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Tour more efficiently, rip on the way down with the Voile Switchback Telemark Ski.
The free pivoting Voile Switchback Telemark Ski Binding has a separate tour and ski mode, enabling tour with zero heel resistance, then switch back into ski mode and rip down hill. In free pivot mode, the Switchback provides an easier, more efficient stride, and your tips won't dive when breaking trail. Included heel elevators and a light-weight design further help conserve energy on the up-track. When you get to the top, you'll appreciate that this telemark binding's enclosed design eliminates ice buildup the 25mm stand height helps transfer your energy to your edge.
- Item #VOL0088
- Q & A
One terrible problem with this binding
It's a great binding. If you're looking for a very neutral binding, it's a great option. Personally, I like the switchback X2 more for the stiffer cartridges that provide more control in steep, icy terrain. Well priced, sturdy, and great walking function. The BIG problem here is the toe plate. It's so sharp that it leaves large dents in top the duckbill of your boots. This leads to the boot feeling less secure in the binding and eventually, dents so large in the duckbill that replacing the boot is the solution. I've been skiing on these bindings for only 3 MONTHS and I'm already looking for new bindings and a way to get rid of the gnarly dents on my boots (maybe fill in the dents on the duckbill with fiberglass resin?). Long story short, don't waste your money on these until Voilé finds a way to fix this problem. Shouldn't be too hard.
Voilé Switchback Telemark Binding
Great deal, great binding
I've been using this binding for 3 years and I'm totally satisfied with it. Very simple, reliable and durable. I have had no major problems with them. Every once in a while they get clogged w/ hard snow/ice such that they won't lock down. That said, a quick swipe with a ski pole tip easily removes the junk and it locks down fine. They perform really well in ski mode. These things will serve you well. A great all-around binding.
North side of Mt Lassen, California, May 2012
Only one binding better.
And that's the Switchback X2,
The Switchback family of bindings are the best Telemark Touring binding you can get low on weight most of the binding stays with the ski on your stride and ever since Voile switch to the Heat-treated 410 stainless steel on the toe plates there bullet proof. Get the Switchback if your turn is Medium to high and get the Switchback X2 if you rip as low as a boot will let you go.
pretty good binders
I really like how simple and light these bindings are. The free pivot is great. The mechanism that switches between ski and tour mode is kind of wimpy. I guess that's why they're light but I am always afraid it will break. I haven't had the durability issues that some reviewers have mentioned, but know folks who have had them, and they've had some pretty major breakdowns. But, Voile and BC.com are always happy to replace. I have a newer set (purchased in 2011) and the heel throw is a lot beefier and made of black plastic. It looks like the metal cut outs on the toebox have gotten a lot smaller than a pair I had that were a year older. I have the short rod version and it fits my 23 Scarpa T-Races with the right amount of pre-load. I like how these ski for the most part. I don't mind where the pivot is because I have such a small boot. I ski these and 22 Designs Axls.
Dunno how I got around before these. Way lighter than my old Hammerheads. The touring mode rules and allows you to break trail easy in the deepest of snow... your tips always flip up. The best bindings I've tried.
Voile did well with the Switchback binding. It tours well with my Scarpa T2 and TRace boots. I have these on my lighter skinny skis 110 underfoot and 22Designs Axl under my heavy larger skis. Never had a problem with Voile and I have used the Hardwires, Hardwire 3pin and 3pin mountaineers.
Favorite binding thus far.
I skied the Axl's and snapped them in half after a month, the Bomber Bishop which looked like it would de indestructible snapped like a twig, the G3 Targa broke more times then I can count and I can't stand the Bdel binding. I have skied every binding on the market and broken every binding on the market. My favorite binding by far is the Voile Switchback, It is a light easy to use binding that skis great on the descent. I have certainly broken this binding many many time but I keep going back to it because I love the feel and flex of this binding. If you want just a resort binding I would definitely go with the SX (same binding minus the tour mode). Another huge factor for me is the fantastic customer service at Voile, they are very quick to get replacement part to me and are actually concerned about their product and satisfaction of their customers (this is quite unusual for a company). If you want an amazing touring binding look no further then the Switchback. If you want just a resort binding Look at the Voile SX. You will not be disappointed!
