They’re an essential piece of the gear equation, but bindings often get overlooked among the more tangible appeal of new skis and boots (and even poles). And, frankly, they don’t get updated as frequently as other Nordic equipment. But there are a couple of changes for this winter in adjustable bindings.
First a quick primer: Adjustable bindings slide forward and aft on the mounting plate. Moving the binding forward provides better grip; moving it back gives better glide. In that sense, these bindings make the most sense for classic skiers, but skate skiers have been incorporating them into their quiver, too. For example, in icy conditions where edge hold is vital, adjusting the binding forward allows more edge bite and greater control over the front of the ski.
“You’ll really feel that edge hold,” says Andy Gerlach of Enjoy Winter, which distributes Rottefella bindings in the U.S. It can also help beginner skate skiers feel more secure as they practice pushing off. On the other hand, in softer or new snow, adjusting bindings backward gives more flotation to the front of the skate ski.
At least one of our testers experienced the changes firsthand, saying that moving the binding up on an Atomic skate ski “made a significant improvement in the ski ride.” She added, “I was pleased to learn this moveable binding made a difference with skate skis. It allowed easy adjustment between powder and icy conditions.”
Since its introduction in 2018, Rottefella’s adjustable Move binding has won plenty of fans for its ease of use. Simply turn a knob or flip a lever at the front of the binding to adjust position. The game-changer: You could do it without having to step out of your skis.
Up until now, the Move binding has come in two flavors: the Switch, with a knob that adjusts the binding 12 millimeters forward or up to 24 millimeters back, and the Race, with a lever that moves the binding 30 millimeters back for a quick boost in glide when seconds count during competition.
For this winter, Rottefella is making the Move Tune, for both skate and classic skis, more widely available in North America (it debuted previously in Europe but was hard to get on this side of the pond). Via a knob, skiers can fine-tune the binding position in smaller increments than with the Switch, as well as move the binding farther forward or backward on the ski. In total, Move Tune offers nine positions: 6, 12 or 18 millimeters forward; neutral; and -6, -12, -18, -24 and -30 millimeters backward. With the appropriate mounting plate, Move bindings (all retail for $175) are compatible with skis from Peltonen, Fischer, Rossignol, Kästle and Madshus.
Meanwhile, Salomon and Atomic offer updated adjustable bindings this winter. The big change: they no longer adjust on the fly. That’s because Rottefella (and Madshus) brought a patent lawsuit against both brands’ parent company, Amer Sports, claiming the binding mechanism was too similar to the Move’s. The eventual ruling only applied to Norwegian distribution, but Amer proactively changed the bindings globally.
Thus, out goes the Shift In; in comes the Shift and the lighter Shift Race. Both adjust via a lever within the toepiece, so skiers have to be off the ski to use it. Each binding offers seven positions total—three forward of neutral, neutral and three back—in increments of .75 centimeters. Adjustment ranges from 1.5 centimeters (15mm) forward to -2.25 centimeters (22.5mm) back.
Atomic and Salomon both sell their skis packaged with bindings, so the Shift generally isn’t available to buy on its own; Shift Race is paired with both brands’ highest-end skis.
Testers seemed happy with the updating binding. “Very easy to grab and pull up,” reported one. “It locks well after adjustment so that it doesn’t accidentally adjust while you ski.”