The question: Will more skiers go for tech bindings if they lock in and release more like alpine bindings? Marker, lord of the alpine binding, certainly believes so. The DIN-certified Kingpin has a burly spring tech toepiece up front (with a six-pack of springs designed to prevent pre-releases), with a familiar alpine-release in the heel designed to boost power transfer. “All of a sudden we are clicking into what is essentially an alpine heelpiece, and that’s a big deal for vertical release,” predicts our AT binding test director, Jordan White. Switching between ski and tour mode promises to be an improvement on past Marker offerings, and the binding offers three (not two) climbing heights—including a 7-degree and 13-degree mode. At 730 grams (with brake), its significantly lighter the Marker Baron, Lord, and Tour, the Kingpin looks like it’s going to be the backcountry binding to beat next year.