2011 Editors' Choice Snow Award: La Sportiva RT Alpine Touring Binding

A lightweight alpine touring binding that doesn't skimp on performance.

At a mere 12.4 ounces per pair, the RT is a pound lighter than its closest competitor, yet it doesn’t skimp on performance. After charging down lines off the Continental Divide, one tester said, “I loved how secure my boot felt when I clicked in. And with such a low profile to the ski, I could finesse my turns rather than power them, saving energy for the climbs.”

After skiing Colorado’s Berthoud Pass, another tester said, “The RT’s superior range of motion allows for a full, natural stride for maximum touring efficiency; we noticed a big benefit when back-kicking to gain momentum on the flats.” And after tackling 2,000-foot routes in Iceland’s Glacier Fjords region, another tester said, “They’re awesomely quiet—no annoying clacking.” The RT is the only tech binding (they use a pin-lock system rather than a step-in one) with DIN settings in both the toe- and heelpieces. DIN settings let users adjust the “tightness” of the binding so they can control the force required to make it release—a great safety feature that’s adaptable to all levels of skiers. The heelpiece has three touring heights, all accessible with the twist of a pole.

$750

12.4 oz. (according to manufacturer, includes brakes, which cost $125)

sportiva.com