3 year reveiw
I recently mounted up my second pair of Voile Switchbacks. There was no other choice for my new skis. I purchased my first pair in 08 ( see below). In 3 years, the bindings show no sign of wear or fatigue. I have never switched to tour mode while skiing. Maybe 2 or 3 times they did not immediately lock when i switched to ski mode, but 1 stomp down did the trick. The only nit picky thing i can think of is the tall bar is TALL. One of these years I will get around to buying a medium one.
Best cable binding for true backcountry skiing
I use this binding on my lighter 84 waist touring setup with Scarpa T3's. This is the lightest cable binding currently avalable, is simple, sturdy, has tour mode, has 2 different climbing bale heights, and holds the boot solidly. Not as "active", in other words the flex point in the boot sole is more forward than say, BD bindings. With softer boots like T3 this isn't much a performance issue. With stiffer boots, especially on hardpack, you might want more active that some of the heavier, more expensive bindings have. For serious backcountry, like trans Sierra trips or major peakbagging, the light weight and simplicity make this a clear choice. The shortest climbing bale is a slight hassle to pull up and could be redesigned, but that's a rather insignificant point. Have not had the "switch from downhill to tour mode" problem as some have, but if there is snow build up under the binding when you switch back to DH mode, I can see that it might not fully engage and with a big, stiff boot, it might be forced out of position.
Light and Fast - the way to tour
I am a big fan of an active tele binding, but I am a bigger fan of going light. The Voile Switchback is more active than the Targa and lighter weight. I have close to 100 days on my Switchbacks that I switch between Voile Insane's and Voile Drifters. The ski/binding combination is very light and performs great in ski mode. Switching from tour to ski mode is extremely easy with just sliding the lever from 1 side to another with your pole. Snow/ice buildup between the binding and boot has not been an issue for me. The dual climbing bars is a great standard feature (Black Diamond has dual bars, but you have to buy the high bars separately) that is a huge benefit for touring. I would recommend these bindings to anyone who is looking for a mid-active, light weight binding for mostly touring use.
I think these bindings are great! The only comparision I have is an older tele set up. I LOVE the range of motion in these babies!! Even when on parallel, there great! I think they are worth every penny!!!
Show us your muscles!
Show us your muscles!: Tour locked. Free-pivot down...However you rock 'em, they are a solid binding. Free-pivot is honestly the only way to go.
My only addition would be variable spring tensions.
Photo by Noah Howell. Northern Chugach.
Switchback in use on Mt. Adams
Photo by Judd Widner. We skied the West chutes off of Suksdorf Ridge.
Versatile and durable
I'm on my 4th pair. See my response to Ben's post below. If you like the way the Voile hardwire skis, you will like this binding. It tours exceptionally well and I have had no serious problems. My first pair was retired after about 100 days or more of use. that would be about half touring and half work as a Pro- patroller. I use a 25.5 size Scarpa T1 and weigh 160lbs. I've run them on K2 Work Stinx, Karhu Team 130's, and K2 Anti Pistes. Occasionally a little snow will accumulate directly under the rear cross bar while hiking in tour mode. This may result in the binding not being able to seat completely flat to latch into ski mode. Easily remedied with a ski pole tip or scraper. Again, this has been VERY rare for me and only in wet snow conditions. Additionally I have had the binding freeze stuck in tour mode. This was a situation where it was warm and sunny during the up and snow melted on the top sheet of the ski and the water ran into the base plate, freezing the internal mechanism when I hiked into shady areas. The 2 or 3 times this has happened in about 150 combined tour days over the last 3 years, I was able to unfreeze them by either breathing into the rear latch area of the binding or by exposing the ski to direct sunlight for a few moments and flipping the switch repeatedly. I now spray a little WD-40 into the small openings in the front and rear of the base plate a couple times a season. After about a full season of use, the plastic base plate under the boot will wear enough to start retaining snow and icing. Add a layer of clear packing tape to make an anti-ice sheet. this will last a good 25 to 30 days of use and costs pennies per application. Clean the plastic with rubbing alcohol first to remove any grime. I also squirt a little grease from my mt. bike grease gun into the side cable spring tubes at the beginning of each season. This eliminates any squeaking and keeps the springs working smoothly. Bottom line: It works and skis just like the Hardwire.
