Expert Review: Salomon S/lab Shift MNC 13
This review is my own honest opinion of the bindings, which I bought with my own money in September 2020.
About this review This review is my own honest opinion of the bindings, which I bought with my own money in September 2020.
The Salomon S/LAb Shift MNC 13 is a trustworthy tech binding for the intermediate and above skier to climb uphill and ride back down whether in the expert backcountry or on resort terrain.
About the gear
- Model: 2020 Salomon S/lab Shift MNC 13 Ski Bindings
- Height: 6’
- Weight: 160 lbs
- Preferred DIN range: 6-10
- Experience: 22 years
- When I bought these: September 2020
- Days tested: 10 days in the 20/21 season
- Boots: 2020 Fulltilt Ascension
- Boot Size: 26.5 MONDO
- Skis: 2020 Moment Wildcat 108 184cm
- Where I’ve used it: Jay Peak, VT; Mount Washington, NH; Crescent Mountain, IA; Sunday River, ME; Jackson Hole, WY
- Terrain: Hardpack groomers, powder pack, groomers, icy backcountry moguls, 14” fresh powder, steep glades, moguls, chutes
How it performs
What I was looking for
I wanted to build a backcountry set up and had to make sure I had the best performance from uphill climbs to downhill hard-charge riding. My new gear had to be able to handle the variety of conditions the East Coast presents, and be able to be brought West when I headed out to pursue deeper snow.
Why I chose this gear
I bought these bindings over the Marker Kingpin because the Salomon S/Lab Shift MNC has a downhill alpine-esque toe piece that converts to a tech touring binding for uphill travel. Having the alpine toe piece provides a consistent release with plenty of elastic travel. I wanted my gear to perform in any terrain and be sturdy to last.
What I love about it
- Release reliability: I love the elastic travel in the binding for safe releases and no pre-releases. Also, knowing the binding has a full alpine TÜV Safety Certification brings me even more confidence while riding my gear.
- Downhill performance: I’ve been able to test the skiing speed limits wherever I’ve skied. I’ve always been able to ride highly technical terrain with the feel of riding a traditional alpine binding.
- Uphill performance: The addition of the 10-degree riser makes the binding great for the steeper sections on the skin track.
- Power transfer: Can’t say enough about how incredibly responsive the binding is. Whether I am pointing my skis straight on a groomer or hop-turning in a chute, the binding makes me feel one with my skis!
Issues I’ve encountered
- Park and resort: I would not buy the Shifts to ride in the park, or for a resort-only binding, because there are better and less-costly options out there for those terrains.
- Durability: The Shift has held up in the coldest conditions for me without any icing or major malfunctions. I haven’t seen much wear and tear on it after using it aggressively all season. One part, however, that has not held up as effectively is the AFD plate in the toe piece. It got pressed down after a couple of hard riding days and I had to re-adjust it back to its correct position to prevent a pre-release. It appears to be an issue from not being properly adjusted when the binding was mounted. Always go to a trusted shop to mount your bindings! That being said, I have witnessed someone else's toe lever break, making it unable to lock for downhill riding.
Favorite moment with this gear
My first exploration into the infamous Tuckerman’s Ravine on Mount Washington in March 2021 was the biggest test for my bindings. The 3+ miles of skinning into the bowl followed by the strenuous hike up an almost vertical headwall was what I bought the bindings for. After a flawless performance on the skin track and hike, the bindings were ready for my boots and the long-awaited descent. With an average pitch of 46 degrees and a max angle of 55 degrees, the Left Gully was ready to test my gear. Long arcing turns and fast speed checks brought me to safety at the bottom of the bowl. Then the exit off of the mountain was a well-trafficked bump run down the Sherburne Trail. Never once during the entire adventure did I have questions about whether my bindings would not be able to hold up to the high expectations and heavy usage I put them through.
Value for the money vs. other options
The initial price might seem steep, but the performance and longevity make it worth it. The mechanism to switch between uphill and downhill is straightforward. The alpine-style binding provides precise control and safety without having to purchase a heavy frame binding. The other two bindings that I would put into a similar category with the Shift are the Marker Kingpin 13 and the Marker Duke PT 16. The Kingpin 13 I’ve always seen priced a bit more than the Shift 13. For a lesser price, the Shift will have a more consistent release. The Marker Duke PT 16 is a heavier option for those concerned about weight. Their removable toe piece can get iced up or lost if one is not careful. Overall, for the value, reliability, and performance, the Salomon S/Lab Shift 13 MNC checked the boxes for me to be worth the money for the peace of mind.
The Salomon S/Lab Shift MNC is a do-it-all binding to get into technical backcountry terrain with minimal hassle and still enjoy the full potential of in-bounds riding at resorts.