Could the Atomic/Salomon Backland/MTN be the best tech binding ever made? I’ll leave that conclusion up to you, dear commentators. But consider: It’s easily available, by all accounts one of the most durable, and above all it forgoes the problematic “ski flex compensation spring” that has become all the rage — and curse — among the other binding powers.
In other words, Backland is simple, light, and just works. Along with all that, the current iteration boasts a number of subtle improvements that make a good thing better. Before we begin, note there is no difference in how any versions of this binding ski, so this is not a redundant repeat of our previous reviews. Rather it’s a heads-up to keep us all current.
A few other things: Toe (single) is 3 grams heavier than the original, heels are identical according to my scale. The available ski brake remains the best in the business. Why? It is entirely divorced from the heel unit, and 100% manually operated compared to the often overly complex, failure-prone offerings from other brands, that attempt integration of the brake with the heel unit. (Note the binding version without brake is the Backland Pure.)
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.