lou notes, has anyone used this much plastic before in a binding that can handle true alpine conditions?

    I finally had a look at the Tecton in person, having visited White Pine Touring here in Park City, UT. The toe seems to engage far and away better than the first iteration Vipec, and the weight of the binding is much more favorable than the Kingpin. The heel piece, while novel in that it engages with the tech fittings, utilizes just a bunch of plastic. It seems aggressive pole activation over a season would inflict serious damage to the heel piece, which makes me question whether or not other alpine bindings have had success with this type of engineering and these types of materials. Appreciate in advance any historical reference anyone has to offer…

  52. Lou Dawson 2 October 27th, 2017 8:31 pm

    Um, reality check, roughly as many metal tech binding parts have failed over the years as have plastic.. perhaps even more, what’s this big thing about plastic? Delrin for example is incredibly strong.

  53. Doug October 27th, 2017 9:47 pm

    Thanks…what I am curious about is whether alpine binding companies have used plastic – Delrin or otherwise – to the same degree that Fritschi has with the Tecton. If that is the case – and I’m still not clear it is – it would speak well to Tecton’s prospects…

  54. Jeff October 27th, 2017 10:49 pm

    More on brakes…I lined up a Vipec Black 120 brake and a Tecton 120 brake. The latter is significantly wider

  55. Lou Dawson 2 October 28th, 2017 5:24 am

    Doug, alpine bindings use plenty of plastic. As to “degree” what do you mean, percentage of total weight? Surface area? Actual number of plastic parts? Or just a general vague impression one gets from perhaps going to a ski shop and looking at alpine bindings? Moving away from that, I’d like to again state that the amount of plastic vs metal in a ski binding is no measure of durability. In the 30+ year history of tech bindings, for example, both metal and plastic parts have failed, plenty of times. Durability is about engineering the correct materials choices for a given task, as well as being sure the industrialization process doesn’t mess up a perfectly good design by introducing inferior materials, be they metal or plastic. For example, one of the more critical failures of tech bindings, in several brands, was the bind heel pins breaking. They were metal. When manufactured the otherwise strong steel became brittle. This had nothing to do with plastic. Lou

  56. Lou Dawson 2 October 28th, 2017 5:30 am

    G, all posters on TGR most certainly set their bindings on 11, but most people here go to 10.5 which is way more precise (smile). Lou

  57. G October 28th, 2017 7:38 am

    Attaboy Lou.

    All things considered, I find these topics interesting, but at the end of the day as long as I’ve made it back to my truck in one piece with a smile on my face, I’m good to go. 🙂

  58. G October 28th, 2017 8:25 am

    You know what I’m saying though. If you’re hitting high consequence lines, your binders are likely maxxed.

  59. See October 28th, 2017 10:47 am

    G wrote “You’re not going to see the manufacturer do a scientific study published saying their binders are good for 50 foot hucks.” I agree, but that doesn’t mean someone else can’t do it. Also, I’m not as interested in how well a given binding handles such extreme maneuvers (although that’s important). I’m more interested in information regarding how they deal with the uses and conditions most users will encounter. In my opinion, it’s unfortunate that we are often left with “opinions and questionable feedback” when choosing bindings and making other important decisions. (And regarding metal vs. plastic, I’m reminded of this https://www.wildsnow.com/4371/dynafit-breakage-ft-to/)

  60. G October 28th, 2017 11:40 am

    See,

    Yeah, I hear ya. I also think the main discussion should still be how will these handle the norm as they are, or at least the heel-piece, is a new model. As a busted up old man that really just enjoys the process of getting out, good extreme performance will only be a bonus

    If gear wasn’t so damn expensive it would be easier to grab the new stuff and go into guinea pig mode to try it out for oneself, so understandably we gather in forums to discuss before pulling the trigger. Of course, some of us have better access than others to deals on certain items.

  61. Jakob October 30th, 2017 2:58 am

    Hi Lou, Thanks for testing!

    I was talking about the “tricky tricky hidden nibs that insert in the boot heel tech fitting” and how they fit with the new “Master Step heel” in this article:
    https://www.wildsnow.com/23108/dynafit-tech-boot-inserts-part-2/

    Jakob

  62. Lou Dawson 2 October 30th, 2017 6:39 am

    Jakob, in terms of fitting the Tecton, Master Step boot heel tech fitting is the exact same shape as any other tech fitting, the changes in configuration are how it attaches to the boot, and how thick it is. That said, all ski touring boot binding combinations need to be carefully evaluated and bench tested. There is no over arching set of standards you can depend on, as with alpine boots/bindings. Lou

  63. ph October 31st, 2017 3:49 pm

    Hello,
    Does anyone know if a 1st gen La Sportiva Spectre boot is compatible with the Tecton?
    The boot (some significant rocker, sole is not flat!) works with the 1st gen Vipec (considering space between the sole and toe binding).
    However I see with the 2nd gen black Vipec and this boot there is no space between the sole and the toe binding, impacting smooth lateral release. Although some sole material could be grinded away to make space…
    Wondering if the fit has changed with the Tecton.
    Thanks!

  64. Lou Dawson 2 November 1st, 2017 8:57 am

    Hi PH, I have both gens of Spectre here, 1st is stored away, but 2nd works fine. If all you’re concerned about is sole material clearance, just grind down a few mm. Test on bench while standing in the boot, as it will bend a bit and could press down into the binding under the sole. I’ll get my 1st gen and take a look. Moment. Lou

  65. Mark W November 1st, 2017 9:48 am

    More than 30 years ago bindings like the Salomon 747 had loads of Delrin, and I know people who bashed them mercilessly (freestyle moguls) without durability problems. I did, however, see one really high mileage Salomon 747 fail in a critical Delrin piece. So, like most materials in bindings, they’re mostly fine, but can fail infrequently. Similarly, I’ve seen metal parts fail in Dynafit bindings too. And let’s not forget that many bindings constructed with metal can fool the eye; the new Dynafit Radical 2 bindings have burly metal top plates on the heels, yet the screws that hold the bulk of the heel components together still screw into high-tech plastic.

