Switch to tech bindings, and if so, what boot?

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banerjek
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Switch to tech bindings, and if so, what boot?

Post by banerjek » Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:12 pm

I've been wearing T2s with Hammerheads mounted on an old set of Atomic Drifters (95s) for years. It's an excellent a 'round setup, except it's heavy -- suboptimal when there's lots of vert and distance to cover, particularly with a heavy pack.

I'm considering switching to tech bindings both for the free pivot and considerable weight savings. I'm also considering switching to an 88 waist to save weight since I'm mostly on firm stuff. But this is a major commitment so I want to make sure I'm thinking about this properly. My specific areas of concern:

1) Boots. What should I wear? The T2s deliver an excellent balance of comfort, balance and weight, but I can't find a boot that makes sense with a tech setup. No way I'll wear 4 buckle boots or carry them on my back. My pack for a multiday trip is already around 60 lbs which must be hauled many miles in steep terrain

2) Reliability. Nothing ever fails on my duckbill setup and I can don my skis anywhere in any position. Worried that a step in binding could introduce headaches in areas that are not flat. Also that debris/ice/whatever could interfere or trigger prelease.

3) Is going narrower a bad idea? I'm trying to save weight and hoping for easier skinning up. But I'm often having to blast through pretty rough stuff and don't want to give up too much.

An alternate I'm also considering is getting the 88 ski, mounting some Switchbacks on them and taking those out when the weight savings are more important than the downhill performance.

Any thoughts appreciated.

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BCgee
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Re: Switch to tech bindings, and if so, what boot?

Post by BCgee » Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:13 pm

Go straight to a TTS binding and the proven Scarpa F3. You can still find new old stock F3s on eBay and TGR forum among others.

I enjoy the versatility and reliability of the Olympus Mtn Gear system; you could also just get the OMG binding plate and heel throws and combine with Dynafit speed radical ties from Skimo.com

The TTS + F3 combination will easily drive a 95 waist ski and allow you to tour with the same efficiency of a lightweight AT rig while maintaining up to and beyond Rainey Hammerhead position 5 control (OMG can be a very active binding if so desired).

Ski width etc depends on your terrain and style of course. I presently have the TTS on 105 and 115 underfoot skis, but I tour a good bit in the N Rockies.

Take the plunge and make the investment; it’s worth it!
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MSU Alum
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Re: Switch to tech bindings, and if so, what boot?

Post by MSU Alum » Sun Feb 02, 2020 6:51 pm

Is the Scarpa F3 the same boot as the old Scarpa Tx NTN? I haven't looked at that stuff in a while, but I had the Tx (3 buckle and tech fittings front and back) and thought it was a great boot. Very capable and similar in flex and stiffness to my T2 Ecos at the time.

You could switch from Hammerheads to tech and gain 10 pounds on boots and it would still tour better than Hammerheads!
Have you ever toured on tech fittings? They're great!

If you go to a 22 Designs Lynx, you can use the same holes as the HH's for mounting them - I believe. That could be an advantage. Otherwise, TTS would be a good option for sure.

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Andy M
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Re: Switch to tech bindings, and if so, what boot?

Post by Andy M » Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:03 pm

If your T2s are still in good shape and you really are touring on Hammerheads, the simplest and second cheapest solution would be to get some 22 Designs Axls. Yea, they're not as light as the Switchbacks, but they use the same mounting pattern as the Hammerheads, and the touring difference is HUGE -- I know, I used to tour on Hammerheads, many, many years ago ;)

The Switchback X2 would be the cheapest solution, they still ski well, although not quite as well as the Axl, they tour slightly better than the Axl, and they are lighter than the Axl.

If you make the jump to a tele-tech binding for touring, the boot selection is not very good. Scarpa used to make the 3-buckle TX model, but no longer... The Crispi Shiver is a good option if it fits your foot, but, from what I have read, if Scarpa fits your foot well, Crispi may not, as it tends to fit a wider, higher volume foot. But I would still look into the Shiver if I were you.

https://aspinockwoods.com/shop?olsPage= ... shiver-ntn

As per BCgee's post, if you find a pair of Scarpa F3 boots in your size, buy them! BUT, they have been out of production for many years, and, IME, they hardly ever come up for sale. FYI, The F3 was an AT boot with a bellows meant for the uphill portion, but TTS folks have used them successfully.

What 88-waist ski are you thinking of? As you probably know, there are wider skis (than 88) that are lighter than your Drifters (and just as capable). With all that being said, I like your last mentioned alternative the best: get a lighter but still capable ski and put some Switchbacks on them.

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banerjek
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Re: Switch to tech bindings, and if so, what boot?

Post by banerjek » Sun Feb 02, 2020 11:25 pm

I was thinking of the BD Helio Recon 88 -- I have a good angle on a pair.

Overall, I think the 95 width is more versatile, but I figured I could use the Drifters when they were a better match for conditions and the Helios when there was a lot of steep vert. However, if that's not a good choice of ski for steep descents where I might get into some tough stuff, I'd much rather drop more coin, carry more weight, or otherwise do things right.

My T2's are pretty banged up -- on the duckbill, metal is exposed from the bottom of the bill. But I love them. Hike as far as I want carrying whatever, climb however high, descend whatever. Maybe not the best at anything, but if you want one boot that you can do anything with, they're a good choice.

I'm intrigued by your additional option. They're heavy, but if I sell the HH's on the ski and mount the Axl's, they become affordable -- I didn't realize they'd make life noticeably easier. Is that also true on steeper climbs?

The HH climbing wires were too short, so I swapped them out for Switchback ones years ago. BTW, do you know about Skeats? Coupled with skins on hardpack or even ice, you can take some impressive inclines without crampons.

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Andy M
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Re: Switch to tech bindings, and if so, what boot?

Post by Andy M » Sun Feb 02, 2020 11:53 pm

The Helio Recon 88s are a good choice, but they are not that light a ski for the category. But, as long as they are lighter than your Drifters, it should be a good trade-off.

I would say that the Axls would definitely be better than the Hammerheads on steeper climbs. However, the Switchbacks would be a bit better than the Axls, as they have more range-of-motion (ROM) in free-pivot mode than the Axls -- so more leftover ROM with high heel elevators up.

I had not heard of the Skeats, but I looked them up -- intriguing -- especially if you can easily put them on w/o taking off your skis. I often use ski crampons, but these look like a viable alternative for some situations.

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banerjek
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Re: Switch to tech bindings, and if so, what boot?

Post by banerjek » Mon Feb 03, 2020 1:41 pm

Skeats are handy in the specific situations they work in, namely firm or icy stuff. So if you climb when it's cold and descend on surfaces that soften behind you (or stay hard), they're useful.

The spikes are only about a 1/2" long, so they don't help if they can't reach into something firm. This means your regular ski crampons will work better if you're climbing inclines that have already corned up. But their lightness, packability, and ease of switching out improves their relative utility.

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