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About 25 years ago I rented "adaptor bindings" from a shop (since gone out of business) specializing in cross-country skiing. The adaptors would clip onto my ordinary downhill ski bindings, and my ordinary downhill boots would clip onto them. That is, they would go between existing DH binding and existing DH boot. They would have three settings:

  • Hinged toe and free heel, for XC-style ski walking.
  • Hinged toe and free, raised heel, for touring-style ski climbing.
    (I also rented climbing skins as a separate pair of items.)
  • Clamped toe and heel, for descents.

My question is in parts:

  1. What is the correct name for such bindings?
  2. Do they still exist?
  3. Where can I get them?

I have asked a few folks but the usual response is along the lines of "that's not the best solution". Of course, I know it's not an optimal means for Alpine touring or ski mountaineering, but given that I'm unlikely to do anything but occasional, beginner-style, Alpine touring, I think it is a very economical solution.

I'm assuming that getting ordinary AT bindings and swapping them in and out with my ordinary DH bindings is not practical or advisable. (Too much unscrewing and re-screwing weakening the skis.) Maybe I'm wrong.

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  • What is a typical AT binding lacking from your criteria? – noah Dec 21 '20 at 23:16
  • @noah: I thought those are bindings in their own right. What i used would go between existing DH binding and existing DH boot. – Martin F Dec 22 '20 at 0:34
  • like this? – noah Dec 22 '20 at 1:32
  • @noah - More sophisticated than what i was thinking but it looks very good. Please make it into an answer... – Martin F Dec 22 '20 at 19:01
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They do exist. Whether they are the right solution is a different discussion.

Daymakers AT Adapter

There is a review about them here.

I personally have never used them myself so I can't speak to their quality/use. I just know they exist.

Manziel makes an important point though about the cost/benefit of the adapter vs a used setup.

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While adapters exist, I have not seen any in use for obvious reasons:

  • Alpine skis and boots are heavy and there is not much fun in carrying those up the mountain. I already have a rather heavy touring setup (for todays standards ;) ) but my alpine setup is way heavier
  • Touring boots give you a lot of flexibility in walk mode (typically around 60 degrees). Alpine boots with walk mode go nowhere as near and walking will be uncomfortable
  • A safe release is quite questionable to say the least. The force required for a safe release is depending on the specific combination of boot and binding. If you swap out your boot for an adapter you should readjust your release
  • Scratching your base is more or less inevitable when you ski off-piste. Having two pairs of skis is actually saving a lot on repairs for your DH ski.

All in all there are a lot of disadvantages which are justified by "not needing to buy a new setup" in case you rarely go touring. But considering these adapters are not cheap and you need to buy/rent skins and avalanche equipment as well, it is probably cheaper to rent proper alpine touring equipment for the 2 days a year you go touring.

An alternative to renting can be getting something used. There is plenty of people that start ski touring and then notice that powder days are rare and the ascent is quite sweaty ;) I got my touring setup (skis, binding, skins, ski crampons) for a little over 300€. This is about the same price as the adapter costs and it was as good as new

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  • You pretty much nailed it here. Cassettes are an extremely obsolete approach to a problem that existed because there where so few legit options back in the day. Today you have pin-toe tech bindings (which are extremely light), frame bindings (which in theory work with any boot) and "hybrid" bindings like the Solomon Shift and Marker Duke PT which work like a pin toe tech bindings on the ascent but then convert into a conventional binding setup for the decent. – papirtiger Dec 23 '20 at 7:28

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