  66. Lou Dawson 2 November 1st, 2017 9:55 am

    Thanks Mark, good points. One thing interesting about plastics used in ski boots and bindings is that they can fatigue when cyclically stressed. Little known fact is that a challenge in ski boot design is figuring out ways that allow the boot to flex, but not flex so much it eventually breaks. Most folks think that ski boot design is mostly about making a flex that skis well, in reality only part of the equation. The two things are clearly often conflictual.

  67. Lou Dawson 2 November 1st, 2017 9:58 am

    Come to think of it, those of you who have this aversion to plastic, perhaps you need some all metal ski boots (smile)?

  68. See November 1st, 2017 7:23 pm

    Or maybe fiberglass? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemount_Ski_Boots (And I’m probably just stating the obvious here, but metal also fatigues.)

  69. Jacques November 3rd, 2017 8:41 am

    Ramp angle? Couldn’t find it here or in the catch-all article.

    How durable will these be in say, in a heli basket with other skis banging around? Though we tend to cinch all the skis together before going into the basket here in Schweiz, scheiße happens…

  70. Lou Dawson 2 November 3rd, 2017 9:24 am

    Hi Jacques, I added Tecton and others.

    https://www.wildsnow.com/10733/get-up-rise-up-stand-up-for-your-ramp/

    In terms of durability, I don’t see any problems beyond any other binding… but consumer testing has commenced. I’m optimistic.

    Lou

  71. Paul J Lohnes November 8th, 2017 5:49 am

    Lou or others..related question on Vipec Binding, in this case the 12 Black. It looks like the Tecton may use the same toe, so others might be able to chime in or gain some benefit. I just had the 12 Black mounted and planned on using Scarpa F1 boots. I am having a real issue getting into the toe unit, and suspect it is a compatibility thing with the Scarpa boot. I realize tech toes are finicky, and have had no problem getting into Dynafit in the backcountry, but I am failing 8 out of 10 times on my living room carpet, so I know how that will translate in the wild. Not sure if there is a small boot mod that would put me in a better position to engage the pins. The other issue is the toe does not engage the binding on a full 90 degree plus rotation as it is supposed to. Diamir provides three different toe pieces with differing profiles, but none will release the toe in a full forward rotation. Not sure how critical that release is, but assume it is there for a reason. I really would like this setup to work as i have them mounted to Fisher hannibals, and the whole setup is light, but solid. Any advise appreciated.

  72. Lou Dawson 2 November 8th, 2017 7:05 am

    Hi Paul, first, note that the Tecton and Evo use the same toe, not the Vipec Black. As for your boot issue, sorry to be a buzzkill but it’s important to note that not all boots work with all tech bindings. There are currently no “official” standards that help with compatibility, as there are with alpine bindings, so it’s essentially a jungle out there for consumers — AND SOMETHING SKI SHOPS NEED TO HELP CONSUMERS WITH.

    If your boot choice will not open the binding toe after an upward heel release, a different boot (or binding) is mandatory. Otherwise you risk injuring yourself and-or destroying the binding toe. Imagine falling at high speed, having an upward heel release, but the ski remains attached to your boot toe, flailing around like some kind of medieval war weapon…

    Lou

  73. Paul J Lohnes November 8th, 2017 8:25 am

    Thanks Lou,

    I had seen differing reports on the Vipec Black with Scarpa F1 compatibility, so took the chance. I see why that front release is so important now! So sounds like Tecton and Evo have a new toe as compared to Vipec Black? If that is the case any real world testing with the F1? If not, I’ll likely go to the Kingpin, since i think the boot came with a specific tag mentioning Kingpin compatibility. The boots are too sweet to think of changing them. Thanks for the guidance.

  74. Alex November 10th, 2017 2:20 pm

    I skied Vipec Blacks with F1s last season. Toe entry is more difficult than with other boots due to the shortened toe welt on the F1. But you can hold the toe jaws open with your pole and get the toe situated, and have a successful entry. When I checked the forward release on the bench, it worked with one of the plastic tab sets provided by Fritschi. In short, IME, this combination can work. If not, check out the evo or tecton toe and see if its better.

  75. Paul J Lohnes November 10th, 2017 2:30 pm

    Alex, thanks.

    So I called the shop and they do have one more set of tabs at the shop..hopefully the one that engages the binding. I really hope it works, then I have the safety factor figured out..and need to determine if i can live with the fiddle factor. One other spec that did not seem to be met, and not sure how important..There is a video that shows the 4 specs that need to be met, that toe release being one of them. They do also show the need for 3mm of clearance between boot sole and binding. I have 1.75-2 mm. I assume that has to do with the ski flexing and if it is to close it won’t be able too? I figure I could grind a mm pretty easy if I had to but prefer not. Any thoughts on that clearance? Thanks

  76. Paul J Lohnes November 14th, 2017 4:35 am

    Lou,

    Thinking I may go the route of Tecton, as it appears they play much nicer with the Scarpa F1. From what I understand, the heel and toe mounting holes are the same as Vipec. Would you recommend using the same mounting holes (never skied the Vipec bindings) or moving some small amount to avoid overlap? Thanks

  77. Paul J Lohnes November 16th, 2017 9:43 am

    Lou,

    Was hoping you could comment. I think I saw somewhere that you said you could get the forward release to work with the Scarpa F1/Tecton combo. I was chatting online with a reputable outfitter that said they could not get a size 29 to release the Tecton toe. Maybe you were using a smaller boot? Any thoughts on that….Thanks

  78. Lou Dawson 2 November 16th, 2017 9:56 am

    Hi Paul, yeah, I was probably using a different size of boot. Main thing with this is pick a boot, do mandatory test before mounting bindings. This must be done by a reputable shop or outfitter who has access to different boots and a binding that’s mounted and ready to test. Lou

  79. Paul J Lohnes November 16th, 2017 11:42 am

    Lou, I have a dumb question..What i don’t understand is why the forward release is so critical on the Vipec/Tecton. Maybe I am naive, but when i look at a Kingpin or Radical binding, I don’t see a mechanism that would trigger the toe binding to release in a forward motion? Maybe i am missing something. Sorry for being a pain.

