Rossignol's bindings are kissing cousins of Look's, which is no surprise -- the two companies have a common owner and share binding technology. Rossignol's line provides a rigid coupling with the ski in order to transmit energy to the ski quickly. The Axial's turntable heel creates a very small mounting zone on the ski -- the screws for the heelpiece are tucked directly under the heel to help promote round ski flex. And Rossignol bindings, like Look's, provide a great deal of shock absorption to help manage counterflexing and ward off prerelease.
And how will Rossis help you ski better? The flexible new T-Plate lifter, used on many models, helps dissipate vibrations by placing a visco-elastic material under the heelpiece.
PRO/BRO: "The Rossis release for me at the right time, and they hold me in when I'm going switch or doing spinning tricks. I also want to feel as close to the ski as possible." --Kent Kreitler, professional progressive freeskier
Axial 120 T-Plate S Freeride (DIN 4-12) $310
Here you get all the release, retention, and performance features Rossignol has to offer with a widely effective DIN range. And that color scheme -- you gotta give props to a binding that takes its cosmetic cues from nuns, cop cars, skunks, and magpies. For those who find the freeride color scheme too radical, the more muted Axial 120 T-Plate is functionally identical.
Axial 100 T-Plate S (DIN 3-10) $250
For the money, it's hard to beat this binding. It comes with the vibration-damping T-Plate lifter, and has the Axial's short mounting zone and upward-releasing Dual Action toe.
Axium 100 X-Plate (DIN 3-10) $175
The new Axium series offers the same toepiece technology found in more expensive bindings but with a new look and lighter weight. It has a more traditional step-in heelpiece, but you still get a lift plate -- and save the cost of a day's lift ticket, plus lunch and beer money.