Someone Did It — touring plate for your alpine bindings

Post by blogger | January 28, 2011      

Thought I should post this due to all the buzz Colin’s Dynafit breakage post created. Great minds have thought of this for years, but the demand wasn’t there. Perhaps now it is. We shall see, as this MFD Alltime setup looks ridiculously heavy and cumbersome for the needs of most backcountry skiers. On the other hand, some backcountry skiers need the performance of full-on alpine bindings, so perhaps this is the solution for them. Also, the MFD Alltime works as a swap plate for one set of alpine bindings. Your thoughts, oh esteemed WildSnowers? Oh, and that music sounds awfully familiar (grin)?


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47 Responses to “Someone Did It — touring plate for your alpine bindings”

  1. Nick January 28th, 2011 12:13 pm

    Engineering fail. First they claim they don’t “trust” any AT setup on the market… so they install an unproven hinged interface between their existing ‘trusted’ bindings and the ski… And it clearly is made of purple anodized aluminum in extremely square shapes. Not only is it ugly but also has lots of stress risers. These things will be failing on fatigue within a single season.

  2. Daniel Dunn January 28th, 2011 12:15 pm

    As much as I do really like Sage, he’s a phenomenal athlete & skier, and probably very nice as well, it’s funny to hear him say “got the kick & glide” and then proceed to do exactly NOT that.
    But hey, I’m sure these pieces will have their place.

  3. Nick January 28th, 2011 12:17 pm

    what’s the point of these? Alpine Trekkers solve the touring issue without requiring any additional interfaces between your bindings and skis for the downhill.

  4. J_Castro January 28th, 2011 12:29 pm

    Uncle. 😀

  5. Trevor January 28th, 2011 12:31 pm

    In my experience, as a 220 pound guy (without gear) alipne trekkers have difficulty on hard-packed sidehills, plus it’s two more things to put in the pack. I’m making a minimalist setup to take to the hill for spontaneous side-country, and I don’t want to pack my trekkers. The MFD all-time looks great to me because I have stacks of alpine bindings, and I imigine it’ll be cheaper than Dukes.

  6. Tom Gos January 28th, 2011 12:57 pm

    It kind of reminds me of those “touring adapters” that telmarkers used to use (and maybe still do), I think they were/are made by Silvretta. It does look like it would be heavy, but perhaps its not much additional weight relative to the gear those guys are already using. Appears to have the worst pivot point/stride ever. I think a better solution for this application was already invented – its called the Duke. But I suppose that choice isn’t available to all of the sponsored pros so they need to create this kind of stuff. Its not for me, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing these things all over the resorts, if only because “Sage uses it”.

  7. Paddy January 28th, 2011 1:28 pm

    Wins the UGLY award. Why? Have they not heard of the Duke?

  8. Greg Louie January 28th, 2011 1:36 pm

    I think Sage is young and strong enough to shuffle and drag those things around all day, no problem.

  9. Jonathan L January 28th, 2011 1:56 pm

    Anybody trying something new and taking it from drawing on a napkin to prototype to product is a rock star in my book.

  10. Brian January 28th, 2011 2:14 pm

    At a quick glance, it looks like there’s not a lock mechanism for the heel release. Not a deal-breaker for me. But if you really need your burly alpine bindings for whatever you’re riding in the backcountry, don’t you think you’d want a heel lock?

  11. Lou January 28th, 2011 2:42 pm

    I’d agree, they need a lock. And I’ll bet they’re not burly enough. But the idea, which has been around for decades, is a good one. Yeah, frankenstride, but for short jaunts on skins they’ll work fine. What’ll be funny, however, is when one of those guys tries some Dynafits with TLT 5 type of boot, then tries to go back to that frankenstride. I’ll bet they’ll be amazed how bad it feels.

    But skiing like you’re in a movie is the most important thing.

  12. skis_the_trees January 28th, 2011 3:00 pm

    These have a good premise and decent execution for an idea that is flawed and too late. There are currently better alternatives on the market (Duke, SollyFit swap plates, inserts) that accomplish the same and similar end points. For a multitude of reasons, I cannot see this as a viable alternative to Dukes. If they were inexpensive they would fill a niche, but it is very unlikely that you will be able to purchase these and a high quality alpine binder and come out at or near the cost of a Tour or Duke. They are also biomechanically abysmal.

