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Which bindings? Which skis?

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  • Which bindings? Which skis?

    Ok folks.... what is your opinion?

    My 15 year old son, who is nearly full grown and rips on tele....
    Last year we set him up with the Atomic Backland 95 and Burnt Mountain Spike bindings and T2 Eco boots.
    I may have made a mistake in getting the Backland for him as his one ski quiver because the edges of the top sheets are getting pretty chewed.
    So, I am going to get him another pair of skis that will be more resort focused, but when we ski resort we are skiing mainly off piste in powder.
    We'll keep the Backlands as his touring focused setup. Unfortunately this is not a cheap proposition as it requires both skis and bindings and these are hard finds on the used rack.
    His boots are still in good shape so he'll stick with 75mm for the time being (not really considering talking him into switching to NTN until Scarpa's new boot is out).

    I'd get another Spike for him except they don't seem to be available anymore. So, my first pick would be go to go to the 22Designs Axl. What do you think, will this be too powerful?
    I've never skied this binding, but I have Lynx and I think that is the future. I also have the 22D jig. So.... I can mount them easily and it will help him transition to other 22D bindings is my thinking. I could save some money and get the Vice but I don't like getting bindings that don't have a tour function as I like to keep options open.
    Other considerations would be the Voile SB..X2.. but I'm not sure there is any advantage other than they may ski a little softer (and lighter and cheaper)?
    Oh, and I saw a pair of garbage skis in the consignment store with hammerheads on them. Is it worth buying these for the bindings? Price was mediocre given I don't want the skis.

    I like Atomic skis and generally know what to expect with them. Slim pickings these days. The Bent Chetler 100 would be my first pick but can't seem to find any. That's the type of ski I'd want for him: 95-100 underfoot, slight early rise, playful in the powder and on the firm stuff. enough chops to handle the crud. Really good all rounders. would manage as a touring ski in a pinch. Tough topsheet!
    So the short list of alternatives is (based on local availability):
    - Armada Tracer 98 (this sounds most similar to the Bent Chetler)
    - Solomon QST 99 (friend who I trust demoed and like this ski, reviews say it's a little dead feeling on groomers)
    - Atomic Vantage 97c (I think this is a little too in-bounds focused, but it might work and I can get them cheap).

    Thanks for the input.

  • #2

    Binding wise, yeah, probably an Axl. You have the jig, but remember, the Axl is shifted 5mm relative to Lynx for where the boot is. Sorry, I don't remember if it's shifted fore/aft, but my templates tell that story precisely. The main advantage of the Switchback is how immune to icing it is. SWx2 is a tad more prone to it, but still less than Axl. Also, a more neutral binding is better in pow - less tip dive.

    Ski wise I have no advice for current season skis. Backland 95 is the perfect width, so maybe find something stiffer and heavier like a Blizzard Bonafide or Fischer Ranger. Ooooh, no, see if you can find a Head Kore - damp and solid without being a tank. And I'm talking used, not new for these although, there's a good chance no one would want to sell these.

    ain't no turn like tele!


    • #3
      You could call The Jay Cloud Cyclery and inquire about the Spike -- they were last assembling them for Louis. Chamonix would probably know if they still are.

      Otherwise, I think Axl would be a fine choice. If they're just for resort skiing, you could save some $$ and go with Vice.

      And nice job getting him into tele. You're a better parent than I.


      • #4
        Originally posted by dschane View Post
        You could call The Jay Cloud Cyclery and inquire about the Spike -- they were last assembling them for Louis. Chamonix would probably know if they still are.

        Otherwise, I think Axl would be a fine choice. If they're just for resort skiing, you could save some $$ and go with Vice.

        And nice job getting him into tele. You're a better parent than I.
        You're right. I could call them or send Louis or Cham an email. Last time I bought them it was through the Jay Cloud but at that time they were listed on their website. Not anymore. I have Louis and Cham's personal emails so could go that route... see if there is an extra set kicking around. I imagine there is. But at this point I figure I should move to 'new technology' (hard to call 75mm new tech, but at least something I can get parts for).

