What separates Beast 16 from all other tech bindings? What causes me to say it could probably be used with full confidence as a resort alpine binding? Answer: Elasticity. Ergo, return to center force (RTC-F).
When paired with correctly shaped boot fittings, all properly constructed tech bindings exhibit a modicum of return-to-center force at the heel. Believe me, this has been greatly appreciated by all who understand binding mechanics for backcountry or frontcountry. But the Beast’s RTC is a step above.
Elasticity of the Beast 16 heel, in lateral release, is burly. Bench test placing boot in the binding in alpine mode, then rotate heel unit to the side with your hand, thus simulating a partial release. Feel the pressure, the way the heel wants to return to center; like the powerful magnetic attraction that draws Seth Morrison from the top of a cliff to a perfectly executed huck.
Beyond the spring loaded heel (really not much different than other tech bindings), what makes the Beast RTC work is the turntable toe unit. To release laterally, all other tech bindings have to come out at the toe fittings as they move sideways at the heel. Boot held by the Beast toe unit simply rotates during lateral (side) release, eventually coming out of the fittings when necessary. Smooth, and obviously a “safety” binding.
(Please note, Beast 16 ski binding is a radical departure from virtually all other ski bindings. At this time we have no idea what kind of commercial success Beast will have, nor what problems may appear once the binding is in full consumer use. These blog posts and FAQs are not a recommendation, they’re simply here to inform anyone interested and to clarify things if you desire to be an early adopter. All testing here was done with a pre-production unit. FAQ will be updated when retail bindings are available.)
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.