HOW TO BUY ALPINE TOURING BINDINGS
Also known as randonnée, alpine touring is increasing in popularity. If you’re a skier making the jump to backcountry or alpine touring your bindings are as important as ever.
Your bindings are your connection to your skis, transferring your movements from muscle to slope. This is especially important for alpine touring, and specific AT ski bindings will allow you to lift your heels naturally while ascending uphill and then lock your boots down allowing you to use your regular alpine skiing technique downhill. Used in combination with climbing skins and alpine touring boots, AT bindings making travelling snowy ground fast and efficient.
Whether you’re considering a new ski set-up or simply new bindings we’ll take you through the following information to help you choose the right bindings for you:
- Choosing your AT ski binding
- Types of binding
- Up vs. down
- Strength vs. weight
- Choosing your AT binding
- Boot sole compatibility
- Alpine touring binding FAQs.
Our stores have a wide range of ski bindings, so if in doubt, visit us in store and get expert advice from our knowledgeable staff.
After choosing your ski bindings always have a certified ski technician mount and adjust your bindings for safety.
Types of AT Bindings
Alpine touring ski bindings fall into two categories; frame and tech.
Frame bindings connect toe and heel pieces with a frame or rail and usually work with alpine and alpine touring ski boots.
Tech bindings use a set of pins to hold the toe in place, requiring a special boot. Tech binders are lighter.
Up vs. Down
Your ski, boot, and binding all go up and downhill so while you want a lightweight setup with a wide range of motion for uphill, downhill works better with wide, heavy, and stiff setups. Finding the ideal AT setup then can be tricky, and mostly down to personal preference, your skiing style, ability, and the type of touring you plan to do.
Strength vs. Weight
A heavier ski, with a heavy frame binding might ski downhill well, especially suited to heavier skiers or those who like to ski aggressively in the backcountry but the weight can also be a burden as you make the hike uphill. On the other hand, a light ski and tech binding will allow you to quickly and efficiently make the trek uphill but won’t provide the same downhill experience so it’s important to think about your enjoyment and where your priorities lie.
Most skiers will start by testing heavier setups as they explore the backcountry. This means you can focus on getting experience with your new setup and equipment without compromising on the love of downhill.
Boot Sole Compatibility
Most frame AT bindings are designed to work with both flat soled boots, like standard alpine ski boots, as well as with rockered soles. Tech bindings however will not accept standard alpine ski boots.
Alpine Touring Binding FAQs.
Can I Telemark On AT Bindings?
AT bindings aren’t designed to take the stress of telemark skiing at speed and pivot in front of the toe, telemark bindings and boots are instead designed to flex at the ball of the foot.
Can I Use My Tech Bindings On My Every Day Skis?
Possibly. While both lighter and heavier skiers have begun using tech bindings for lift-served skiing, the bindings don’t meet the standard for alpine binding release and adjustment so will not perform in the same way.