The bindings that tie us |

The bindings that tie us

Steve Benson

It’s been a strange season of heavy early season snows, sloppy late-season warmth and broken equipment.

But last week, I received a package in the mail that may set everything straight – my new HammerHead telemark bindings have arrived.

Hard to find and largely unknown, the Hammerhead is perfect for heftier and/or more aggressive telemark skiers because of its strength and durability. But it’s is also a gem for backcountry skiers, due to the five different pivot points the binding provides.

Basically, the flex, or forefoot retention, has five settings ranging from super neutral (perfect for skinning) to incredibly stiff (for superior downhill control and performance). The settings can be easily changed in a minute or two.

The brainchild of Russell Rainey, the Hammerhead has quietly risen to the rank of a superior telemark binding. In 2001-02 – the year the HammerHead was released – it was the editors’ choice of Couloir magazine as the top telemark binding on the market.

And while equipment from Rainey Designs has been criticized as prone to problems, it appears Rainey has redeemed himself with the HammerHead. The binding has been hailed as super durable, and complaints are scarce – an incredible feat when it comes to telemark bindings. Furthermore, the HammerHead has been sold to Chris Valiante and Collins Pringle of Wilson, Wyo.-based TwentyTwo Designs, which plans to increase the binding’s exposure.

Bottom line: In terms of flexing feel, the HammerHead is similar to the popular G3 Targa, but it’s more stable (no lateral wiggle in the toe), stronger (for beefier skis or heavier skiers) and has five wonderful options to fit every telemarker’s need or preference.

Steve Benson’s e-mail address is