Marker's line is much changed this season. The big news concerns the brand-new Piston Control plate, which allows for the deep, smooth flexing of newer, easier-bending shaped skis. Its key benefit stems from a hydraulic piston between the toe- and heelpiece. The piston dampens the vibrations that occur during the rapid rebound, or counterflex, that follows active ski flex. The result is a buttery-smooth and predictable transition between high-energy turns -- we tried it, we liked it. Glide Control is a variation on this new system using a floating-toe technology, without the Piston. Selective Control, formerly Marker's primo enhancement system, is still available on a few models.
Marker's other signature release technologies -- like the upward toe release and the stainless steel mechanical AFD of the Biotech and Biometric toepieces -- are found in just about every model. These toepieces provide almost frictionless lateral travel in the toe during a twisting fall and a reduction in upward release force in backward-twisting falls. The stainless steel AFD is virtually unaffected by boot-sole wear, mud, dirt, or ice, so release performance remains constant no matter how many parking lots and mud holes come between you and the slopes.
PRO/BRO: "I've never had any problems with Marker bindings. I stay in them when I have to, I come out when I need to. I'm very comfortable on them, and I'm confident because of that." --Kristina Koznick, U.S. Ski Team member, 10 years; 4 World Cup wins
Titanium 1300 Piston Control (DIN 4-13) $395
This is Marker's mack-daddy binder with the full glut of gizmos. Only two models (including this one) offer Piston Control as well as the Comshock Piston, a device in the toepiece that absorbs rapid shocks encountered in high-impact skiing -- like hard landings or Mach speeds through variable crud -- and helps avoid unwanted release. And the other binding with this feature has a higher DIN range than almost anyone needs.
M7.2 Graphite Selective Control (DIN 3-11) $290
Selective Control has become a good value with the advent of the Piston. Here it's matched with the Biotech toe. For an extra $10, the Titanium 1200 Glide Control (DIN 3-12) flexes much like Selective Control set to the most free-flexing position, but it has the more sophisticated Biometric toepiece, is noticeably lighter, and has the option of a groovy orange cosmetic. Take your pick.
M5.2 Energy Control 10 (DIN 2.5-9.5) $190
It's nothing fancy, but all the essentials are here: stainless steel mechanical AFD, upward release in backward-twisting falls, and a 10-mm flexing lift plate.