Gear Review: G3 Onyx Alpine Touring Binding

Adjustable and easy to use, traveling through varied terrain is a breeze.

You'll ski more and futz less with the Onyx. A boot-guide aligns the toe fittings for effortless entry every time. And the switch from locked to free heel is instant, via a lever easily reached with your pole tip (a first for such a lightweight binding). The G3 Onyx Alpine is completely stiff for total power transfer, and the binding mounting is adjustable: With 1.3 inches of play, it lets you share skis, even with someone who wears a different size boot.

And, because bindings are plate-mounted, you can easily pop them off and remount them to another set of skis (if you're lucky enough to have a quiver). "It's a brilliant system," says one tester. "Skinning in the Colorado backcountry, I never worried that my ski might unexpectedly release, thanks to an extremely secure connection in tour mode, reinforced by a toe lever that double-secured the boot for hiking. And on sketchy descents the same lever let me adjust releasability, so that my skis wouldn't accidentally come off in steep terrain–but still would in case of an avalanche." Extra plates cost $68, but that's a bargain compared to buying a second set of bindings. Brakes are also extra ($67)–ouch. $430; 3 lbs. 2 oz.;