It’s no secret that the Atomic/Salomon Backland/MTN (Atomisal) is one of my favorite ski touring bindings. I’ve experienced near flawless performance going on years now, with one concern. Maybe it’s my personal style, or physical limitations, but the boot toe locator doohickey always seems to get in my way more than it helps me — specifically with my Scarpa F1’s. While I suspect many of you don’t have this problem, for the record and in the storied tradition of WildSnow, here is how I remove the boot locator. In detail. Jokes about extreme gear mods accepted, but please be kind.
Note: If you have or construct a binding spacer like the one I picture below in step 13, that holds the binding toe in the on-boot position, you can install the spacer from the start and eliminate some of the opening-closing steps below. I thought it more instructive to present most of this how-to without the spacer. If you care to make a spacer, experiment and you’ll easily see how it helps. To be clear, the spacer imitates having a boot clicked into the binding.
Step 6: Cover the binding with a heavy towel or plenty of shop rags — as padding and parts retention. Be sure the edges of the cloth are down on your workbench, then use a flathead screwdriver to pop it up into the open position while gently pressing down with your padded hand to attenuate the explosion. As you do this, the left and right parts of the mechanism will come apart somewhat violently. Watch your hands, and don’t do this in a place where you could lose small parts.
Step 9: Drill out lever and chassis pivot pin holes to 3.5 millimeter, this is slightly over-sized from stock, to fit a 6-32 x 1″ socket-head stainless steel bolt.
WildSnow Wrench Rating: 9/10.
Weight reduction per binding (since someone will ask): 8 grams.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.