Salomon Guardian 16 – Latest Soldier, Binding Wars

Post by blogger | October 18, 2011      
Salomon Guardian 16 backcountry skiing binding.

Salomon Guardian 16 backcountry skiing binding will be released next fall. Interesting they're previewing it this early -- probably an internet marketing and social networking induced deal.

While due for retail in fall of NEXT year (2012), Salomon has gone public with their rumored AT binding. They say it’ll be sold in two cosmetic versions, Salomon Guardian 16 and Atomic Tracker 16. The binding features a lower stack height than many other AT bindings, and an “oversized platform” that if nothing else will yield the impression of greater power and will probably have the definite effect of better screw hold for those of you who rip bindings out of skis. It’s unknown if the wider form factor will solve the twisting-rolling instability problem that plagues this sort of design both in alpine and tour mode, but it could help.

Salomon Guardian 16 and Atomic Tracker are new ski touring and freeride bindings.

Salomon Guardian 16 and Atomic Tracker are new ski touring and freeride bindings still in the making.

Perhaps most importantly, this appears to be another AT binding that’s biased to downhill “freeride” performance, yet in this case has a walk/ski mode switch that does not require removing your skis. The engineering required to achieve this is impressive. Hero or casualty? It’ll be fun to watch how the new soldier does.

More on their Salomon Guardian backcountry skiing binding minisite.

Weight, MSRP and so forth are unknown at this time.


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42 Responses to “Salomon Guardian 16 – Latest Soldier, Binding Wars”

  1. Owen Darrow October 18th, 2011 8:26 am

    This does seem a LITTLE early…

  2. Lou October 18th, 2011 8:28 am

    Unless it’s a typo, and they’re releasing it this fall instead of 2012? I think their website is probably right… they’re probably planning on seeding out test bindings eventually so they can get any bugs worked out, thus avoid the all to common syndrome that AT bindings seem to fall victim to over and over again; that of releasing a product with problems that should have been taken care of in pre retail development.

  3. DM October 18th, 2011 9:17 am

    I’m guessing this will show up in some shops this fall, just like the 2012 Rocker2 did in Fall 2011. All about creating a buzz.

    I’m holding onto my Dukes for now, though. I’d need to see some testing done.

  4. Bryan October 18th, 2011 9:33 am

    So does that mean they’re actually going to test these unlike their tech inserts?

  5. Lou October 18th, 2011 9:44 am

    Bryan, stranger things have happened. But indeed, Salomon got in a lot of trouble trying to release that boot early, to make buzz, without testing something critical. Hopefully they changed their corporate culture in that respect. Yes, I have hope.

  6. Bern October 18th, 2011 10:04 am

    I had my hands on it last week (in the back office, I had to ask to see it) during some Salomon show. Here is what I learned: I liked it a lot, might be the best for the sidecountry riders, definitely feels better than the Duke. It weights about exactly as much as the Duke and is mostly made of steel. The spring in the toe unit is built in laterally which is why it looks like a Marker Duke, however the wings which hold the boot tip are much larger, the heel unit definitely looks and feels like a regular sth16. DIN goes from 7 to 16 as far as I remember. They told me they solved some problem about ice building up in the locking/walking mechanism. As you can see on the minisite it is possible to switch from touring to alpine mode without stepping out of the bindings. They will be priced in Europe at about 360.- Euros. Next year, for 2013 they plan to bring a lighter version with a less stronger release spring (5-12 I believe he said).

  7. jeff October 18th, 2011 11:49 am

    Salomon’s spectacular incompetence w.r.t. their Quest boots was rather impressive, but I believe these bindings were skied by a few of their pro skiers for many months before release.

    I still wouldn’t trust anything new from Salomon with my life (or health, or happiness, or really anything), but it does appear these were much better tested than the quest atrocities.

  8. gringo October 18th, 2011 12:41 pm

    I also had a pair in hand late last week. Standing on carpet they look pretty good. Hafta wait a bit to see how they ski. One point to consider in announcing it this early is the whole list of people who will see it now, in preparation of next years’ shop orders. Salomon can release it themselves and include correct info and specs, or let some monkey leak it then deal with retro grouches assuming things for the next year, and bad mouthing it it on the internetz, never having learned a single correct spec about it.

    i know which way I’d rather go.

