So What Does This All Mean On-Snow?
Without a doubt, plenty of people ski tech bindings pretty darn well in all sorts of difficult snow conditions. But tech bindings require either significantly more concentration or a more passive ski style in challenging snow conditions, since they have a much smaller window for one to recover from mistakes in challenging, firm, or fast snow.
Fact is, tech bindings were designed for backcountry use, and most people are skiing the backcountry for untracked turns.
In untracked snow with the ski at least partially submerged, the resistance and suspension that the snow provides yields a natural damper to the ski and the entire system. The snow itself numbs the toes and controls the flex pattern of the ski and the free play discussed above.
But inbounds on firm, wind-chalk, refrozen moguls, and man-made ice, you do not have the luxury of natural snow-suspension. And this is where the spring tension built into an alpine binding truly shines. They are much smoother and more forgiving, and much better suited for inbounds and all-purpose usage—after all, they were designed for this stuff.
Millions of skiers still use tech bindings inbounds without issue, and ski them very well. But for high-speed, inbounds skiing, tech bindings have not been the best tool for me in the past. However, we’re excited to see if some of the new tech bindings that feature some elastic travel in its toe (like a traditional alpine binding) change this.