If it seems like everyone and their mom is offering an AT binding these days, it's because they are. (Free gear tip: Just because Mom offers you a discount on her homemade AT bindings doesn't mean you should buy them.) Tyrolia was one of the more recent entrants into the freeride-oriented AT game with the Adrenalin, and now the 84-year-old binding manufacturer is serving up the lighter, faster Ambition 12 Alpine Touring Binding, which uses the same technology as the Adrenalin but is a better bet for longer tours where covering serious ground takes precedent over hucking spine-compressing cliffs. The Ambition weights in at 4. 5lbs per binding, which isn't featherweight but is 10oz lighter than the Adrenalin, and has a wide 42mm footprint that's designed with bigger skis in mind. Since larger skis require more powerful input, the Ambition's front bracket is made of metal, which resists torsional twist better than plastic, and also is less prone to the eventual toe slop that's an unhappy feature of most plastic-bracket AT bindings. Tyrolia has also done an excellent job of keeping the 90-degree pivot point directly under the toe, giving the Ambition an easier, more natural walking motion that's enhanced by four climbing aid heights. One of the drawbacks of standard AT setups is an unpredictable change in the flex of the ski due to the long plate that's mounted between the toe and heel pieces. In an inspired moment, Tyrolia built the Ambition with a FreeFlex system in which the heel and toe are connected by a floating tube, letting the ski flex naturally for a more predictable, consistent ride. As a bonus, this system also allows for virtually infinite adjustment, making the Ambition a one-size-fits-all binding (all boot sole lengths between 260 and 350, anyway--you'll be fine unless you're an XXL Sasquatch). It's compatible with AT and traditional alpine soles, and allows you switch between ski and walk modes without stepping out, saving you time and trouble. Someth...
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