Tyrolia Bindings 2001

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"Super-light" is the story, says Tyrolia's Jackson Hogen. "Racers used heavy bindings historically," he explains. "Now, with all these dampeners and interfaces, lightness becomes a real benefit. Elite non-racers want heavy springs but lightweight bindings because they hike, spin and jump. Why not have light?"

Tyrolia's famous Cyber Free Flex technology is now less expensive. Even its premium performance Power Select (also priced lower) has a new super-light chassis. "You can't release the magic in a shaped ski unless you can bend it," Hogen reminds us. Tyrolias are designed to let that happen.

Plates with added stand-height are good for everyone, according to Tyrolia¿even Newcomers. But not everyone needs the same elevation. They offer lifters as low as 9 mm and as high as 23 mm.

All Tyrolia plates have a two-piece hinged construction, which neither disarms the binding's function nor corrupts the roundness of the ski. "Plates are all about better edge-angle," Hogen says. "The only mistake you can make would be to not buy any plate."

Free Flex Plus10 with Super Carve Plate
$310 (binding), $110 (plate)
Deep-sidecut skis love lots of lift, and this setup, including the 23-mm plate (sold separately), has plenty of it. A connective track between the toe and heel has two preloaded springs that release energy and press a chattering ski back to the snow. In short, the mechanism is meant to let the ski follow the terrain more closely.This seemingly bionic dual-spring bridge provides more fun for less effort and fatigue. But it's not wimpy. There's no sense of being isolated from the snow, though the ride is quiet and soft. This is powerful, like a well-suspended sports sedan.

Power Select Free Ride SL 110 with 15-mm Speed Plate
$270 (binding), $90 (plate)
Here is a lighter iteration of Power Select technology¿Tyrolia's three-setting dial-a-ride binding. Switch a simple lever to "Turn" and the ski is decambered (tip and tail pulled upward), for easy pivots anddirection changes (especially helpful to lightweight skiers in difficult snow). "Grip" pressures the ski's tip and tail for better hold on ice. "Neutral" is just that. Changing the setting is easy, and the changes impact the ski's characteristics in a big way. "Grip" grips for sure, and "Turn" is marvelously forgiving in soupy, soft slush.

Cyber Free Flex SL 110 with 13-mm Carve Plate
$230 (binding), $60 (plate)
With the addition of this 13-mm plate (the first of Tyrolia's plates where there is enough thickness to add dampening materials and the two-piece hinge), skiers will be elevated 44 mm, and many will find it extremely comfortable. The plate has cavities that reduce weight and promote flexibility.This combination not only encourages a high edge-angle, but also invites speed and confident movement with the ski¿even in the most uneven snow. This is a winner, at an attractive price.

Cyber Free Flex SL 110
Here is more shock absorption and added ski flex that is palpable. Roughness in soft, clumpy snow simply goes away. The Free Flex interface itself adds an extra 10 mm of height, for a total of 31, and there's clearly more leverage. The DIN range goes up to 11. SL denotes its super-light housing.

SL 100 ABS
$140 AC
This is a lightweight, entry-level binding with a total of 21 mm of stand-height and a two-piece heel. It features a sealed, self-cleaning, rolling Teflon AFD.

Like all Tyrolias, the SL 100 looks classy and streamlined. All bindings closely match the graphics on Head skis, their sister company, but will work on any brand.