Though recently associated with Völkl, Marker is the last stand-alone binding company. Its line is broad, spread across the High Performance, Sport Performance, Recreational and Junior families. The big story this year is the new Piston system, which controls ski rebound at the end of a turn. World Cup racers have had it for five years, with proven results, but it was prohibitively expensive to mass-manufacture. That problem has been solved, and now the Piston is available to recreational skiers at a very reasonable premium of about $30.
Comp 1400 Piston Control
Synthetic-oil pistons, unaffected by temperature changes, are not new. Marker's application is. Integrated into the binding plate between toe and heel, the Piston manages energy, but only after the ski is unweighted at the end of a turn. Without Piston Control, Marker says, a ski over-rebounds, chattering as the skier attempts to re-engage the edge for a new turn. The Piston quiets the ski for the new edge engagement and a smoother ride. The sensation is remarkable: The Piston ski feels ready to carve sooner. The Comp 1400 PC has an on-off switch. But with such smooth, positive edge-grip, there's no reason to turn it off, except perhaps at slow speeds or in powder.
M8.2 Graphite EC 14
Compared to the ultra-smooth Piston, the M8.2 offers a relatively jolting ride. It's safe and a good value, but this more traditionalMarker lacks any performance-enhancing qualities other than lift.
M6.2 with SC Plate
When Selective Control (SC) was introduced five years ago, it was state-of-the-art-and priced at well over $300. Today the same technology is far less expensive. SC's three settings allow a skier to control the amount of resistance the ski offers when flexed. It's like having three different skis, one for any kind of snow.
Race Titanium 1200 Piston Control, Comp 1400 Piston Control
All-Mountain Expert Titanium 1200 Piston Control, Titanium 1300 Piston Control
Freerider Titanium 1200 Free (park & pipe), Comp 1400 Piston Control
All-Mountain Cruiser Titanium 1200 Piston Control, Titanium 1300 Piston Control
Player Titanium 1200 Glide Control, Titanium 1200 Piston Control
Aspiring Carver M6.2 SC, M7.2 Graphite EC 14
Women Titanium 1200 Piston Control, Titanium 1300 Piston Control