G3 ZED

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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.

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