Black Diamond Helio 180 Touring Binding
A race binding that supports you for training purposes and those early season races. Black diamond has broken into the race world with the Helio bindings and much like the dynafit or Hagan bindings, they all weigh under 200 grams and are geared towards fast laps in the backcountry or on the resort.
The Helio 180 is designed to provide maximized torsional rigidity and structural soundness. Along with the Aluminum Alloy construction the Helio 180 is built with Stainless steel to help with durability and strength touring and skiing at high speed.
The heel allows for a full 360 degrees of rotation and allows 3 separate climbing heights. simply rotate 90 degrees for flat hiking, 180 degrees for +42mm of lift, and in quick transitions the riser will cover your pins and provide a +38mm of lift.
Unlike the Helio 145, a sliding adjustment plate comes standard. With the sliding heel plate you can easily change between your training boot and race boot so you won't have to keep one ski to racing and one ski for training. The Helio 180 comes in 3 different release values dependent on your what and skiing strength. You have the option of either the 6 DIN rated pins, 8 DIN, or 10 DIN.
Talk about a piece of manufacturing and design perfection. This rebranded ATK Trofeo from BD is worth its weight in gold (180 grams worth I guess). This is all that you need and nothing more for backcountry skiing. The U springs are easy to replace - if you want to change the RV or if they are getting worn from repeated (multiple season) use. The rest of the binding sees very little wear and is all machined aluminum. So these bindings double as a new family heirloom because they'll last a long, long time. They have a flat mode, riser 1 & 2. I'm in riser 1 99% of the time, which is where I should be if going uphill and setting an efficient skin track. Flick the flap back and rip skins for the easiest top-down transition known to man/women. I actually prefer these to the BD Helio 145 (the same binding without an adjustment plate) because they have a steeper ramp angle which makes riser 1 slightly taller which I like. Having boot adjustment in the heel also accommodates to my commitment issues of one boot - one ski. Great binding overall. If I had to choose one binding for every setup I owned this would be it.
I bought the Black Diamond Helio 180 for my lightweight (Kastle TX 82) skis that I use for resort uphill and sometimes on hut trips. Paul recommended them to me because they are offered at a lower release setting (RV6), which is perfect for my size. I have two boots I use, depending on my objectives, so I needed the adjustment plate, and it's been really easy to make the adjustment. When I'm skinning, I can choose between flat, medium and high climbing aids so it makes for smooth sailing. There's no plastic on these things either, so I don't see how I could ever break them :) Definitely recommend if you're looking to prioritize lightweight and durability.