Last season Plum sent me a Summit 12 binding to try, and although it’s not a binding type I would typically steer towards, it proved to be an excellent choice for my resort/backcountry crossover setup. The Summit 12 is Plum’s 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.
The Summit is a pretty light binding at 550g per foot compared to others in the freeski category. Of course, it does not have some fancy removable alpine toe that you will likely lose in the powder, so I’m sure some will 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 use in the resort and some quick backcountry laps. I skied everything from groomers to moguls and always felt solid doing so. Most 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, giving it an alpine mount feel. 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 to repeat the issue, I could not. Regardless, Plum altered the break system for the 20/21 product to ensure this issue was addressed. Plum also created a breakless version of the Summit called The Caribou, which comes in at 440g.
It seems weird to say, but I love the risers on this binding more than any other feature. They are super easy to flip and fit well with my boot. There are two settings at 59mm and 84mm, which are pretty high, but they worked great for a quick steep bump out or back into the resort.
The Summits have a wider range of release settings compared to the lighter Plum bindings. Both the forward and lateral releases are adjustable from 5.5 to 12. I set mine at nine 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 for a lighter boot for backcountry touring and a heavier boot for 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 I will likely sell my old plate bindings that I have been using for this application. I can ski hard inbounds, and when the time comes, I’m not suffering from a heavy binding when heading beyond the boundary line.
Should You Buy The Summit?
The Summit is an excellent option if you want a one-binding solution for both resort and backcountry. 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.