When lightweight bindings first came out, I was reluctant to buy in. The design of pin bindings looked too dinky, something I might pop out of at high speeds or break should I land aggressively. I stayed with my heavy setup for years, and don’t regret that I did. But this season, when I mounted the Marker Kingpin 13s, bells of affirmation rang joyously, and I can now say that I’m a happy convert.
The Kingpin sheds weight with a modern tech toe-piece, but sports a standard heel with a retention system similar to that of its alpine cousins, the Jester and Griffon. This is what sold me on the Kingpins. Normal pin bindings have some side-to-side play with the heel, whereas the Kingpin secures the back of the boot firmly into the binding from above. Whether I’m skiing low-angle pow, steep couloirs, or opening it up for some hang time, the Kingpin 13s have me skiing just as comfortable in the backcountry as I would at the resort. $499.