  80. Lou Dawson 2 November 16th, 2017 11:49 am

    Paul, with “classic” tech bindings, once the heel is free due to upward (forward) release, release from the toe is nearly a done deal once the boot hinges forward, though there is indeed some resistance and if the toe unit is locked all bets are off. With Fritschi the boot is locked in pretty well in alpine mode even without engaging the toe lock, so there needs to be a specific mechanism that allows the boot to come out after the heel comes up and out vertically, otherwise damage to binding or skier would result. Clear? I know this is super confusing, just the terminology leaves much to be desired. Most shoppers, I’m afraid, really have no idea about this factor of Vipec/Tecton and I suspect it confuses a few shop employees as well.

    Another way to look at it is the Fritschi has THREE release modes:
    1. Upward at the heel.
    2. Sideways at the toe
    3. Ejection from toe after upward heel release, triggered by boot toe impacting binding toe unit.

    Lou

  81. Paul J Lohnes November 16th, 2017 11:59 am

    Thanks Lou, I think i get it. So it sounds like the Kingpin and Radical are “less locked” at the toe in Alpine mode and thus no need for the type pf release mechanism found on the Vipec.

  82. Pete November 28th, 2017 2:12 pm

    Anyone have pros/cons on this new setup before I pull the trigger?

    Fritschi Vipec Evo 12
    Saloman MTN Explore boot, 26.5
    GPS Wailer Tour1 106, 178cm

    New to sport, expert / advanced skier, 164lbs, 5’8″, primarily for back country / touring and will not be intended for resort skiing.

  83. Lou Dawson 2 November 28th, 2017 4:27 pm

    I can’t see anything you would improve, that’s going to be Cadillac! Nice support for your skiing ability, and good to see you’re not trying to make it into a resort setup, though it’ll work at the resort. What skins? Lou

  84. Pete November 28th, 2017 4:57 pm

    Thanks Lou,
    Couple more questions if I may,
    Now thinking the Tecton 12 instead of the Vipec Evo, ok with this change? Your thoughts?

    Anything at all you would ask or advise? I am completely new to this sport, and tested my boots last weekend on a slope in the local pass. Very heavy, so not such a good test, i guess i felt the boots were for sure softer than my Atomic resort boots. But am an owner of the MTN Explore boots now.

  85. Pete November 28th, 2017 4:57 pm

    and what skins do you recommend? what Avi backpack, beacon?

  86. Pete November 28th, 2017 5:02 pm

    And what are you thoughts about the New 2018 Salomon MTN bindings, would you think to consider those in the running or?

  87. G December 4th, 2017 8:58 am

    Hit some groomers at Alta on Saturday with my new Tectons. They felt very composed with excellent responsiveness and feel at speed. Now we just need more snow so I can get some tours in. Very pleased with how they performed on the dh.

  88. pete December 4th, 2017 1:44 pm

    Good to hear “G”, looking forward to these. My new setup coming in include the Tour1 106 DPS, 185cm, the Tecton 12, and Salomon MTN Explore, excited to test this stuff out !

  89. Travis December 6th, 2017 4:13 pm

    Lou, what would you think of a Volkl 100eight, Tecton, Salomon Mtn Lab setup for both resort and backcountry? I also am posting to follow this blog as tectons start getting their real-world testing.

    @Pete, I too am very interested in the new Salomon bindings. Looking forward to hearing about those when you get a change Lou.

  90. PETE December 6th, 2017 6:02 pm

    I did the Salomon MTN boots(last year’s white model), and Tectonic bindings.
    I’ll post after my first experience of backcountry skiing on 17th.
    Still lots of fun stuff to buy, beacon, avy pack, etc. Any suggestions on any of the extras?

  91. Travis December 6th, 2017 6:17 pm

    @PETE there are so many good options out there these days. I have a BD airbag, Ortovox Kodiak shovel, and a Pieps sport beacon if that helps. You can find loads of good gear that folks are selling if you go to your local trip report forum. For me, in Seattle, that is the Turns all year website.

  92. PETE December 6th, 2017 6:44 pm

    thanks, I’ll check it out.

  93. Lou2 December 7th, 2017 5:24 am

    Indeed, the used backcountry ski gear market is robust! Nice to see, sign of a healthy sport, though it’s also caused by gear sometimes being problematic, especially bindings, and folks wanting to upgrade. Lou

  94. Rob December 8th, 2017 2:43 pm

    Hi Lou. Know of anyone running Tectons on the Volkl BMT109? Seems like a dream setup, but my understanding is the toe piece screw holes line up within the mount zone on the BMTs but the heal piece does not. TP said they are okay to mount them but it would void the warranty on the Volkls. Thanks. Rob

  95. Orhun Kantarci December 9th, 2017 8:20 am

    So did we resolve the break width issue? For 106 mm ski width is it 110 or 100 we need for break width?

