Expert Review: Salomon S/lab Shift MNC 13 Ski Bindings · 2022

Published on 07/13/2022 · 5 min readThis review is my own honest opinion of the ski bindings, which I bought with my own money in November 2021.
Robbie M, Ski Expert
By Ski Expert Robbie M

Line Sakanas with Atomic Shift Bindings. All photos courtesy of Robbie M.

About this Review: This review is my own honest opinion of the ski bindings, which I bought with my own money in November 2021.

My take

The Atomic/Salomon Shift 13 MNC Bindings are an awesome one-binding solution for someone who is looking to use the same setup inbounds and in the backcountry, with a pin-toe option for uphill travel and full DIN-certified binding for downhills.

Family ski tour - who says you can't have fun when it's 10 degrees outside!

About the gear

  • Model: 2021 Atomic Shift 13

About me

  • Height: 6ft 2in
  • Weight: 190lb
  • Preferred DIN range: 9
  • Experience: 10 years

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: November 2021
  • Days tested: 8
  • Boots: Lange XT3 130
  • Boot Size: 27.5
  • Skis: LINE Sakana
  • Where I’ve used it: Minnesota resorts and trails (for touring)
  • Terrain: Groomers, moguls, powder (touring)

How it performs

Power Transfer
Release Reliability
Uphill Performance

What I was looking for

I was looking for a ski binding that would allow me to use my LINE Sakanas as my daily driver for downhill skiing with the option to do some touring (on flatland, XC ski trails or in the backcountry). Given that my LINE Sakanas are lighter skis, I figured pairing them with the Shifts would be the perfect solution for human-powered skiing.

Why I chose this gear

After doing some research, I pulled the trigger on the Shift as it provided a lightweight binding that would enhance my resort skiing while allowing me to do some touring around the neighborhood after some fresh snow or on future trips in the backcountry. My ideal setup is one that allows inbounds uphill travel, and these bindings will enable me to do so next season.

The other bindings on the market that are similar to the Shift are the Marker Duke PT and the Black Diamond Fritschi Tecton. I picked the Shifts over both of these bindings as the Shifts are full DIN-certified bindings (unlike the Tectons) and have more toe elasticity (how far your foot can twist before being ejected from the binding) than the Markers.

Showing off the Shifts! 

What I love about it

  • Downhill Performance: I used the Shift bindings on my daily-driver LINE Sakana skis for the entire season. I never once wished I had another binding on my ski; there was no sacrifice in downhill performance in this binding.
  • Uphill Performance: I took these bindings on several mile-long tours around my neighborhood and on XC ski trails and loved how they functioned in walk mode. The pin toe worked great and never had any weird releases. I tested the single riser (10 degree) going up several steep hills and it functioned as intended.
  • Durability: I’ve found my Shifts have held up well over the course of the season. However, I’d like to make the disclaimer that I treated them with care as directed by Cody Townsend (a pro skier with Salomon). I used to kick my bindings to clear snow on my boots and stomp my skis on each other to get out the bindings. With the Shifts, I have avoided these practices and used my poles a lot more to do these activities, reducing any unnecessary wear on the bindings.
  • Weight: For downhill use, these bindings are noticeably lighter than most on the market.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Release Reliability: One common problem people have with Shift bindings is unreliable releases. I only had one this past season where my downhill ski got noticeably behind my uphill ski in a carve and the ski popped off. However, ensuring the binding is properly set up (AFD height) and clear of snow will likely prevent this problem for most people.
  • Uphill Performance: See weight section below.
  • Weight: Despite being light compared to most downhill bindings, the Shifts are on the heavy side of touring bindings. What is lost in weight is gained back in a DIN-certified downhill binding.
  • Other: Shift bindings only have one riser compared to up to four that other touring bindings offer. This isn’t a big deal if you don’t mind being between degree levels on a skin track or if your backcountry partner has Shifts as well.

My setup - freshly mounted Shifts on the Line Sakanas

Favorite moment with this gear

This binding skied so well in the resort this season, but one of my favorite moments was actually while skinning several miles in a public park with one of my buddies and his 3-month-old sheepdog puppy, Teddy. It had just snowed several inches, and we met up at the large park where he could let his puppy off the leash. We had a great time getting outdoor exercise while skinning around the park and a ton of joy watching Teddy jump around in the snow. We even got a quick “backcountry” lap down the big hill at the park, making a few powder turns with Teddy nipping at our boots the whole way down.

Value for the money vs. other options

Shift bindings aren’t the cheapest on the market when compared to traditional downhill bindings. However, if you were to use one set of skis with Shifts for inbound and backcountry skiing, they provide great value in only needing one set of skis and bindings. Compared to a similarly priced pin binding with more risers, such as the ATK Raider 12, the Shift may be heavier but provides a safer downhill ride with the DIN certification, something that pin-toe bindings do not have.

Final verdict

The Atomic/Salomon Shift bindings make for a simple solution for a skier looking to use one setup in the resort as well as in the backcountry. While not the lightest option for uphill climbing, the Shift provides a DIN-certified binding for downhills, giving skiers confidence that they have a safe and reliable binding keeping them connected to their skis.

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