Bindings 2000: Look

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The Look name and the turntable heel have been synonymous since before the Beatles invaded America. This season the company's signature heelpieces¿now called Pivot heels¿are still turntables but benefit from a stylish redesign that gives them step-in convenience. Look's line also has three women-specific models. The Venus bindings have 3 mm of lift at the heel but are otherwise technically identical to their gender-neutral counterparts.

Release Features: The flagship Pivot models all have the step-in turntable heel, which rotates with the boot during a twisting release, and Look's new Full Drive Toe. The TX models have the Full Drive Toe but use a traditional step-in, upward-releasing heel. The same heel combines with the 3D toe for Look's XR models. Both toepieces have upward release; the difference is that the Full Drive Toe has a tighter boot-binding interface than the 3D.

Passive Enhancers: Look says that Pivot models have a shorter installation footprint (the distance between toepiece and heelpiece) than typical step-in heels. This allows the ski to flex more evenly underfoot. Pivot bindings may be paired with Look's Maxflex II Plate (around $50), a 15-mm lifter that improves leverage but doesn't dampen the ski.

Active Enhancers: There are no active enhancers in the Look line.

Pivot 8.0 Lifter
Adjustment Range 4-12
The Adjustment Range is a little on the high side, although not as high as the 5-14 on the next model up the line, the P 9.0, for which we'd pay a $65 premium. We like the 8.0's solid construction¿it's got the high-end toe, the cool-looking Pivot heel, and a 10-mm lifter. The Maxflex II Plate is worth considering for this binding: Fork over the money saved by not buying the 9.0, and we've still got enough left for a base-lodge cheeseburger and Gatorade. $285

TX Sport Lifter
Adjustment Range 3.5-10
This may be the best deal in Look's line. The higher TX 7.0 Lifter ($200) has Look's latest toe design; the Sport uses the tried-and-true 3D toepiece. The Sport has a 10-mm lifter, just like the 7.0. But we see what really makes the Sport Lifter attractive: the dealer's cost¿it's low. So we'll expect to pay less, around 50 bucks less, than the MSRP listed here. That's a sweet deal for a good, serviceable binding. $180

XR 6.0/XR 6.0 Venus
Adjustment Range 3-9
Another great deal here. You still get upward release, a mechanical AFD, and a serviceable heel. For $160, that's not a bad package. But look for this binding advertised for around half of that, which makes it such a good deal it's ridiculous. $160