True to their fashion, Marker is entering a new market (tech-bindings) with great fanfare. The Alpinist binding is focused on weight, ski-ability, and a user-friendly nature that is robust and foolproof. The heel piece sits flush against the heel of your boot and uses a spring-loaded track to keep the release dialed regardless of the flex of a ski throughout a turn or hard landing. This is analogous to forward-pressure in an alpine setting but adapted to a race-weight tech binding (a first). The Alpinist 9 is an impressive offering in terms of downhill performance, weight, price, and uphill-capability. It’s backed by a German name (Marker) that is synonymous with ski bindings, so you know its a good one.
Strategically placed anti-icing pads under toe and heel promote consistent performance no matter the temperature, humidity, or water content.
Generous 15mm of boot sole adjustment allows enough freedom to accurately mount for multiple boots.
Gapless heel piece offers 4mm of Dynamic Length Compensation for improved ski rebound and release-value consistency.
Adjustable lateral release values from 4-9 and swappable vertical U-Spring helps dial-in retention and release.
Use the heel flap for a low riser-height or spin the heel-piece 180° for increased lift.
Flat-on-ski mode is also available for those long, flat approaches.
Removable brakes come in 90mm, 105mm, and 115mm widths.
I bought a pair of the Alpinist 12 Marker ski bindings because they're on a long track that allows a couple of pairs of boots to fit in them. My problem is that the spring that is on the alpinist 12 has a very high vertical release value. I understand that it tests out at about 11 on the vertical release scale. My DIN is supposed to be around 8 and I ski conservatively in the backcountry. I just read on your comments about that binding that the medium spring which is on the alpinist 9 test out at 9 or higher. I think I might need the lighter spring but I don't want to be blowing out of it if it only tests around 5 or 6. I definitely don't want to be skiing in the backcountry with the 11 DIN vertical release. I will probably want to talk to someone and get the lighter spring.
This binding has pleasantly surprised me so far. The price to weight to function ratio is perhaps unmatched. I had the MTN bindings but the heel riser came loose and got quite floppy so I switched to these. So far they certainly ski better because the release mechanism is a ball and detent so as you ski there is ZERO side to side play at the heel. This is a big deal for me and translates to much more confidence in the binding. For shorter laps, I use the heel riser flipped over the pins and they function just like a race binding and for longer sections, I spin the heel 180 and have the option of flat or high risers. I don't miss having all three risers available at once very much. Honestly, people need to spend less time fussing with risers and just keep skinning. I don't think choosing the perfect riser has ever saved anyone time. I have about 10 days on these bindings and so far nothing but positive impressions, however, there is a LOT of plastic in these bindings and I am curious to see how this will hold up as I get more toward the 100-day mark.
I have been impressed with this binding. They have a nice, almost flat ramp angle. They seem over all damp.. No metal clacking during skinning and feel good skiing. Very detailed quality construction. Turning them is a bit of a pain but I find I just use flat or the high level and don't need to mess w/ it.
We haven't received our shipment of them yet, and I absolutely don't want to steer you wrong. Give us a shout when it's in stock! We'll have had a chance to look them over thoroughly and test them in our binding release testing device, then we can give a detailed answer.