Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gear Review: MFD All Time touring plate

This is the first in our series of gear reviews to be rolled out all winter long.

MFD is changing the way we can use our alpine ski bindings, and for the better. The Salt Lake City based company has designed a system that allows skiers to use their existing downhill bindings (Tyrolia, 4FRNT, Rossignol, Look, Atomic, Salomon, and Liberty) as alpine touring bindings to ski backcountry stashes and resort sidecountry. We’ve been waiting for this.

MFD has combined what we love about alpine bindings and touring bindings. We love the performance and security of our alpine bindings. We also love the ability to free the heel on AT bindings. But we are continually faced with tough decisions. Do you shoulder your skis, use snowshoes, or alpine trekkers to tour the backcountry? That is not a fun day. Can you trust your AT bindings to ski super hard and take a beating? Not 100% of the time. So we are forced to sacrifice performance or function. Those days are over now, thanks to the All Time touring plate. The MFD All Time is the first touring binding that you can trust to ski any mountain, anywhere, ALL-THE-TIME (hence the name).

The All Time is a plate that you mount to your ski, and your alpine bindings mount to the plate. Each plate is pre-drilled for specific bindings. You now have the performance and durability of an alpine binding with the ability to tour the backcountry. It’s the best of both worlds.

I had a chance to ski the All Time last winter and was immediately convinced. You can't even notice the plate when you are skiing. The ski flexes as it should and everything feels full locked in. The conditions were less than ideal. We skied hardpack at high speeds. Not something I ever like to do in my touring bindings. While I did not get a chance to tour on the All Time, I did unlock the heel on the way to the chairlift. The stride felt natural and the climbing was super easy to engage.

I realize the All Time may not be for everyone, but it definitely has its place. Anyone who has a compatible binding can get an easy touring upgrade and use all of their existing gear. That’s a nice convenience. And for those interested in exploring resort backcountry gates, the All Time gives them the freedom to do so.

All Time with 4FRNT Deadbolt 13


For those of you who like to geek out on techy stuff, here are some important specs.

-Three climbing bar positions: O, 6 and 14 degree. No other AT binding on the market has a 14 degree climbing bar.
-Weight per side: 600g or 1.6 lbs.
-Construction: 6061 T6 aluminum, Dupont Zytel
-Free Floating Chop Block (All Time heel piece) allows the ski to flex more naturally
-Pole activated climbing bar is truly easy to use, unlike the similar claims from other companies that turn out to be false.
-Lowest stand height of all DIN AT bindings.

The MFD All Time is compatible with the following alpine bindings:

Tyrolia Peak T.H. 15, X T. H. 18
4FRNT Deadbolt 13, 15, 18
Liberty 515 Freeride
Head Mojo 11, 12, 15, 18
Salomon STH Driver 12/14/16, STH 12/14
Atomic FFG Team
Rossignol FKS 140/180
Look Pivot 14/18

I’m sure you are all asking, “How much does the system weigh compared to other AT bindings?”

Binding Weight Comparison Per Side (not per pair):
Marker Duke Large with 110mm brake - 3.0 lbs.
Marker Baron Large with 110mm brake - 2.8 lbs.
Marker Tour F12 with 110mm brake – 2.2 lbs.
Naxo NX 22 Large with 100mm brake - 2.8 lbs.
MFD All Time plate Large - 1.6 lbs.
MFD All Time plate Large + Tyrolia 15 DIN binding with 115mm brake - 4.0 lbs.

Concerns about the durability of such a new product? Fear not. The All Time has been tested by pro skiers Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Chris Benchetler and Daron Rahlves, along with many industry insiders for the past year. They all say its good enough for them. I know I will be mounting the All Time touring plate on a pair of my skis very shortly.

Backcountry Racks & Skis will have a pair of Liberty Double Helix 182cm skis mounted with 4FRNT Deadbolt 13 bindings and the MFD touring plate for customers to test out all winter long.

Best of all, MFD manufacturers the All Time in the USA. For more info check out the MFD website.

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