Great backcountry binding
I have used many different tele binding but these are by far my favorites. The one downside of this binding is that it switches itself into tour mode unexpectedly. It has happened to me 6 or 7 times now and always catches me by surprise. I now only use this binding in the backcountry because it does not release like it does in the resort. If you want a great resort binding get the Voile SX.
One hit no-wonders
One run: Blue square to "how the hell did that happen?" They warranted the binding, but so much for that day on those skis. Apparently this was a fairly common problem, hopefully addressed in this year's binding.
I started touring on a tele setup and did not understand what people meant when they talked about the tip dive, lost energy thing with tele bindings. Then I got an AT setup and it all became clear - yes, much more efficient. So, when I decided to get back into tele, friends said they were a must. Much better in the touring mode, and they ski great. I guess I join the chorus of positive reviewers.
I just bought Fischer BCX6 boots and want to use the switchbacks but don't no if that boot warrants this binding or the Hardwire would be better. I plan to use them on the Rossinol 125bc skis. Plan to use them for bc touring and light tele downhill.
I have a Black Diamond O1 that I would...
I have a Black Diamond O1 that I would like to replace with the Switchback. Are the drill hole patterns the same?
Has anyone used a soft boot with switchback...
Has anyone used a soft boot with switchback bindings?
Yes, I paired them with the Fischer BCX and Voile Switchback bindings on Karhu Guides and it turned weird fast. It was great on the uphill, of course--I had tons of kick and glide and it was really comfortable and free feeling. But when I headed down, the BCX were just not enough to drive the ski. I think that whatever you pair this with, soft boots are going to be more comfortable but not enough to drive a setup on anything steeper than 25%.
do these bindings have the same mounting...
do these bindings have the same mounting pattern as the g3 targa?
Yes it is the same pattern.
Replacing my Voile 3-Pin Cable bindings...
Replacing my Voile 3-Pin Cable bindings with a set of these, are the binding mounting holes in the same position?
Yes, they have the same "standard four hole mounting position."
Write your question here...What's the...
Write your question here...What's the difference between the men's and women's versions of the switchback?
The women's version has a lower climbing bar (85mm vs 100mm). I'm guessing, but can't confirm, that the spring tension is different as well.
I have a mens size 8 scarpa boot do i need...
I have a mens size 8 scarpa boot do i need the sort or regular size
Mens size 8 is 26 mondo, right? That would put you in the short rod group. Good luck!
I have a mens size 8 scarpa boot do i need...
I have a mens size 8 scarpa boot do i need the sort or regular size
You need the Short.
I am looking at upgrading from 3 pin...
I am looking at upgrading from 3 pin bindings and boots to the switchback. I have leather 3 pins boots and Garmont tele boots. Until I get a pair of touring boots, do you think either one will fit in this binding? .
Any 75mm boots should be compatible.
Can I use a men's short cartridge size 24+...
Can I use a men's short cartridge size 24+ mondo if I am a size 23 for the sx? It doesn't seem to come in a "women's" version.
Yeah, the short rods will work for you.
Does the switchback have the same hole...
Does the switchback have the same hole pattern as the BD O3?
I want to switch out my bindings and want to see if I can avoid drilling holes.
Yes. This is the same pattern as all the BD bindings have.
I've read that these switch from ski to...
I've read that these switch from ski to tour mode while you're skiing. Yikes! These reviews were based on the bindings performance at the area and date back to 2008... Has Voile dealt with & fixed this problem? I only have one pair of skis I will be using both at the area & in the backcountry (equal time). Are these bindings not a good fit for people at the area because of this issue? Thanks for your insights.
I love my Switchbacks... Stone Cold RELIABLE. I've never has a problem with inadvertent switches and they are always as smooth as butta. For what its worth i've not hear of others having problems.
I would like to call them suicideswitch, I just bought them. Took the virgin tour just now. They switched from ski to tour mode about six or seven times on me. Im not extremely experienced with telemark, so the first time it switched I thought it was my lack of skills. Since I was trying out new equipment and the "switch" it self did not change position, but the pieces that keep the binding in place (in ski mode) did not handle the pressure (I guess there is a spring inside). When i stood up everything seemed to be in place, and i doubted my first reaction that it was the bindings fault.
At first it was only my left foot that released, and i kept doubting myself instead of the bindings. But when it happened the third time I took the hole fall and stayed on the ground. So that I would be able to check if it had actually released, and it had.
