Salomon SHIFT Ski Binding is Nix Optimus Prime


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 8, 2017      
SHIFT in downhill mode.

SHIFT in downhill mode. Annotated images based on Salomon PR shots by Ann Bailly, as well as WildSnow studio photos. Click images to enlarge.

We are blown away by the retail-ready version of Salomon’s SHIFT hybrid ski touring/alpine binding. Clever is an understatement. Example of world class mechanical engineering might do it justice. (Note, this will also be sold as Atomic Shift MNC13 Binding).

This contender for snow hero of the Transformer movie franchise will downhill ski with any DIN standard ski boot (those with a “normal” toe and heel shape), tech fittings or NO tech fittings! To enable touring mode, SHIFT hides a set of tech binding toe pins you enable with the flip of a what I have to call the “power switch,” these accept any tech fitting equipped boot.

In other words, this ski touring capable binding doubles as a full-on alpine binding, one that doesn’t require a ski touring boot. And on the chance you do want to tour, use a boot with tech binding toe sockets and get the best of both worlds.

But more. What rocks my world is not only the stealth pins buried in the toe unit, but the entire rig, with screws, comes in at an astoundingly low mass of 865 grams (30.5 ounces). That’s with max release “DIN” value 13, ski brake, and touring capability. Amazing, considering this is an alpine binding that’s said to be entirely suitable for resort skiing as well as harsh “freeride” style use where binding retention and durability are paramount.

User operation of the SHIFT could be said to be slightly more complex than a tech binding, as the heel lifters and tour mode switch on the toe or not intuitive. But practice for five minutes on the carpet and you’re ready for nix (that’s snow in Latin).

Is this the holy grail of an alpine binding that tours as well as a classic tech binding? Perhaps. As a few bindings on the market currently do, I like the idea of utilizing the boot toe pin/fitting system as an integral part of going both uphill and down while providing side release at the toe; SHIFT takes the opposite approach in getting the toe pins out of the way and converting to a conventional alpine binding. Will that have legs? Looking good to me, check out photos. Optimus Prime move over, there’s another Transformer in town.

Shift in downhill mode, ready for boot entry.

Shift in downhill mode, ready for boot entry. A true transformer, any touring capability is entirely hidden. If ski touring was illegal, this would be the key to poaching. Got your concealed carry permit, boy?

Toe in downhill mode, showing how the transformer pins hide.

Toe in downhill mode, showing how the transformer pins hide. Power transform switch is the blue part between the red arrows.

SHIFT in touring mode showing boot pivot, heel in low rise position.

SHIFT in touring mode showing boot pivot, heel in low rise (foot flat on ski) position. One riser height increase is available, a ‘medium’ left similar to that of most other touring bindings. There is no high rise lifter, we’ll leave that up to the aftermarket.

In downhill mode it's an alpine binding that accepts three different boot standards.

In downhill mode it’s an alpine binding that accepts three different boot standards: alpine, touring, and WTR. As far as I can tell the only boots you can’t use in the SHIFT are junior type alpine boots, and touring boots with one-of-a-kind sole shapes.

SHIFT, brake detail.

SHIFT, brake detail.

Downhill mode, from the top you can see the transformed pins.

Downhill mode, from the top you can see the transformed pins.

Data from Salomon-Atomic for Salomon SHIFT MNC 13
Stand Height Heel ——— 29 mm (we’ll eventually do a better take on ramp, but it appears to be minimal)
Stand Height Toe ———- from Touring to Alpine (min – max) : 20 mm and 28 mm
Weight Total ————– 886 gr per foot with screw (865 gr per foot without screw)
Weight Toe —————- 446 gr per foot with screw
Weight Heel ————— with 90 mm brake: 440 gr per foot with screw
Weight Heel without Brake – 300 gr per foot with screw

Official press release follows, lightly edited, condensed, with commentary in ((double quotes))

Salomon S/LAB SHIFT MNC Binding Launches New Generation of Backcountry Skiing Capability
ANNECY, FRANCE(Dec. 8, 2017)

— Seven years in the making, in close collaboration with some of the best freeskiers on the planet ((Always makes me laugh, as if we all need DIN 146, but then I’ll acknowledge that bindings should be tested hard, and Salomon’s team can most certainly take care of that little detail.)), Salomon unveils the S/LAB SHIFT MNC binding for the 2018/2019 season.

The S/LAB SHIFT binding ushers in a new generation of backcountry skiing capability by delivering downhill performance combined with lightweight touring proficiency like never before ((could very well be true, or, at least the former about downhill, though I wouldn’t call this weight “touring proficiency”)). The S/LAB SHIFT MNCis the first-ever binding to utilize the touring efficiency of a free–heel pin binding for ascending, and the power transmission of a standard alpine binding for descending. With just the shift of a lever, the toe piece transforms from a classic alpine binding to a tech toe with pins.

On the uphill, the pins enable the skier to move efficiently by placing the rotation point close to the metatarsal of the foot ((did I not read that somewhere before?)) and offering a 90-degree range of motion. On the downhill, the toe piece offers one of the highest ((side lateral)) elasticity levels of any traditional alpine binding on the market ((true, and excellent)).

‘…Salomon’s binding team has finally solved the puzzle of combining uphill capability with true alpine performance.” The S/LAB SHIFT utilizes a combination of carbon-infused PA, steel and aluminum to deliver a strong and reliable, yet lightweight construction. The S/LAB SHIFT weighs 865 grams per binding including screws, creating a massive strength-to-weight ratio with a DIN setting that ranges from 6 to 13 ((indeed TUV certified so they can use the term “DIN”)).

