The 3 Best Alpine Touring Bindings of 2013
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Dynafit Radical TLT FT Bindings
BEST FOR: Charging the resort and then ducking into sidecountry.
THE TEST: The newly updated Radical 12 is Dynafit’s most powerful binding, specifically designed to pair with fat powder boards. The toepiece’s side towers—beefed-up versions of the pincers found on older Dynafit models—make the binding easier to get into and out of and increase power transfer. And the improved heel-riser design makes it easier than ever to adjust the climbing height on the fly, no more contortions necessary.
THE VERDICT: An uncanny blend of power and weight. The Radical is the most confidence-inspiring Dynafit binding we’ve ever tested. 2.6 lbs
Salomon Guardian 16 Ski Bindings
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
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.
La Sportiva RT Ski Bindings
BEST FOR: Ultralight touring without losing performance.
THE TEST: It doesn’t seem possible that a full-featured touring binding this sturdy—the RT has an aluminum-alloy framework and hardened steel pins—could weigh so little (a little more than a pound per pair). Even more impressive is that the RT comes equipped with some serious safety features, including a lateral and vertical heel-release mechanism built into the baseplate to keep it out of the way.
THE VERDICT: “It’s the sexiest and the lightest,” said one tester, “but it’s gonna cost you.” 19 oz