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Can the Marker Duke PT Takedown the Salomon SHIFT as the Cool Kids' Backcountry Binding?

Active Pass members get exclusive access to SKI’s “Ask the Gear Nerd” column. Join Active Pass to get expert advice on all the gear you’ve ever heard of from Lead Gear Editor Jon Jay and his expert contacts throughout the ski industry. To submit your gear questions, email

I’m considering making my next set-up a true one-quiver solution, which means for the bindings, I’d likely be looking at the Marker Duke PTs or the Salomon/Atomic/Armada SHIFT bindings. I’ll probably be doing 90-percent resort riding and only 10-percent touring, so I want to make sure the downhill capability is A1. Do you prefer either one of those bindings? And if so, would you trust either of them to do 90-percent of their work as alpine/resort bindings? Or should I just stick with normal downhill bindings? – Scott Fuson, Portland, Ore.

When the SHIFT launched in 2018, there were many reasons to be stoked about its potential to solve the one-ski, one-boot, one-binding equation. With a true alpine-style ski mode but tech inserts for touring, it was one of the first ski bindings that could perform on-par with alpine bindings on hardpack resort conditions, but still tour more efficiently than frame AT bindings.

The only other product that came close at that time to the uphill and downhill performance of the SHIFT was the CAST system, which involved using modified alpine and touring toe pieces that could be swapped depending on whether a skier was traveling uphill or downhill. The small company was started in 2012 by Lars and Silas Chickering-Ayers, two brothers who dominated the Freeskiing World Tour in its heyday. CAST is still preferred by a core audience of freeskiers but lacks both the scale and marketing capabilities of a company like Salomon.

Shop Talk: Salomon S/Lab SHIFT Binding

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