Last season Plum sent me a Summit 12 binding to try and although it’s not a binding type I would normally steer towards, it proved to be a great choice for my resort/backcountry crossover setup. The Summit 12 seems to be Plums answer to the problem of having a single setup for both resort and touring, while not having to mount a heavy plate or pin that most freeskiers use. At 550g per foot these bindings are considerably lighter than most found in this category and in the end I didn’t see any performance issues when comparing them to my heavier plate binding.
At a 550g per foot this is a pretty light binding when you compare it to others in the freeski category. Of course it does not have some fancy removeable alpine toe that you will likely loose in the powder, so I’m sure there are those that will just consider it a heavy touring binding and not for charging. With that said…
They Ski As Well As My Heavy Plate Binding
I mounted the Summit 12 on an older pair of K2 Backdrops for using in the resort and some quick backcountry laps. I skied everything from groomers to moguls and always felt solid doing so. The majority of my downhill skiing was inbounds at Kicking Horse and Lake Louise resorts. The binding has a good amount of boot contact in the heel and the larger base plate helps deliver force into a wider ski. The binding is also mounted a bit higher off the ski than most pins and it gives in a bit of an alpine mount feel to some regard. They skied great everywhere I took them and although I realize that I have lost a lot of downhill power over the years of skiing uphill, I can still ski hard when I want to and the Summit 12 allowed me to do so.
The Summit comes with retractable breaks which is great for a crossover ski, many resorts require skis have breaks in Canada. I did hear that some of these breaks failed in the first year of the Summit release but after many attempts of trying to repeat the issue I could not. Regardless, Plum went ahead and altered the break system for the 20/21 product to make sure this issue was addressed. Plum also created a breakless version of the Summit called The Caribou that comes in at 440g.
It seems a bit weird to say but I honestly love the risers on this binding more than any other feature. They are super easy to flip and fit really well with my boot. There are two settings at 59mm and 84mm, which are pretty high but for a quick steep bump out or back into the resort they worked great.
The Summits have a wider range of release settings when compared to the other, lighter, Plum bindings. Both the forward and lateral releases are adjustable from 5.5 to 12. I set mine at 9 and was happy with the result, they released or held on when I needed them to do so. When releasing the break flipped down without issue. There is also a Summit 7 which has release values from 3.5 to 7.
The Summit has a 35mm adjustable baseplate which is great if you plan to put it on your only ski setup, you could mount them to use a lighter boot for backcountry touring and a heavier boot inbounds. The binding also has a crampon slot for days you find yourself on a sidehill with hard snow.
A Great Crossover Binding
I’m happy to own the Summit for my future resort/backcountry crossover setups, so much so that I’m probably going to sell my old plate bindings that I have been using for this application. I am able to ski hard inbounds and when the time comes I’m not suffering with a heavy binding when heading beyond the boundary line.
Should You Buy The Summit?
If you are looking for a one binding solution for both resort and backcountry then this is a great option in my mind. The binding won’t hold you back on the down and won’t have you cursing its weight on the up. It has breaks, a lot of adjustability and a simple, no gimmick, approach to binding design. If you are on the lighter side Plum also offers a Summit 7, or if you aren’t a fan of breaks check out the Caribou.
For more information check out the Plum website!