Weight (size small): 3.8 pounds / 1.72 kilograms
- The first free-pivot binding with three cable guide positions. Optimize your bindings for your skiing style and snow conditions.
- Super durable: 2000 lb test cable attachments won’t break, toepiece forces transmitted steel-to-steel.
- Over 2″ of spring travel for smooth action and durability.
- The spring-loaded HammerHeel is the easiest to use climber available; Flip it up or down with your ski pole. Climbing bails available in 3 sizes, standard bail included.
- Cables routed underfoot for maximum control; plastic boots flex at the bellows instead of tip-toeing.
- Ultra-secure mounting pattern.
- Riser height: 1.1″ or 28mm at rear, with a 2 degree ramp.
- Pivot location: directly under pin-line.
- Weight: 4.0 lbs per large pair, 3.8 lbs for small.
- Size Small for Mondo 25 and under, Large for 25.5 and up.
- 2 Year Warranty.
- Made in the USA.
Boots / Ski: Black Diamond Stiletto / Armada JJ (176cm)
Mount Location: Factory recommended
Days Skied: 6
One of the perks of being a telemark skier is being able to tour on any binding. But as tele bindings have become heavier and tougher in design, climbing with them requires much more effort. Plenty of bindings now come with a walk- or free-pivot mode, which makes climbing easier, but often by compromising downhill performance.
(For a more detailed look at free-pivot design, see our Telemark Skiing 101.)
When free-pivot technology first emerged, I tried Black Diamond’s 01 bindings—often labeled one of the best on the market—but during descents, they lacked the lateral rigidity I was used to. Instead, I stuck with my tried and true bindings: the TwentyTwo Designs Hammerhead.
While the Hammerhead lacked free-pivot, I could count on them to get me through any terrain with confidence. I knew touring with them was more work, but after years of searching, I couldn’t find a binding that could persuade me to change.
So when TwentyTwo Designs released a free-pivot binding, the Axl, it immediately grabbed my attention. The Hammerhead’s downhill performance is unmatched among 75mm bindings, and I hoped the Axl would follow suit as the most hard-charging, free-pivot touring binding.
My first few turns on the Axl caught me a little off guard. I jumped on the lift very late in the day to ski some low-angle groomers with a friend visiting from out of town. But something felt funny; I felt stuck in the back seat and had trouble getting the binding to flex. The binding felt stiff—almost too stiff. Looking back, I’d say this is because the Axl is just a hard-charging binding whose performance is oriented toward a strong, aggressive skiing style.