Expert Review: Marker F10 Tour Ski Bindings · 2020
This review is my honest opinion of the bindings, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2021.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the bindings, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2021.
My Marker F10 Tour Ski Bindings are the perfect introduction to backcountry skiing. Though they won’t win any weight or speed contests, they were what I needed to dip my feet into the pow of the backcountry.
About the gear I own
- Model: 2021 Marker F10 Tour Bindings
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 160 lbs
- Preferred DIN range: 7-8
- Experience: 10 years of skiing
- When I bought these: January 2021
- Days tested: 20
- Boots: Dalbello Panterra 120 2021
- Boot Size: 27.5
- Skis: Dynastar Cham 87
- Where I’ve used it: Grand Targhee Ski, Alta/Snowbird, Cottonwood Canyon Backcountry, Kelly Canyon, Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Adams
- Terrain: Groomers, moguls, light powder, ice, crud, and volcanos
How they perform
What I was looking for
I heard all my co-workers talk about this “backcountry skiing” deal. I was intrigued since I’m a big fan of getting fresh pow and hiking. I figured this would be something I’d really like. My big hiccup was that touring setups are EXPENSIVE. I was not going to jump in on an entire touring setup to see if I liked it, and there really wasn’t anywhere right next to me that would rent touring skis. When I discovered the Marker F10 Tour, I was flabbergasted.
Why I chose this gear
The Marker F10 Tour is a binding that does it all. I get the safety of a resort binding because it is a full resort binding. I can put a normal ski boot in it (preferably my Dalbello Panterra 120s) because it’s made for a normal ski boot. This binding was the perfect choice for me because if I decided that touring was not my cup of tea, I could ride it like a normal binding forever and never tour in it without any compromise. There are other models similar to this one (like the Salomon Guardian), but I did not come across this binding when I was looking at the Marker F10 Tour, so I can’t compare the two.
What I love about them
- Release Reliability: I’ll say it outright: I can get sloppy on the slopes. I often find myself in situations where I’m not landing a jump right or going faster than I probably should, and these bindings release me at just the right time. I have never had a time where the bindings released too early, and I have had plenty of times where the bindings released at just the right point (where if they had not, I doubt I’d still have working ankles and knees). I am very impressed with the release reliability.
- Downhill Performance: For a lightweight like me, the downhill performance is definitely something to write home about. I switched my old demo bindings mounted on the Dynastar Cham 87s for these bad boys, and I could tell an immediate difference. The Marker F10 Tours are SOLID. On my old demo bindings, I could sense micro-movements in some of my turns, but these bindings are responsive and make me a better skier. Someone a bit heavier would want to look at the Marker F12 Tour instead.
- Durability: I ski mountaineer with these bindings, and I have had lots of muddy skiing done on these as well. I have never had any issues with their durability. I recently handed these skis and bindings off to a friend trying to get into the sport, and he has also had no issues with the bindings. Marker bindings are made to last.
- Power Transfer: As mentioned above, there is excellent power transfer on the downhill. All my effort goes straight to the ski when I want to.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Uphill Performance: These bindings are excellent for the resort and a great intro to touring, but it sort of stops excelling at that point. I do ski mountaineering, which means steep icy slopes. Where I get a really powerful downhill game with these bindings, the frame setup means a larger piece that moves on the steep kick turns. If I weren't careful, I would sometimes find the binding heel slipping to the ski's downhill side. The slippage would often result in me falling until I got used to it. It made the steep kick turns feel a lot more sketchy and didn’t really inspire too much confidence on the steep ice. I never really encountered this issue when in the softer stuff.
- Weight: The Marker F10 Tour has a lot of meat to it. One will essentially be lifting an entire regular ski binding up on every step. They won’t win any weight competitions that way. This binding is a really big trade-off between versatility and weight, and any binding that lets one do both will be this way. As a squirrely 23-year-old boy, weight wasn’t my biggest concern when I got them, though. It was well worth it to sacrifice weight for the introduction to touring.
- Speed: The biggest issue that I didn’t think about until the top of Mt. Saint Helens was how much slower it is to switch from walk mode to ski mode with these bindings. On a pin-tech binding like the Dynafit Speed Radical, all someone needs to do is lift the heel up, switch the rider to ski mode, and step down, and they’re solid. These require a bit more work. In order to change modes on the Marker F10 Tour, I need to take off the boot, clean out the track of as much snow and ice as I can, set the binding flat against the ski, and then pull the binding all the way forward using the loop in the center of the binding. Without gloves on, this is very easily done, but with gloves, I sometimes find it to be difficult to grab the loop. After I switch, I can step into my skis, and I'm set. What took my friends 20 seconds on top of Mt. Saint Helens took me about four minutes of fumbling. Those extra couple minutes might not bother one, but I'd say that the speed is definitely something that sets this binding back compared to other touring dedicated bindings.
Favorite moment with this gear
I have had a lot of really excellent days on this binding. I have summited Mt. Saint Helens and Adams with these and done many other fun days in Kelly Canyon and Teton Pass. I have to say that my favorite day with these had to have been my first day backcountry skiing. Learning to kick turn was tough but rewarding, and getting an entire run of fresh pow just put a smile on my face from ear to ear. These bindings opened up a whole new world to me.
Value for the money vs. other options
A big reason I got these bindings WAS for the money. I was worried about getting a dedicated touring setup, so I turned my Dynastar Cham 87s into a touring hybrid. I only had to buy one piece of gear (because my ski boots already had a walk mode), and I got so much more value out of that than I could have imagined. Other options for hybrid touring bindings are the Salomon Shift, which is ~$600, and the Salomon Guardian, which is a bit cheaper than the F10 Tour but is significantly heavier. There are a couple of other differences I won’t get into here.
I highly recommend this binding to anyone who is timid about getting into backcountry skiing because of the cost. It unlocks the sport with ease without sacrificing downhill performance.