Classic Rando Binding — 1994 Silvretta SL

Post by blogger | September 11, 2007      

From the day in 1995 these bindings entered the inventory at Summit Canyon Mountaineering in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, I had my eye on them for addition to my selection of samples that would eventually become the WildSnow binding collection. Around 2001 they were still kicking around the shop, with six orange sale tags stuck to the box, each with a lower price. I told the owner I’d give him $25.00 — he groaned and said “done.” I should have paid less.

Complete Silvretta SL with a Scarpa Denali boot from the same period, shown in downhill alpine mode. Only a few models of boots ever had the fittings. One boot maker even made a model that included both Dynafit and SL fittings in the toe.

Complete Silvretta SL with a Scarpa Denali boot from the same period, shown in downhill alpine mode. Only a few models of boots ever had the fittings. One boot maker even made a model that included both Dynafit and SL fittings in the toe.

Until recently, these are the only binding that ever tried to knock Dynafit off their throne of lightweight bindings for skiing the backcountry. While an interesting effort, durability problems made the Silvretta SL hard to market, and they have little provision for ski flex under the foot. More, changing between tour and downhill modes not only requires exiting the binding, but involves a transform that resembles the most challenging mechanical intelligence test you can imagine. Nonetheless they’re interesting. (Binding above is shown in alpine mode.)

Indeed, what prompted this display was an email from someone at Marker, asking me if I had any photos of the SL — hmmmm, I wonder what Marker is up to? Are they working on something to compete with Dynafit? Check out the museum display.


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12 Responses to “Classic Rando Binding — 1994 Silvretta SL”

  1. Mark September 11th, 2007 9:24 am

    I thought the SL required pins of a sort that fit into an SL-compatible only boot, but the pin slots in the Scarpas you show have no pins in them (or appear to have no pins).

  2. Lou September 11th, 2007 11:14 am

    Yeah, the bar of the binding just goes into the slot. That’s all.

  3. Matus September 12th, 2007 5:15 am

    I think that this is a nice example of the product that goes into production and on the market without previous deep and long term testing (+ Dynafit Tristep or first generation of Silvretta Pure). When mounaineering equipment I always look for proven designs and materials.

  4. Pulverschnee September 12th, 2007 6:19 am

    Hello from germany,
    i just found your blog and i really like it. I have a question concerning these old bindings. How long do you think the plastic is still okay that it is save to use them?

  5. Lou September 12th, 2007 7:07 am

    When skiing zee pulverschnee, you need reliable equipment. Would you drive the aubtobahns with 14 year old tires? Should you ski zee pulverschnee with 14 year old bindings that are known to have a durability problem? My opinion is a big NO.

  6. Ken Gross September 12th, 2007 8:41 am

    Apparently Dynafits Patent is up in early 2008… that might explain Markers Interest in Photos of the SL. We very well might see a few new Dynafit style AT binders come out after the Patent expires.

  7. scottyb December 24th, 2007 10:31 am

    I have and still use the SL heel unit in conjunction with Voile CRB bindings. This setup allows me to tele or full bondage modes downhill while retaining the tele mode for cruising about. If you can score some SL’s throw away the toe part and keep the heel units for the ultimete in flexible ripping it at the resort or the middle of anywhere.


  8. A January 12th, 2008 7:38 pm

    I have these bindings. Bought them in 1994 when I wanted to start Touring. They worked well for me at that time and I did a few tours with them. Later I moved to an area with few mountains and stopped touring, but used them downhill for a few years. The problem is, I don’t remember how to put them in touring mode… Anyway, don’t use them anymore, but they are in great shape (never had any of the material defects that popped up everywhere in reviews) and I sort of keep them as a memorabilia. Glad I found your page. Do you know the trick with the front binding?

  9. rhettb November 24th, 2009 10:49 pm

    “A”- Find a five-year old who’s played with Transformers a lot; he’ll quickly figure out the switch from downhill to touring mode. Hint: make the whole toe-piece do a forward somersault; the metal cradle that is on top of the toe piece will end up on the bottom, under the boot. I put a few years and quite a bit of vertical on a set of these. I wound a bunch of wraps of nylon thread around 2 places in the toepiece, and epoxied over the thread. They never blew out. The pivot point was pretty optimal, and I actually think they skinned very well, since the climbing mode put the boot a few centimeters forward, which seemed to aid traction on the up.

  10. Scott December 30th, 2010 11:38 am

    I am playing around with the Silvretta SL heel unit in conjunction with a custom hinging plate in an attempt to create an all-in-one binding. I have one pair, but would be interested in obtaining more from anyone that has them sitting around. Blog back if you have any you want to part with.

  11. Julian Fitzroy March 23rd, 2011 4:12 am

    Answer to Scott : I do have an almost new pair,if you are interested.

  12. Todd L June 23rd, 2012 3:42 pm

    I just bought the heal unit for the Silvretta SL binding. I would like to know more about how to maintain this unit. If you have one please contact me. my address can be created using the following formula… last name is junk initials are tl my service is via earthlink dot net the formula is last name initials at my service with no spaces or punctuation between last name and initials.

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