You’ll never have to worry about raising your heel-lifters again — the Atomic Backland Autoclimb does it for you.
On the skin track, ski tourers have a lot to think about: staying in the track, keeping boots and skis level so the skis’ skins stick, and executing proper turns so they don’t slide back down the slope they just came up.
For maximum efficiency, ski tourers need to engage and disengage little metal bars attached to their bindings under the heels of their boots that lift the boot heels to an angle appropriate to the slope, which helps skins stick, makes turns smooth and not sliding, and keeps the strain off a skier’s legs.
Next winter, Atomic will release a binding for skiers new to backcountry touring that auto-adjusts while skinning. It takes manual heel-lifter engagement out of the equation and gives skiers the perfect lift all the time.
The Backland Autoclimb system allows for the widest range of heel-lift angles of any binding on the market, according to Atomic.
Atomic Backland Autoclimb Binding System
The binding, announced today at the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, is a full CNC ski touring binding with what looks like a mini mountain-bike shock underfoot. The self-adjusting heel-riser uses gravity to engage a hydraulic piston.
As you skin uphill, oil inside the binding seeks equilibrium between the binding’s two chambers. That engages a piston that pops up the climbing aid from 2 to 13 degrees, infinitely self-adjusting to match the angle of your ascent. The slope angle determines how much fluid flows from chamber to chamber to hold your heel up.
“By automatically adjusting to the angle of the uphill slope, skiers can skin uphill more comfortably and efficiently, while also approaching higher-angle terrain with greater ease by taking the strain off of the calf muscle and Achilles heel,” said Jake Strassburger, Atomic’s alpine commercial manager.
“Making every step perfect with the exact climbing angle, the system also allows skiers to maximize their stride for a more efficient skinning position and maximum skin grip. The auto-adjust also aids in breaking trail in new snow by keeping the ski tips above the fresh snow.”
The binding, which is geared to skiers new to the backcountry, is heavier than other backcountry bindings, and it positions the skier higher off the ski. For those reasons, Atomic says it’s not for hardcore touring consumers.
But for the “convenience customer,” this crampon-compatible binding is one less thing to manage on the skin track. Early adopters will be able to buy the new binding in fall 2020 for $750 at atomic.com.