Previously using a pair of Fritschi Diamir Experience, there were things I liked and did not like about that binding. I loved that it was so easy to go into and out of touring mode. Compared to my fellow skiers with Marker Duke and Baron bindings, I could switch to touring mode with a flick of my pole without having to click out of my bindings. While not so important when we had to stop and put skins on or take them off, it was certainly a useful feature when I had to trail break short sections of flatter terrain when there was deep powder. Secondly, it was also a much lighter binding when compared to the Markers. I imagine then this would not make much of a difference on shorter side country excursions but could possibly add up on longer trips. Thirdly, it was also easy to switch between heel raise heights with a flick of the pole basket.
However, the Fritschis were wanting in several aspects. Firstly and most prominently, the ski would go into touring mode on occasion when I was skiing fast. This I slowly discovered was when the ski was bent enough that the binding could release which usually occurred mid turn at high speeds. Not a great feeling. Secondly, the binding put me quite high above the ski and I lost a bit of the feel for the snow. Although some race bindings with plates put me just as high, the construction of the binding over a single rod did not quite have the same feel.
Thus I was searching for an alpine touring binding that kept most of the pros and eliminated most of the cons of my Fritschi. I kept an eye out for new entries over the seasons. I noted the entry of the Marker F10 and F12s which seemed to be lighter versions of the Barons and Dukes. However, you still had to click out to switch to touring mode. Then came the Salomon Guardians and Atomic Trackers (essentially the same binding as far as I can tell) which finally made a more solid alpine touring binding that could switch to touring mode without clicking out. The one down side seemed to be the increased weight. So it was with fair excitement when Tyrolia introduced the Adrenalin binding. Here was what seemed to be a solid alpine touring binding that you could switch modes without clicking out, had a similar heel raise design as the Fritchis and was lighter than the Salomon Guardians.
Firstly, it is a solid binding. It skis and feels almost like an alpine only binding like the Griffon or Jester (as long as one remembers to set your DIN correctly!) It’s also quick to switch into touring mode and the heel raises are easy enough to change with a pole basket. However, switching back to ski mode from touring mode wasn’t always so easy. In Niseko, where there is often quite a bit of fresh snow on the ground, snow would build in touring mode both on top of the ski base and under the base plate of the binding. This snow would be quite heavily packed from touring that slamming down hard on the binding was often not enough to dislodge it. Instead I almost always had to take my skis off and use my hands to scrape off the snow. Sometimes, it would be packed so hard that I even had to stab at it with a pole to break the snow up.
While seemingly a minor glitch, on mountain, this issue made me think twice about going into touring mode when I didn’t have to put on skins. In pursuit of fresh powder, one often has to break trail either getting in or getting out. Once a track is set, you can usually just ski in and out easily of course but the trail break becomes so much easier if it can be done in touring mode. Being able to switch between ski and touring modes without clicking out was a big selling point for the Adrenalins. Not being able to do so has left me less than fully satisfied with the bindings. I can only hope that enthusiastic binding designers will work to create a new and better alpine touring binding soon.