Last week Moonlight Mountain Gear unveiled a revised website showing the first production versions of their tech style bindings with an optional heel stabilizer or a lighweight tech-style heel. As reported last season, the prototype bindings skied well but there were several unfinished details.
Based on images of the final product it appears that the essential elements of the Tele Pure and Tele Rando bindings have the same functionality as the prototypes. According to a MMG press release, every component of the binding has undergone “a total makeover.”
Tech Toe ChangesThe tech toe is a completely new Moonlight design with a stronger, slightly taller chassis, stronger springs, and the toe pins utilize a new hardening treatment. As the drawing indicates, they may also be adjustable (not this year though), similar to how the Vipec works, and for the same reason – inconsistent dimensions on toe inserts. There is also a hole for securing a leash.
What is not visible from the CAD drawing is the inclusion of a soft rib of plastic underneath the toe arms to prevent ice formation. You may also recognize that the height of the toe arms seems high compared to Dynafit, more like G3′s Ion, to help with removing snow build-up, and to increase ski angulation.
Not shown are alignment tabs similar to those found on G3′s Ion, Marker’s Kingpin, or The M-Equipment’s Meidjo to make clicking in at the toe easy.
Cable AssemblyBehind the toe, the cable assembly is built by Voile, with longer spring cartridges to allow for deeper telemark turns, even for skiers with mondo size 30 boots. A subtle side benefit is a smoother tele flex. The cable pivot position is approximately 56mm behind the toe pins, which yields a cable tension reminiscent of HH#3+.
The roofed spacer between the cable pivot and the toe has been replaced with a plastic cover over the cable mounting post. It has a soft, slightly spongy feel that prevents snow from building up underfoot.
Heel StablilizerAs expected, the one new item Moonlight brings to the table is a rerun of an old idea first used with cross country skis in the 70s, a heel stabilizer. Two prongs stand upright from the ski and fit into the slots of a tech heel insert to dramatically reduce lateral heel movement when the heel is on the ski. The original concept used the same forked shape, but used a post that was bolted to the back of a ski boot to be held laterally by the tuning fork prongs. This is just a cleaner implementation of the same concept, using the tech heel insert.
The heel stabilizer enhances telemark performance by allowing the front foot to transfer power through three points: the toe pins, the cable block, and the two-pronged stabilizer to eliminate vibration between the heel and ski. The net effect is more edging power on the front ski when telemarking, thus more confident turns in difficult snow.
According to Bjarte the first production bindings will be ready to ship in early November 2015. If you’re ready to embrace the future of tele today, Moonlight Mountain Gear’s Tele Pure can give you Dynafit caliber touring efficiency, alpine caliber turning precision, with the freedom of a free heel.
To some extent these claims are speculative. The prototype binding delivered solid turning and touring performance, with obvious shortcomings due to the prototype nature of the bindings tested. The drawings of the final design appear to address the issues that cropped up. Except for testing the final production version in the field to confirm actual downhill control, weight, or the resistance to icing up, the new Tele Pure from Moonlight Mountain Gear looks like a binding worth having, especially if the price advertised is in U$D, not €uro. For those who want a releasable tech heel, you’ll have to be patient a bit longer.
Moonlight Mountain Gear
Weight*/foot: 1 lb. 2 oz. (510 g)
* – estimated