  96. PETE December 9th, 2017 10:49 am

    110 brake on the Tecton 12.

  97. Swiss Hoser December 18th, 2017 2:28 am

    I took delivery of the Fritschi Tectons last week. Oh, and by the way, they came screwed to a pair of Voile Superchargers.
    The skis are 108mm underfoot and the shop (Telemark P.) installed 100mm brakes because they were out of the 110mm. They assured me the 100mm would work and they’re right.
    I’ve got 3 days on them now, and the Tectons work great after carefully setting up the forward pressure. They could use some more ramp for my liking.
    The Superchargers are beyond words.

  98. G December 19th, 2017 8:38 am

    Link to setting forward pressure (if I may, Lou?): https://youtu.be/I6WjFjvEKlE

  99. G December 19th, 2017 6:58 pm

    I posted that link from my phone and the sound wasnt working. Now that I have sound it appears that this process is still somewhat vague. Sorry guys. I have been turning the screw in until it is just inside the housing and then backing it out one full turn. Seems to give inside the max 1mm spacing and good release feel as well.

  100. Andrew Garcia December 22nd, 2017 5:20 pm

    Lou and others:

    I have a set of DPS W99 Pure3’s mounted with Marker Tour F12’s. Last year I changed boots to Tecnica Zero G’s so now have a proper tech sole. I have another dedicated setup for groomers / east coast skiing, so these skis are really primarily used for more side country oriented resort and backcountry in western NA and Europe.

    I am thinking seriously of remounting the skis with Tecton or Vipec EVO. Would welcome thoughts.

    Solomon Shift looks interesting, but while I am a good skier I am not a very aggressive skier and am not jumping off cliffs or anything. I feel like the additional weight and lack of a second heel lifter will make them less attractive.

    Does anyone know if the way the Marker Tour and Tecton plates are setup if it will cause a problem with the skis? They are still fairly new and have a lot of life in them.

    Also, is there any reason to do the Vipec instead of the Tecton? It feels the weight difference is minimal and the alpine heel adds a lot.

  101. Falco December 26th, 2017 2:36 am

    I´m curious if someone may help here.

    I know Vipec and Tecton share the same mount pattern and I also think the baseplate oft the Tecton ist the same as for the Vipec. Becaus it exactly looks the same. But does anybody know if they are actually the same?

    Reason is I´m thinking to upgrade from Vipec to Tecton and I´m trying to avoid to rescrew the baseplate. So I would like to place my Tecton Heel right on the already mounted Vipec Baseplate. Sure it works, but is it safe?

  102. Swiss Hoser December 26th, 2017 3:44 am

    My Vipec heel pieces are a very loose fit on their baseplates in all positions. They wobble around quite a bit and this has always bothered me.
    My Tectons however, are rock solid on their baseplates. Something to check when tinkering with these Fritschis.

  103. G December 27th, 2017 9:32 am

    Has anyone seen the threads elsewhere about the potential for the Tecton toe-piece (the nub that initiates a forward release) to dent the boot toe if a knee fall occurs while in walk mode? It appears most boot models may be compromised.

  104. Lou Dawson 2 December 27th, 2017 10:41 am

    Hi G, I’ve tested quite a few boots on bench, and pretty much all of them do impact the binding and could dent the boot toe in a knee fall with binding locked into touring mode. This is a necessary compromise as the boot toe is supposed to hit the binding in a forward release while in downhill mode, to fully release the boot from the binding. I would advise folks to consider this a compromise, rather than panic about it. If a boot does get dented it’s easy to repair with a bit of heat and pressing from the inside with a gloved hand. If a person falls often and feels that they might really damage their boots due to repeated impact, perhaps this isn’t the correct binding. As I’ve said a million times, not every binding is appropriate for every person. Lou

  105. G December 27th, 2017 2:53 pm

    Thanks, Lou. I have 4 days inbounds and 2 tours on my Tectons so far. I really like them and will continue to use them hard. If I get a dented toe then so be it, but the safety factor and downhill performance they provide for a tech binding outweighs any concerns I have. I have made much greater compromise on ski and bike gear over the years and this really seems like a big nothing for me.

  106. Lou Dawson 2 December 27th, 2017 3:04 pm

    Yeah, I think there was some very overwrought IAS “internet amplification syndrome” going on in a certain place. Damage to gear during falls is very real, so I’ll give it that, but nearly every binding out there has some kind of compromise. If nothing else, when you lock a classic tech binding toe and take a knee fall, the upwards force that can be placed on screws is enormous and has ripped no small number of bindings right off the skis, though the boot was not dented (smile).

    I’ll be the first to say, however, that I won’t be surprised to see Fritschi shape that toe block a little differently so it’s not quite so much of a “punch” to the boot toe. Though let’s all realize that if the boot toe did not give, we could be going back to the syndrome of screws pulling out of skis.

    Another thing: TECTON AND VIPEC-EVO TOUR QUITE WELL WITHOUT THE TOE LOCKED, without toe locked, no possible boot toe dent damage, problem solved.

    In mechanical engineering, every, EVERY, change has a consequence.

    And again, the dented toe is very easy to fix, though the results probably won’t look “factory” nor will the rock and hiking damage that was there as well (smile).

    Addendum: Hoping to join the IAS mob, we tested using a Pebax boot as to the “toe dent” issue. We buried the binding toe block into the boot toe 5 times, the boot plastic sprang back remarkably well each time, eventually leaving a small divot you could feel with your fingers but was not easily visible to the eye. I’d imagine Grilamid might not fare so well, but again, would be easy to repair with a little heat and a gloved hand inside the boot.

    And to emphasize, I did test Tecton last winter as to how it toured _without_ locking toe. I was very happy with using it in that mode, though a highly aggressive snap kickturn or, yes, a knee fall, would eject boot from binding.

