Salomon Guardian 16

    Photo: Sal

BEST FOR: Short tours just outside the resort and maximum power in-bounds.

THE TEST: The Guardian’s wide toe unit (80 millimeters), low stack height (its chassis sits closer to the ski than any other binding’s in its class), and beefy materials (the toepiece is a stout fiberglass-nylon composite) make the Guardian the most precise and powerful AT binding we’ve seen. It accepts all alpine and alpine touring boots, and testers liked the “totally alpine feel” for charging through myriad resort conditions.

THE VERDICT: It’s a downhill binding—just look at the weight—but suitable for short skin tracks back to the resort, cat, or heli. 6.5 lbs

Versatility: 2
Power: 5

No, you're not crazy. The Guardian 16 is also being sold as the Atomic Tracker 16. (Salomon and Atomic are owned by the same company.) Identical binding, different name and paint job.

Brand: Salomon $550

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