We had a fun time testing and dissecting the new Salomon Guardian tour capable ski binding last winter. We didn’t have it for long nor were we sure if what we tested, weighed, etc. was the true retail version. No worries, a retail pair flew in here just the other day. We’ll give them a dose of brutality this winter, though we did promise Salomon that no crowbars would be involved so don’t get any false expectations. Check out what’s in the box. They do look sweet, though with an interesting caveat. Read on.
The jewelry box. Click all images to enlarge.
Everything is as assembled as possible for an easy mount. We're working on a paper template.
What's interesting is the large pamphlet chained to the binding. It appears the lawyers are as involved as anyone in the design and packaging of the Guardian. More, check out how they're touting TUV. We predict this trend will continue as the big binding companies are fed up with competition from non-certifed tech bindings that have sold like candy for decades. For some unknown reason (or perhaps, for obvious reasons we can try to guess) Salomon opted for a non-sliding front AFD. In doing so, the binding does not conform to the DIN 1394 AT binding standard (instead, it's TUV certified to alpine standard), and thus can only recommend the binding for use with alpine boots or Salomon's own boots with a sole that mates with the AFD. Or, was this done for the simple reason that Salomon wants to force sales of their ski touring boots? That's their choice, but seems like a good way of limiting the appeal of this binding. What's odd is that the toe height is adustable and will thus tempt users of all AT boot brands -- and it appears a sliding AFD would have been so simple to include.
From the warning brochure:
These alpine bindings are intended to be used only with the following ski boots:
– Alpine ski boots compliant with ISO 5255 standard
– Ski boots equipped with “WTR” technology” labeled kit of walking soles for touring skiing. Any use with other ski boots could cause the ski-binding-boot system to be faulty…
From Salomon, don't use other brand AT boots with this binding.
That pesky AFD is even removable. Could a swap-in sliding version be in the works?
Interesting. Underneath find two screws that allow you to remove the AFD in seconds. Obvious benefit of this is that AFDs do wear out from boot contact, so easily swapping is a nice feature. But could a swap-in sliding AFD be in the works? Could an AFD be swapped in from another binding? Mod time in the Rockies?
Ten seconds after grabbing the screwdriver, I was dissecting the AFD like some kid in highschool biology class. We love it when gear is made to be easily workable.
As we mentioned in our dissection, here are the specs.
Size “N” (large?) Guardian, binding weight of 1480 grams (52.3 ounces) per binding with all hardware. Stack height (boot above ski at heel) is 27 mm at the toe and 32 mm at heel (verified at WildSnow HQ on demo board). Compare to main competitor at 37 and +-37 (latter due to for/aft height adjustable AFD on competition). Thus, you get around 5 mm less stack with the Salomon, but you do get some binding delta (drop at the toe) while the competition has a virtually neutral delta.
Shop for Salomon Guardian backcountry skiing binding.