The alpine-touring “plate” bindings of yesteryear had a knack for being heavy, clunky, and walking very poorly. Dynafit-style tech bindings had a reputation for superb walking performance and low weight but at the price of sacrificing alpine-style release and retention characteristics. For some skiers, this meant there was sacrifice involved in choosing a touring binding. Either not enough walking performance for long tours, or not enough release-safety to be viable in freeride or resort settings. The Salomon Shift binding is an impressive marriage of the two worlds where neither walking performance nor release characteristics suffer. The devil is in the details, so look closely. In the toe piece, the throw of a large lever will expose some pins for true tech-skinning performance. The toes are paired with a versatile heel piece with enough risers for even the burliest alpine boots. The alpine retention and elastic travel built into the binding will be welcomed during any resort ripping, side-country slashing, backcountry filming mission that you can think of. If you don’t want to sacrifice any ski performance but enjoy skiing untracked powder, the Salomon Shift MNC 13 binding should be first on your list.
- Fully DIN-certified alpine performance on the way down.
- Hidden toe pins for full tech performance on the way up.
- Multi-norm-compatible toe-piece will work with most boots.
- ISO 9462 alpine and ISO 13992 alpine touring certifications.
Update 2020/21: No change in materials, just a name change to the "Shift 13," instead of the Shift. This is on account of the introduction of the Shift 10.
STOCK NOTE: If these are out of stock, check out the equivalent Atomic version.
|Weight (pair)||1758g [90mm]|
||Alpine Multi-Norm Compatible (MNC)|
||90, 100, 110, and 120|
||1 + flat|
||Carbon-infused PA, combined with aluminum and steel|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Usage||Backcountry, freeriding or alpine skiing|
|Notes||Converts to a tech toe for touring|
|Bottom Line||Sets a standard for freeride binding, zero compromise downhill performance|
|Compare to other Full-featured Bindings|
Questions & Reviews
The Bad: It's heavy, and when not set up properly is prone to preleasing. It's also a little more complicated to transition than a true tech binding.
The shift gets a lot of hate from Facebook groups, and I'm sure the crew at Skimo cringes whenever someone walks in the door asking for one, but they do have a few great use cases:
1. On an (mostly) alpine ski that can go on shorter tours or is used for sidecountry missions.
2. For very fit individuals who want a one-ski-quiver
3. For people who want the safety of an alpine binding in the backcountry, and are not worried about some extra weight.
4. For people who backcountry ski in more visited places or low-snow areas and aren't skiing fresh snow. Sure you could make the argument that with a lighter setup they could walk farther and avoid crowds - but this isn't always as easy as it seems.
In bounds, they are almost too elastic and don't feel nearly as secure as most bindings, they do have better power transfer than any pin binding I've used though. The brakes are also very flimsy and don't hold the skis together well.
As for touring performance, they are pretty darn heavy, and hard to go more than one transition without having icing problems in the toe and brake, which pre-releases often. They also are flimsy feeling when putting any torque on the toe in something like a steep kick turn.
I would only recommend these to someone who rarely tours in any kind of powder, skis at least 90% of the time in bounds, and is very concerned about release values. I strongly recommend getting tech bindings if you are on the fence.
100 mm brakes are the right size for my 106 mm Salomon QST skis. 110 is ok but unnecessary and tend to catch when skinning, and I'm annoyed at not-to-be-disclosed-name shop for installing 110s even though I asked them to check!
First, walk mode performance:
Obviously these things weigh way more than any race binding (or even regular touring binding) and you'll feel that on long days. But they otherwise feel like any other pin binding in regular use. That being said, they have a few drawbacks in my mind. 1) The heel riser is less easy to use than the flippy risers on most bindings and there's only one riser height. 2) You can sometimes walk out of the toe. Even if you lock the toe to the second click (which takes a decent amount of force) the toes can come unclamped when stomping to edge into harder snow or a breakable crust. This has never happened to me in any other touring binding with the toe locked over hundreds of days of touring, and is quite annoying and could potentially be catastrophic (i.e. if you're on an icy slope and the ski slides away). 3) The brakes don't stay stowed. I don't know why this is so hard to make work properly, but the brakes on these deploy just frequently enough to make it annoying.
As for downhill performance:
Like uphill performance, in normal use these are great. They aren't quite as confidence inspring as Pivots in chunder, but they ski significantly better than any other touring binding that I've skied. When you stay attached to them at least. And therein lies the problem - I'm one of the unlucky ones who has had major issues with pre-releases on my shifts. I've had them adjusted by two well respected shops, and I've adjusted them myself (I normally mount and adjust all of my bindings on my own but wanted to double check that I wasn't just making a stupid mistake that was causing this). In addition to trying the proper setup, I've also tried upping my DIN, Cody Townsend's method of of adjusting the AFD, and adjusting the AFD far higher up than it's meant to be. In all cases I experienced pre-releases, including once on the transition in between drops on a double cliff drop. That wasn't fun. The problem is that the AFD would, over the course of a day, drop down in height. No matter what I did it would always do this. So at the start of the day it would be set properly and ski fine, but after an hour or two the AFD would drop and I would start pre-releasing. I would adjust it back to the proper height (or even a step or two - or in an extreme case of frustration, several steps) above the proper height) but it would always sink back down.