    We have lots of test gear here, including boots and Tectons we can sacrifice to the cause, so if I feel inspired as to more IAS I’ll have some New Year’s Day fun and report back.

    Oh, and for those of you not tracking this, the issue is simple: Tecton doesn’t allow the boot and user’s leg to go as far forward in a “knee fall” as most other tech bindings. Forward motion of the boot is blocked by the Tecton binding impacting the boot toe. If the binding is locked, something has to give, either the boot toe is pressed in or the binding is pulled out of the ski, or perhaps not much happens. If the binding is unlocked, the boot will eject. No tech binding allows the boot to eject easily when the toe is locked, but again, most allow your knee and boot to go so far forward most people don’t experience any sort of issues with “knee falls” though such can yank the binding off the ski, and that’s been known to happen.

    I did more testing, and noticed it’s possible Fritschi could make slight changes and allow the boot to pivot forward a few more degrees, but inherent performance of Tecton makes this all quite difficult. Reason, the boot needs to impact the binding toe and open it up in a forward fall release while skiing downhill (since unlike most tech bindings, the toe doesn’t open up easily), so that same impaction happens while touring. Eliminate one, you eliminate the other.

    One other note, let’s remember that the Evo binding has the same toe unit as Tecton.

    Lou

  107. David January 3rd, 2018 5:04 am

    Only looked at the Tecton in pictures, but from what I can tell it looks like the LONG toe lever is pointing a bit upwards when in ski mode. No one else concerned of the possibility that the lever hitting a chunk of hard snow or a branch and ends up in walk mode while skiing?
    I read a Swedish test of the binding and exactly this happened to the tester on more than one occasion. Not a good situation if this happens considering the blocked release and the toe bumper…

  108. Ron January 7th, 2018 1:46 pm

    I just took a chance on these tecton’s & I’m on Van. Island BC. We get some higher temps with dense warm snow. I already broke three brakes because when I step down in touring mode it forces the snow into the brake system causing the little plastic nubs on the sides to break off & the brakes drop & won’t stay up.
    They worked well when temps were -5 C & below but not at -1 or higher.
    Also, the heels were set at 6.5 according to my weight & size. I tried them on my rug at home before I took them out. On the Mtn. they didn’t release when I wanted them to & I brought them home & put them on the rug & wound them back to 5 & they still didn’t release.
    Also, when in touring mode I recommend not locking the toe lever up if you think you might fall forward as that little nub will push the toe of your boot in so you will be taking them home to use a heat gun to pop them out again.
    If I could take the brakes of & use a leash I would but the brakes need to be installed for the heel set up.

  109. Ron January 7th, 2018 1:49 pm

    as per my observations above from Van. Island BC. I use Atomic Backland Carbon boots.

  110. Orhun January 9th, 2018 8:03 am

    Has anybody had a problem similar to Ron’s. Not releasing and breaking breaks etc. Just about to mount my tectons….

  111. Swiss Hoser January 9th, 2018 9:38 am

    Orhun,
    Have a look at this thread here on WS:
    https://www.wildsnow.com/23632/tecton-test-bindings-breakage/
    Cheers.

  112. Richard January 25th, 2018 8:00 am

    Is anyone running their Tectons without a brake? If so, what needs to be done other than removing the arms and adding a leash?

  113. G January 29th, 2018 9:27 am

    Update on my Tecton usage: I’ve got about 10 tours in now, mostly up Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch. I’ve been going up with the toe set in “ski” mode and haven’t encountered any issues even on fairly aggressive climbs. Retention setting as per DIN recommended, no more and no less. The brakes thus far have been fine, but because I’m aware of the potential breakage issue I’m probably subconsciously being extra caring when making transitions. No visible signs of forthcoming failure can be seen. I’ve been careful to knock snow and ice out of the nooks and crannies as well before locking in, but I’ve always been that way with my kit in the past. The down still continues to bring a huge smile with great retention and edge to edge power transfer. I’ve had several releases on the down both felt smooth and predictable akin to an alpine binder release. Release is an area I’d like to hear more feedback from others on since this binder is marketed as a “safer” alternative. Several wipe-outs on my end isn’t enough to make conclusions. I’m slow and patient on ascents (usually), but charge very hard on the down with some casual 5-12 ft drops here and there for those wondering what I’ve thrown at these so far.

  114. OuterSpaceHopper February 3rd, 2018 2:22 am

    My tectons didn’t come with a template sticker, I’ve downloaded Lou’s template(many thanks!) but how do I know how far apart the toe and heel mounts should be?
    It looks like the Diamir Template sticker has a boot sole length scale with arrows that should be lined up on the boot length and ski middle, but how do I determine this for Lou’s template?

    Thanks for any help and advice!

  115. Arnie February 3rd, 2018 5:47 am

    OuterSpaceHopper….
    This should get you underway steps are basically the same. I put wide masking tape on the top sheet so I can scrawl away and you don’t get distracted by any psttern on the ski. If you’ve not done it beford dry run on 2×4 or “dumpster” ski well worgh the effort!
    https://www.wildsnow.com/16524/do-it-yourself-mount-dynafit-tech-ski-bindings/

  116. Lou Dawson 2 February 3rd, 2018 8:01 am

    Thanks Arnie! Yeah, Spaceh, the WildSnow way of doing it is for folks who usually adjust their binding heel position to accomodate for the likelyhood of either a longer or shorter “alternate” boot using the ski/binding. To that end, you mount the toe first in position for your priority boot to match the desired position on ski, then with boot attached to toe unit, adjust the heel unit boot length setting a bit biased to longer or shorter, set the heel unit on the ski, in downhill mode and in contact with boot heel, to determine heel unit screw positions you then accurize using the template. If you don’t have a preference for either larger or smaller boots being used, just set the heel unit boot length adjustment to the middle of its range before you determine position. If you’ve not done many mounts, doing one on dumpster ski is MANDATORY.

