Lou Dawson, mastermind behind the excellent backcountry ski touring website wildsnow.com, has done an excellent, head to head test of alpine touring bindings, looking at how much play, or deflection, the bindings have when the ski is on edge. Obviously, the less side to side movement your boot has in a binding, the more the ski feels like it’s under control.
Here are the results of Lou’s test. The most stable bindings are listed at the top. The big surprise? Dynafit’s tiny, ultralight bindings were among the most stable in the test—right up there with the heavy Marker bindings (the stoutest AT bindings out there). He also threw in one alpine binding, the Marker M1100 to help put things in context.
Lou tested each with a home-spun workbench setup that pulled on the boot from the side, and he assigned each a rating in ‘units of deflection’ – basically a score to show how close certain bindings were to others. The lower the score, the more stable the binding is on the ski.
- Marker F12 Tour (2010/2011 model) – Score: 18
- Marker Duke (2007/2008 model) – Score: 19
- Dynafit (Vertical ST/FT, equal in stiffness to other Dynafit models) –Score: 20
- G3 Onyx – Score: 21
- Fritschi Freeride Pro (2009 model) – Score: 25
- Fritschi Freeride Plus (2006 model) —Score: 26
- Fritschi Freeride (2004 model) — Score: 27
- Marker M1100 (alpine binding) —Score: 28
- Naxo Nx21 (discontinued)—Score: 29
- Silvretta Pure Freeride —Score: 35
- Silvretta Pure Performance— Score: 36
- Naxo NX01 (discontinued) — Score: 45
Dawson acknowledges that these results are not strictly scientific, and that repeated tests may have different results. But we’d like to congratulate Lou on a great experiment. At the Gear Institute, we believe that the most reliable gear tests are these kinds of direct, head-to-head comparisons under controlled conditions—even if they are home-spun.
What happens on the workbench is likely to also happen in the field. And Dawson deserves credit for putting the marketing spin on these bindings to the test.
Wildsnow.com is a Gear Institute certified blog—meeting our standards for journalistic integrity, including a separation of editorial and advertising, transparent gear test criteria, a high level of expertise among it’s editorial staff, and a clear disclosure regarding the free and discounted products the site reviews.