For the tele skier who wants it all.
The M-Equipment, brainchild of French mechanical engineer Pierre Mouyade, has delivered version 2.0 of its highly innovative Meidjo binding. Merging a Dynafit-style low-tech toe piece with an NTN-style “duckbutt” second heel, these step-in bindings not only tour extremely efficiently, they tackle the downhill with equal gusto, offering fantastic lateral rigidity (and therefore edge control) and smooth telé-rêsistançe with their adjustable springbox. They are also extremely lightweight, with the small size clocking in at just 800 grams, almost half the weight of comparably powerful NTN bindings such as the Rottefella Freedom or 22Designs Outlaw.
Dynafiddler-caliber touring performance
The low tech pins at the front of the binding are instrumental for smooth and highly efficient touring, and they also provide an unexpected amount of bite on the downhill. Locking the springbox to the ski while you tour, a feature that is activated by laying it flat and extending the touring hook over a red lever to lock it flat, also means that the issue of lifting it with every step is totally avoided. This gives you a greater range of motion and reduces fatigue common with other NTN bindings.
NTN Stability and Edging
The adjustable springbox–you can not only adjust the tension of the springs with an allen wrench but also add thinner springs for even more resistance–provides the lateral rigidity and edging power that NTN enthusiasts are well acquainted with. So the Meidjo is great on hardpack, and since the springs initiate almost immediately when you lift your heel to initiate a turn, the flex is smooth and progressive and your skis feel powerful under your feet.
Safety Release and Brakes
Safety release, though somewhat nebulous within the tele-sphere (it is almost never certifiable) is another reason to be intrigued by the Meidjo– it purports to have lateral release unaffected by turning tension, giving your knees a chance if you take a bad fall. The M Equipment also produces optional brakes to attach to the bindings so that if they release, you’ll be able to find your skis (a traditional leash attachment is also available.)
The Bleeding Edge of Telemark
Telemark’s not dead. In fact, the efforts put forth by companies like The M Equipment show that innovation will take the day for free-heelers everywhere, and lunging down the mountain will remain a challenging, fluid dance for those brave enough to do it. Now we just need a few more models of boots.