  13. Lou January 28th, 2011 3:22 pm

    Skis, I’d tend to agree, but, there are certain skiers who require a full-on World Cup racing durable alpine binding for virtually all their downhill. How big a market that is remains to be seen, but the guys who can use the MFD are out there. I personally think the market is small, but worldwide it might be enough to keep them making these things. Once they have all the parts manufacturing jobbed out, it looks pretty easy to assemble and the viral marketing is already doing probably all they need for sales.

    If Duke was even more beefy it could compete, but it’s still a compromise compared to a full-on alpine binding, and it doesn’t tour that great (too much flex). While MFD has bad ergonomics, at least it’ll be rigid in touring mode (I assume.)

  14. Brian S January 28th, 2011 4:11 pm

    in my opinion, these do not even compare to Alpine Trekkers. I think Alpine Trekkers are garbage.

  15. Dostie January 28th, 2011 6:31 pm

    Wondering when you would mention these.

    You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but….

  16. John Gloor January 28th, 2011 7:55 pm

    I think that long aluminum plate will end up with stress fractures in a season, especially if skied like the skiers in the video did. An interesting setup would be something like the new Technica four buckle Dynafit compatable boot without a walk mode, and the Dynafit toe for touring uphill. If the dynafit toe piece could be incorporated with a beefy alpine toe for the descent, voila, ergonomic uphill and solid, high din alpine bindings for the downhill. I could have retired on that idea!

  17. Tay January 29th, 2011 4:53 am

    Another solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. Half of the enjoyment in going into the alpine is taking in the vista and immersing yourself in it. How could you possibly enjoy it doing the “frankenstep” for hours on end? (or even minutes for that matter)

  18. youngdave January 29th, 2011 9:08 am

    Awesome, this should give the bros all the confidence they need to hurt themselves far away from the trail head.

  19. Hallvard January 29th, 2011 9:16 am

    John: How about a Dynafit toe piece on a block to insert in the alpine bindings?

    I guess all the cool guys have center mounted bindings now so the Dynafit toe will be at in good position. You need some boots with inserts, but without the rubber sole though.

  20. Matt Kinney January 29th, 2011 11:33 am

    Not to sure about the binding, but the skiing in the video is just beautiful.

    FWIW My main ski partner last year used an old beat up pair of A-Trekkers and they did pretty good on a number of difficult routes. Of course the entire time he wished he could have afforded something better, lighter but such is the life of dirtbag skiing (he’s an ex-heliguide) on limited resources. He made due with what he had. Not everyone can afford a $1800 set up. At night he would take his set-up, fix and tweek things. That obsession to skin and ski had him pushing the binding beyond its design life for sure. I think I saw bailing wire on the adjustable tubes where he had drilled some holes to hold the binding together. He rocked in the field. The passion to ski can overcome lousy gear it seems.

    But if you have limited resources and only a pair of “regular” alpine ski boots then you do have some choices to get you away from the lifts without spending tons of money on ‘tech” systems.

  21. Ryan January 29th, 2011 12:44 pm

    The MFD seems to be an alternative to the Trekker, not the Duke or tech bindings. Matt nailed it on the head when he mentioned people with limited resources.

    This system will be most appealing to people with an alpine rig who are trying to get a cheap touring set-up. Yea, touring specific gear might be better, but its way cheaper just to convert your current ski/binding combo. For mere mortals, this was the appeal of the trekker. The MFD looks like a more elegant solution.

    It better be durable, though, because no one will want to put it underneath their alpine binder if its gonna break like a wrekker.

  22. UltraApple January 29th, 2011 2:27 pm

    The first song btw is Little People – Star Shootin’ Don’t know the second.

    Interesting idea… reminds me of the system used split boards. Seems kinda silly to me. Ski bindings are simply that ski bindings. They are NOT safety equipment. If you have a climbing rope break you will get seriously hurt or die. Ski bindings can and do break often. If you are skiing lines where your binding breaks and your toast well this product probably isn’t for you anyway as you have added point of failure that you can’t afford.