With the use of an adjustable toe pedal ((new terminology for me!)), the SHIFT is Multi Norm Certified (MNC), permitting compatibility with all adult norm boots, from traditional alpine boots to touring boots. …According to Solene Chappaz, the global product line manager for alpine bindings, the athlete-driven design process has yielded a product that has been tested to the limits.

“Our global athlete team is demanding. There has been a large level of feedback and many tweaks from the team during the development process,” Chappaz says.“Having such an excellent endorsement from our athletes will have a huge impact on the success in the marketplace.” The S/LAB SHIFT will be available from Salomon dealers beginning in September 2018.

For more information visit the Salomon Shift mini site, OR, check out the Atomic Shift MNC13 version.

Atomic and Salomon Shift ski touring freeride binding.

Atomic and Salomon Shift ski touring freeride binding.



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Comments

98 Responses to “Salomon SHIFT Ski Binding is Nix Optimus Prime”

  1. Dan December 7th, 2017 11:40 pm

    Sounded great till I saw the weight – 1.73kg for the pair. I’ll stick with my ATKs.

  2. J.D. December 8th, 2017 1:34 am

    Dan: WORD!

  3. Matus December 8th, 2017 1:52 am

    I do not want or need such a binding. But Salomon used Cody’s hypnotic eyes to make me buying it asap!

  4. Rar0 December 8th, 2017 2:05 am

    I’m not really sure of the target market for such a binding, but it’s a nice proof of concept !

    If I take two pairs of shoes on a trip then I can take two pairs of skis as well. If not then either lightweight shoes with touring skis or freeride shoes with a frame binding.

    If this binding is reliable it may replace traditional frame bindings but this is a long shot.

  5. Pascal December 8th, 2017 3:27 am

    As nearly always, Lou spreads the information before anyone else. Thank you for this new proof of your trueinterest in our favorite sport.

    Interesting system, a quiver of one, for alpine and touring.
    Adressing the free riders wanting to search for lines a little further than now possible with heavy gear. And wanting to use several shoes when going on ressort or on tour.

    It reminds me of this project, which follows the same principles.
    http://www.bavarianalpinemanifest.com/en/home

    I am interested to know how the other binding brands are going to react about the patents involved. A mix of Trab TR 12, Fritschi Vipec or Tecton, Marker Kingpin and alpine binding. I heard (again Wildsnow.com) Marker Kingpin had issues with patents.

    For whom it may concern, it sports TÜV, accepts all shoes and is not so light that tourers would be interested in having ATK, Plum or light touring bindings replaced.

    A new era for free riders?

  6. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2017 6:19 am

    Hi Pascal, actually I did wait to publish per what the PR folks wanted, before WildSnow first information available, first was a public email blast I got from Atomic PR, and the Salomon and Atomic mini sites were published around 12:00 am EST USA, so that’s who I followed as timing leaders.

    These are the corporate sites that went live last evening, around midnight EST, they’re worth checking out: Salomon Shift mini site, OR, check out the Atomic Shift MNC13 version.

    Re patents: I’ve had some insider hints that nearly anyone developing a touring binding these days has to at least negotiate and pay a few patent licensing fees, or else plan on later legal maneuvers. So yes, with SHIFT I’d imagine that is so.

    As for weight, in my opinion this is a very clearly defined product. It’s obviously not for all ski tourers and in fact is out of the weight class we usually tout here at WildSnow. But this is obviously an amazing product that solves a very real problem for a certain demographic: “I want an alpine binding that tours!”

    One interesting thing. Dynafit is coming out with Hoji boot, clearly trending to the freeride side of the equation. But it’s got a toe shape (shark nose) that won’t work with this binding. I find that to be disappointing on behalf of those who might enjoy that combination. Plenty of other boot choices out there, however.

    Overall very fun to watch.

    Lou

  7. Eric steig December 8th, 2017 7:11 am

    This seems out of date already, what with the advent of tech compatible boots that ski like alpine boots (Salomon Mtn, Atomic Hawx, etc).

  8. See December 8th, 2017 7:22 am

    !

  9. Rob Stokes December 8th, 2017 7:35 am

    Eric, those boots are EXACTLY why this binding is so important and up to date. A few years ago boots were the weak link in the touring chain.

    Now we are getting boots such as your listed above, which tour well and ski almost like an alpine boot, bindings that have the safety and feel of alpine bindings while touring fairly efficiently and fat skis that are damp and stable at under 2000g per ski.

    Obviously it’s not for everyone, but a set up as I listed above is truly pushing the sport forward with backcountry ski lines being skied in a style that has not been possible before.

    What a time to be skiing in.

  10. Rikard December 8th, 2017 7:51 am

    Do we know if you can ski downhill with the pins as well? If you take boots like the Atomic Backlands for instance. Those are not compatible with DIN or WTR but will they be compatible with Shift?

  11. Frame December 8th, 2017 7:54 am

    For those who pose the weight of binding issue, some of us travel to ski, planes may be involved, kids may be in tow. Taking one set of ski’s, boots, bindings (as opposed to a quiver) is appealing. Bully for you if it’s too heavy, you are catered for.

    Eric, good point, will watch how this and Tecton get through a season or two. I’ve got Dyna Titan’s, so hidden pins not necessary, but my knees might like them once we see how they pre-release.

    Great times for crossover alpine / touring skiers. Bravo binding manufacturers.

    Just to confirm, boot out of binding to change from walk to downhill?

