Snowboard Iskola

Binding Model: Nidecker Supermatic

Binding Size: Large

Stance and Angles: 21.5 Wide 15 Negative 12 Goofy

Boot Used: K2 Thraxis

Boot Size: 10

Board Used: Telos Mike Ranquet and K2 Cool Bean

Rider Weight: 200lbs

Location: Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain

Conditions: Overcast skies, sunny skies, slush, chop, chunder, ice, high winds, low winds, moderate winds, all the winds, dirt in the snow, fresh pow, hot pow, lumpy pow, perfect corduroy, and basically all the conditions.

Binding Adjustability: The straps have three flip tabs to lengthen or shorten them and believe me when I say you want to spend the time dialing these in. Then the highback has a forward lean adjustment. The toe ramp has 3 possible spots to be set into as well. That’s it.

Straps: The toe strap is Nideckers Aux strap and that has some of the best grip for a magnitude of boot shapes. The heel strap is actually a double strap with the center one being there to keep it in place when you step in. The overall feel of the heel strap is that it contours to most boot shapes but is so minimal that it doesn’t use any excess material and the boot ends up providing the padding. I will say that the flex of this strap is rather loose laterally and doesn’t lend itself to giving you optimal power drive.

Ratchets: The cool thing with these is that the release tab can be locked down so they don’t move. This keeps them in a fixed position without worrying about them slipping once you have dialed in the straps. When using them to adjust where they sit they are a bit stiff and feel sticky, this is supposed to be that way so don’t sweat it. The one finger quick release does take a little more effort and that’s fine, you don’t want these things prematurely releasing.

Highbacks: So here’s the thing with the highback, it does fold down, just not like a Flow binding. The comparisons will always be there it’s not like that binding design at all. There’s no cable. It actually has a fixed heel cup with a roller in it to help the boot slip in. But while it does fold down you can adjust the forward lean with the FLAD on the back. The flex of it is softer and there’s a ton of give in it.

Binding Flex: Underfoot this binding is rigid. It has a big disk and a even bigger footprint. That’s going to make it more rigid, but then the straps have a fair amount of give. You’ll notice a lot of lateral play in this binding from the straps and even when you drive from toe to heel in them there’s a comparable amount of give to them. Overall it’s a middle of the road binding. Nothing too powerful and nothing too rigid.

Ride: The ride is somewhat damp underfoot, but a lot of that is due to the size of the footprint. You’ll still feel chatter and it’s not going to be one of these super damp kills everything underneath you type of rides.

Rider in Mind: Someone that wants ease of entry and a middle of the road performance.

Personal Thoughts: Does this work as a true Step In? Yes. Is it going to be for everyone? No. They would need to change the heel strap so it’s more rigid and gives more power for everyone to be happy I think. But for a middle of the road comfort rider that’s always complaining about having to sit down to strap in or their “skier friends” have to wait for them this is an option. It does take more force to step into this than people will initially think. It’s also a counter intuitive movement after years of muscle memory so you will have to retrain your brain to get in and out of it. I had 2 pairs of these, both were samples. I snapped the release tabs on the first pair and was told before I did that these would be beefed up for production, not saying that production ones might not have issues, but my issue was addressed long before I broke them. While some people are saying these are First Generation, they’re actually probably Fourth Generation for R & D. I first saw these in January 2020 and they were on the second iteration of them. Now lets talk about the moving parts on these things, they’re really robust and these too have been beefed up for product. With this I’m honestly not worried about catastrophic failures right out the gate like I am with those Clew bullshits. Do I think someone will break these? Oh hell yeah, but do I feel it’s going to be a mass failure across the board? No, I think that failure is going to be few and far between with these. They’ve spent the time to dial this in and they’ve gotten all the feedback from various people across the world.

At the end of the day though I can say this, it’s not a binding for me more because it doesn’t give me the power I want from a binding and less because of the technology involved with it. I think if we’re going to have to invest in Step Ins yet again, this is the best version out there. I’ve tried Step Ons from Burton and that has its issues, mainly you’re limited on boot choice and with this you’re not. And then there’s the Clew Bindings which I refuse to use because there’s too many potentially catastrophic failure points that when I’ve pointed them out the designers and fan boys want to argue with me that “I just need to try them”, no I need to have my concerns addressed. Having seen multiple people snap simple ladder straps on those and not find a replacement I have no faith in them. Also the idea of walking around with a highback stirrup on my boot seems really gaperish. Also the people that invented it have no proven track record in snowboarding, at least Burton and Nidecker have some serious history as well as budgets behind them. The biggest downside to these I can see for the mass market is the size limitations, those with a bigger hoof are going to be missing out for now.

At the end of the day these have their place in the market and this first year I’m expecting that the converts will buy them. After doing a poll on Instagram almost 40% out of 1200 people said they would try them. To put it more simply if you were walking down the street and passed 100 people, 40 of them would try this. Of that 40% I’m betting half will buy it. Of that group I’m going to say maybe 1% will have issues with these. The Flow crowd is probably going to be the first converts to this or people that have tried Burton’s Step On, but couldn’t find a boot that fits them. For the die hard old school enthusiasts that can still bend over to strap in and just want their meat and potatoes, this isn’t going to be for them.

Comparable Bindings: There are none as this is a truly unique idea.