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G3 Ascents S/S

By ccrossen | March 13, 2008

I think that I have found “the” binding. Despite all the bad press, vibes, critiques, negative comments from ski shops, “active” binding skiers, etc., this is probably the binding for me. It skis like a Targa. All my trusted sources said this from the outset, and I have no idea why I didn’t just ski the Ascent right away, get it done with, try it out for myself. Instead, I paid more attention to all of the naysayers – and I still may be one, depending on how the icing issues present and resolve themselves. The bottom-line: if you ski the G3, like the G3, love the G3, simply buy the Ascent to solve your free-pivot dilemma. 


My primary concern with the Ascent was the height off the deck, but I haven’t noticed a thing. And so far, after touring 10s of thousands of vertical on the Ascent, I still haven’t had any icing-up problems. A few minor issues solved with a simple bang on the ski, but nothing major at all. Nothing like the issues I have had with the BD O1. I am still waiting for this problem to present itself, to see how big a deal it actually is. For many, this has been the break-it issue. We’ll see. 

For skiability though, it’s my favorite out there. There’s a lot of legacy for most people behind this issue/decision, and mine stems from the fact that I have been skiing the Targa/T9 since it debuted. Before that I skied the Riva Classic and Riva II. These bindings played a huge role in my learning curve, the development of my style, and what I now prefer in a binding. There are definitely some problems with this binding, issues that may make the decision to buy this binding a tough one, given the Switchback skis the same, yet doesn’t have as many notable problems.

One problem I found is the difficulty switching from ski to tour mode and back again. Out of the box, the engagement lever, located in front of the toe-piece is sticky and takes a lot of energy to move it from one setting to the next, way more effort than either the O1 or the Switchback. Using a pole to switch modes is possible, but not very easily. This problem is resolved by simply spraying with WD-40 or Pam, etc. Not a big deal, but still not as smooth and easy as the Switchback. The second issue I have is with the heel post: why not include the “tall” climbing wire add-on ($19.95 USD) with the regular binding? BD does. Voile does. No brainer. And why only one height once you’ve bought the additional high wire. G3 should have simply retrofitted their existing heel system to fit the Ascent profile. Having only one climbing height is a pain in the ass, very inefficient. Unless you’re climbing straight-up directly from the car, not doing many sidehills, and never go through rolling terrain, than no problem, either position is fine. But that’s not a realistic assessment of how people move through the mountains. Best bet, if you love the Ascent is to retro-fit it with a Voile Switchback heel system or an existing Targa heel system. Both are way better than the heel wire that currently comes with the Ascent.

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