My winter job is working in a ski repair shop, so I get a good idea of what bindings break the most, what parts are the weakest and what brands stand the test of time.
Whenever I see someone with some quick/rear entry bindings come to the shop, chances are good that they are in serious trouble.
When I am talking about regular bindings, I mean the standard binding that has a normal highback, one ankle strap and one toe strap/cap.
If you listen to the marketing from the quick entry manufacturers (Flow, GNU K2), one of the advantages their bindings have is how quickly and easily it is to get in to the binding and have it locked in.
Compared to to standard bindings, where you need to do up the two straps with the ratchets, for most quick entry bindings you just need to kick your boot in, and pull up the lever that will lock the highback in position – and hold your boot in.
The idea is great, once they are adjusted for your boot all you have to do at the top of any lift is pull up the lever and lock it in, then you are ready to go.
My problem with them is when they break. If someone has some broken parts on a standard binding, whether it is Burton, Union, Ride whatever, we can almost always fix it. Although there are slight differences between the brands, they all follow the same basic layout and we can modify a replacement part without too much of a problem.
When quick entry bindings come in for repair, they are a mixed bag. If the pin that holds in the lever on flow bindings breaks, there isn’t anything we can do. If anything to do with the cable has broken on GNU or K2 Cinchs, you are in trouble.
I wish that it was easier to repair those bindings, but they use such unique parts, it is very hard to repair.
If you are going to be buying bindings, I recommend buying a standard design, so that if something breaks while you are out on the hill, your day isn’t ruined when you can’t get it fixed right away.