Expert Review: Marker Duke PT 12 Ski Bindings · 2023
This review is my honest opinion of the bindings, which I purchased with my own money in October of 2021.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the bindings, which I purchased with my own money in October of 2021.
The Marker Duke PT 12 is a burly binding for the skier who hits the backcountry as well as the resort and only wants one ski to do it on. This binding is ideal for two categories of skiers: advanced skiers who are just getting into backcountry, and advanced backcountry skiers who know they will be interchanging between the resort and touring.
About the bindings I own
- Model: 2021 Marker Duke PT 12
- Height: 5’7” (170 cm)
- Weight: 140 lbs
- Preferred DIN range: 9–12
- Experience: 21 years of skiing
- When I bought these: October 2021
- Days tested: 60 days
- Boots: Nordica Stryder 130 Pro
- Boot Size: 24.5 (BSL 285)
- Skis: Dynastar Legend X 106s
- Where I’ve used it: Copper, CO; Bachelor and Hood, OR; Crystal, WA
- Terrain: Groomers, powder, moguls, corn, wet snow, park, trees, and icy conditions
How it performs
What I was looking for
I needed to add a more versatile and thinner ski for my resort/backcountry adventures; I wanted to try something new and also try out the Marker Duke PT 12. Similar to my Bent Chetlers with my Atomic Shifts, I needed a versatile ski binding that could handle a multitude of locations and tours while being easy to travel with. The need for a versatile resort/backcountry binding that is DIN certified and reliable is how I came to the Duke PT 12 as my new binding.
Why I chose these bindings
The need for a heavier-duty binding that could switch between touring and resort skiing was necessary with the traveling I would be doing in the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies when I moved to Portland. I chose the Marker Duke PT 12s because they provided the versatility of having a full-on downhill binding with the ability to tour with reliable and proven pin toes. I considered getting the Fritschi Tecton 12s or the Marker Kingpins as well as buying another pair of Atomic Shifts, but I wanted to try something different.
What I love about it
- Release Reliability: The Marker Duke PT 12 feels just like a normal alpine binding with the removable toe and normal alpine heel. I am secured in the binding and it releases consistently when I expect it to. This DIN-certified, AT binding is a more accessible and safer option compared to the Marker Kingpin—their other AT binding with an alpine heel. I have the Atomic Shifts as well, and I have come to appreciate the Duke’s burliness and toughness when it comes to the downhill features of the binding. I did double eject once—to my friends’ amusement—out of the Duke’s when hitting some medium jumps at Copper. So they do come out, even at a higher DIN setting.
- Downhill Performance: The downhill performance is just a step below a Marker Griffon, Atomic STH, Look Pivot, and Tyrolia Attack, which is very good—as all those are the best downhill bindings on the market. The Dukes release reliably, keep my boot consistently in place, have an effective anti-friction device, and stepping in feels like a normal downhill binding.
- Durability: I have had no issues on any tours or days skiing with the Dukes. They have held up well and look pretty new after a full season of skiing on them the majority of the time.
- Weight: The Marker Duke PT 12 has a weight of 1150 grams in total, but when taking the toe piece off to tour, the binding weight is 850 grams. The Duke PT is definitely on the heavier side, but that ultimately leads to more durability and reliability.
- Power Transfer: In my opinion, the Dukes have the best power transfer in the Alpine Touring binding market. This is due to the alpine toe and heel. Having skied on them in all types of terrain, they have given me everything I needed. When I push them pretty hard they match my Marker Griffons.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Uphill Performance: The tech toe is reliable, easy to get into, and gives me peace of mind when climbing. By removing the alpine toe, I can save a little weight during the climb. However, their weight is fairly high compared to competitors, and the binding is a little cumbersome and not as sleek as other options. Also, there is no second higher-angled riser to help me get up the steeper pitches.
- Other: The heavier weight is not ideal—especially when touring for 6+ hours. I toured St. Helens in the spring and I wish I had lighter pin bindings, but they got me to the top and my legs are now stronger for it. Also, I would prefer a sleeker and less noticeable binding. I would like them to make the alpine toe smaller and make the overall construction not as pronounced.
Favorite moment with these bindings
My favorite moment with the Dukes was touring St. Helens and getting to rip some corn and spring slush. They got me to the top and I didn’t have a single problem with them on the tour. Obviously they are more suited for skiing down, but they allowed me to have a lifelong experience that I will never forget.
Value for the money vs. other options
Retailing for $599.99, the Marker Duke PT 12s are a great option for AT-hybrid bindings that are DIN certified with great tech toes for the way up. They’re slightly more expensive than the Atomic Shifts. Since I own both, I would say they are both a good value for the money, but it is very case dependent. For a more reliable downhill feel, higher DIN binding, and a great, burly skiing experience, I recommend the Dukes. For a more versatile and all-encompassing binding that is lighter, easier to use, lower profile, and cheaper, I would go with the Shifts. Though they both allowed me to do what I wanted and gave me great memories.
The Marker Duke PT 12 is a reliable, safe AT/resort hybrid option that allows me to ride harder and faster on lots of new terrain.