    I can see however this being a popular way to get your non touring ski friends to do some lite touring with their existing equipment. They will probably curse you for having tech bindings and making it look easy but hey just another day in the snow! 😀

  23. Jonathan Shhhh January 29th, 2011 11:05 pm

    I think Nicks first comment puts it best. You don’t trust a tested and proven technology, so you go attach some piece of garbage aluminum rail to your ski thinking it’s going to be better because you have an alpine binding attached to it? That’s about the most obvious case of human self-imposed stupidity I have seen in some time.

  24. brian p. harder January 29th, 2011 11:14 pm

    Ouch! I think I developed hip flexor tendonitis just watching him “kick and glide”. Yeahhhh, riiiight! ….NOT! I need some Motrin!

  25. Mike B January 30th, 2011 1:15 am

    There is no way that I can see these things being as durable or skiing as well as a duke. Taking any binding and putting it on top of a plate with a hinge and one (one!) lock down point is going to add tons of slop and durability issues, especially if you’re skiing so hard you’re scared you’re going to break a duke. Looks like a ghetto trekker that adds holes to your skis.

  26. Jacob January 30th, 2011 1:18 am

    Maybe I just didn’t get a good enough look with the video, but it seems to me that the channel the binding sits in might be blocking the AFD area on the toe piece?

  27. Samuel Fairleigh January 30th, 2011 5:04 am

    Well judging from some pictures on tgr the plate itself and more importantly the pivot point appear VERY burly. Anyway time will tell, but people DO break dukes from time to time, and not everyone wants to ski a Marker binding that’s 2in off the ski anyway.
    They clearly know I thing or two about marketing. I’m sure we will be seeing some of these around Jackson, were throwing on skins for 15mins or so will get you to some fairly well known lines a little faster than the next guy. And from personal experiance, while I might be ok skiing some fairly big line on dynafits, they don’t always hold up to bombing the traverse back to the tram to do it again.
    They look as though they add very little stack height, it would interesting as to how much they effect the flex of the ski.

  28. Marcin January 30th, 2011 7:05 am

    The second song is Titoli, theme from a Fistful of Dollars, Ennio Morricone.

    As far as the system itself goes, weeerl, it’s OK I guess, if you want to tour for a bit on alpine grabbers. I wouldn’t want to do the Haute Route with them.

  29. Jonathan Shefftz January 30th, 2011 7:01 pm

    According to the TGR rumor (trust . . but verify!) the price will be $300.
    Kind of puts the ~$600 Plum Guide price into perspective (i.e., half the price of a beautifully designed & machined binding gets you just a hinged plate).

  30. Mark W January 30th, 2011 11:23 pm

    Personally I doubt they’ll be seen in huge numbers–or maybe even more modest numbers–as the aforementioned Alpine Trekkers, with a solid design, are not out in profusion.

  31. Jonathan Shhhh January 31st, 2011 12:31 am

    Anyone foolish enough to buy something important without researching designs and developing at least rudimentary understanding of the technology deserves such a shoddy product. It’s an insult to the engineers who work so diligently at developing such excellent products as formal AT bindings that such a junk device gets such attention.

  32. Gourmand Vertical January 31st, 2011 12:56 am

    Too little too late, everyone’s drooling over Dynafit’s FT12 being sufficient for Eric Hjorleifson already …

  33. Jason January 31st, 2011 10:40 am

    A lot a chatter about these! I love my FT12’s and am now starting to really trust them. However, a STH16 is for sure going to stay on when you land a 30 footer a little back seat. The FT12’s? I am not sure I’ll try it… well, OK maybe on a good pow day without exposure, just to try it. However, I’ll land square on my feet… anyhow…

    I’d go for the Dukes. What’s the point in this? You want Salomon Binders? If that’s all… get some Dukes… I hate Marker too, but really.

  34. gringo January 31st, 2011 2:00 pm

    I wonder if that guy has ever heard of FEA…If I am strappin’ the health of my knees and skiing future to something, I’m gonna be damn sure an experienced and qualified engineer came up with the right solution.

    Those heel releases look worse for ‘insta-tele’ than original Fritschis!