I know a lot of people have had a lot of success with Shifts. Maybe the techs at the shops I visited were jongs and I'm a complete idiot and none of us adjusted the bindings properly. Or maybe a small (but large enough that there are many reports on the internet of the same) fraction of Shifts have issues with the AFD. Either way, after taking many a big fall due to pre-release on these guys, I have lost faith in their ability to keep me attached to my skis.
Shifts are an incredible idea, and I really hope that they can make something like this work properly in the future, but for now I'm going to stick to regular touring bindings (and maybe a CAST setup for rowdier days if and when I can afford it).
- lightest alpineish binding on the market
- Ride it all, with a tech toe on the up
- Heavy compared to other tech bindings
- Not the easiest toe transitions
- If you bump the brake the wrong way while touring up it can pop down (annoying)
- Over time the AFD on the toe drops, so just check that every season.
- Some people have prerelease issues (not me, Im 160lbs, 9.5 din toes, 11din heels)
All in all I would buy these again for my resort/backcountry ski
If you have never toured on a frame binding (marker duke/baron, guardian, etc) then you may never know just how great the shift is. Frame bindings in comparison are heavier, place that extra weight on your foot, and place the pivot point far in front of your toe. This adds up to a "baby giraffe" walking experience. The shifts provide a more natural pivot point and lower weight. It feels like you are just touring on heavy pin tech bindings. The shifts have completely displaced frame bindings - they are that superior. In this category, there are other comparable options out there such as the cast system and the duke pt, but these are much much heavier and probably only necessary if you are hucking > 30' cliffs.
Skiing performance is just as you'd hope - they ski like an alpine binding.
Touring wise, they work well but are vulnerable to icing and snow packing in the right conditions. Like all touring bindings, you need to take the time to understand how they work and learn where snow/ice accumulates and how to clear them for safe function. These bindings have only one climbing option and it feels a bit low. I'd like to see a second climbing bar added in the future. Lastly, if you not careful and step on the brake arms while touring, the brakes will unlock from their stowed position. This can be remedied by adopting a slightly wider, straighter stance which comes with experience.
So what are the use cases?
1. Ski touring curious - you are a resort skier and want a setup to try touring, but you are not sure how often you will go.
2. Travel ski - take these on a trip when you will be resort skiing and touring
3. Freeride Touring - if you want to huck and ski pillows in the backcountry
4. 50/50 setup - you like to tour and you like to resort ski, and you want one setup to do it all
5. Ski tourer who wants din certified release characteristics
What use cases will want to look elsewhere?
1. Dedicated ski tourer - you can get much lighter pin tech bindings that'll do the job
2. Extreme freeride tourer - duke pt or cast system probably, or a heli and pivots :)
Lastly - I took off one star due to: icing problems, one of my toe pieces has trouble staying locked in tour mode, and brakes deploying while touring.
If you prefer no brakes and lighter binding, there are Many other options.
Unfortunately Salomon does not sell the heel plate on its own. Sorry we couldn't be more helpful on this front. All the best!
Patrick // Skimo Co
Highly recommended if you want downhill performance, and are a strong skinner... if looking for an everyday touring binder, perhaps something lighter will make sense
Part of that, putting Shift bindings on my Corvus Freebirds and Faction Dictator 1.0s. I've got probably 40 days on the two set-ups combined and can say that the bindings are incredible. Like the other poster, I had never used an alpine binding before, other than a couple runs at a ski demo, and was greatly impressed with the power and smoothness of these.
They are easy to transition, but the heel is a bit less-easy than the toe.
The killer is the weight. They are pigs. You have to really want it to add a pound per foot.
What these have done to me is made me rethink my entire ski quiver - I used to like touring reasonably long days with my Corvus, but at 2.5kg per foot with the Shifts, they are just a bit too heavy and are relegated to free-rando use now (some lift-assist, cat skiing, or single-run big objectives).
I'll adapt, sell some other gear and buy some new toys (alright, I'm pretty excited to do that, honestly...). The thing is that this is not a binding for most ski tourers. It's a hoss that does what it does better than any other binding out there, but it does it with a big weight penalty that isn't necessary for a gross-majority of randonnée skiing.
It's no hyperbole that the Shift is such a revolutionary product. I've only ever skied traditional tech bindings, and never even owned alpine gear. Coming from that perspective, they are obviously quite a bit heavier, but I find the weight to be worth it for the style of descent they provide.
The big thing I noticed was power transfer and elasticity - you can go fast and take hits from variable snow that usually would've been much harsher in comparison to something like an ATK FreeRaider. The release seems good. Had one fall where both skis came off as needed. They also seem to be much more stable on teeth-chattering ice than standard tech bindings.
Transitions are pretty easy, and it won't take you long to get an efficient system in place. I find stepping in can be tricky (lining up the heel), but I often just reach down to lift the heel lever up to step in. I like the simplicity of the heel riser - a good reminder that far too many people set stupidly steep tracks!
Overall, I can thoroughly recommend the Shift. I think that Tectons could be a great option too, but if you want that little bit more elastic retention and burliness, the Shift is the answer you've been looking for.
Note: Brakes tend on the wide side. I can get a 110mm over a 116mm ski.
Thanks for the detailed review Dan C!
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