Model: KINGPIN 13 Binding
With the control and power transfer of a downhill binding and the uphill ability of a tech binding, the KINGPIN kills two birds with one stone, making it one of the only bindings we want to use both inbounds and out. The key to its success: combining an innovative heel piece with a tech (pin-style) toe. Downhill performance is enhanced by a heel piece that provides an extra-wide area of contact between your AT boot and the binding, so you get more energy transfer from boot to ski. It’s a noticeable difference. “The heel connection feels as solid as a conventional alpine/downhill binding, but the tech toe piece makes it much lighter, overall,” says one tester. Bonus: It’s one of only four tech bindings (the Dynafit Radical is one of the others) that’s DIN certified. When it comes to uphill performance, the tech toe piece makes for efficient skinning and, along with the frameless design, helps keep weight relatively low. We loved the flexibility the KINGPIN offers. “I could ski the resort one day, then do a long backcountry tour the next without compromising anything—or hassling with the cost and storage of another setup,” one tester says.