So then I though maybe it was a production flaw on my left binding, therefore I decided to push the right foot binding to the limit. When i did the same thing happened again, and again. So now Im a bit bruised up.
If you are planning on skiing in the area at all, and not like some old fart that stand up straight and goes no faster then 5 mph, i would recommend you to get something else.
Im gonna try to get my money back tomorrow and se if I can find something to replace them with! They ruined my day, and put a dent in my student economy and in my body as well.
The plastic casing needs to be screwed down evenly to get the best performance.
Test it once you've mounted or swapped it.
In 3 seasons I've never had an inadvertant mode switch.
Anyone ever ski these with leather...
Anyone ever ski these with leather boots?
It's possible, but without the 3 pins in the front to redundantly secure the boot, there is a chance that the boot will bend more than the cable (or rods) and flex right out of the toe bail. If I were to use leather boots, I'd use the 3 pin hardwire, or the 3 pin cable binding, instead. Or Rainy Superloops if I could find a pair.
I am right on the cusp as far as boot size...
I am right on the cusp as far as boot size goes... I wear a 26.5 or a 27 boot, depending on brand (26.5 in Scarpa and 27.0 in Garmont), and I am not sure which boot I will end up using with this binding. I feel like I should probably size up to the Standard rod but I am not sure. Any thoughts?
I don't know the answer. but I would like to know too.
I'd try the standard rod. It'd be better to have the rods screwed in farther, than have the threads sticking out too far, and creating a weak flex point in the rod. There's a little leeway with the sizing, but sizing up would definitely be the better way to go.
Thanks, Jack. You've been very helpful!...
Thanks, Jack. You've been very helpful! I'm probably going to go with the Switchbacks, as the Axls aren't readily available -- Backcountry.com is out of stock, and even 22 Design is all out (I called today). But I like the idea of the lighter Switchback anyway, for easier touring. Last question: what skins do you recommend? I'm looking at G3 and Voile.
I like Voile much more than G3. I've found the skin material of G3's to be lighter weight, which is good, but they are loose and floppy, and thus, seemed hard to fold together at the top of the hill, especially in windy conditions. In addition, I thought the glue on G3 skins to be very sticky and hard to pull apart at first, but after a dozen or so tours, they grabbed a lot off snow, and lost their stickiness. The Voile Ascension fabric is tougher, more durable, easier to fold, and easier to use in general. Another place to check out is climbingskinsdirect.com. They use the original Ascension plush blend of 80% nylon, 20% mohair. It's great for glide and climb, they use an eco-friendly skin wax, and they run a little more than $110.
I know, too that if you'd probably have to order the 183 Insane from voile-usa.com, as bc.com is out, and voile will ship immediately. Also, the skis are about $100 cheaper from Voile. backcountry.com is out of any 140mm skins, too, so you'll probably have to go through Voile for those as well. And you never know- if you order the whole package from Voile, you might get them to throw you some swag, too. Happy turns!
I'm about to invest in Voile Insane skis...
I'm about to invest in Voile Insane skis that I'll use with my T2X boots on both backcountry and groomers. Would you recommend the Switchbacks? I like the light weight and price, but I'm concerned they won't be strong enough for on-piste skiing, so I'm also considering the G3 Ascent and Axl bindings. Thoughts?
You sure doing some good research, Scott. The Switchback will be better on hard snow than the Ascent, due to the Hardwire, which adds more lateral stability. Also, the pivot point of the Hardwires, when in ski mode, is farther back, causing the boots to flex at the bellows, rather than the toes. This, too, improves lateral and forward flex, creating a more active feeling, or stiffer binding which will improve control on hardpack, steep, and powder conditions. I know the Switchback has the appearance of a floppier binding, but don't judge a book by it's cover.
The Axl is hands down the best telemark binding available for touring and downhill performance. It compromises nothing on the up or down. The only thing that makes the Switchback a contender next to the Axl, is the cheaper price tag, MUCH lower weight, and availability. The Axl would be the better choice if you'll be cranking super fast long turns, have a new school style, like to huck cliffs, and generally ski with more power than finesse. If you like to ski in a more classic tele form, with more turns, and stay on the ground more, but don't want to sacrifice the ability to rail groomers, then the Switchback would be great. You'll be happy with either one, and the Axl won't be overkill, except maybe on the hike up. Personally, I think you'll be fine on the Switchback, but I would not recommend the G3 Ascent, or the BD 01 to anybody.