  12. GMD December 8th, 2017 7:54 am

    Would anyone know what the split weights of the Shift binding? Toe, Heel, Brake (Removable) separately.

  13. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2017 8:06 am

    Frame, of course boot out of binding. Think it through. When your’e in either mode, you are using the pins or you are not, thus, you have to take your boot out and reconfigure the toe, then re-enter. Really, for 99% of the skiers out there, changing modes on the fly is a non issue, I’m glad Salomon didn’t bother with the complexity involved in trying to make this possible. Likewise, they have a much simpler brake retraction system, it basically works the same as the MTN binding and is not part of the heel unit other than being located near it. Very smart. Mess with what’s important, not fiddling around. Refreshing. Lou

  14. Aaron Mattix December 8th, 2017 8:40 am

    As a “hot laps” / mellow tours / part-time lift-served skier, these look like just the sort of bindings I’d like to have on my next set of skis.

    This binding, and the Tecton, seem to mirror the trend in mountain biking towards “enduro” oriented bikes that have decent uphill capability, and nearly on par with full-race downhill bikes in descending chops. There was even the awkward in-between phase labeled “freeride” of heavy, clunky, bombproof bikes that you could sort of pedal uphill on (frame bindings, anyone?), but were largely oriented to huck-to-flat landings, and precarious fabricated wooden stunts. As the North Shore fad of the late 90’s faded, riders discovered landings with a transition were much more pleasant, bikes no longer had to be built to Soviet tank standards, and gained back a measure of uphill efficiency.

    The rise of enduro has capitalized on mimicking what the weekend warrior does for fun: A moderately paced ride to the top, followed by a spirited descent, with the occasional weekend of lift-served riding at the resort. The development of the SHIFT, and Tecton bindings indicate a similar trajectory for skiing. Instead of having to choose between a gram-counting, Lycra-wrapped Europhile, granola-munching freeheeler, or saggy-steezy park rat, the option of simply taking a pleasant walk through the woods, and being able to enjoy the descent without worrying about the limitations of your equipment is becoming a more viable option.

    Sure, there may be a slight weight penalty, but just as mountain bikers have accepted 30 lbs as a reasonable weight, it is a far cry from the 42 lb freeride bikes of yore. I believe most skiers will be content use a binding that weighs a few Twinkies more than a stripped-down ski mo race setup, but is significantly lighter than a traditional frame binding, while offering reliable downhill performance. It doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to guess that the market of cliff-stompers, and people who like to run with skis on their feet pales in comparison to the market of people who want to split their time between relaxed touring with friends, and days at the resort, all on the same setup.

  15. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2017 8:53 am

    Aaron, I agree, marketing the binding using endorsement by pro skiers who abuse it is no doubt effective, but somewhat humorous. Although I’d prefer they also made a lightened version, with lower max DIN, with optional brake. Perhaps that’s in the plan. Meanwhile, there are other companies working on their versions of the classic tech binding, and more. Exciting times. If these companies can up their quality control game, brilliant. But that’s a whole other issue. I’ve been bitten so many times by binding defects, I’m beginning to experience a lot of anger each time it happens, thankfully meaning it’s just taking my shop time in doing binding swaps/exchanges etc. (as recently as yesterday). But I worry about friends and loved ones getting brutalized by a defective binding we’re not yet aware of. Lou

  16. Bryce December 8th, 2017 9:10 am

    Aaron, that is a great analogy and totally fits my use case for both skiing and biking. Just wanted to give you props.

  17. Lee Lau December 8th, 2017 9:15 am

    @Aaron Mattix – “gram-counting, Lycra-wrapped Europhile, granola-munching freeheeler, or saggy-steezy park rat” — bravo! Well done.

    Could not agree more with Rob Stokes

  18. Alex December 8th, 2017 9:22 am

    Hey Lou did they mention anything about cost for a pair of these? Curious if they will be on the Kingpin price range or might come in cheaper?

  19. Frame December 8th, 2017 9:24 am

    Cheers Lou, just looking for clarity, no judgement on if that’s an issue. Haven’t been on Kingpins either

  20. Lee Lau December 8th, 2017 9:59 am

    Alex. Msrp of usd 650

  21. Carl December 8th, 2017 10:03 am

    I am with Aaron, these or techtons are my next binding mounted to some ~110-120 underfoot 2000g skis for ripping steep PNW BC lines. I am interested to see release profiles comparing the 2 as I like to rip skins while still in the ski but could give that up for a safer binding.

  22. Foster December 8th, 2017 10:14 am

    Not sure why you’d pick this over the Tecton: 200 g heavier per binding, more complex mechanism.

  23. Konsta December 8th, 2017 10:43 am

    SHIFT MNC is much lighter than Warden MNC (~500 g/pair) but has touring capability. And much, much lighter than Guardian. I see a market which might not seem obvious to some ski touring die-hards. Many a 50/50 (inbounds/outbounds) skier could be intrigued… 😉

    Tecton & Kingpin may solve the same problem for _some_ people but, as already mentioned, SHIFT could provide additional safety, or (more) alpine binding feel, which could be worth something to some people. 👿

  24. wingnut December 8th, 2017 11:12 am

    Not sure how the pivot point is closer to the metatarsal of the foot. Isn’t that determined by the position of the fittings on the boot?

