Sidecountry is again a big buzz word at SIA this year. There are sidecountry jackets, skis, and, of course, bindings. But of all the products designed to get you out the gate, the one we’re most impressed with is the alpine touring binding collaboration from Atomic and Salomon. Atomic calls it the Tracker 16, while Salomon has dubbed it the Guardian 16. But they’re the exact same binding, just with different names and paint jobs. We had a chance to take a few laps on the Guardian 16 last week at Outdoor Retailer...and we wish we could have taken more. The wide toe unit (80mm), low stack height, and beefy materials (at 6.5 pounds per pair, they’re not light), made for a precise and powerful ride. Supposedly, they’re just as impressive on the way up, as a flick of the pole and click of the heel is all it takes to switch from hike to ski mode. We’re looking forward to testing out their uphill performance later this winter. Available September 2012.