Addition by subtraction: That’s the thinking behind the 12-ounce ZED—the lightest full-featured alpine touring binding on the market.
The ZED builds on G3’s ION, a tester favorite for its fussfree design and forward heel pressure. Like the ION, the ZED has a wide-jawed toepiece that’s not only easier to get into than other tech bindings, but also absorbs more energy before releasing—meaning you’re less likely to pop out prematurely on a sketchy slope. The heel piece is similar to the ION, but it’s where G3 tallied most of the binding’s weight savings: Designers cut out metal wherever they could without affecting the forward pressure. The result is a skeleton-like heel piece that still has a consistent release point regardless of how the ski flexes. (Nice touch: G3 added a single screw adjustment that tweaks vertical and lateral release points.)
Our entire team gave the ZED two thumbs up, from our novices (“It’s not finicky and I could actually clip in on my first try”) to our experts (“I felt comfortable laying into highspeed turns and sending it over small cliffs”). Another thing everyone can agree on? Going light. –M.H. $499 (brakes aren’t included and cost $84 extra); 1 lb. 8 oz. per pair (1 lb. 14 oz. with 100mm brakes); genuineguidegear.com
Target late spring in the Pioneers for perfect corn.