    If you like having a template with boot length info, other websites began imitating us years ago and doing their own template versions, usually with boot length infos. You can google those up pretty easily. Lou

  117. Orhun February 9th, 2018 4:54 pm

    Ok so we finally mounted an skied the tectons two days in a row in resort conditions. Our plan was the 50:50 use. I guess this the first 50 report. Front range conditions are icy crud to about 2-4 inches powder on top today. The skies we had them mounted on are two Folsom Custom new for season Cash 105 skis. Mike from Folsom is an amazingly helpful guy. We tested the first demos and than changed things to fine tune our needs. Boots for me are blue Solomon s labs and for my wife new gea rs. The match is amazing. The bindings withe current ski boot setup work as good as our alpine bindings. The front realize is bench tested and works. For our weight and boot sizes the settings are at 6 for both of us. Hit lots of crud at relatively high speeds etc. Did not fall yet so no release test. However also no pre release issues so far. Before testing the other 50 of the skis suffice to say they work very well for resort conditions so far. Regarding the breaking of break platform we have been very gentle and there is bunch of silicon lubrication in there at this time.

  118. Lou 2 February 9th, 2018 7:19 pm

    Thanks Orhun, excellent testimony. Lou

  119. OuterSpaceHopper February 11th, 2018 1:09 pm

    Great info Arnie and Lou. This website really is the best resource out there!
    Thanks to you guys I now understand the heel position and will indeed slightly bias, as I think my next set of boots will

    be shorter(thinking Maestrales to replace Dalbello Virus Tour).
    I’ve now done several mounts on wood to practice, and they all come out lined up spot on.

    I’ve set each of the bindings correctly for our boots but have a couple more questions\concerns.
    1) My wife’s brand new Scarpa Gea’s (24.5M 288mm) don’t release as smooth as my Dalbello Virus Tours(26M 297mm). If I increasingly push sideways on the toe of my Virus boot, the toe carriage slides over and the pin arm flops over in one smooth movement.
    On my wife’s Scarpa Gea boot, the carriage slides but the rubber of the front of the boot sole snags on the small black triangle of plastic that pivots with the pin arm, the pin remains in the pin hole of the boot. Has anyone else seen this with other small boots. Anything we can do about it? Without twisting the boot, it takes quite a bit more force to go beyond the snag(i.e. to lay the pin arm flat, rather than just slightly open) , so seem like it could result in injury.

    2) With the Gea boots, the boot sole, plus a tiny part of the boot plastic is slightly in contact with the alloy pin arm. The instructions say to check for friction and contact at the toe. Has anybody else seen this with Gea boots? Is it a concern?

    3) there is play in the toe pins on the Gea that half to a full turn in (1turn = 0.5mm) on the pin adjustment screw eradicates, with the carriage return still with good return. Is this normal? I would have thought that the Tecton would be sold set up for a standard boot like the Gea.

    4)With my Virus Tour boots in the default adjustment screw position, the toe carriage didn’t return to centre, so I’ve had to screw out the pin adjustment screw 1.5 turns. Is this typical? 2 turns out with the screw returns the carriage slightly better, with only a tiny bit of play in the pin, but don’t like the look of the screw thread sticking out of the alloy pin arm, as the fine thread might get damaged. Is it normal to have to adjust the pin for Dalbello boots? Boot shop says that adjustment is never necessary, but that is kind of why I’m doing it myself!

    4) The rubber sole of the Virus Tour boot rubs on the metal trigger under the toe when lifting the heel up. The boot goes through the range of movement as the rubber compresses, but there is friction that will stop the ski pivoting freely. Is this just a case of sanding off the rubber until it moves freely?

    Thanks for any help!

  120. Lou Dawson 2 February 11th, 2018 3:49 pm

    Hopper, indeed, any rubber or boot parts that snag or cause friction need to be clearanced, or the setup is not viable. I one-edge razor or disk grinder are the tools. You indeed need to adjust pin width so the binding functions correctly.. Good job bench testing, not done enough and people wonder why they have problems. There is no real “standard” with all this. That’s why the binding has adjustments (smile). Lou

  121. Orhun February 11th, 2018 6:19 pm

    My wife has exact same size gea but the RS version. It clears when bench tested without a problem. The guys at REI Boulder who tested them both on an original wood board matching each binding to its corresponding boot and afterwards on the skies themselves confirmed the bench test release. While many boots have a problem they also said almost all boots with Dynafit certification and relatively flat front rocker worked well. In their experience of course. Now boot soles can be sanded down of course and I was ok with that to use the bindings. But we did not need it. Of course in a real fall we have not tested them yet.

  122. Orhun February 11th, 2018 8:11 pm

    Ok so I got curious and I checked back the boots. The plastic touches a little bit and fails the card sliding test a little bit as well. So I shaved about a mm from each boot around a cm2 area on the front corners corresponding to right in front of the pin holes. So now it passes the card sliding test and we carpet tested all four boots with matching skis. They released both before and after the shave similarly with no problem. The amount shaved is equal to walking on a rocky terrain for a day. I suspect this is all within tolerances. Hope this helps.