  25. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2017 11:26 am

    Wing, you are correct! That’s BS compared to any other tech binding as yes it’s determined by boot… or perhaps they’re comparing to frame bindings, in that case indeed way closer. Lou

  26. Slim December 8th, 2017 11:27 am

    If you are saying this is to heavy, and you are wondering who would buy it:

    Look through any binding post’s comment section and you will see a HUGE number of people asking (and Lou responding with a: “no”), if they could use this or that tech binding as their only binding, including resort skiing.
    Add to the the Radbros who want to huck in the backcountry.

    As to whether the Tecton can fill that same market share, I think that is a very valid question that will need to be answered in the next few years of actual use.

    But even if the Tecton works nearly as well, that section of binding buyers is very large, and could easy support two models. After all, even the true touring market supports several, let alone the alpine binding market.

  27. Kevin December 8th, 2017 11:44 am

    Sign me up! The Kingpin and tecton both look great but they still interface using two metal pins. I could be totally wrong, but the idea of a pin interface for a daily driver just does not seem right. I am sure a materials engineer might disagree, but the idea of the metal toe sockets taking all the abuse just does not seem right. That is a huge advantage of the new Salomon. Toe pin connection eliminated.

  28. Ted D December 8th, 2017 12:17 pm

    Frame said- “For those who pose the weight of binding issue, some of us travel to ski, planes may be involved, kids may be in tow. Taking one set of ski’s, boots, bindings (as opposed to a quiver) is appealing.”

    Unfortunately I’m also in this boat. One setup to travel with is appealing.

    BMT 94s, Atomic XTD boots and this binding, around 16 pounds total, very doable for inure and out combo. Was going to do this with Kingpins, but will wait.

    f it was for pure touring I would certainly pick something else.

  29. Ted D December 8th, 2017 12:18 pm

    inure should be in area

  30. Rusty December 8th, 2017 12:56 pm

    Radbro here…

    I like the idea but will wait for gen2. This fills the market for people living in a place with short approaches and high consequence lines ie. wasatch/teton/sierras. I like the idea of not locking out and having forward pressure.

    Looks like a good binding for someone under 30, skis over 100 and in a zero approach zone. 4.5/5

    Would still keep skimo setup but I could see myself using this binding the majority of time.

  31. Rikard December 8th, 2017 1:22 pm

    +1 on “Slim”.

    I would also say that even if Tecton is the solution for people skiing/touring low tech today and looking for something that i safer downhill then this will be the solution for people on frames that has yet to even accept pin-bindings at all.

  32. Jonny B December 8th, 2017 1:50 pm

    What an incredible piece of engineering. For me, this is actually the perfect binding for my THIRD pair of skis. I already have a great dynafit/scott touring setup and my Soul7/Markers for the resort. Both have their own pair of Dalbello boots, Sherpa and Krypton.

    With this binder I could rationalize a pair of Wailer 112s and have the capability to ride them in the resort and in the backcountry with the corresponding boot. Seems like a win to me!

  33. Jacob December 8th, 2017 1:53 pm

    What a marvelous time to be alive

  34. Justin December 8th, 2017 2:28 pm

    If you don’t like the idea of this binding you clearly don’t need it and thus it wasn’t designed for you.

  35. Filippo December 8th, 2017 3:56 pm

    Lou, instead of focusing on the tech-specs of the Shift bindings, I’d like to look at them from an historical perspective: to me the Shift may prove that the Salomon genius is awakening. I grow up looking at Salomon as one ofthe most innovative brand in the sporting good industry : from their step-in bindings, to the rear-entry boots (with innovative volume-based sizes system, and effective flex tuning capability) to the monocoque skis, Salomon ruled for most of his life thanks to huge product innovations. Then, for too many years, they were unable to make any other significant step, as in the case of their pin bindings, or their MTN boots : reasonably good products, but not innovative, and not exciting at all. I though Salomon became a boring brands, leaded by a bunch of beans counter, and I though it lost its original spirit forever. Are now things going to change again ?!?

  36. Cody December 8th, 2017 5:17 pm

    Lou how does the screw pattern look?

  37. Konsta December 8th, 2017 5:50 pm

    Part of me wishes that somebody joins this race with a product called…. *drum roll* Tectonic Shift.

  38. Zorba December 8th, 2017 6:25 pm

    Interested to see boot compatibility confirmed. Actually a crowdsourced chart of compatibility would be a great resource for these newer “hybrid” bindings and the various marginal boots like Scarpa F1, TLT6, etc.

  39. G December 8th, 2017 6:29 pm

    Impressive work of engineering. Like everything else they will have their lovers and haters… Fall of 2018 though? A lot can happen between now and then.

  40. Mike December 8th, 2017 6:50 pm

    I am concerned about boots with tech inserts working with step in bindings after the UW study discussed on wild snow. Will tech insert boots provide reliable release at the toe with multi norm compatible bindings? The manufacturers say yes, but this study says no.

    https://www.wildsnow.com/21152/ski-binding-release-avalanche-safety/

  41. See December 8th, 2017 7:38 pm

    I’d also like to know more about that study because it doesn’t totally make sense to me. Is there a problem with the toe sockets or the sole lugs or what?

  42. Michael December 8th, 2017 7:39 pm

    Any word on what the elasticity # are on this? Wondering how it compares to the Pivot/STH Driver/STH2/Jester. I know they say its an “alpine” binding but I would like to see some data to back it up.

  43. VT skier December 8th, 2017 8:18 pm

    ” granola-munching freeheeler”

    I resemble that remark 😉

  44. fro571 December 8th, 2017 10:38 pm

    Any idea on the mounting pattern? I currently have Kingpins mounted using Binding freedom inserts- am I buying new skis?

