Expert Review: Union Force Snowboard Bindings · 2022

Published on 10/19/2022 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the snowboard bindings, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
Chris Sterner, Snowboarding Expert
By Snowboarding Expert Chris Sterner

Donner Peak Pillows. Photo by Austin Waclo courtesy of Chris Sterner 

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the snowboard bindings, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.

My take

The Union Force binding is a great all-mountain binding that has treated me very well as far as quality of ride and durability. I tend to be very hard on gear, and these bindings have stood up to my abuse and show no signs of slowing down.

Force mountain view

About the gear

  • Model: Union Force Binding 2022
  • Size: M
  • Burton channel compatible: Yes, universal disc included
  • Mini disc: No, full-size discs

About me

  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 150 lbs
  • Experience: 20 years of snowboarding

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: December 2021
  • Days tested: 130
  • Board: Rossignol Retox 153
  • Boot: Rome Guide Size 10.5
  • Where I’ve used it: Palisades Tahoe, Mt. Batchelor, Mt. Hood Meadows, Hoodoo
  • Terrain: Steeps, Groomers, Moguls, Park, Ice, Powder

How they perform

Boot Adjustability
Stance Adjustability
Shock Absorption

What I was looking for

I was riding some Rome Katanas for a few years. I loved the ride quality but had beaten them down to the point that I was stopping every three runs to tighten a bolt or make an adjustment and had been through several binding chassis. Rome was amazing for getting parts to me whenever I asked, but the hassle was getting old. I wanted a solid all-mountain binding that was sturdy and responsive and included canted footbeds.

Why I chose this gear

These bindings were actually given to me as a gift by my fiancé, but given the choice, I wouldn’t have picked any other binding on the market. She had a pair of Union Juliette bindings that she absolutely loved, and 90% of my co-workers on the mountain were riding some type of Union binding. They are well accepted as the gold standard in bindings amongst my circles. I am the type of person who is constantly switching gears and riding all types of terrain, so the Force model is a great fit for me as it can perform well in any type of terrain or condition that you throw at it.

Force wear front

What I love about them

  • Binding adjustability in boots: Lots of customization adjustments to make sure they give me a secure and comfortable fit.
  • Stance adjustability: Traditional disk setup allows me to go for any stance I’d like by turning five bolts.
  • Comfort: I teach and ride in these bindings from open to close for days on end and have never had any issues with comfort. The bindings come with canted and flat footbeds. I love canted footbeds as they make the binding more responsive and reduce forces on my knees.
  • Responsiveness: Adjustable forward lean and a medium flex make for a versatile binding that is at home in a wide range of conditions.
  • Carving: Solid secure binding for carving with excellent weight transfer from edge to edge. They suit me well for carving.
  • Ease of turn initiation: The medium flex of the binding and highback allows me to get weight over the front foot without fighting the binding, making it easy to initiate a turn.
  • Buttering: Medium flex allows me to get the response I need to butter without punishing me for minor mistakes.
  • Straps: The straps are low profile and comfortable.
  • Durability: I am hard on equipment, and these bindings have stood up to my punishment.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Shock absorption: The high-density foam footbeds do a decent job of reducing impacts, but not to the extent of other bindings I’ve ridden with specialized shock absorption materials.
  • Buckles: After lots of abuse, one of the buckle springs has been impacted. I’m sure Union would provide a replacement if I contacted them. It doesn’t cause enough of an issue other than some noise while riding for me to make it a priority.
  • Durability: My heel loop is showing signs of wear from impact with the highback adjustment, but frankly, I’m impressed nothing else has broken, given the heel loop is solid metal.
  • Weight: These bindings are definitely heavier than other bindings I’ve ridden. I appreciate the durability enough that the extra weight is a worthwhile tradeoff to me.

Force wear back

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite moment with these bindings is top-to-bottom runs at Palisades Tahoe. The run starts with cliffy steeps, goes through a park full of jibs and small jumps, and a short little hike gets me back on top of some steeps with drops hiding all over the place. Finally, after emerging from the trees and crushing a couple of moguls, I come to a groomer lined with side hits. This binding handles this terrain easily, a tribute to its versatility.

Value for the money vs. other options

I think Union did a great job with value and versatility with this binding. More specialized park and big mountain bindings exist but will leave someone feeling out of place if they take them out of their comfort zone. For riders focusing on park, the Union Contact Pro might be a better choice with its mini base plates that give a skatelike feel. Dedicated big mountain riders will enjoy the added stiffness of the Union Atlas binding. I would look to the Rossignol Battle Binding for those on a tight budget.

Final verdict

I love to ride the whole mountain and have a binding that I can trust not to break on me. For myself, the Union Force fits that bill at a great price point. I’ve gotten two seasons of use out of these and am optimistic that I will get at least two more.

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