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  • Backcountry Essentials

New Bindings muddying things up

Let’s muddy some waters with three new bindings: Marker’s Griffin ID 13, Atomic’s Warden 13, and Marker’s Kingpin 13. These bindings all blur some different lines between traditional alpine and backcountry skiing. Maybe that’s because of the interest the classic alpine companies have in moving into the backcountry?

The Griffin ID is the best selling binding in America, and now it works with every boot out there, alpine, WTR, and rockered AT boots. BAM! That’s gonna help keep it on top. It’s lighter than the Warden, for intermediate-advanced skiers who want the comfort of an AT-esque boot but plan to ski inbounds. This boot solves ye old battle between the obsolete Beta and VHS.

The Atomic is pretty much the same: same price, same ability to fit all ski boots, same durability, but it weighs 10 ounces more, and arguably has a tiny edge over the Griffin in the power department for high speed carving.

Lastly, there is the Kingpin. Have I told you about the kingpin yet? I seem to find myself talking about the kingpin a lot. It’s changed skiing on tech bindings for me, which I have to admit, is kind of appealing due to how much more efficient they are in the backcountry. But whereas these first two bindings, above, muddied that alpine bindings were only compatible with alpine boots, the Kingpin muddies that line of not skiing backcountry bindings inbounds. The alpine heel piece is the difference here, and at 3 pounds, 6 ounces, it’s still light enough to justify on long tours. But mostly because of how much better it skis down. In the end, that’s pretty much why I go to the mountain top.