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Voile Switchbacks

By ccrossen | February 23, 2008

I have been touring and skiing on the Switchbacks for much of the season to date, though mostly in very deep powder as they are mounted on Voile Insanes. Overall, I think the Switchback has the best, most efficient, easy-to-use design of any of the free-pivots currently available. The bindings are super light (3 lb.), user friendly (a flick of the pole is all it takes – really!), and I have had no icing, nor clogging issues, despite a variety of Tahoe powders conditions ranging from super dry to super cement and everything in between. The Switchbacks are a great binding, with a feel more similar to the G3 Targa design than the BD 01/02. If you’re on the G3 side of things and are concerned about icing, or want something slightly more active, try the Switchback.


I recently mounted the Switchbacks on some mid-fat Atomics (RT86s) to get a better idea of how the bindings perform in other conditions, i.e. firm, corn, steeps, etc. I did a full morning of side-by-side comparison skiing with the G3 Ascent, mounted on a similar ski (Atomic Snoop Daddy).

For those whom like the G3 feel, a less active, easier to engage turn, the Switchback is probably the best bet.  I am a long-term G3 user. I have skied the Targa, T9, and Ascent ever since the first G3 made its debut. All but two pairs of skis (O1 and Switchback) are mounted with G3s. This said, I think that the Switchback skis enough like the G3, actually very similarly, just a touch more active, which is a nicer feel in some situations, to be the better by due to a number of other key features that set it apart from the G3 Ascent.  

One of the big issues with the G3 Ascent binding is icing up. I have actually only ever had minor problems with G3 icing, but the Voile wins this battle even before it begins due to the clever pin design, which automatically moves snow away from the area where the engagement is secured. It’s highly unlikely that snow would even ice-up where the pins secure the binding plate in place. Brilliant design that wins everytime. 

The other great feature that sets the Voile apart is a dual-climbing  wire system that comes standard with the binding. No need to spend an extra $19 to get a wire system that doesn’t even work as well. Two climbing wires, one high, one low, that are easy to pull up and push down with a ski pole handle. Simple. Blows away the competition, yet again. 

Bottom-line: if you like a more neutral binding, side pivot-point cartridges, and don’t want to have to worry about icing up, like a dual-climbing wire system, want to spend less money, and carry less weight, buy the Switchback. This binding will satisfy anyone who likes the G3 feel.

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