As much touring as I do it is hard to ignore the local resorts when the snow is falling non-stop in British Columbia. I’m a believer in investing in the toys I like to play with.
So it’s no surprise to my friends that I have a lot of skis (for the record, which I pay for in real money).
If I’m heading out, I want to enjoy my time with the best tool for the job whether it’s riding sheets of ice, deep powder or long tours. The only part of my quiver that suffers is a dedicated resort setup, as it gets used the least frequently. Skiing tech bindings inbounds jars my knees and body, plus it doesn’t give the control I crave on piste. As my matrimonial agreement states, if a new piece of gear comes in, another must go out. So began my internet research for solutions to transform skis into multi-use machines for alpine and touring.
- I have wide powder skis that I use about 25% of the time
- I have a light touring rig I use 50% of the time
- I can’t stand riding tech bindings in bounds
- Justify the need to my wife
- The right weapon for the job is a way better plan
Binding Freedom inserts and plates
As I found out, the whole plan starts and ends with inserts and plates from a company called Binding Freedom. A SollyFit swap plate is a machined piece of aluminum with pre-drilled holes that match the pattern of Dynafit and Salomon alpine bindings. My plan was to mount G3 Onyx bindings and Salomon STH16 alpine bindings on a set of G3 District skis.
The process was pretty straightforward and the kit purchased from BindingFreedom.com includes a template. Some extra care is required to get the holes straight. In hind site it may have been worth to purchase the drill guide block which is an even better tool to drill the holes accurately. I recommend watching this video before trying to install the plates/inserts to get the process down.
The whole process took about two hours from start to finish. So set aside a good portion of time to do the job properly. From the photo belows you can see the plates add a bit of stack height to the binding which is not the end of the world especially when you are skiing in powder. One of the major benefits is that I can move the plates to new skis in the future. This system makes a lot of sense for the specialty planks in your quiver. Those wide powder-only skis that you need for the epic days in and out of resort get some added versatility.
The plates are aluminum so some care is needed not to cross thread the screws as you are mounting the bindings. The kit comes with all the screws needed to mount Salomon bindings (note the STH bindings aren’t technically compatible with AT soles but there is enough adjustment for my Scarpa boots in there). For the G3 Onyx binding you must purchase a separate screw kit. Make sure you use the thread locker to secure the binding to the ski – you don’t want to pull out or lose a screw in the middle of the backcountry.
Extra tips to make your life easier
My ski tech ability is rather limited, but this learning experience, I think that I can probably mount my skis from now on. Plus it is fun. So if you are struggling with justifying another pair of skis, this setup may be a good alternative for you.