  123. Nat February 23rd, 2018 5:25 am

    I’ve got about 25 days on these now including 8 days of touring in deep snow and very cold temps in north and central Hokkaido. Hard use, long long days. They worked great for everything and I was quite happy with the results. I did break one of the wings off the ski brakes as discussed above and when that happens the brake won’t stay up in tour mode. I solved for this in the field and rest of the trip by using a trusty Voile strap to hold the brake up like you might if you were sharpening the skis. I just got the replacement pieces from my local shop. It certainly seems like a weak spot in the design and my recommendation is to not stamp down hard thinking you’re working with a sturdy metal part. I’m more careful putting up the brake. Now that I’m aware of the fragility and seeing that there are just these two little pieces that can be replaced and not the whole brake I’d just add a few of these to my parts bag I bring on trips. Everything in bindings is a compromise (weight, power, durability, etc) but, net/net I really like how these ski and tour and I’d most likely buy again to drive big wide skis (BD Helio 116 186cm).

  124. Jennie Stunt February 24th, 2018 5:31 am

    How do you mount a leash to the tecton?
    Retail websites seem to suggest that the leash cable should be mounted under the toes piece, but surely the thickness of the cable will distort the toes piece and bend it out of shape?
    Is anyone using a leash? Any ideas about where to clip it to the binding?

  125. Lou Dawson 2 February 24th, 2018 8:30 am

    There is a 2 millimeter groove slot that goes each of the two front screws, between binding and ski. You can fit a loop of 2 mm cable in this groove. I’m not sure if something is available from Fritschi for this via etailers, but the G3 cable loop that comes with their ski leash does the job, I just checked as I’m here in the Wildsnow lab studio office and have all these parts just feet away, so nice…

    I’m looking at Backcountry.com and the G3 catalogs, not sure what’s available at present, but I’ll bet you can figure out something that works.

    Contact your favorite etailers and see who has something. If you google “Leash For Vipec 12 Diamir Fritschi” you’ll find a few things out there…

    Lou

  126. Jim Milstein February 25th, 2018 7:37 pm

    For a Vipec leash I tied a piece of nylon cord with a loop through the leash around the toepiece lever at its “neck”. Symmetry is preserved; therefore, skis can go on either foot. To make sure that the cord does not come off, superglue the knot. The knot is on the underside of the lever, out of harm’s way. Still good after 160 days in the backcountry.

  127. Pat February 26th, 2018 11:58 pm

    I just got these and used them for a week of cold temps in Montana. Just like yours, the side of the brake retainer broke off of both bindings. Also, one of the ribs that engages the boot heel broke off. At one point, the (all plastic) worm screw disengaged and the heel piece slid off the base plate. I was able to reattach it and continue skiing. Not sure why that happened but something to watch out for.

    Also, sometimes when I step into the bindings in ski mode, the heel piece flips all the way up into walk mode (maybe from momentum?) and doesn’t lock the boot heel down.

    I loved the function until they started falling apart. The switching from walk mode to ski mode without bending over is awesome.

  128. Jeff February 27th, 2018 4:31 am

    Adding to the list of people who have broken the brake housing in cold temps. Pretty frustrating for a $650 pair of bindings!

  129. Jennie Stunt February 27th, 2018 5:04 am

    Thanks for the leash advice, I had not noticed the 2mm grove going around the front toe piece screw.

    I’ll find something around that size to clip a strap to.
    Garden strimmer cord looks about the right size if I can tie a knot it in, and might also form a weak link to allow for breakage under heavy loads.
    I’ll probably clip that to my old my old Freeride+ strap.

    Thanks again!

  130. Jennie Stunt February 27th, 2018 5:08 am

    Reliability does seem to be becoming an issue for Diamir bindings. I hope I didn’t plump for the wrong make with the Tectons.

    Here is another example from the UK broken toe levers and self lengthening heel adjustment plates(sounds like the same problem Pat has above). These are vipecs, but the toe lever and heel adjustment plate are similar aren’t they?

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/qu113dc/permalink/939684869523302/?sale_post_id=939684869523302

  131. Jennie Stunt February 27th, 2018 5:19 am

    Here is a better link to the same, but with a comment from another person with the same problem.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/371892739934801/permalink/406331656490909/?sale_post_id=406331656490909

  132. Lou 2 February 27th, 2018 7:21 am

    Jennie, I appreciate your comments but readers should be aware that that Facebook post shows early 1st generation Vipecs that indeed have some troubles, Latest Vipec and the Evo seem to be doing pretty well. Tecton is having some first gen hiccups but is working for most users. All said, we still recommend NOT purchasing or using any first-year tech binding. The history of such is abysmal, when you consider your life depends on it… Lou

  133. Julia March 3rd, 2018 1:03 pm

    The piece of plastic that holds the heel piece and brake in place is cracked.

  134. Swiss Hoser March 3rd, 2018 11:46 pm

    Hi Julia, please have a look at this article:
    https://www.wildsnow.com/23632/tecton-test-bindings-breakage/
    It describes broken heel plates. To be clear, is this what you cracked?

  135. Julia March 4th, 2018 9:31 am

    Yes that’s exactly it. I didn’t see that article when I did my first search. I sent Lou a picture. I am not a big aggressive person either and did not slam my heel to engage the walk mode.

    Such a bummer!

  136. Lou Dawson 2 March 4th, 2018 10:41 am

    The binding brake is clearly flawed, in my ever so humble opinion. I’m certain that next year’s iteration of the binding brakes will have an in-line change in that area, at the least a thicker plastic. Lou

  137. Jennie Stunt March 7th, 2018 8:36 am

    Does anyone know if the vipec 12 shop jig or template can be used to mount a tecton? Absolutely no shops round here have a tecton template to mount my bindings. They have a vipec jig but are nervous about using that in case it turns out wrong!

    I had a look and the screw hole placements look the same, but perhaps the boot length scale on the vipec jig is off for mounting a tecton.

    Do you think it is safe to try with a bit of careful measuring of lenght position for the heel unit?