  45. Alex December 8th, 2017 10:48 pm

    One use case for this type of binding that I don’t hear much about on touring sites is New England woods skiing. I tour to ski woods with powder, but it’s not nearly as deep as the west coast, and there are rocks, logs, and sawed-off sapling stumps that are barely visible or often fully buried. And this is in legally cut and maintained backcountry glades as well as resort glades. My number one concern is catching one of these hard pokey things on the outside edge of the front of my downhill ski sliding sideways. Will my toe release, will I go down, or will I tib/fib or take out my knee?

    I’ve released at the toe in this scenario plenty of times skiing woods on my downhill bindings, and so far just skied very carefully in my tech bindings. I’d love to have similar release properties on my touring bindings, and I’d take a hefty weight penalty to have it – but not frame bindings and downhill boots. The Tecton looked great, but the Shift looks ideal.

    Plus my touring skis are wider than my resort skis. On the rare powder day where I go to a resort instead of touring, I’d love to ski my wide skis on downhill-style bindings. Solomon will get my money.

  46. Boris December 9th, 2017 2:39 am

    Is the mount pattern wide enough to mount those bindings safely on the Volkl V Werks series ?

  47. Topi December 9th, 2017 2:46 am

    It looks like Salomon has borrowed this original idea from BAM? I can recall this was also posted here at WS few years ago: http://www.bavarianalpinemanifest.com/en/products

  48. Slim December 9th, 2017 5:55 am

    Do the toes in release in climbing mode (pins release from socket)?

  49. Ned December 9th, 2017 8:46 am

    Great write up and chat with Salomon athletes and the lead engineer on the shift project over at blister

  50. Torquil December 9th, 2017 8:49 am

    Any word on hole pattern? Tell me they’ll fit right into my Warden holes and i’m sold.

  51. Jürgen December 9th, 2017 10:58 am

    865gr .. Dynafit Beasts sell for 199€ meanwhiles and seemingly stocks are endless .. weight is for a target group who usually make the last 100m from the cable car to the top of the descent

  52. Ned December 9th, 2017 3:10 pm

    The major difference that a lot of you haven’t mentioned is the safety. Tech bindings are light and work pretty well but the release is inconsistent on most bindings and most do not have a useful amount of elasticity in the toe. These bindings are comparable to Salomon’s other Alpine offerings which means they are probably quite a bit safer than most current tech offerings. Id gladly trade increased safety and reliability on the down for a little extra weight.

  53. Dan December 9th, 2017 5:34 pm

    This effectively wipes out Marker from the touring ski market. There’s no reason to buy any of their touring bindings if this proves to be working well. So I wonder what are they cooking…

  54. Slim December 10th, 2017 9:20 am

    The purpose of this binding is to improve on safety and control in skiing mode.
    Looking at the comments from Jeff Campbell after his presentation on the thread mentioned above, he states that toe release is hampered by a tech fittings in combination with a sliding AFD and rollers in the toe wings.
    This design is exactly that. So it would seem uncertain whether this actually offers improved safety over say, a Vipac or Tecton binding.
    To bad they didn’t (couldn’t?) design it with rollers above the sole, ala Look toepieces.

  55. Mike Marolt December 10th, 2017 9:37 am

    Lou this works with alpine boots and tech??

    So if you need over boots you don’t need to cut holes for tech?

    If so, this may be something to take a closer look at. Wow!

  56. JCoates December 10th, 2017 10:34 am

    I’ve said it before, but this sure seems like another attempt to get us to spend money fixing a problem that doesn’t exist. I wish someone would spend a fraction of the time and money the ski industry has spent on developing new “safer” releasable touring bindings and instead do a real study on the amount of injuries requiring surgery between tech vs alpine vs tele vs snowboard bindings (not just force models demonstrating the amount of torque, etc).

    Anyone out there in the intraweb speak German? I know it would be hard to control for but it sure seems like something the Swiss would have studied by now. Anecdotally, I sure seem to see a lot more people with blown knees skiing in alpine bindings and snowboards than tele or tech but that’s probably partly related to personality traits of the different tribes.

  57. Mike Marolt December 10th, 2017 11:35 am

    There’s more than a few problems that the direction of this new binding overcomes. I can’t stand tech bindings for all the reasons, but a real din binding that accommodates both tech and standard is very good for me anyway.

  58. Christian December 10th, 2017 5:10 pm

    The question for you, Mike is if they won’t jam up at the downhill transition at -40 degF and 8000m 🙂

  59. Christian December 10th, 2017 5:11 pm

    That’s supposed to be a smiley emoji at the end of my sentence there

  60. trollanski December 10th, 2017 6:55 pm

    On the subject Alex and J Coates brought up abt. reliable release…And maybe I missed it somewhere… But is this up to full alpine 9462 DIN or BC 9462 DIN? Couldn’t find mention of it…

    Anyone Know?

  61. trollanski December 10th, 2017 6:56 pm

    Oooops! Make that BC 13992. Long day at the wheel…

  62. jsp6yn December 10th, 2017 9:27 pm

    @slim My thought exactly. I wonder if the roller is tall enough that it works fine with standard toe sockets (i.e., the type used on all salomon touring boots) versus a master step, maybe? If not it seems like a big oversight. I’m assuming TUV tested this with an standard alpine sole (i.e., no toe sockets). Lou? I’ll be interested to see how it performs on a bench test.