  35. springcorn January 31st, 2011 7:19 pm

    Some of these comments are ridiculous. This is a very neat innovation, the last thing that should be discussed is the color. Secondly, Trekers are crap, anyone who has actually used them knows this.

    Also, I think it has already been proven that there is a market for this. Clearly, there is a market for the Dukes so why wouldn’t there be a market for these? There is a large community of backcountry skiers who want to use their standard downhill equipment in the backcountry. The design looks to work essentially like the Marker Dukes except you get to use your binding of choice. Make sense to me.

    However, I think several of the posters have brought up some good questions regarding the likely fatigue and failure of the aluminum. Hopefully, they have addressed this.

    I am curious about two things.
    1)How much do these puppies weigh?
    2)How does the binding attach? Are these pre-drilled for your binding pattern?

  36. Jed February 2nd, 2011 3:48 pm

    I am reading all your comments thinking: some good, some bad.
    To all you hyper critical naysayers, I wonder if you have ever stuck your neck out for something you’ve put your heart and soul into.
    In a hardgoods industry so dominated by five or six big players run by CEO’s who think more about acquisitions, market positioning and EBIDA than a quality recreational experience for the end user, it’s wonderful to see a little guy with a good idea take the ball and run. Just ask the boys at Igneous, Line, DPS, Liberty, etc. It takes hard work, passion, integrity, consistency of message, determination and big huevos to stand up to Rossi, Salomon, Volkl/Marker, and K2.
    True innovation is born from good and bad ideas. Often, good ideas are born from bad ones. MFD is on the right track and field testing is the best start to a solid FMEA. Teddy Roosevelt said it best “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing,
    the next best thing is the wrong thing, and worst thing you can do is
    So, for all you armchair critics out there, keep skiin’ and not thinkin’, somebody else will come up with the next best thing. To the folks thinking out of the box and working to make skiing more enjoyable and safe, I’ll take you to my stashes anytime, There’s plenty of powder to go around.

  37. Lou February 2nd, 2011 3:58 pm

    So, Jed, besides the developers of this product thinking outside the box, how about telling us what’s great about it instead of insulting our commenter’s intelligence? I think it’s got some pluses and minuses, would love to hear your opinion (besides your take on the color).

  38. Nick February 2nd, 2011 4:04 pm

    Jed, your post is a perfect example of what I call “being so open-minded your brains fall out”. Seriously. Teddy Roosevelt? It’s a clumsy adapter to make something work outside its design intent. This is the equivalent of a cheater plug for non-grounded outlets.

  39. Samuel Fairleigh February 2nd, 2011 6:49 pm

    Well one thing they have right is a 7mm stack height. Also I think the lack of a “Lock”is probably to limit the effect on flex something like a giant plate might have.
    They also have Sage telling people he can ski the way he wants on these. That could be total BS, but it’s still good marketing!

  40. Squaw February 3rd, 2011 5:54 pm

    Huh, well I guess I will jump in to the fray because I have actually tested these the last month in Tahoe. I am currently running these on a pair of 11/12 Dynastar Legend Pro 105’s, and I have the MFD mounted with Look Pivot 14’s. I have had Alpine Wreakers, Fritchi Freerides, and Naxo NX 21’s as my previous setups.

    I do not work for them, sell them, or have any other association other than “try these out, let me know what you think” opportunity to test them.

    To answer some questions: the plate is mounted to the ski via a paper jig, just like the Naxos i had before.

    There are 3 models: Look/Rossi, Salomon/Atomic, Head/Tyrolia/4frnt, all of which has pre-drilled holes for the various patterns.

    i have enjoyed them more so than any other of my previous setups- the main reason is the stack hight that is achieved from running my pivot bindings, and the bomber feel of a regular alpine toe and heel. It is a very simple design, the hike more is the easiest i have ever used.

    Sorry I do not have a scale or caliber to measure the fine details but from my “picking up in my garage” test they seem to be on par with my Naxo 21’s.

    Skinning is clean, pivot point near the front part of my toe piece and they are super rigid- another detail i like, especially in side-skinning. Downhill performance is alpine all the way, without the “twisting factor” i have felt with previous setups. Yes, the one detail i would say is you do have a “dead” spot, but a guy of grew up on derby-flex plates, it is not that big of a deal, especially if you are running stiff, burly skis.

