The Oazo binding from Plum has been my go-to backcountry binding over the last few years, and recently Plum released an updated version. The design was refined rather than overhauled, and I’m grateful they didn’t change too much. This review will focus on the updates rather than a full product review. If you haven’t read my previous review, you can check it out at https://confessionsofaskibum.com/2019/03/16/plum-oazo-binding/
One small detail that has changed, which I love, is the material added to the hole in the toe lever. In the previous Oazo design, your ski pole tip would fit into the hole on the toe lever when you went to unlock your boot, and often the pole tip would get stuck. Plum has added just enough material here to get your tip still in, but now it won’t get stuck. Previously I would flip my pole around and use the handle to unlock the binding, so it wasn’t a big deal, but I’ll admit it is nice not to have to do that. The added material here also beefs up the lever. There have been reports of some of these older, thinner levers breaking, so this change should end that.
Plum has been playing with different ski brake designs for a few years, and I’ve tested a few of them. I usually do not use brakes on my skis, I don’t see the point, but I know many people like them, so here I am testing them. The newest brake for the Oazo is pretty good, and I have yet to remove them because they feel like less of a hassle than other brake systems I’ve used. When stepping in, to downhill ski, they are like any other brake. Step in, and they come off the ground. When touring, you press the brake platform down and flip a small piece to lock it in. Wet snow can sometimes get under the system and stop it from locking down when touring, but this issue is easily solved by clearing snow from the binding system, which you should do regardless of whether you have brakes. I have found the design straightforward and easy to use. I still won’t be getting brakes for my bindings in the future, but I’m also not going to bother removing these since the design didn’t add any hassle to my switchover routine.
Heel Mounting Plate
The heel mounting plate has a bit more material where the brake system attaches. It doesn’t seem to do anything outside of that function, but it was the last thing I noticed to be different. The extra material could offer more durability to the mounting screws, but I’ve never heard of that area being an issue anyway.
New and Improved
The new Oazo is barely new, but the changes are welcomed by someone who has spent a lot of time on them. Not having to flip my pole around to release the toe is a nice “creature comfort”, and if you want/need brakes, this could very well be a game changer for you. The brakes are in the spirit of what Plum does so well; simple, durable designs that work.
If you haven’t already, you can check out my original Oazo review at https://confessionsofaskibum.com/2019/03/16/plum-oazo-binding/
For more info on that Plum Oazo binding check out https://www.fixation-plum.com/en/our-bindings/9768-oazo-8.html
If you’re a Bow Valley local you can head down to SkiUphill in Canmore to see the Oazo in person or order online from them at https://skiuphill.ca/products/plum-oazo-binding