  9. Lou October 18th, 2011 2:29 pm

    I’d agree, they might as well release some info, and they did…

  10. Lou October 18th, 2011 2:30 pm

    It doesn’t look particularly resistant to knee-fall (kneeling fall) damage…

  11. Jonny October 18th, 2011 2:37 pm

    These are going to be dope and need to be paired it with La Sportiva or DPS’s lightweight focus. Although the Salomons seem to be focusing on the downhill, I fear they may not function as well with the uphill touring when compared to established AT’ing brands

  12. Tommy October 18th, 2011 7:02 pm

    I think Amer Sports, and many of the companies they own need to turn things around and show a commitment to quality before I can trust. The quest boot is one example in the ski industry, but they’ve had their fair share of disasters with other outdoor hardgoods brands (Mavic).

    We’re going to see a lot of these bindings fail in 2012/2013.

  13. Grant October 18th, 2011 9:19 pm

    From what I’ve read about this binding they’ve been developing the thing for 5 years. What will convince the haters that Salomon has it right? No injuries for a season? 5 seasons? Seems to me they got tech boots wrong, that’s it. As a binding company, I don’t think you can find much negative to say. I will be buying a pair as soon as they are available. I hate that the Dukes have to be taken off to swtich and that alone is reason for me to go with the Salomon. Amer is a good company that puts out some quality stuff. Mistakes? Yes, but don’t forget about all the other good stuff we’ve been riding all these years.

  14. David Aldous October 18th, 2011 10:24 pm

    So does this mean that Sage will have to quit using the MFD Alltime so he can support his sponsors new binding? Are we going to see video of him “kicking and gliding” on these too?
    I’m assuming the metal hooks on the base plate are the mechanism that locks it down. Is this going to be as rigid as the Baron/Duke slide under the rail in several places system?
    Assuming that they did their homework this time I’m happy to see more competition in the binding market.

  15. Verbier61 October 19th, 2011 1:08 am

    they look like the old twisting-rolling silvretta, albeit on massive steroid therapy.
    So, if the weight is like the duke, glory to dynafits.

  16. jeff October 19th, 2011 7:57 am


    It’s not that others are “haters,” it is more that we value our lives and limbs, and find that a company willing to release a critical component completely untested isn’t one to trust.

    I need that company (Salomon/Amer) to redevelop a trustworthy track record before I am willing to rely on their products for my safety. I’m surprised that you don’t have this criteria, and that you think it makes someone a “hater.”

    I always want to write “magnets, if shane had his way” in answer to the anti-spam question.

  17. Matt October 19th, 2011 9:17 am

    Right, Grant. One new feature is a good reason to purchase it immediately. You go first.

    And as far as the Quest goes, the inserts were by far the biggest problem but that boot is plagued by buckle problems as well. Salomon seems to have a complete aversion to quality control in addition to standard testing procedures. Last year when rumors of the binding surfaced the pros were suspiciously giddy, “check out this brand new binding… we’ve been testing it for years!” That just doesn’t pass the smell test to me personally.

    I hope that they get this right and you guys enjoy the binding. Fortunately for me, Dynafit is the beginning and end of the story for my touring needs.

  18. Lou October 19th, 2011 9:55 am

    So Grant, are the Occupy Wallstreet folks haters? I don’t get this term “haters,” does it mean anyone who simply doesn’t agree with the approach a corporation or business is taking? Anyone considering Salomon gear has a perfect right to wonder about their quality control. Indeed, I’d personally recommend taking that approach with ANY gear where failure could mean life and limb. I’ve seen all too many first-season ski products have surprising defects. Hence, my advice is if you want to be an early adopter of such stuff, at least give it some initial torture testing in a controlled environment, perhaps even on the workbench.

  19. Jason October 19th, 2011 1:32 pm

    Nice looking binder. Looks like the Freeride a lot.

  20. Jason October 19th, 2011 1:33 pm

    Duct Tape doesn’t work in the Anti-Spam Quiz form.. 🙁

  21. grant give it a rest October 19th, 2011 2:02 pm


    seriously? do you know what is like to have your whole life effaced, nothing will be the same again? You are employed by Sally, that is all we need to know regarding your comments. It was a crippling and devastating injury met with evasive lawyering in an attempt to scare and whittle down the injured parties into believing that some how the event was more their fault for not skiing their boots in the ideal conditions. Are all tours ideal??? or should equipment be made knowing that its not always ideal and thus be tested to the end of the earth and back before being put on the market. Making your first tech fitting and you just toss it out there with the knowledge that you have deviated dramatically from what dynafit has established as a tried and true method, that wait for it, actually works??? Lets see how you feel being crippled for life and having to surrender everything you know and love to do or dial it back to where the enjoyment is sucked out it since the pain is over bearing. Or have to face a life time of surgeries and constant maintenance just not to lose the limb. You fail horribly at this. Put your life in their hands, let us know how it goes.

