Opinion: Don’t Buy a 50/50 Binding
Since the introduction of downhill focused ski touring bindings like the Salomon Shift and Marker Kingpin, the number of people looking to get a single do everything ski setup has skyrocketed. These bindings seem to offer the perfect compromise: tech toes for the way up and full/partial alpine bindings with a certified release for the way down. People who enjoy skiing want to be able to tour, but are still looking for a sturdy, reliable binding to thrash inbounds. Are these setups really the best bet, or would folks looking to ski in and out of bounds be better served with two dedicated setups?
In my opinion there are two major drawbacks of these 50/50 bindings: the weight and the durability. Marker Kingpins weight 620g and Salomon Shifts come in at 885g. Compare that with traditional tech bindings such as G3 Zeds at 358g and the Salomon MTN bindings at 400g and you’ll find a massive difference. Both of these tech bindings are full featured, including brakes and adjustable release values, however they save over half a pound per foot! If you want to regularly tour over 1000m, taking a full pound off your feet makes the ascents much more enjoyable.
When it comes to durability I know several ski professionals who have had to warranty their 50/50 bindings on multiple occasions due to catastrophic failures. These people ski regularly and ski hard, and find it hard to trust these bindings because having a catastrophic failure could leave them injured or at the least without the tools to do their job.
On the other hand, having a dedicated touring and alpine setup has several advantages. Alpine bindings have fewer moving parts and are designed to be lapped through moguls, crud and airs for season after season. Lightweight touring setups take the edge off the ascents, making it way more appealing to explore new zones or tag that extra lap. I know that I like to enjoy my tours and not be worried about what’s under my feet when in bounds, and think most others might feel the same way.