For the second straight year Salomon elected not to submit its Pilot integrated ski-binding system for review, perhaps because this renowned binding company has so much confidence in its Spheric Protection systems, the lightness of its reasonably priced Titanium bindings and the elegance of its Power Axe interfaces. Power Axe plates, developed on the World Cup circuit but now adapted for recreational skiers, perform as advertised, providing rounder flex, tenacious edge-grip and lots of energetic rebound.
S810 Power Axe Sport
With a total of 38 mm of stand-height, the Power Axe Sport offers a comfortable level of rebound. It is slightly heavy, but it gets high marks for clean turn starts and holds well under pressure at the end of a turn. Pressure is easy to manage with this plate, and the amount of rebound seems just right for advanced to expert recreational skiers looking for a gentle heave into that next turn.
S914 Power Axe Energy2
Known as the "PE2," this is an aggressive interface designed to give you precise turn-entry and more lateral power. That's another way of saying that it makes the ski quicker edge-to-edge. Salomon says it has 31.2 mm of stand-height (but who's measuring that precisely?). It puts you into an all but invincible carve, with strong, but not overwhelming, rebound.
S914 Power Axe Race SL
Billed as a maximum-precision setup for elite-level slalom skiers, the Power Axe Race SL both dampens the ski and serves up explosive rebound. It is simply a rocket ship, with a maximal 55 mm of lift. But since the Race SL plate (which accounts for $200 of the price) floats on fixed anchors fore and aft, it functions even at mere-mortal, less-than-mach speeds. The front portion of the plate is meant to improve feel at the beginning of the turn, while the back amplifies rebound. Anyone who can make a decent modern slalom turn on a shortened race ski will begin to understand how the likes of World Champion Mario Matt can hook up so early and hold throughout the tightest turns. Masters racers will feel like heroes.
Race S910 Power Axe Sport, S914 Power Axe Energy2
All-Mountain Expert S810 Ti Axe Plus, S912 Ti Power Axe Energy2
Freerider S810 Ti Axe Plus, S912 Ti Power Axe Energy2
All-Mountain Cruiser S810 Power Axe Sport, S912 Power Axe Sport
Player S711 Power Axe Sport, S912 Power Axe Sport
Aspiring Carver S710 Power Axe Active, S810 Ti Axe Plus
Women S710 Power Axe Active