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Releasable Tele Bindings

There is much debate in the world of telemark skiing as to the necessity of a releasable binding. If you plan on backcountry skiing where there's avalanche danger, you're taking a risk by not having a releasable binding. If your skis don't come off your feet, there is a greater chance they will pull you under in a slide. Some skiers also pick releasable bindings because they feel it reduces the risk of knee injury.

The current options are the Voile CRB (Complete Release Binding), 7tm bindings, and NTN. Here are brief descriptions along with pros and cons.

Voile CRB

Voile CRB (Complete Releasable Binding) - The CRB has been on the market for quite a few years, and is available in several different versions: the Hardwire CRB, Hardwire Women's CRB, or Hardwire 3-Pin CRB which all come with a riser that's integrated with brakes and other necessary hardware. Fine-tuning the release setting takes a bit of time, but this is easier as well with current versions of the CRB. Many of us have used these and consider them to be the most reliable releasable tele binding on the market. They’ve barely changed in 15 years.

In addition to the CRB, Voile makes a plate system with a 3-hole pattern that accepts the really old screw pattern bindings like a 3-pin with a toe bail and no heel cable. They also make an adapter that can be used with this to mate a G3, 4-hole pattern tele binding. The release mechanism is identical to the CRB.

Pros

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Easy to replace parts
  • Brakes included
  • Industry Standard 4-hole mounting pattern
  • Only releasable binding that releases upward

Cons

  • Can be tricky to attain reliable release
  • Not DIN-certified

7TM

7TM - The 7tm has become a very popular alternative to heavy release plates of years past (like the Rottefella TRP). This binding has a very reliable and easily adjustable release setting. The toeplate is attached to a tensioned strap which runs under the heel of the boot - both of which release laterally from the barrel housing.

There are two releasable models available from 7tm, the Power and the Power Tour. The Power Tour combines the best of both worlds with a free-pivoting touring mode and a semi-active flexing downhill mode.

Pros

  • Reliable
  • Approved by German TUV according to DIN/ISO 9462 standard
  • Can be mounted to four hole pattern with separate shim
  • Can use ski brakes instead of straps.

Cons

  • Must be mounted by a ski tech

 

NTN

The newest system in telemark bindings hasn’t been around long enough for us to have a strong opinion about its releasability, but we have heard reports of the binding releasing when skiers want it to – in a bad, tumbling crash mostly. No reports of avalanche release yet! The main drawback here is that the tension setting of the release is tied to how active the binding is, so if you want the bindings to be less active but have a high release threshold, you can’t have both. Also, we’ve noticed some reluctance on the part of Rotefella and its distributors to really trumpet the fact that these are releasables, so we’re not certain that we should even call them that, whereas we are confident that the Voile CRBs are true releasable bindings!

Pros

  • This is a great binding for skiers who like an active feel, and the possibility of releasability is just an added bonus.
  • Step-in capability
  • Touring mode

Cons

  • Release function is untested by time and must therefore be considered unreliable
  • Release tension is not independent from "activeness" of binding, so you have to pick which is more important and go with that setting