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

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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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