  63. John S December 11th, 2017 1:04 am

    Salomon just made the ideal binding for my daughter. She works full time on her skis, and could ski these all over the front country in her super-beefy boots – and then take the same skis for her off-days into the backcountry, switching to touring boots. A true jack of all trades ski set up. The weight is less than frame bindings, not terrible considering what you get, and the overall concept is really impressive.

  64. Raphael December 11th, 2017 6:01 am

    Fritschi Tectron 620g weight with breakes

  65. Mark W December 11th, 2017 8:23 am

    Some have said that bike manufacturers are simply inventing new classes of bikes, i.e. gravel, 29+, etc. to sell more bikes. Are binding manufacturers doing the same? Who cares? Isn’t having more choices, as dictated by the consumer’s buying desires, what free markets are really all about? I applaud the many options available.

  66. Andrew Garcia December 11th, 2017 10:13 am

    Wow! This is an exciting binding. I had been waiting the obligatory year before buying a Tecton due to the learned expectation that there would be growing pains with any Fritchi new product. However, the alpine toe feels like a game changer. The big difference for me is boot selection as I have already moved to a still alpine / touring setup. I might have opted for a lighter touring boot knowing I could use my alpine boots for resort skiing.

    Also, there is another market for this binding that the Tecton come close too, but narrowly misses: people with jobs, families, and other obligations who do not live within driving distance of good backcountry touring terrain. I want a ski that I can pack and take with me that can cover 80% of my given scenarios: skiing groomers out west or in Europe with the kids, a rare powder day in New England with some glades, maybe some side country or single day tour. That one time a year that I will get out to do a real backcountry mission I can rent a lighter (perhaps wider) more appropriate setup. That trip is never impromptu, so I have time to plan.

    What I do want is to know the binding will release safely. I would like to feel connected to the ski and comfortable skiing aggressively on hard surfaces (I do not want the unnerving tech binding rattle), and without having tested both side by side, I feel like an alpine style toe will help the ski feel more damp on hard snow. And lastly, I would prefer not to look like a complete douche standing in the lift line with my young kids and a tech binding. (Its amazing how many tech binding you ski in East Coast lift lines now vs. the number of skiers actually going uphill— and this is at places with liberal uphill policies).

    It also does not hurt to have a company like Solomon behind them with a better track record for QC.

  67. SkiB December 11th, 2017 6:20 pm

    Seems some questions haven’t been answered yet; The SHIFT is TÜV certified to ALPINE standards; so any ski shop can mount and test these. The elasticity numbers are 47mm for the toe piece(same as STH2) I remember CT saying something about the heel elasticity as well, but don’t remember the number…other than it’s the same as the STH2 again.

  68. Wookie1974 December 12th, 2017 9:15 am

    meh.

    sure to be a money-maker though. Everybody’s future first touring binding. I’ll stick with the super-lights.

  69. Crazy Horse December 12th, 2017 8:31 pm

    SHIFT VS CAST

    MISSION;
    50% resort powder skiing at JH & Targhee
    30% steep sidecountry and Teton pass with approaches less than 2 mile of skin track
    10% extended tours
    10% extreme descents with high consequences
    Skis: DPS 112

    SHIFT
    Reliability on long tours— come back in two years for an answer! On the face of it this looks like a fiddly set up, the opposite of the KISS principle. In particular, I wonder about the lever arm created by mounting the pins out on stalks with a pivoting base.
    Ski mountaineering in high consequence situations.— Who knows?
    Transitions— remove ski, remove ice , and convert mode.
    Elasticity— good # but not proven like Look turntable
    Weight— 1.73 kg– not heavy, not light
    Availability— Maybe 12 months

    CAST
    Reliability— bulletproof, precision CNC machining, Look alpine set up has decades of testing and development
    Ski mountaineering– see above
    Transitions– remove ski and pack, clip in new toe piece
    Elasticity— best of all Alpine bindings
    Weight— 2kg– 270g heavier than SHIFT–heavy but bullet proof.
    No lifted weight like frame bindings
    Easy switched to other skis
    Availability: 1 month.
    Price: $350

    No question in my mind which setup is best for the intended mission. And as a matter of fact, for most actual use profiles that the SHIFT binding will encounter.

    Do you want release safety while ripping through the trees in a white out powder storm? Do you want a binding that will keep the ski on when you hit an icy mogul left over from last week’s crowds? Or do you want a ski and binding made from NanoNothing that makes the UP feel like heaven and turns meadows into dance fields? That’s why they call them quivers!

  70. See December 13th, 2017 7:38 pm

    Cast looks great for its intended purpose. I would be even more interested if the heel could also be swapped.

  71. Crazy Horse December 14th, 2017 3:19 pm

    See, swap the heel for what? A pin binding with far inferior release characteristics? If you want a lightweight touring setup why not start with an excellent pin binding like the ION?

    Seems to me that users of the SHIFT binding will use it as an alpine binding about 80% of the time. (resort plus downhill touring) That being the case the small weight differences are unimportant and a few seconds more spent in transition won’t ruin your day. When I leave for my spring cross-mountain Teton tour I’d much rather have a bulletproof touring set-up instead of a TransFormer with the pins mounted on stalks that carry all the load levered down to their bases! And when I’m on a 50 degree face and spring snow I’ll take a Look alpine binding over any attempt to be all things to all people!

  72. See December 14th, 2017 7:23 pm

    I’d like to swap the alpine heels for a minimal set of climbing bars (or similar) for the up. I’d rather haul heavy alpine heels up the hill on my back than on my feet.

