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Test Report Salomon Shift MNC Bindings

The Salomon Shift has been very popular this winter. A brand new binding combining alpine performance with touring capability thanks to it’s innovative design, the Shift has received a lot of attention.

Of course everyone is eagerly awaiting feedback in terms of performance and reliability.
At Telemark Pyrenees we’ve been lucky to have been able to test these bindings in varied snow conditions.

For the descent there is little to fault as you’d expect from a Salomon binding, with very similar performance and feedback to the Salomon STH16. The sensations are very, very close, you really have to ski very hard on concrete to realise that the Shift does not quite have the necessary elasticity found on a Salomon STH16 or the Look Pivot 18.

Skiing hard, the ski deforms well underfoot, with very good elasticity hitherto unknown in touring bindings and that gives a feeling of confidence and control. In comparison, the Marker Kingpin may appear more direct in hard conditions with it’s fixed (non elastic) toe units and with it’s weight less well distributed (toe piece much lighter than the heel unit). Fritschi’s Tecton offers a good level of security but still not as refined as that of the Shift, and with less elasticity in the toe piece.
The Shift is unbeatable for the descent, a real breakthrough in the world of high DIN free-rando bindings for wide skis and strong skiers.

Climbing with the Shift does take some getting used to.
On paper the heel unit looks easy, with just one movement to block the ski brakes and it’s good to go. In reality, you must be careful to ensure that you have heard a distinct “click” of the ski brake locking in the touring position. This can be fiddly since snow can prevent complete engagement and in this case the ski brakes can return to downhill mode.To be sure, the best method is to grip the ski brake and firmly push the locking lever by hand. Once you have clicked the boots into the toe piece, step down firmly on the skis a couple of times before setting off, to double check that the brakes are fully engaged in hiking mode.

The toe piece also has a lever for changing between walk and ski modes. This requires a lot of force in order for it to be fully locked. There are two notches and you need to be sure to get to the second notch for the toe unit to be fully locked. Depending on snow conditions, this can be a pretty fiddly and you may need to move the lever to-and-fro several times before it blocks correctly.

Boot step-in is also not as easy as many pin bindings. Unlike conventional insert toe units where one locates the pins then presses down to compress the springs and close the jaws, with the Shift one depresses the lever using the ski poles to open the jaws, then remove the ski pole to enable the pins to close. (Rather like the Trab lightweight models at the other end of the AT binding spectrum). This does take a bit of getting used to and is not as easy as the usual method.


 

The Shift bindings are well made and reliable. Telemark Pyrenees has not encountered any problems so far this winter, so Atomic/Salomon appear to have done plenty of pre-production testing before starting production. We expect that future models will have modifications to the ski brake locking mechanism and the toe piece ski/rando lever. The bindings are well finished and resistant to shocks and scratches. The injected carbon does not scratch more than the metal of the STH16, a good point.

We find that the Shift is an excellent binding for sidecountry skiing. Weighing in over 1.70 kg a pair it’s too heavy for long distance touring, where the Kingpin and Tecton offer a better combination of weight/performance. The Shift excels as the binding of choice for short tours and accessing terrain next to ski resorts, offering an unprecedented level of skiability and elasticity, which is clearly the best on the market. A true freeride binding, with optional hiking capability for shorter tours.

Model: Salomon Shift MNC 13
Binding Category: Freerando AT AND Alpine Binding.
Release Range: 5-13 DIN
Weight: 1.735 kg / pair (90 mm brakes)
Ski Brake Width: 90, 100, 110, 120 mm
Ski crampons: available as options in 100 & 120 mm widths

Neil

Neil started skiing in the Scotland when he hired lightweight tele gear and skied Cairngorm to Ben Macdhui. He was bitten and not by the midges! Th ...

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