Fritschi FT-88 Backcountry Skiing Touring Binding

Before Fritschi started its revolutionary Diamir series around 1995, starting around 1982 the company made a complex but durable and functional plate binding known as the FT88.

FT88 was built in two versions: A civilian build used darker plastic (possibly purple), and the military flavor shown here was of course white on white.

Fritschi FT88 in touring mode with heel lift. Click image to enlarge.

Fritschi FT88 in touring mode with heel lift. Click image to enlarge.

 Fritschi FT88 release is accomplished by the binding plate (frame) rotating on a central pivot, and disengaging from the ball and socket joint shown here.

Fritschi FT88 release is accomplished by the binding plate (frame) rotating on a central pivot, and disengaging from the ball and socket joint shown here.

The oblong ball moves at any angle and appears to offer a smooth and effective release. Tension for all release modes (vertical,lateral, etc.) is set by rotating the spring barrel visible in photo. Click here for a video of the Fritschi FT88 binding release action.

The FT88 binding plate consists of two parts. A plastic plate (not visible in this photo) provides hinged touring mode, while the aluminum frame shown above works the release.

The FT88 binding plate consists of two parts. A plastic plate (not visible in this photo) provides hinged touring mode, while the aluminum frame shown above works the release.

Central pivot shown above is what allows the release to function without independent forward and lateral mechanisms. Problem with all this is it made the binding heavy.

Changing from downhill to touring modes is done by pulling the toe of the binding plate up, which releases the white plastic touring plate from a catch. Reverse procedure changes back to downhill. Both require exiting the binding.

Changing from downhill to touring modes is done by pulling the toe of the binding plate up, which releases the white plastic touring plate from a catch. Reverse procedure changes back to downhill. Both require exiting the binding.

In all the FT88 was a durable and somewhat effective alpine touring binding, but due to excessive weight and the kludgy nature of switching modes it was never widely popular. Many are available, as around 2005 the market was flooded with used product (white military version). The colored civilian version is harder to obtain.

Weight: One binding with screws, 42.3 oz., 1200 gr.

This binding was acquired from the military surplus market.

Fritschi FT-88 thumbnail

Fritschi FT-88 thumbnail

  Your Comments

  • Bean: Lou is right with the "Wally," reference... The story I heard was that Wall...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Weather day is the next Saturday, but it usually happens on Memorial Day we...
  • Jeromy Walker: I'm researching purchasing a set of these for use in the mountains. Wha...
  • Andrew: Thank you! Is there a back up day in case of weather, or does it happen reg...
  • Indy Skier: Hi Andrew, it's not a formal event, folks are telling me they're planning o...
  • See: I eventually moved on to Rottefella TRP’s, and then 7TM’s. But I don’t reme...
  • Andrew: Howdy, I was curious if a BBQ has been schedule for 2017? If so, what are t...
  • Jim Milstein: I too used the Voilé telemark release plates long ago, and I thought they w...
  • See: Veil is also a kind of cloth used in composite material construction, altho...
  • Jim Milstein: Voilé means, I think, veiled in French. Hmmm, another veiled reference to V...
  • Lou Dawson 2: I broke out Google translate and couldn't come up with anything Germanic, w...
  • Patrick: Going back to the Reagan era. Voile: great innovations, construction, quali...
  • Jim Milstein: Well, if it was meant to be a joke, that helps. Too bad I wasn't there to c...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Indeed, those of you who don't understand the name Voile, receive the deepe...
  • Blair: I love it. Wally decides to call the skiis Voile, sounds like an insider's ...
  • Charlie Hagedorn: Jim, as I understand it, Voile's founder's name is Wally. Voile was a way t...
  • Jim Milstein: So, Nate, why not spell it Volay? Spelling it Voile and pronouncing it vola...
  • Nate C: Jim, VO-lay. "So what's up with our Eurotrash, pseudo-Franco-phile name...
  • MONOCLE: Congrats on the job! I know the academic job market too well -- and the pu...
  • Jim Milstein: Okay, interesting report, but questions remain: How do they pronounce Voile...
  • Nate Porter: Thanks for the factory tour. Voile products are a great combo of quality, v...
  • Bard: Cool to see inside the factory, thanks Lou! I still ski on a pair of 2011 o...
  • Doug: Superchargers are one of the all time great skis, quiver of one....
  • Bill B: I very much admire Voile. Their contributions to back country skiing has b...
  • Matt Kinney: Not sure about that telemark binding, but Voile makes another that works go...
  • See: Very cool. What are the molds made of? They look like metal but appear to b...
  • Wilson: Alex, Congratulations on the job. We're going to miss you at the Father Dy...
  • See: I guess electric heat elements would be a substitute for insulation until t...
  • Lou Dawson 2: My understanding is that the electric heated gloves now available are a via...
  • See: Unlike Lou, I’m no expert on this subject, but there is no substitute for i...

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

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