Model: Tecton 12
Pair a backcountry-tuned toe piece with a frontcountry-ready heel piece and you cash in on both. The idea is that ultralight, pin-style bindings don’t offer the power or safety that super-aggressive skiers may want on descents, be it in-bounds or out. So Fritschi paired a pin-style toe with an alpine-like heel that sports 8mm of elastic, vertical travel. It allows your boot a touch of wiggle room before releasing. You won’t find that—or the vice-like hold—in a tech-style heel piece. (Marker used this recipe in its 2015 Editors’ Choice-winning KINGPIN, but the Tecton is lighter and more affordable.)
The toe piece comes from Fritschi’s redesigned Vipec EVO 12, the first tech binding with a quantifiable, DIN-value release in the toe. That means your boot can escape the toe piece in awkward falls—in theory, saving your ACL. Bonus: This year, the Vipec has a large, metal pedal for easier step-ins, as well.
“I was skeptical of all the plastic, but the Tecton feels like a much beefier, metal binding,” one tester says. “It held me snug in a number of committing drop-ins in the Weminuche Wilderness, including a mandatory air entry off 14,059-foot Sunlight Peak.”