        Yes, could save money on the Vice, very tempting. But, I like having options and if something happens to his Spikes and he can't tour because his backup bindings are not free pivot, I'd feel stupid. As much as I like the Spikes, they are fairly temperamental.

        I should clarify that I didn't get him to tele. I tried talking him out of it. But he pressed and pressed so when he was about 11 or so I built him up a cheapo set to try it on. He hasn't skied on alpine bindings in several years now!


        • #5
          Mostly, you covered all the trade-offs... The only way to have no trade-offs is to have no cost considerations, then you just keep buying the next gear that you want to cover all the bases, but few of us have that as our situation.

          As you said, I would hesitate to buy any binding that doesn't have a tour mode at this point in time, unless it's a gift of free gear,

          The NTN problem has not changed since it was introduced. The cost to switch to NTN is doubled because you need to buy both new boots and new bindings. My only thought about that is that if I was going to eventually switch to NTN, then I wouldn't get new 75mm bindings. I would get used 75mm bindings, since they are temporary. This is one of those situations where the reason to stay with 75mm would be for cost savings only. If you have to buy new bindings, I'd be more inclined to buy NTN.

          I wouldn't delay going NTN in order to wait for the new touring boots either, because who knows what the new boots will be like, and when they will be on the market.

          SO, my advise is,... Get him Scarpa Txpros, so he is on NTN and has tech fittings so he can try your skis and ALL NTN bindings. Then find a pair of used NTN freerides for his new sidecountry skis. My preference for NTN is well known, and that would be the dominant factor that would tip the scales for my choice to be making the switch ahead of the introduction of the new line of NTN boots.

          Here's some skis with NTN freerides near me for $150. If the 177 length is good for him, this would be a cheap way to start his transition... I'd help you with the purchase and ship them for you, if need be.

          What size are his feet? (mondo size is best) You never know when another deal like Chez's barely worn boots are going to pop up. I search regularly for certain gear. If those skis above were a workable answer for him as a ski, then you're half way there on the cheap... and with freerides you could get a second baseplate and switch his other skis to NTN too... leaving you with only good boots to find as your biggest expense. You could also jockey him back and forth on both binding systems until you get him a pair of real touring bindings in NTN for his touring skis... lots of options.
          Last edited by tele.skier; 5 January 2021, 09:16 AM.
          the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


          • #6
            Some interesting points there tele.skier!

            You might be right about increasing the sunk cost by buying more 75mm bindings.... and the fact that I have many NTN options at home, some of which might be worthy of him skiing. I also have a pair of larger touring boots (27.5 packed out TXP) that he can 'try'. I use the 27.0 at the hill. His boots are 28.5 (but I think he oversized these). It will be a tight fit into mine but workable for a try I think.

            Looks like I need to do a complete re-think on this. I am very very hesitant to go Freeride though. I think I'd stick with bindings I have on hand. He can even use his current boots and bindings for BC skiing. So I just have to cobble together one decent binding (I have NT Spikes on rock skis) that he can use in-bounds and find a decent pair of TX pros.... arg.... I don't want to give Scarpa any more money on TX pros.


            • #7
              Let me know if you want me to track down a set of Spike bulldogs. I ski with Louis almost every day. You want them for 75 mm right? We could probably just build up a set from the parts bin.
              Last edited by chamonix; 5 January 2021, 12:37 PM.


              • #8
                Your son's 75mm boots being in "good shape" makes it even harder to pull the trigger on NTN. Perhaps you should just do as you suggested. Buy another pair of spike bulldogs, find a pair of resort skis to mount them on, and let your son use up his 75mm gear before making the switch. Maybe it will be good timing for the release of the next series of NTN boots too.

