Best Telemark Ski Bindings in 2019 (REVIEW GUIDE)

New binding technologies have given telemark skiers more options in how to ski down (and hike up!) the mountain than ever before.

With the introduction of new telemark tech binding systems in the past couple of years, telemark skiers now have three options to consider when purchasing bindings: the traditional 75 mm bindings, the newer NTN (New Telemark Norm) bindings, or the latest 2-pin tech bindings.

With all these choices, which is the best telemark binding system? The most versatile and advanced binding at this stage is the recently released Bishop BMF/R binding. Able to accommodate both 75 mm and NTN boots, this binding is also notable for its tour mode and secure, step-in locking system. No other binding system offers such an innovative approach to an age-old system.

Nevertheless, all the binding systems featured below offer advantages and disadvantages. Read on to determine which binding system best fits your telemark skiing needs.

Last update on 2019-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Reviews of the Best Telemark Ski Bindings

1. Bishop BMF/R 75 mm Telemark Ski Binding

Bishop BMF/R 75 mm Telemark ski Binding

Bishop burst onto the telemark scene in 2001 with a very burly, cutting-edge step-in binding for 75 mm boots that came with the additional benefit of having multiple mounting plates. 

This gave the skier the option to swap the binding out to different skis! Yet, despite this revolutionary design, the original Bishop binding was not good for touring, and most skiers would only use it for resort skiing. 

Seeing this as a major drawback, Bishop completely redesigned their binding and released the BMF/R with a full tour mode that allows for a 60-degree range of motion free pivot which is significantly more than many hard-driving telemark bindings. 

Thus, the BMF/R separates itself from the competition by being the only 75 mm and NTN compatible step-in binding with incredible energy transfer and an efficient touring mode.

Additionally, Bishop’s bindings are all handcrafted in Colorado and use some great materials: aircraft-grade aluminum, stainless steel, and carbon fiber composite. The use of high-grade materials results in an incredibly durable binding that remains relatively light (1,900 grams per pair). 

Other features of note are ski brakes (no need for leashes!), customizable spring options for softer or stiffer tension, and 7/14-degree heel risers. 

Finally, Bishop continues to manufacture multiple mounting plates, so you can purchase one set of bindings and mount them on different skis.

Bishop BMF/R bindings are an engineering marvel of adaptability and purpose. Telemark skiers looking for versatility and performance should find the BMF/R to be a binding that meets all of their needs.

Pros:

  • Step-in functionality
  • 60-degree touring range of motion
  • 75 mm and NTN boot compatible
  • Ability to switch one binding to multiple mounts on different skis

Cons:

  • Slightly heavier than other telemark bindings
  • The price point may put off some
  • Sometimes limited availability

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2. 22 Designs Axl Telemark Binding

22 Designs Axl Telemark Binding

For the last ten years, the 22 Designs Axl has been THE 75 mm telemark binding for both resort and backcountry skiing.

As an update to their classic Hammerhead binding, the Axl kept the basic design of the Hammerhead but added an outstanding free pivot touring function. The result is a binding with an easily employed touring mode that allows for an impressive 50+ degrees of range of motion while retaining the energy transfer and edge control the Hammerhead was famous for.

The Axl is also incredibly adjustable and the only telemark binding with three movable pivot points underfoot. This allows the binding to be easily adjusted to the skier’s boot size, weight, and skiing preference. 

Combined with the 22 Designs’ commitment to binding integrity, the Axl is built with stainless-steel toe pieces, military-grade cables, and polycarbonate plastic for a binding that should last for years. 

I have had my Axls for over 8 years now, and have found no issues with them other than the initial adjustment period (the cables need time to stretch and “settle”) and the duckbill “pinch”, which only results in your 75 mm boots looking a little more worn in the toe area.

For telemark skiers who want to stick with their 75 mm boots, the Axl is a binding that has few downsides and works great as both an inbound and out-of-bounds binding.

