I generally go everywhere in the snow with my AT set up but I use these whenever I get a chance. The bindings are fantastic! I have never had them ice up or break (and if a strap ever broke you cannot beat a lifetime warranty). I decided to buy these over the lightning ascents simply because of the flotation tales. You don't have to have big bulky snowshoes on all the time and once you step into some deep powder it takes like 2 seconds to put the tales on and next thing you know you are walking on water! I think heel lift is necessary if you are going to be hiking uphill. That little feature will conserve soo much energy that it is ridiculous not to mention it will relieve a lot of stress on your ankles and calves, making your journey that much more enjoyable.