Like it or not, consumer testing of new products is a fact of life. When the first production model of Silvretta Pure backcountry skiing binding came out a few years ago, it seemed weak but at WildSnow.com world headquarters we gave it the benefit of the doubt, and adopted a wait-and-see attitude. Once real-life North American skiers began to “test” the first Pure of 04/05, breakage problems occurred. Such problems were prevalent enough to warrant various reinforcements that occurred during that same model year and continue to the present.ther recent model AT bindings, nor as forgiving of user error such as mis-adjustment of length or height of toe wings.
Before I write more about Pure, be it known that all AT bindings can break. Ski touring bindings are always a compromise between weight and durability, with the needle shifting from one end of the scale to the other depending on what part of the market bindings are intended for.
But breakage reports I hear about bindings other than Pure are usually associated with high mileage bindings or harsh beater falls. In the case of Pure (through this year’s models) the breakage I witness or hear of appears to occur more in normal use.
So here is my take based on what I’ve heard from reliable sources as well as witnessed in person these past few seasons. These recommendations for all Silvretta Pure models up to and including this season’s models (06/07). No doubt there are exceptions to the following, if that includes you our comments are open for your opinion.
) We do not recommend Pure for larger skiers, especially if the binding will be used for resort skiing or aggressive backcountry skiing.
) We do not recommend the Pure for resort skiing, but if you must, we say you’d need to be of average or lighter weight build, ski un-aggressively, and fall infrequently.
) We do not recommend the Pure for aggressive ski touring, such as climbing steep convoluted terrain. Likewise, we do not recommend the Pure for any sort of bushwhacking.
) We recommend the Pure as a choice for moderate touring when price of binding is an issue, and the user is an average weight conservative skier who falls infrequently.
) In all cases, we only recommend using 06/07 (grey toe wings) or more recent models. We DO NOT recommend any Pure bindings that are pre 06/07 (red toe wings). Beware the used market and ski shop back-stock.
) In all cases, IT IS ESSENTIAL that the height of the toe wings that hold your boot down is adjusted correctly, length of binding is adjusted correctly, and safety DIN is set correctly for your weight, body type and ability (not dialed to the max).
) We do not recommend using any current model Pure with alpine boots or with stiff “freeride” style AT boots.
All models of Pure have received significant improvements for model year 07/08. Consumer testing will commence when those bindings go into distribution, or possibly before. I examined the new models when I was in Europe, and we’re expecting the new models for WildSnow evaluation though we have no idea what the timing will be on that. Once we get samples the first thing I’ll do is report here about any durability improvements or design changes that prevent stress on the binding.
Maker’s take on one past breakage event.
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.