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DPS

AT binders for slack country?

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I'm moving to a lighter ski this year (K2 Shuksan from BD Havoc) for most back country touring and ski mountaineering trips. I'm going to remount my Dynafit binders from my current Havocs.

 

I'm toying with the idea of getting something like the Marker Dukes/Barons (on sale for much cheaper than Dynafits/tech biners) for my Havocs for lift serviced slack country type of skiing. They come with brakes which I like for in bounds and as I mentioned are much cheaper than tech binders. The penalty seems to be in weight, but for lift serviced skiing I don't see that as a huge issue.

 

Any thoughts from the ski experts? If money was not an issue I'd get another pair of tech binders, but I'm not made of money and the Markers would save considerable coin.

 

TIA,

 

Dan

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If your primary use is inbounds then Dukes are a better option than tech binders due to full release capabilities and true DIN settings. They're heavy - but that won't impact your downhill.

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Sounds like a good plan Dan. I have the lighter marker Baron for resort/side country, work great for that purpose.

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one downside on markers is that you have to remove the binding to go from ski to walk and vice versa. the heel peices are also really weak. ive seen a dozen+ pairs that would not pass torque tests in our shop (i work as a ski tech)

 

fritschi freerides could be pretty rad too, go from skin to ski real easy. unless your a real hucker then the dukes would be a better choice as they are a stiffer binding.

 

whatever you do dont get the salomon/atomic at bindings. them things suck. several design flaws.

 

the tyrolia ones coming out look promising, look into those as well.

 

 

 

 

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one downside on markers is that you have to remove the binding to go from ski to walk and vice versa.

 

Can you elaborate? Do you mean the binding has to be removed from the ski or you have to step out of the binding? If the former, does this operation require tools?

Edited by DPS

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Just have to remove the boot (step out) from the binding to switch ski/walk mode on the Marker Baron/Duke.

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It's not as big a deal as people make it out to be, unless you are a lycra suited rando racer worried about a few seconds at each transition - and then you're probably not wearing Dukes anyways.

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Thanks Jay. I had read something in passing about these, but didn't know anything about them. I look into these.

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I've been on the marker baron for the last 3 years, mostly day tours & life serve sidecountry days around SW Montana. They have held up well, however I think that if you going to go the plate style binding route that the Solomon guardian/ Atomic tracker is a better way to go. Reason being that this binding has an all metal attachment system switching you between touring mode and alpine mode. This seems to have alleviated my only complaint about the markers, which has all plastic attachment, resulting in increasing slop in the binding over time.

 

If your dead set on the markers I'd so save some money and weight and get the barons, I consider myself as aggressive as any (human) skier out there and I've yet to blow them up. Just my 0.02

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Not sure if you've already ruled out this idea, but if your main goal is to save money and you want to be able to use a single set of tech bindings on multiple pairs of skis....

 

http://bindingfreedom.com/

If you decide to go that route let me know. I have a pair of dynaduke swap plates I couldn't use because the adjustment range on my old speeds wasn't quite enough to work with my boots. I also have a pair of unused sollyfit plates, that's another story. One option would be to get some cheap used salomon bindings and use sollyfit plates.

Plates will be posted for sale soon.

 

I've been skiing older dukes for resort and short tours for 3+ seasons, they work fine. I echo the comments from epst10, and would consider the Barons.

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whatever you do dont get the salomon/atomic at bindings. them things suck. several design flaws.

 

 

Wonder what you don't like about the Guardian? I've heard good things other than they're heavy.

 

The Tyrolia / 4Front / Head / Fischer Adrenaline does look good and is a lb lighter than the Guardian.

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the salo/atomic bindings dont allow a completely flat touring position, only angled slightly up or steep.

 

they also have a rod/screw kind of thing for the pivot point, basically its a long bolt that goes into a nut on the other side of the binding. i just imagine it working its way out over a few days, hours or minutes? of touring.

 

youve got to take that bolt out to mount the binding.

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oh and they dont work with AT boots, only downhill din soles

 

ive never actually skied in them so some of these observations are purely speculation. i have mounted several pairs on skis though.

Edited by christophbenells

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Thanks for the insights. Those issues don't seem to be too big of a deal for me, but I tend to see this category of bindings as essentially being an inbounds binding that has the ability to tour to get you out the ridge or back to the lifts or whatever. That said, think I'm going to pick up a pair of the Adrenaline 13's pretty soon.

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Here's my thoughts, feel free to disagree:

If you're big and/or aggressive enough, all the AT bindings fail. They fail in different ways, but they all have weaknesses. I've broken 4 different parts on dukes, but still believe they're the most "reliable" option on the market right now for me. All the AT bindings have their different problems: Tech, naxo/fritschi, duke, salomon. I haven't heard of anyone breaking an MFD yet, but in time I bet even it would wear out. Mechanical systems just wear out, and if you're focused on weight then you give up a lot in terms of reliability/performance. DH bindings are much more reliable and your AT bindings will last much longer if you use DH bindings for in-bounds.

 

The swap plates or binding inserts are a good way to have a quiver of skis without too many bindings. The drawback is a little more weight (with plates) and a little more hassle when you want to switch setups. If you only change once or twice in the spring, then this is a good option.

 

Naxos and Fritschis are basically dead. Other than to try the sport out for cheap, I don't see them being the right choice for anyone else.

 

The barons/dukes are the only at binding that I'd recommend people ski inbounds. The rest are really a compromise in terms of release capability or durability. While that compromise is generally ok for backcountry where only 5-25% of your time is going downhill, it doesn't seem appropriate for in-bounds/side country where 80-100% of your time is going downhill. I ski my dh bindings in bounds as much as possible because they're more robust and have better release than the dukes.

 

 

 

By a binding with a DIN setting for you. If you're set to 8, don't go get a duke, get the baron instead. If you have your dynafits cranked down all the way at a pseudo-10 or 12, then you may actually need a 16-din binding. The higher the din equals more weight and on Shuksans or Havocs you'll notice the weight difference of a heavier binding when you're skiing.

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