Pros:

  • Excellent control and energy transfer
  • Easily deployed free pivot design
  • Adjustable pivot points for skier preference

Cons:

  • Only for 75 mm boots
  • Cables take some time to adjust and some users complain about duckbill “pinch”

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3. The M Equipment Meidjo 2.1 Ski Binding

The M Equipment Meidjo 2.1 Ski Binding

We have now entered the future of telemark bindings.

With telemark sales down and Alpine Tour (AT) sales up, many die-hard, do-it-yourself telemark fans began constructing a binding that utilizes AT boots with the 2-pin tech toe piece (or NTN boots that have this feature) and an improvised heel cable system. 

The results, of course, were mixed. But soon after, a few companies began developing similar systems. By far the most advanced at this stage in the game is the M Equipment Meidjo 2.1.

Incredibly lightweight and featuring an impressive full 90-degree range of motion in tour mode, this binding makes its case as the best touring binding on the market due to its efficiency when hiking up. 

A step-in binding, the Meidjo also has some other cutting-edge features such as releasability for safety, adjustable springs for tension on the heel, and even the ability to add a heel lock if a skier desires in overly difficult terrain or at the end of the day when tired (with proper NTN boots).

The Meidjo also performs incredibly well on the descents and will most likely please frontside skiers as much as backcountry skiers. The binding delivers great stability and edge hold despite being so light and minimal. 

In addition, you can pair the Meidjo with various accessories like ski brakes or crampons, although some users have complained that this makes for more snow buildup when touring.  Regardless, the Meidjo has certainly pushed the envelope when it comes to new telemark bindings.

Pros:

  • One of the lightest bindings on the market (840 grams per pair)
  • The 2-pin design allows for effortless touring and full 90-degree range of motion
  • Many add-on options including a tech heel lock, brakes, and crampons

 Cons:

  • A limited number of options for 2-pin NTN boots
  • Some users notice too much snow buildup when touring

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Choosing the Right Telemark Bindings – Buyer’s Guide

A primary factor in determining what bindings to purchase will depend on your current or future telemark boot choice. Many telemark skiers continue to swear by the 75 mm standard boot and a few companies continue to offer this type of boot to consumers. 

However, NTN boots (with or without a 2-pin tech toe) seem to be slowly replacing the 75 mm. With the advent of new 2-pin tech toe telemark bindings and the advantages that such a setup offers in terms of touring efficiency combined with downhill performance, it does seem like only a matter of time before the 75 mm boot and binding setup loses its appeal. 

That said, the 75 mm boot and binding system should continue to be around for a few more years at the very least.

75 mm versus NTN versus 2-pin NTN Bindings

As highlighted above, the future seems to be in the 2-pin tech setup. However, for the time being, telemark skiers have three choices to consider when looking at a new binding setup. 

Between 75 mm and NTN, the differences are not as stark as they are between the new 2-pin tech bindings. Therefore, choosing between 75 mm and NTN binding system most likely comes down to boot choice and cost. 

When compared to the new 2-pin tech system, boot choice and cost play a role but the advantages of the 2-pin system, particularly touring efficiency and weight, should be a major factor.

Features

The main differences between 75 mm bindings and NTN bindings (both the traditional NTN and new tech toe bindings) are that NTN bindings provide conveniences such as having step-in binding, safety through releasability and ski brakes, and arguably better energy transfer. 

However, for some, none of these features warrant the cost of moving towards an entirely new boot and binding system. Therefore, choosing between these different binding may come down simply to what type of boot you prefer or what type of boot fits you best.

My Choice for the Best Telemark Ski Bindings

Despite the new NTN and 2-pin tech toe bindings offering some great features, the best telemark binding at this time is the Bishop BMF/R

With its rock-solid construction, ability to accommodate both 75 mm and NTN boots, a step-in feature, an efficient touring mode, and finally, the ability to swap out the binding between different skis, the Bishop BMF/R is one of the most advanced telemark bindings currently on the market. 

Whether you are a pure backcountry skier or someone who prefers to spend most of their time at the resort, the BMF/R offers the best of both worlds without much compromise, including the ability to fit any current telemark boots.

Top Rated Telemark Ski Bindings

Last update on 2019-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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