Fritschi Diamir Freeride Binding - Gear Review

April 16, 2007

For those of you who still don't have a pair of Fritschi Diamir Freeride alpine touring bindings, I just need to ask: Why? Do you never want to get fresh pow 2 weeks after a storm? My guess is that you may be either a total parkaholic who doesn't like soft landings in the backcountry, or a dedicated racer who doesn't have time to ski pow. If that's not the case, please respond in the comments and share. I think that there's no place for bemoaning a lack of pow if you haven't even given the Freerides a chance to show you how easy it can be to get it. It used to be that touring bindings were so stripped down that you feared for your knees if you were to use them. It made it tough for a lot of us to justify switching over to the touring bindings of old. But when the Fritschi Freeride came out a few years ago, it opened a whole new world to those of us who were still resort-bound. Here was a binding that you could tour with to earn your turns, then lock down the heel for the ride down...and it had an actual DIN setting and released well! It was a total breakthrough. Fritschi has continued to hone the Freeride by modifying the lock-down mechanism for the heel. Previously, the lock-down mechanism was so flat against the tail of the ski that if you flexed it out completely you could unlock into insta-tele mode. Very disconcerting, to say the least...especially if that was on the landing of a big drop. But this year's model is re-designed in that area so you hardly ever have that experience again. And hitting big drops in the backcountry is what the Freeride opened up to the masses. The Freeride was the first touring binding with a DIN of 12, and I have put it through cliffs as large as 30-35 feet without too much problem. I have had some heinous crashes that I thought would have blown up the Freeride, and it would either hold solid or release just as smoothly as any alpine binding. The one complaint I have is the crossbar under the foot is made of aluminum, which means it can actually bend and be permanently deformed if you flex out your skis entirely on a forceful, bombhole landing off a cliff. And there's no way to replace this piece in the backcountry if it happens to you. You just have to hobble home. But that has only happened to me with one pair, and I've had several pairs that I've put through the ringer without difficulty. All in all, a stellar binding that is solid for resort skiing as well as the backcountry. Buy Now: Search for Fritschi Bindings

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