                As you said, he could still dabble in NTN a bit with your old Txpros and your skis. Sticking with 75mm also allows that if his foot size continues to grow that he won't outgrow an expensive NTN boot, if you try to switch to NTN boots now... You have more potential cost issues than most people contemplating the switch to NTN, which has always been a double whammy financially. At least now, there's a much broader range of binding choices if you do switch to NTN. (given that you buy boots with tech fittings...)

                It's a hard call. If I thought he might outgrow a new pair of NTN boots, I might wait to go NTN given that his 75mm gear is in good shape...
                the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


                • #9
                  An update here:

                  thanks tele.skier for offering to help me get those skis above. The freerides turned me off so I didn’t want to pursue that.

                  I did find the skis I wanted to get for him locally at a good price - atomic bent chetler 100.

                  he tried on my 27.5 TXPros but said his toes were curling. I had some shims in there so I might try again after some mods.

                  after some soul searching, and myself skiing Lynx a lot lately, it seems silly to stay on 75mm.

                  so, my plan now is to find some cheap used TXPROS in 28.5. Then he can try my various bindings. I feel money will be spent moving in the right direction that way.

                  I am torn with how much to spend on him. On the one hand we bring him out to do these expensive sports (skiing, mountain biking) where we want him to have good gear. On the other hand he’s a kid and doesn’t really need the best and newest gear. And on the third hand, he skis enough in a year that buying used doesn’t make that much sense either - particularly when used tele stuff I see around here is absolutely useless. I’ve already gone new with skis and will likely do the same with bindings but first will try him out on used TXPros (if I can find some).


                  • #10
                    I'll keep my eyes open for 28.5 for him... (I do a search for a few different gear things every day... Is that weird?...)
                    the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


                    • #11
                      Not weird at all... thanks!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jnicol View Post
                        he tried on my 27.5 TXPros but said his toes were curling. I had some shims in there so I might try again after some mods.
                        I agree; before settling on 28.5's, check his fit. Given how he skis, you probably want 0.5 - 0.75" between his heel and shell.


                        • #13
                          Don't you have a pair of Meidjo 1.2s laying around? 😉

                          If these skis are going to be for resort only, why worry about tour mode? I realize they may end up being used to tour, but cheap 22D Vice bindings are around. If not, get him some cheap 02s or similar with the standard hole pattern so you can always put SBx2 or another touring binding on later.


                          • #14
                            I checked ebay, and a few different craigslist areas that are big skiing locations and there was almost nothing used in any sizes of the Txpro. Of course "the backcountry" has advertisements for new Txpro's on ebay for $730. wowza! If you can wait, I'm sure you can score a used pair in good shape for half that price... I can't remember what I paid for the Txcomps that I bought new, but it wasn't $730.

                            The 2 pair of used boots on ebay were $301. (14 bids) and $360. (best offer) and neither were the right size. I'm surprised there aren't more, but maybe people don't sell those boots once they have them... They wear them til they die... I guess.. You're on the gearwhore search list.. 😆
                            Last edited by tele.skier; 10 January 2021, 10:31 AM.
                            the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


                            • #15
                              Gotta love the tele tribe, thanks guys!

                              fit: I remember feeling like I was swimming in the txpro when I first moved to them. Counterintuitively, the half size up shimmed seems to work best (toes don’t bang after foot moves). So I’m a bit worried about the same size (his T2X are 28.5) in TX Pro. But used should work to try. He manages to do a lot of other stuff in my footwear - I’m size 27.0/27.5.

                              grant: I do have some meidjos... mounted. In fact I have 5 pairs of skis he could try if he could fit TXPros. Problem is skiing ‘in-bounds’ for us is still 90% of the time powder skiing. And as much as I want him to try those binders, I know how frustrating the boot jack was. There are a pair of used and mounted BD01 and Hammerheads at the local swap shop. But neither are on skis that are worth anything to me.

                              there’s a pair of TXPros wrong size for $200 cdn! With a minor imperfection. My size though and I’m tempted given I don’t think my 2 pairs will last much longer.