"The Shift provides as near as I’ve yet seen to the ideal mix of a lightweight, efficient touring binding with a secure and confidence-building downhill binding."
Alf Alderson gives us an in-depth look at Salomon’s trailblazing Shift binding. Does the hybrid binding live up to the hype?
The Salomon S/Lab Shift binding was greeted as a game changer when it was introduced last year, providing the convenience of a pin binding system for ski touring with the security and release of a regular alpine binding for downhill skiing. The innovative binding also has multi-norm compatibility so will fit most ski boots and has a DIN certification of 6-13 so will suit most skiers.
But just how effective is it in use?
I bought my new Shift bindings at the start of this ski season, mainly because last season I suffered bad tears to both ACLs after a fall on a pin binding system that didn’t release; my confidence in the system had been seriously dented, and I thought Salomon’s new offering may rebuild that confidence.
Now, after six weeks of using the Shift, I can say that I feel absolutely fine when hooning downhill after a spot of skinning up and my confidence level is pretty much back where it was before the injury, something which I credit entirely to my rock-solid new bindings.
In downhill mode, the Shift's long ‘toe-wings’ absorb shock without any sign of releasing, even on the kind of hard, crusty snow we have been ‘enjoying’ (read: enduring) in the French Alps this winter. The binding provides the kind of energy transfer and efficiency I’d associate with regular downhill bindings, but at the same time, they do pop off efficiently in a fall when you want them to.I’ve found I can ski just as hard on piste or off as I would with ‘normal’ downhill bindings and get just the same performance and security as those ‘normal’ bindings would give.