We admit it. We never saw it coming. Like other manufacturers in the telemark category, we weren’t prepared for the trend toward alpine touring gear that under weighed and out climbed telemark boot and binding setups. Who’da thunk it? Inspired by the climbing ease of randonnée bindings, the advent of the Voilé Switchback Telemark Binding is a well-deserved milestone in the history of modern telemark bindings. It allows backcountry telemark skiers to ascend
on a par with Alpine cohorts, but still descend with classic Nordic style.
All that said, the technology to create such a tele binding—and make it reliable—didn’t come easily. Some of the best minds of our competition had given it a go and created bindings that were far from foolproof. And we dared not follow in those tracks. Literally.
Now in service for close to a decade, the Switchback has set the industry standard for free-pivot, telemark bindings. This is due, in large part, to the ingenious design of the binding’s fully-encased, stainless-steel, pivoting and locking mechanisms. While the inner workings of this masterpiece are hidden from plain view, the adventurous skier
need only know that pushing the lever to the left frees the whole shebang to swing upward 50 degrees and pushing it to the right locks it all down for, well, going down. All with the snap of a ski pole tip.
But the marvels don’t stop there. The heat-treated, stainless-steel, toe plate is a sleek and elegant design that, when paired with the rear latch bar, actually helps chop and remove snow accumulation while climbing. Once in the downhill mode, Voilé’s signature combo of steel connecting rods and compression springs gives the Switchback power for turning, while still keeping weight to a minimum: Three pounds, to be exact.
So if you prefer the Norwegian dance to Austrian, locked-hell dogma, this may be the binding for you. If you prefer to spend more time earning your turns than riding a lift, maybe even more so. If you prefer a “neutral” tele binding or wear a tiny-sized boot, this is definitely the binding for you. And if you ski colossal skis in four-buckle boots, you might prefer the Switchback’s younger sibling, the X2.
Not compatible with the Voilé Release Kit.
Full-wrap around stainless steel toe plate without rivets.
Enclosed design eliminates ice build-up.
Lightest weight available, 3 lbs/1362g/pair.
Appropriate riser height, 25mm.
Time tested Hardwire heel assembly instead of braided cables.