Expert Review: Marker Baron EPF 13 Ski Bindings · 2022
This review is my honest opinion of the ski bindings, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the ski bindings, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
The Marker Baron EPF 13s are a great binding to get one started with touring, with a focus on resort skiing.
About the bindings I own
- Model: 2022 Marker Baron EPF 13
- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: 175lbs
- Preferred DIN range: 8–10
- Experience: 28 years of skiing
- When I bought these: December 2021
- Days tested: 15
- Boots: 2022 Nordica Strider 130
- Boot Size: 28.5
- Skis: 2022 Volkl Blaze 106 - 179cm
- Where I’ve used it: Utah, Colorado Backcountry, Midwest
- Terrain: Powder, Piste, Spring Backcountry, Ice, Glades
How they perform
What I was looking for
I wanted to start touring without spending a lot of money. I mainly spend time in resorts, so I was looking for a solid, reliable binding that could tour. I knew that I was going to be skiing much more in the resort, and that I hadn’t even gone on a tour yet. But I knew that I wanted to try it, so it was important to me that the binding could tour. For the resort, it was important to me to have a solid binding, that gave great feedback, had good and consistent releasability, and had enough elastic travel to have a smooth ride on the hard surfaces I get in Minnesota.
Why I chose this gear
This binding was exactly what I was looking for. I spend over 90% of my time in the resort, and this is a very good resort binding that can tour. I was comparing this very closely to the Salomon Shift and the Marker Duke PT. The Shift and the Duke were in a different price range, and with my focus on resorts, the pin toe wasn’t needed.
What I love about them
- Release Reliability: Excellent release reliability; there is a significant amount of elastic travel in the toe, and it comes back so smoothly. This means that I have been confident in pushing it without fear of a pre-release.
- Downhill Performance: A very nice downhill binding: it's smooth and nicely damped. They have been solid at going downhill from groomers to pow and everything in between.
- Durability: The bindings are in great shape after almost two full seasons. They almost don’t seem to have any wear. I have put them through everything that I could think of, and I was not that nice to them, but they have held up impeccably.
- Power Transfer: With the extra material holding the toe and the heel together, they offer excellent power transfer. They will take as much power as one can give them, and they transfer it right into the ski. This was a concern of mine when I initially purchased these, as there is a plate between the binding and the ski that allows the binding to tour, but that has never been an issue.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Uphill Performance: It's definitely not an uphill-focused binding. I like to describe it as “uphill capable.” The pivot point is pretty far from the toe, which puts a bit more strain on the hip flexors. The transitions can be a little tedious as well. But for days when I have to walk myself back to the lift, they get it done.
- Weight: These are not the lightest bindings out there; the frame system is burly, which is needed to give the binding the stiffness needed to maintain power transfer. It’s definitely not for long-ski mountaineering missions, though.
Favorite moment with this gear
I was skiing at Powder Mountain in Utah the day after six inches of fresh powder had come down. Getting near the end of the day, I decided to go explore a new bowl that was just an absolute joy to head down. The challenge was that it was a one-mile tour back to the lift. I had packed my skins for this very situation and transitioned my bindings to tour mode and skinned back up to the lift. I had a great day on the groomers and glades, and capped it off with a great walk.
Value for the money vs. other options
Compared to the other DIN-capable touring bindings, the Marker Barons are the most cost-effective way to dip one’s toes into touring. The Solomon Shift and the Marker Duke climb better, and are more focused on touring, but they are almost three times the price of the Baron.
The Marker Baron EPF 13s are an extremely cost-effective way to try out touring with a great binding for the resort.