Over the years there have been numerous solutions for the ever-elusive task of keeping a rider happily strapped to their board - and this season is no different. At the top of the range there's all sorts of new tech coming in, from bindings that resemble skate trucks to heat sensitive highbacks - you're spoilt with options, so we thought we'd suggest a few choice picks:
[part title="Rome Targa Bjorn"]
FLEX: 6 - 10/10
Flex rating of 6 to 10? Yep, you heard right. Rome's Targa is one of the most customisable bindings out there. You can charge with this and take it for park sessions too - and when you get off the lift there's even an elastic band system to keep those pesky ankle straps out of your way.
This Bjorn Leines' signature model comes complete with bears, and kind of reminds us of Michael Jackson's jacket from 'Bad' - which is sweet.
[part title="Burton Malavita"]
Burton's Malavita is one of the most recognisable high-end freestyle bindings produced in the last few years. Available with different mount systems and an ergonomic highback that curves with the shape of your legs, this is a team favourite for the Burton boys. The distinctive hammerhead style highback gives unrivalled leverage so you can get your presses and butters locked.
[part title="Union Factory"]
This new T. Rice pro model from Union is inevitably going to go down well with backcountry shredders this season. It features a super-lightweight build with extruded aluminium heelcups, 'SonicFused' ankle straps which limit stitching and increase durability, and canted gas pedals to give you extra pop when you ride a wide stance. Essentially the kind of full throttle powerhouse you'll want on your team if you're trying to shred like Travis.
[part title="Amplid Balance"]
If you like to forget that you even have bindings, the Amplid Balance could well be the choice for you. They've developed their own spring loaded strap system that keeps the buckles out of your way when they're not needed, and carbon stringers make sure your every thought is communicated straight to the board - guess you'd better be careful with those chairlift daydreams hey!
[part title="Drake Podium FF"]
Like to feel like you're stepping into a Formula 1 car when you strap in? Go for the Drake Podium FF. Not only do they look like the inside of a Ferrari - they'll probably help you get up to similar speeds as one too.
Biomap Carbon highbacks and an Omnichrom light baseplate - you're sure to get enough bang for your buck with these, the real question is whether you can handle the pace...
[part title="Switchback Halldor Pro"]
Switchback's Lego style 'build your own bindings' have gained a respectable following since their launch last season, and their tool free customisation has certainly got mass appeal. Halldor Helgason's pro model, however, holds exclusive rights to the wrapback highback, and that's what makes this binding stand out. With improved response and feel, these are ready to shred the whole mountain, just like the man himself...
[part title="Burton Diode"]
Powder hounds would be well advised to consider the Burton Diode for their adventures this season. It's the binding of choice of Nicolas Muller, Jeremy Jones and Jussi Oksanen, which is a heavyweight endorsement to put it lightly. A super stripped down highback with tool-free adjustment allows you to completely customise response, and zero-forward lean means you can even take it easy if you want to. Burton's new 'insta-click' buckles have sped up ratcheting too so you can claim that first line ahead of the rest.
[part title="Nitro Machine"]
They're not quite a JCB, but these definitely looks like they belong in the DIY toolbox. Nitro's Machine bindings have shed weight with a full carbon-fibre asymetric highback, and reduce your impact on landings with an FTI EVO 2 Air Chassis.
Internal stainless steel rods support the Machine's industrial name as well as stopping your straps from stretching, so you know you'll be able to ride these year after year.
[part title="K2 IPO"]
K2's IPO bindings are packed with tech, but for us there's one particular reason that they stand out. This year they've infused urethane into their highbacks to create a binding that actually responds to the temperature you're riding in. If you need a pair of bindings that you ride all year round, these will actually stiffen up when it's cold hard pack or ice, and then give you more freedom on warmer days when the snow's softer - perfect for dialling in that new trick you've been trying.
[part title="Volkl Fastec Prime ALU"]
Volkl's Fastec Prime Alu benefits from just as many personalities. It's solid through the baseplate giving you direct control, and then soft in the highback, letting you tweak out for extra style. It also offers conventional or rear-entry systems for your convenience, and still keeps weight low with a superlight aluminium baseplate - a true walking (or sliding) contradiction.
[part title="Flux DL"]
$360 (European pricing currently unavailable)
So far, it's all been about carbon highbacks and aluminium baseplates, but they're old news for Flux. They've blended carbon and fibreglass to create the baseplate for the DL - making this surely a contender for lightest binding around. With wingbacks complimenting that soft flex, this is a freestyle binding that will surely give unrivalled board feel.
[part title="Salomon Quantum"]
Kevlar Quickwire, Carbon Highbacks, Shadowfit baseplate, it sounds (and looks) a bit like Salomon have been custom designing bindings for Batman here - but we can assure you that these are in fact available to the general public - lucky you!
[part title="Gnu B-Famous"]
Rear entry and ultra-light construction, Mervin have designed the B-Famous as the 'ultimate women's performance binding'. They're made to take all the big hits with gooey TPU shock pods built in to the construction, and a rubber gasket that acts as a vibration dampener. Asymmetric design throughout eases the strain so you can concentrate on the shred.
[part title="Now Select"]
If you haven't heard of Now bindings yet, prepare yourself for a season of tech-boarders telling you all about them every time you step onto a lift. Their founder and Whistler Legend JF Pelchat launched the company last season after a long design process that tries to recreate the pivot of a skateboard's trucks.
Now bindings have a fixed baseplate that is connected to the rest of the binding's body by a centralised pivot (around the arch of your foot). This means that you rock back and forth on the heel and toe bushings - directing energy straight towards your edges rather than losing it in the baseplate.
The Select is packed with technology that helps to maximise the effectiveness of this new approach - and it's also designed to work with no back, freeing up the feel even more.
[part title="Technine Elements Pro"]
Technine's Elements Pro are a park destroyer for the ladies. They've kept things soft to maximise comfort in this model with nylon rubber and fibreglass construction - so you're sure to be cosy all day on your park laps. Fully adjustable lightweight aluminium heelcups round a pair of these off - happy days all round.
[part title="SP United sLAB.one"]
With all mountain or big mountain models, if you like the feeling of hanging on for dear life, the SP sLab.one will make sure you've got a good grip. A Super-low profile aluminium base maximises board contact and on-the-fly adjustment mean you can switch up your feel as you go. The Fastec entry system gives the feel of a strap binding with the convenience of a step in, and for extra convience, there's a lift and relax latch which instantly loosens up the binding when you're sitting down - without sending your prized board speeding down the hill.
[part title="Ride El Hefe"]
In Spanish, El Hefe is the boss, the daddy, the big dog. At Ride they've given this title to their high end binding, which is a serious bit of metaphorical glue to hold the rest of your kit together. The El Hefe has an air craft aluminium chassis, comes with 2.5 and 4.0 footbeds and even gets packaged in a fancy (and reusable) box. Ride have gone for carbon fibre with urethane strips running through it to create their 'slimeback' dampened highback - fitting in nicely with the rest of the slime technology in their line this year.
They've also installed the Hefe with a micro-disc plate which is much smaller and lighter but still retains a universal fit. As this means there's more binding and less disc, the feel is going to be a lot more consistent from heel to toe - we can see that catching on...