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Slideshow: Tele Bindings

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Voilé Hardwire

$130

weight: 2 lb. 10 oz.

A more secure boot-binding interface, combined with laterally stiffer wires and stouter compression springs, are just a few of the durability and performance upgrades Voilé boasts this season. Consider the standard 20-mm riser and climbing bars—at a very thrifty price—and you have a sweet-skiing, dependable binding that doesn’t break the bank. Opt for the three-pin toepiece so you can get home if your cable breaks. Gripes: It’s a serious lightweight—testers questioned its long-haul durability. Props: A simple design with very little lateral slop—meaning you can transfer power efficiently from boot to ski.

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Twentytwo Designs Hammerhead

$210

weight: 3 lb.

The Hammerhead may have a new owner, but Jackson, Wyoming—based Twentytwo Designs will continue to manufacture and distribute Russell Rainey’s all-conditions, custom-design binding. The six-hole mounting pattern (most others have four holes) means even lumbering heavyweights aren’t likely to tear the plate off the ski. And an adjustable pivot system lets you alter the flex point based on your objective. Wear it loose for skinning and powder skiing; tighten it up for hard-snow carving. Gripes: Torsional rigidity could be a bit better. Props: The adjustable pivots make it the most adaptable binding available.

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. Rottefella Cobra R8

$165

weight: 3 lb.

With enough lateral power transfer to please the burliest knee-dipper, the Cobra is a leader in edge control. It also features a low-profile, no-play toepiece, steel cables, compression cartridges, and climbing bales: a no-frills, rugged package designed for skiers who spend equal time on both sides of the ropes. The svelte R6 is designed for women, but still delivers a lot of performance. Gripes: Tester Ed Arriola thought the wires were less solid than the Voilé’s. Props: Easy initiation of both wide- and narrow-radius turns.

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Karhu 7tm All- Mountain Binding

$239

weight: 3 lb.

Built with alpine touring sensibilities, the 7tm toe plate unlocks from the ski so you can hike with little resistance. Old-school pinners will welcome its neutral feel and responsiveness—which is enhanced by increased lateral rigidity. It’s the only binding on the market with a DIN release similar to an alpine rig: If you get caught in an avalanche—or take a slow-speed digger—the toe plate releases laterally and comes off the mounting plate. Gripes: Testers worried that so many moving parts might increase the possibility of failure. Props: Release feature could mean the difference between life and death.

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Bomber Bishop

$319

weight: 4 lb. ($419 for the titanium version that’s 4 ounces lighter)

The Bishop delivers power and precision in strides: It lets you carve on hardpack, hammer bumps, and strut through access gates with equal confidence. Still, at 4 pounds per pair, they might drag you down in the backcountry. The Bishop has three pivot-point settings: move it forward for touring or back for more float. Another C-note buys you the titanium Bishop—a stronger, lighter alternative. Gripes: Because of the powerful spring, some testers felt pulled back on their skis. Props: BJ Brewer calls it “the greatest resort binding of all time.
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Linken

$229

weight: 3 lb. 6 oz.

Low-riding freeheelers probably won’t appreciate the Linken’s ultrarigid toe plate, but for the rest of us, this alpine-style step-in binding is another energy-saving innovation that continues to please the tele crowd. It adjusts to virtually every skier and condition, and the standard binding fits just about every boot size out there. It’s an even flexor compared with cable bindings—but without much pop between turns. Gripes: The plate can be distractingly clunky. Props: Solid, dependable, and powerful—good for big-mountain straightliners.

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G3 Targa

$145

weight: 2 lb., 7 oz.

G3 keeps evolving the Targa series in increments. This year, they’ve added a new “Tour Throw feature: By simply pushing the heel throw halfway back, you cut binding resistance by 30 percent, making any uphill slog that much more enjoyable. Both the lightweight T9 ($179) and girl-friendly Roxy ($139) also come equipped with this new feature. Choose the Targa if you spend equal time touring and cranking at the resort. Gripes: Cables lack the rigidity of wires, so the binding isn’t as responsive to edge-to-edge tipping. Props: Testers were impressed with the solid binding-to-ski connection.

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Black Diamond O2

$189

weight: 3 lb., 5 oz.

The unique underfoot cable routing of the O2, combined with two deep compression springs, makes for a smooth and nimble ride. Once you’re locked solidly in place, power transfer is instant, consistent, and strong. Nice touch: The cable length can be adjusted several inches without a tool. Gripes: Testers felt some lateral movement, almost as if they weren’t entirely locked in. Props: Underfoot cartridges keep the springs away from the snow, which enhances edging capability on your uphill ski.