Nordica may be the new kid, but 20 to 25 people developed and tested its Syn Axis system for almost three years before the Italian company brought it to market this year. Twin Spring Control (TSC) involves a main spring dedicated to release and a secondary spring to control lateral elasticity and travel. TSC always keeps the toe centered in the binding, so it is unperturbed by vibrations or terrain undulations. Toe-height is adjusted automatically, while the 3-Pivot Axis Joint ensures consistent release values even when it's dirty or gritty.
AMC, AME, FR, RACER
The modular housing looks clean and rugged, and as with most Nordicas, there's about 13 mm of lift. Entry/exit is smooth, thanks to the long (Nordica says it's the longest) heel lever arm. The boot snaps into place, even with a bit of snow stuck to it. And the 412 skis like a seasoned veteran. Recommended.
AC, PLAYER, AMC, AME
With a quarter-turn of one screw, this binding can be moved fore or aft on the plate to which it's mounted. The "beginner" setting, slightly forward, makes the ski turn more easily. The "expert" setting, a centimeter aft, makes it stable and predictable. The ability to change mounting points is like having a quiver of skis in one. Highly recommended.