  73. Lou Dawson 2 December 16th, 2017 6:53 am

    Everyone, Salomon-Atomic came up with some numbers such as toe and heel unit weights. I added to blog post above, just above video. We’ll of course verify on bench when we have the pre-retail binding in our hot little hands. Lou

  74. wingnut December 29th, 2017 11:15 am

    Not too excited about the entry mechanism for tour mode. It requires opening and holding the pins open and then stepping in. That’s great for the promo videos on flat hard pack but not too much fun on a 40 degree slope and soft snow. It’s the same entry behavior as the Ski Trab binding which, in my opinion, is an unsatisfactory compromise.

    Think I’ll wait for the Dynafit response to the beef binding market (not counting the defunct Beast model).

  75. ADC January 1st, 2018 9:22 pm

    Would you choose Radical FT 2.0 or Shift for a ski between 1800-2000g with maybe 2/3 skiing on the resort? Is the 200g more per binding for the Shift a lot?

  76. Kristianb January 1st, 2018 10:51 pm

    Wingnut. Why do you want to step in for pins in a 40 degree soft slope? Understand maybe some rear situation you have to assist someone higher up ..? Or if you manage to drop your ski but..?

    Adc. For 2/3 resort go for framebinding or wait for shift.

  77. Kristianb January 1st, 2018 10:53 pm

    want to step in for pins in a 40 degree soft slope? Understand maybe some rear situation you have to assist someone higher up ..? Or if you manage to drop your ski but..?

    Adc. For 2/3 resort go for framebinding or wait for shift.

  78. Lenka K. January 3rd, 2018 3:56 am

    @Kristianb
    Everytime you downclimb/rappel to get to the snow in a steep couloir? Happens rather often …

  79. Kristianb January 3rd, 2018 4:25 am

    Ok. Thank you. Did not come to think of that.

  80. Robbie January 8th, 2018 4:06 pm

    S/LAB SHIFT HYBRID BINDING: Does anyone know the basic details ? Seeing a lot of info and discussion all over the net, including the salomon website and so called expert reviews, but nowhere anything definitive about the release functions at heel and toe.
    At the toe, does it release only sideways or also up, or over 180 degrees including sideways and up (as claimed on some sites for the Tyrolia 13).
    At the tail, does it release sideways and or up also ?

    Also, re the Tecton, I see nothing clear about the heel release.

  81. Lou Dawson 2 January 8th, 2018 4:22 pm

    Robbie, the heel of both Tecton and Shift are simply basic alpine-like heels. They release upwards at the heel, not to the side. Toes only release to the side. Not sure what you mean by the “tail.” Lou

  82. Robbie January 8th, 2018 4:44 pm

    Also info on the tecton toe release would be helpful. I see such as this:
    “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

    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.
    …..but it wasn’t/isn’t clear what binding Lou was referring to.

  83. Robbie January 8th, 2018 5:30 pm

    Thanks Lou. I’ll go back to rock climbing/surfing for another decade then ! Thought for a moment that there might be some ACL injury mitigation in there.

  84. Robbie January 8th, 2018 6:02 pm

    So this re the kingpin was bull basically? “and an alpine-like heel that offers lateral and vertical release” ( https://backcountrymagazine.com/gear/marker-kingpin/).

  85. Lou Dawson 2 January 8th, 2018 7:47 pm

    Whoops, sorry, yes Kingpin heel is “alpine-like” but it does release to the side, unlike most other alpine heels.

    Some of this stuff is pretty difficult to explain from scratch, but easy to see if you just fool around with a binding at a ski shop.

    As for me saying that the Tecton/Evo toes “only release to the side” what I meant is that’s when they do a calibrated lateral release, they also do allow the boot to pop out when it goes “hinges” forward during a vertical heel release when the toe is not locked in touring mode, so sure, “only” might not be the right word…

    Most all of us, magazines and websites, try to do the best we can but yes we are imperfect.

    It might help if you could ask specifically about what you’re after. Are you shopping for a binding? Or just seeking general understanding? Or?

    Lou

  86. Lou Dawson 2 January 8th, 2018 7:53 pm

    As for ACL risk mitigation, nope, you indeed should stick to surfing, at least where there are no sharks. Lou

  87. Robbie January 8th, 2018 8:09 pm

    Oh, nice one Lou ! Thanks for the reply.
    So the tecton is a step back from the kingpin re ACL protection (without lateral heel release)?

    I’m after (1) a light wt up for powder (up and down) only; generally only a mile or 2, for rare New England dumps. For which the tecton would do. Unwilling to contemplate ANY acl or tibia trauma (rewards not worth the pain). Rather save my body for watersports, dancing and rock climbing. But maybe the kingpin would be better than the Tecton givn it’s lateral heel release? I suppose it comes down to the extent to which the Tecton lateral toe release is better than the Kingpin and whether the tecton lateral heel release is better than the kingpin.
    Interested in the Salomon Shift for alpine stuff with more variable (often harder) surfaces on descent …for the huge (nearly 5cm ! ) flexibility in the heel and toe, which, even without any ACL protective release, is protection in itself. But that’s a lot of dosh when I already run Fritschi pro which isn’t that much heavier and has the same release capabilities.

  88. Robbie January 8th, 2018 8:13 pm

    Correction:
    and whether the kingpin lateral heel release makes up for it’s inadequacies in the toe release department.

  89. See January 8th, 2018 8:39 pm

    I’m not sure this helps, but it is my understanding that the hype regarding “alpine type” heel pieces is based on improved vertical elasticity (which isn’t a problem for me with old style tech bindings, but I’m old). The hype re. Tecton toes has to do with supposedly improved lateral retention. Skis, binding toes, boots, brakes, binding heels, skier, snow… all these and more comprise a complex system. In other words, binding heel and binding toe do not operate in isolation, so mixing and matching is not a simple matter.