  22. Lou October 19th, 2011 2:16 pm

    We owe it to Salomon as well as you guys to do some fairly rigorous testing on these things once we get a pair. We will do so. Not sure how supportive Solomon is going to be after the way I covered their defective tech fittings. I’d hope they see we’re just trying to do the right thing, and getting some bindings here ASAP would only be to their benefit if they are indeed as good as they look. Lou

  23. Pablo October 20th, 2011 4:27 am

    Lou, Probably I’ll have one of this Salomon Guardian in mid-december. I will test them and if they don’t send one to you before i can send you a review form mines.

    See ya.

  24. Sam F October 20th, 2011 9:01 am

    Why do you think the company that invented the dynaduke plate, still felt the need to mass produce the sollyfit plate?
    Salomon bindings have a well deserved reputation in the freeride market. Marker doesnt.

    Alot of people like the idea of the Duke, but dont trust it.

    It looks really low to the ski. hopefully it skis well.

  25. Lou October 20th, 2011 9:33 am

    Thanks Pablo.

  26. Steve October 20th, 2011 5:29 pm

    So the tour/ski mode debate: isn’t it really a moot point? So what if you have to take your skis off when you’re finished touring to remove the skins. Most people that use heavy bindings aren’t bothered by this and if they are bothered by this they’re likely an advanced tourer who is concerned with weight, transition time, and has already graduated to a Dynafit binding. And most people take their skis off to put their skins back on.

  27. Grant October 22nd, 2011 6:10 pm

    I’m not a Sally employee, although I do know people who are. I actually have no horse in this race other than being a consumer. I’ve ridden Salomon products before and loved their performance. I’m a firm believer that consumers have the ultimate lobbying power with their wallets and are free to choose whatever products they deem cool, safe, necessary, etc. I use the word “hater” because there are many who seem to be hell bent on ruining what seems to be a great company. Those of you who anger at some counter opinion and insist I’m trolling for the company fit the description perfectly. Should Salomon just quit now, pack up and fire everyone? That would be great, then they’d have time to join the folks camping out on Wall Street. My question was simple, what would give you confidence in Salomon again?? A season? 5 Seasons? Its a valid question.

  28. Mark W October 22nd, 2011 8:03 pm

    People don’t trust the Marker Duke? Who doesn’t? I hadn’t heard that, but am curious to know more.

  29. Sam F October 23rd, 2011 10:15 am

    Mostly it would seem the tour mode is what is not trusted. I’ve been touring with a friend who broke the AFD toe height adjustment(which isn’t great when it does work). I don’t think I’ve skinned with anyone who has dukes, who hasn’t had to screw around for a good while to lock back into mode.

    Granted it’s an alpine binding that happens to tour so I shouldnt expect it to function as smoothly as my dynafits.

    But it should be up to par with an oversized 16 din freeride binding in durability and ski performance. It’s not and I hope the guardian is.
    If you don’t trust me go the a shop and check out the complicated and not reassuring toe height adjustment on the duke.

  30. Paul December 13th, 2011 9:20 pm

    Cody Townsend was part of a Dec 2 video with a lot of info on this binding: The main info is from 5:00-7:30 minutes in, and then in Q&A around 15:00. Looks like it is being positioned against Duke/Baron. $449 MSRP, shipping in Fall 2012.

  31. Jernej January 30th, 2012 1:47 am

    Seems like everyone wants to get into this particular game – Tyrolia/Elan/Head/Fischer Andrenalin binding:

  32. Lou January 30th, 2012 6:29 am

    Looks like we’ve got some major copying, cross-pollination and re-branding going on in our formerly small little niche industry. That Tyrolia/Elan/Whatever looks like a Duke/Baron mated with a Salomon.

    In the end it’s going to be all good for the consumer, but it’ll get confusing as well. We’ll keep attempting to sort it out here.

    The big ski sector manufactures are jumping on the trend started by Marker, trying to make THE binding that’s no compromise between downhill and uphill (excluding weight in that equation.) Now that they’re pretty much ignoring weight, they’re much farther along with that than in the Fritschi era. Making the binding platform wider is logical, but probably not the heart-stopping achievement that it tends to be presented as. Including a true alpine toe and heel is terrific for the skiers who really need that sort of thing — and as a marketing tool.

    I had to laugh as I watched the part of the video touting how the binding let the ski flex underfoot, when thinking of Dynafit’s attempt to allow the skier to stiffen that area. Recalling the marketing babble associated with those two features, yeah, laughing outloud here this morning.