Also, maybe someone else has some input for Scott?
Sounds like your making some wise, informed decisions, which will ensure your satisfaction on the mountain. Enjoy.
Can anyone give me some sizing guidance...
Can anyone give me some sizing guidance on the switchback? I have a 25.5 but don't know which cable to go with. Thanks
Short size. Look at the 'tech specs' where it says "Recommended Use: Backcountry telemarking, short size fits Mondo Point 24-27.5, reg fits Mondo Point 27-31" Looks like the 25.5 will fit in the short rod, (it's a hardwire, not a cable.) Happy turns, Jim. Enjoy.
Thinking of mounting the Switchbacks on a...
Thinking of mounting the Switchbacks on a pair of XCD Guides instead of the 3 pin Hardwire. If I only climbed and decended, the switchbacks are the obvious choice, but I also tour rolling terrian and bushwack. I use and R8 cartridge biding for lift service and feel that a 3 pin is better for the kind of touring I do, but the advantage of free piviot on the ups makes me wonder if the Switchback isn't the way to go. I do flip up the heel cartridges on downhills and touring is alot nicer when they are off. Seems like the Switchback would force me into touring (not climbing) with a cartridge heel vs freedom of a 3 pin. Is the Switchback for me or stick to the Hardwire? Thank you
The XCD Guides will not handle steep terrain well without the use of a skin. The Swithbacks are better for long, steep tours, where you want the most conservation of energy. If you're just going to go out meadow skipping in rolling terrain, the 3 pin Hardwires would be fine. The Switchbacks are a superior product, but it is a subjective choice: if you have the extra dollars to spend on the switchbacks, get them, but I don't necessarily think that they will perform that much better than the 3 pin HW for you unless you are skiing bigger lines, and longer tours.
Feedback: I am 6'2" 230lbs, and ski a 183 yellow voile carbon surf with targas and bd seeker boots, I also ski a set of 185 guides with litedogz and rossignol bcx11 boots or my seekers, I just switched from the litedogz to switchbacks.
I would not recomend litedogs, on both my wifes and mine the plastic base has broken in several locations with only 20 or so outings, while warranted I will be selling mine, I love the switchbacks so far, matched with my seeker boots the guides are a blast in a variety of conditions, and the free pivot and fish scales makes long backcountry approaches or tours with rolling terrain and fun downhills a blast, especially in the spring, I keep skins for when it gets really steep;. matched with the rossignol bcx11's I leave the binder in downhill mode which still gives me plenty of forward pivot with those soft boots but enough lateral control to put the wide guides on edge, a nice combo for a long tour with lots of gear and breaking trail but not much down. Ideally I would keep the guides and switchbacks and get a very light plastic boot(way lighter than the seekers),
Everyone writes about the edge issues with these skis, and I have experienced it with those litedogz and leather boots, but with plastic boots I have never had a problem putting them on edge, even in the iciest of conditions,
I am really glad I put the switchacks on my guides, a versatile setup that works with numerous boots
I have K2 World Piste skiis on which I...
I have K2 World Piste skiis on which I want to mount the Voile Switchbacks. I don't understand what I need in terms of adapter plate(s), riser(s), and/or mounting screws. Any help?
You don't need any adapter plates to mount switchbacks on K2 skis. If you have the pre-drilled insert holes in the skis, great, the Voiles will fit into those. If not, just mount them the same way you would mount any tele binding into a ski. The mounting screws that come with your Voiles will work in the inserts as well. The mounting plates are ONLY for Hammerhead bindings which have a different hole pattern than most telemark bindings.
I need questions. Between these, the black...
I need questions. Between these, the black diamond 01, g3 ascent, adn 7tm power tour, which is the best and why?
the voile by far: simpler (hence more solid), lighter, more affordable, can change modes without being flat on the snow (it just locks in whenever you put your foot down, and cartridges that won't back off on you. But, again, it is all personal preference. If you want a release binding, the 7tm is good, but for the weight, to simplicity to price ratio, the voile is the way to go. I also own a pair of black diamond 01's, and if you're skiing big lines and jumping cliffs, the bd sticks your boot to the ski, and engage quicker.