With five heel riser levels and magnets to make it all work more efficiently, it's no wonder we awarded the Black Diamond Helio 350 Bindings our Gear of the Year Award. But this is only the beginning, there's so much more to like about these lightweight AT bindings. Congrats.
The Backcountry Skiing Canada Team.
Black Diamond has released a new Helio binding to complement their existing Helio 200 Binding which we reviewed here. The 350 adds to Black Diamond's ultralight, high-performance alpine touring tech binding line up with a higher, more burly release value than it’s little brother the 200. With a 5-12 rather than a 5-10 release value, the Helio 350 is made for heavier or more aggressive skiers. The integration of brakes on the Helio 350’s means that they have truly one-upped the Helio 200 without adding any additional weight.
The following video overview of the Black Diamond Helio 350 Bindings covers all the essentials so give it a watch.
Black Diamond touts the Helio 350 as a downhill-oriented, freeride-style alpine touring binding in a lightweight package—and I couldn’t agree more. It gets its name from the fact that it weighs 350 grams which is impressive given the 5-12 release value.
With a similar design to the Helio 200 Binding, the 350’s incorporate a higher release value and much welcomed brakes.
It’s crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum and stainless steel which makes for a very durable binding that will hold up to years of use and abuse. This is impressive given its small stature.
To ensure effective power transmission and responsive feedback the Helio 350 uses a relatively wide mount pattern and offers up an elastic forward pressure system.
One of the most innovative features on the Helio 350 Bindings is the unique 5-position magentic heel riser system that allows you to implement one riser at a time and remove both at once since they stick to each other with the use of magnets.
The Helio 350’s heel units adjust laterally up to 30mm to accommodate a wide range of AT booth lengths and provide a precise and secure boot hold.
7075 Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Polymide
Like Black Diamond’s Guide BT and Recon BT Avalanche Transceivers which are rebadged Pieps transceivers, the Black Diamond Helio 350 Bindings are simply rebadged ATK Raider bindings, so it’s hard to give full credit to Black Diamond, however, good on them for selecting such high-quality alpine touring bindings to affix the Black Diamond brand on, rather than reinventing the wheel.
The Helio 350’s are a super light and minimal AT binding that offers up a respectable 5-12 release value so there is really nothing to gripe about other than the price which is at the high end of the range for an AT binding. The Helio 350’s are easy to use and with the incorporated magnets to help manage the risers you get a little extra cool factor in an otherwise minimalist binding. It’s also nice that the brakes are mounted on the heel piece rather than the toe piece as with Hagan’s Core 12 version of the ATK binding.
With all my testing I found that there was no easy way to twist the heel piece with your pole but I got around this by just using the risers over top of the heel pins so that no twisting of the heel piece was required. This simplified things and made me enjoy the efficiency of the Helio 350’s even more.
If you are in the market for a lightweight tech AT binding then the Black Diamond’s Helio 350 should be at the top of your list.
Price: $924.99CAN / $699.95US
Weight: 350g / 12.3oz (per binding)
Release: 5-12 (non-DIN certified, adjustable independent vertical and lateral)
Elasticity: 12mm (Heel Only)
Risers: Magnetic 5 position
Skis brake: 86, 97, 108, 120 mm
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