  33. Lou January 30th, 2012 7:05 am

    Grant, when a company screws up they lose consumer confidence. Axiomatic. When folks express that in comments, they’re just stating reality. As for how you get the confidence back, you simply own up to your mistakes, make them right, then do your job making and marketing gear that works. If the making and marketing are done with skill, the consumer confidence comes back.

    No company out there is immune from releasing a product now and then that isn’t quite up to par (though I’d like to see a bit less of that syndrome in the AT binding sector, see below.) So the playing field is leveled by that as well. Example, both Dynafit and G3 recently doing what are product recalls by any other name.

    Where some companies really screw up is when they attempt to keep product defects under the table, and now in the days of the ‘net a negative organic undercurrent develops and their product loses consumer confidence and market share. This reluctance to just quickly own up to a defect and be done with it is understandable (human nature, corporate culture, etc.), but from what I’ve seen is the worst way to deal with stuff. I’ll not name any names, the perps have been pretty obvious over the years… in fact, just about every binding company out there has behaved this way at one time or another, boot companies to some extent as well.

    Regarding bindings in particular. Personally, I’m quite sick of ski bindings being sold with defects that appear they could easily have been caught with proper testing before going public, and I’ve become sensitive to the issue. That’s why I worked my tail off to support both Onyx and Dynafit recently when they attempted to deal with product defects with elegance and openness (though it’s puzzling how either situation could have made it to the consumer level). I also continue, in my editorial role, attempting to cover product problems in a way that’s not sensationalistic “hit bait” but rather is fair to everyone involved. To that end, my style of coverage runs all the way from our blatant destructive testing of the Salomon boot toe tech fitting, down to simply ignoring a possibly defective product because we’re unable to document the defect with enough certainty to be fair to both consumer and company.

    Tempering all that are your COMMENTS here at WildSnow, which we moderate carefully, and have thus become a trusted source for many readers, both industry and consumer. In other words, not only do we work hard to deal with possible product defects in a professional way on the editorial side (and yeah, we make mistakes), but we put great faith in how our readers will bring up issues by leaving pithy comments based on real-life experience and observations. So please commenters, keep ’em flying. Thousands of people are reading what you write.

  34. Greg Louie January 30th, 2012 10:07 am

    “No touring boots” (except the Salomon Quest series)? Really?

  35. Lou January 30th, 2012 10:16 am

    Greg, I can’t figure out what you’re quoting…

  36. Greg Louie January 30th, 2012 10:17 pm

    Tony Lamiche, when asked about which boots the Guardian 16 will work with in the Q & A section, says “no touring boots” – I find it hard to believe it will only work with alpine soles and Quest variant front soles . . .

  37. Lou January 30th, 2012 10:38 pm

    Greg, oh, now I understand. And yes, it has adjustable toe height and as far as I can tell is designed to work with DIN sole AT boots. Perhaps they mean boots without DIN sole, such as TLT5.

  38. Greg Louie January 31st, 2012 9:52 am

    Well, he stammered repeatedly when answering, so maybe he was put up to it by Salomon to give the impression you needed to buy one of the Quest boots . . .

  39. Ty February 13th, 2012 5:52 pm

    So, only 2 climbing modes? When skining on flats and rollers I tend to enjoy the riser in the FLAT position!! It seems that when you stomp on these new binders, they click into ski mode when the riser is out of the way. That seems really convenient, constantly locking the heel down on a long, low angle traverse . If you cannot tour with these bindings in a flat riser position, this is a failed design. Dukes don’t take that much longer in a transition if you know what you are doing. Does the 7mm difference in binding height matter?

  40. jbish April 4th, 2013 11:41 am

    hey hey, simple question:

    can the guards handle a late day park session regularly?

  41. Don Eburne September 12th, 2015 7:21 am

    I love your binding reviews but they are all for adults. Anyway to get manufacturers to realize there’s a demand for kids and young adult AT bindings? My kids are 90 to 115 pounds and there’s nothing out there for them. Also, I’m willing to buy my kids new stuff (gasp) which I never do for myself.

  42. Lou Dawson 2 September 12th, 2015 7:41 am

    Hi Don, actually, Hagan has a junior binding that’ll be available this coming season.

    The lack of gear for kids is probably more having to do with what dealers are willing to stock, but yes there are still not many options.

    What we did in the past with ours and a some friend’s kids was just as soon as they could wear a boot a size too big, we did some boot fitting and put them in a tech binding. They quickly grew into the boot. and the light gear was much healthier for growth plates and other youth issues.


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