    Appriciate what you say about first generation bindings Lou, fingers crossed for when i get to try them out!

  138. mike April 26th, 2018 10:50 pm

    I have a pair of these Tecton 12 bindings mounted on some powder touring skis. I had only skied the resort 3 times on them, until yesterday when I did my first tour on them. I really like the bindings in general and love the low weight, and downhill performance, but yesterday I had a problem with one of the bindings not wanting to rotate up into walk mode. I had already done a short lap at the local ski hill, and was getting ready to climb up again for another lap. I kept trying to rotate it up vertical, but it would just not lock in. The conditions were very warm, with 4 to 6 inches of slushy spring snow. I got frustrated and walked over to my car, where I let the skis sit in the sun for a bit, then tried them again, and they seemed to work OK, but the one binding heel doesn’t seem to lock in to climb mode with a positive click like the other one. I am wondering If it is damaged. Is it necessary to hold the brake down while lifting the heel to walk mode?
    I read on your other thread about lubricating the heel with silicone, which is the first I had heard about this. I bought the bindings from a local shop, and had them mounted there. I would hope that if it is necessary to lubricate the bindings that the shop would have told me that is the case.
    I’m wondering if there is a recall on these bindings? Seems pretty crappy to pay $650 for a pair of bindings and then have them fail on the first tour?
    I bought them under the impression that they had been tested in a wide variety of conditions?
    Thanks for any advice, Mike in Seattle

  139. PETE April 27th, 2018 11:31 am

    I have found these to be finicky, maybe some snow blocking the full upright position of the heel piece? If the heel is not totally vertical in walk mode, then the heel is too far forward resulting in a rub(& click noise) on the back of the boot each time you take a step. This bothered me until the shop mentioned that the heel piece has to be totally vertical. I have not been out since though. Grease should not come into play that much for a binding to work, unless rusted out, not your case.

  140. mike April 27th, 2018 4:49 pm

    Hi Pete,
    Thanks for your reply. I do assume that my situation was caused by snow intruding into the heel and then packing in so that the heel would not lift in to the full vertical position. I have sprayed both bindings with silicone lube, so I am hoping that this will help.
    I went back and found my paperwork that I received when I bought these bindings, and I see that the shop marked the bindings as FAILING all of the release functions, even though they marked PASS for boot / binding compatibility?? Does this seem normal? I plan to call them and ask them about these issues.
    I’m hoping that Fritschi will recall the heels on these and I will get new ones with improved materials, etc..
    Thanks again, Mike in Seattle

  141. Pete April 27th, 2018 5:04 pm

    Odd, not sure what that means, FAILING. Wondering why the shop would have installed if this was the case. Shame on them, holes drilled. I’d go straight to Fritsche and get the regional rep involved for your satisfaction. He/she will get that shop “in play” to resolve with another, or refund, if you want to go another direction. My pals have the Dynafit, and have been happy–Dynafit set the standard.

    I just happened to like the extra strength of the heel clamping down like the resort ski (although maybe I’m off on this assumption). The two pins always seemed to strike me as not enough hold.

    Let me know how it gets handled.

  142. mike April 27th, 2018 9:40 pm

    Yes, I think it is odd that the bindings would fail to pass the release tests.
    I will contact the local Fritschi rep to see where they come down on all of this.
    I have skied on Dynafit bindings for years, (well made and light) and they are fine to a point, I have released from them a few times when it did not seem not warranted mostly while aggressive skiing either on icy chattering conditions or doing jump turns in deep heavy snow. I just don’t think Dynafits are a good choice for resort / side country skiing, mostly because of the conditions at resorts where you will sometimes need to ski moguls, and cut up chunder in order to get back where the snow is untracked, (that is where Dynafits really work well, in smoothe flowing turns) unless you turn up the DIN setting. I also had a pair of Marker Kingpins that pre released on me when it seemed like they should not have, so yeah, there is no perfect touring binding I guess. I had high hopes for these Tecton12’s. I have friends who have skied for years on Fritschi Freerides with not much problems.
    I will definitely let you know what I find out.
    Thanks again, Mike

  143. Alex R September 12th, 2018 7:26 am

    I already wondered with the Kingpin and again here what would be the pros/cons between such bindings and a Marker Tour for tours up to say 1200 vertical meters and lift powered use – without jumps or similar.

    What speaks for the Tecton beside the few hundred grams?
    Are the safety or the feeling downhill any better?

    I was quite seriuosly considering to get some Line SD 104 on sale and get them mounted with Tectons, but I´ll better wait one more season/iteration..

  144. Pete September 12th, 2018 8:02 am

    I have to say that my Tecton and DPS have been rock solid with factory Din settings set up by the shop. Never have pre released, they feel solid under resort and front country so far. I’ve been skiing for 45 years and BC for just one…more to follow.

  145. Lou Dawson 2 September 12th, 2018 8:15 am

    Alex, the pros/cons are mostly that any “tech” binding is much more efficient on the uphill than any “frame” binding such as Marker Tour, Fritschi Freeride etc. On the downhill, frame bindings can be more similar to an alpine binding, but some of that can be an illusion as how a frame binding binding truly performs in downhill mode has a lot to do with the boot.

    A big thing here is that how a binding/boot system *looks* can be very different from how it functions, on your feet, uphill or down. Bench testing is the first step in getting the the real story.

    Lou

  146. Alex R September 12th, 2018 1:27 pm

    Lou,

    thanks for your reply.
    What you wrote is correct, but we are talking of 2 specific and defined bindings here, not of generic pin/frame bindings.
    As far as relevant in my case the boots are Salomon MTN Lab and Tecnica Cochise Pro – not the current one, but the previous one.
    Thanks in advance for any input.





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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.

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