    Anyways, not trying to sell anyone on them, but I do recommend them especially to the Duke crowd. Cool fact- they are being made right in the USA in Montana!

  41. Johnny March 14th, 2011 2:51 pm

    600g per side.
    As said above will have threaded inserts for
    3 different binding mfgs. Attach bindings
    with supplied machine screws and they
    will include threadlock.
    I would wonder about mounting on
    different cambered/rockered skis?
    And wouldn’t there be an obvious
    Heard $400 for one setup, then
    around $80 for a set of toe/heel

  42. Mike September 7th, 2011 5:43 pm

    How are these for landing switch without a heel lock?

  43. Lauren September 19th, 2011 8:06 am

    I’m trying to decide between getting the MFD plates or the Marker Barons. The feedback here has been helpful, but I’m having a hard time applying some of the information to me. I’m a fairly aggressive skier, but at 5’6″ and around 115, my definition of aggressive is probably a bit more tame than most of the people posting here. I do have a concern about safety/durability of the heel lock on the MFDs, but I really like how much lower they sit compared to the Baron’s. I’m not going to be touring a whole lot; I just want that option for when I do. The MFDs seem like an ideal choice for me, but them being so new with potential problems is definitely a concern. For someone who doesn’t require bindings that are super burly and will be skiing probably 80% resort/backcountry and 20% touring, what would be better?

  44. Lou September 19th, 2011 8:42 am

    Laren, I think you’d be very happy with the Barons. I don’t think the bit of extra height is a concern. Heck, the gurus used to say that was better, now they don’t want it, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle where most bindings end up (grin). Lou

  45. Eric October 1st, 2012 1:35 pm

    The perceived sense of entitlement among all of the “AT experts” on this comment board is nauseating – I fell in love with Jed’s righteous comment before I could even finish it. As a researching consumer in search of his first AT setup, it is very interesting to read all of the initial feedback on the MFD plate during early-mid 2011. What does everyone think of the plate now? Is its success overblown? The two most obvious knocks are the weight and the price. However, you can find these near $200 on some sites now and this new Guardian that arrived is merely 400 grams lighter than an MFD paired with either a Pivot 14 or STH 14. Although the ideal market for the MFD may not be trolling around this site, it’s interesting to hear what a lot of the lightweight tech elitists think about it.

  46. Lou Dawson October 1st, 2012 4:37 pm

    Eric, if liking lighter weight gear that’s brought myself and my family some of the best experiences we’ve had in life makes me an elitist, so be it.

    Meanwhile, sure, MFD is perfect if you want to run alpine bindings and don’t plan on touring big distances. Yes, you can use a heavy AT binding and just about match the weight, but the ergonomics of the MFD are not ideal, as it engenders what’s in the trade known as the “frankenstride” due to the pivot being to far out ahead of your boot toe. Other plate/frame bindings do that as well, but not quite so much.

    Again, fine for shorter tours but not the best for longer unless you’re incredibly strong and fit — and tour with other folks on similar gear so you don’t get a disparity in group goals.

    Thing is, some of the best skiers in the world do all sorts of heavy duty stuff on AT ski touring bindings. That’s the thing to remember. For most of us, the slight differences between a touring binding and an alpine binding do nothing to take fun away from the day when you’re out on the touring binding. Not saying that “most of us” is all of us, but most, is, most.


  47. jon December 19th, 2012 10:17 pm

    I’m a full time ski patroller and dog handler at Bridger in Bozeman. I just picked up a pair of these for an in area patrol ski, my rossi super 7.I have a bunch of solid binders laying around that I trust and really like.. For me this is a solution that allows me to do short skins on control routes and to be ready for an immediate sidecountry rescue. I don’t see ever actually touring far on these as they’re unbelievably heavy combined with a Rossi axial2 but they’re super functional, ski better than a duke and so far seem to solve some real world problems for me. I’ve got a dozen days on em so far and they seem super solid and ski exactly as expected. solid.. I would never expect this setup to replace or compete with my dynafit setup; totally different tools….

    happy holidays!

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