Ever since I first skied the 22 Designs Hammerhead, all I ever wanted in a telemark binding—the mythical Tele Grail be damned—was a free pivoting version. It took almost a decade, but 22 Designs has finally delivered. In the intervening years every other extant telemark binding company has managed to offer a touring model. However, none of them ski like a Hammerhead. Axl does.
Colorado to California, Massachusetts to Montana; more than 40 men and women testers from ten states converged on the slopes of Powder Mountain, Utah for Backcountryís biggestóand-best binding test ever.
For the record, Hardy Avery (6’ 1”, 180lbs.) is an aggressive, fall-line oriented tele skier. Whether grazing on fresh snow in the woods, chutes or resort fringes, Hardy prefers a binding active enough to lay down a proper carve with big skis.
For the record, Jeffrey Bergeron has lived 31 of his 51 years in a ski resort. (Though of the first 10, he has little recollection.) After 20 years of free-heel skiing, he came to the conclusion that he sucked and wasn’t getting any better.