Posted on July 04, 2018 at 06:59 PM
The Binding That Does It All - The Salomon Shift Binding
The rising popularity of ski touring has given birth to something of an arms race in the ski industry these days. The race to see who can create versatile products that can do it all, in and out of bounds, is in full swing. In recent years manufacturers have become more motivated than ever to design skis, boots, and bindings that are lightweight and functional enough to tour well, but can also be trusted to perform at a high level on the descent in varied conditions.
The Salomon Shift is the latest and greatest product to enter the realm of do-it-all products and it sure is causing a shakeup. The groundbreaking design is a collaborative creation from the engineers at Salomon and freeski dynamos Cody Townsend and Chris Rubens. The goal for the Shift was to create a binding that tours like a tech binding while skiing like an alpine binding. And well, the final product is literally that.
Without getting too technical, here’s why I’m so excited for this binding and it’s potential impact on the future of backcountry bindings (or whatever we’re defining them as).
I ski tour not because I enjoy the monotonous uphill trudge that comes with it. God no. Sorry to all the ski touring enthusiasts out there who will make arguments for the exercise benefits or the spiritual connection that's brought on by the solidarity of the overwhelmingly vast mountain-scapes. I get that, I see where you’re coming from, but in the same way that I resent hiking, I resent the act of touring. I like the action! I’m out there to ski without compromise. I want to ski the big untouched lines, confidently hit features, and do it to the best of my abilities. I know there’s a lot of people out there who may disagree with my cynical take on ski touring, that’s cool, but there’s a hell of a lot of people who agree with me (right?).
I’ve been a skier my entire life. And when I say that, I mean a skier. I love to ski. I spend a lot of time in the backcountry these days because there’s so much sick skiing out there. I go on some big missions to ski a single line in a day, overnight a few times a season, ride slackcountry a whole damn lot, but also love riding the resort just like I did as a kid, boosting off side hits and buttering road lips.
Oh yeah, and in a perfect world, I only have one set up. Predicament? Yes.
Solution: A backcountry binding that isn't a backcountry binding! (See below)
I don’t need the lightest setup there is to offer. In fact, I like my skis to have a bit of bulk so that I can mash crud. But I need there to be a good balance between weight and performance. Like I said, I'm still gonna be putting in some work to get to the zones I'm skiing. Until now, I haven't had a tech binding that I've felt completely confident skiing aggressively and creatively in a variety of conditions (having a pin sheer on my Kingpins on two separate occasions this season certainly did not inspire confidence).
That’s why I’m loving the idea of this binding. It’s an alpine binding when you want an alpine binding and a tech binding when you want a tech binding. Perfection. Set aside the questions regarding the functionality and durability, and this binding would seem to be the “holy grail” as the man himself Cody Townsend put it. If this binding truly is what they've made it out to be, then Salomon have officially won the race to create a binding that can do it all.
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