  90. See January 8th, 2018 9:01 pm

    Make that “improved lateral retention with functional release.”

  91. Robbie January 8th, 2018 9:09 pm

    Yes, “old style binding/I’m old”. That’s why I came on here. Need the input from those who ski them as well as the tech info.

  92. Lou Dawson 2 January 9th, 2018 10:54 am

    Robbie and all, the constant undercurrent of “ACL” concerns about ski bindings is legit, it’s a huge problem. Keep in mind that if the solution was at all easy, it would have been done. It’s hard. Reason is simple, to protect ACL the binding heel has to release to the side at fairly low values compared to what many skiers would need to make the binding reliable in terms of accidental release. In other words, just because a binding releases to the side at the heel doesn’t automatically make it “safer” or “safer for ACL.” My informed belief is that if one can get away with skiing a side rotation tech binding heel at close to “chart” settings, it might, just might, protect ACL a bit better than a binding without release to the side at the heel. That’s as far as this can legitimately go, and I could be entirely wrong.

    MAIN POINT: The first and most important job of a ski binding is to attach you to the ski, known as “retention.” When “safety” release compromises retention, that can obviate any and all increase in “safety.”

    SECOND MAIN POINT: No ski binding is 100% safe, perhaps something more like 75% safe, in that you perhaps have a 1 in 4 chance of being injured to some degree in any fall that asks the binding for a safety release. Throw any chance of accidental release in there, and the numbers would look even worse, as accidental releases are frequently brutal.

    The fact is that skiing is a sport that involves physical risk. At this point we can not get around that.

    Above with a nod to the Knee Binding

    https://www.google.com/search?ei=7fNUWu6GK4nOjwOpyZawBg&q=site%3Awildsnow.com+knee+binding&oq=site%3Awildsnow.com+knee+binding

    Lou

  93. Robbie January 9th, 2018 11:29 am

    Lou, re’ skiing a side rotation tech binding heel. Would you include the kingpin heel in that? Also, given that the kingpin heel lacks the tibia-protective forward/ upward release function, am I correct that there aren’t ant tech bindings with lateral toe release and lateral and forward/upward heel release? Or will the rumoured Dynafit in the pipeline maybe trump all with both ?

  94. Lou Dawson 2 January 9th, 2018 12:03 pm

    Robbie, yes, there are no tech bindings with calibrated full toe and heel lateral release. Bear in mind that tech bindings with classic type toe (Kingpin, Radical etc.) do open up at the toe somewhat at certain angles, but conversely have a “blocked” position that can break tibias. It’s incredibly complex stuff, partially because human bodies vary so much, as well as skier styles, not to mention length of skis, snow conditions, and even what kind and quantity of beer has been consumed at lunch. Lou

  95. Geoff January 30th, 2018 2:47 am

    Any chance that the Shift will work with NTN Tele boots in downhill mode? ie Will the AFD act as a shim under the bellow preventing sole-flex/shortening.

    Reason for asking is this could be the perfect answer for a 1-ski (QK’ed for Shift & Outlaw NTN); 1 boot quiver for combining Tele, alpine & side-country AT when resort skiing (I have a dedicated AT rig for back-country adventures), due to weight/luggage restrictions flying to the Alps

  96. Tony A April 2nd, 2018 12:27 pm

    Just started reading about the SHIFT out of curiosity. Pretty innovative I will agree. However, I am east coast predominantly VT 40/60 backcountry/sidecountry. Backountry set up is Radical ST / K2 Wayback and Sidecountry set up is K2 Shreditor/Baron. I think Aaron makes a valid analogy in his post. I am also a avid Mtn. Biker and ride both a lightweight hardtail and heavier full suspension bike based on my objectives reapectively, and utilize my alpine touring set ups similarly. For me, the move to the SHIFT binding wouldn’t really seem to be of any measureable benefit . I really like the relatively ultra lightweight of my Radical set up for long backountry days and trips. And the expense of trading trading up from my Baron set up for Sidecountry and or any resort laps is not really the compelling. For Sidecountry days, my Baron K2 Shreditor never let me down and weight of the set up never seemed to be an issue for these types of objectives for me, and yes it is on the heavy side of the uphill spectrum.

    Tony

  97. Megan Hieatt April 17th, 2018 11:59 pm

    These look like a solution for many of us who want a one ski quiver that can handle occasional sidecountry or short tours without the weight of a frame binding, and be reliable for the resort skiing that we mostly do. Unfortunately I don’t think I will be able to use this binding though, and they have missed out on a fairly large part of the female market I would think, as the DIN range starts at 6. If you are skiing on a 6.5 DIN like I am, that’s probably a little too close to the end of the range for safety. Any thoughts on this from the technical binding folks on here? It would be great if they would eventually make a SHIFT 11 like they have with other bindings that come in both a 13 and 11 model.

  98. Lou Dawson 2 April 18th, 2018 7:10 am

    Megan, my guess is that the binding actually would accept being set to DIN 6.5 but you’d need to bench test as well as machine check the settings. There is an urban myth of skiing that you can not or should not set bindings at the extreme ends of the number range printed on the binding housing. In some case that might be so, but it’s not always the case and in fact some bindings can actually be set lower or higher than even the printed numbers. Thus, evaluating on a case-by-case basis is the only way to know, rather than mythology. Lou





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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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