Switchback Heater

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Fans of playful minimalism rejoice! The Switchback Heater is one of the most beautifully simplistic, yet fun and built-to-last bindings available. This modular binding killed rails and tweaked grabs ass-backward while being the least feature-packed product of the test. The engineers behind the Heater impressed testers with such a simple, well-constructed design. It’s easy to imagine the designers racking their brains to figure out a way to make a binding sturdy and functional without adding hardware, but they did just that. All adjustable parts of the Heater can be moved without a screwdriver. The cush straps made a strong impression on testers, comfortable and easy to adjust with a simple locking latch.

The toe cap was a little stiff and had a few issues staying put over some of the wider-toed boots they were tested with, but not enough to be a major deterrent. Ratchets were another high point, reliable when fastened and quick to release when rushing to load chair lifts. The highback is quite flexible but still gives decent responsiveness through turns; lack of any forward-lean adjustment might frustrate those riders looking for more versatility, though. Padding underfoot reaches all the way through the baseplate to make contact with the board, a sparse but effective dampening system that still offers good board feel.

Hats off to Switchback for making a fun, forgiving, playful binding that is simple to understand and operate, and can be appreciated by both beginners and seasoned vets alike.

Price: $200.00
Brand Name

Switchback

Product Type

Bindings

Style

Freestyle Bindings

Gender

Mens

Manufacturers URL

http://www.switchbackbindings.com

Rad-Bad

RAD: No screwdriver required. Oh so soft, yet bomber. BAD: No highback adjustment puts forward lean out of rider control.

Product Showroom

No

Tested-Approved

Yes

Good Wood

No

Bang For Your Buck

No

Guide Year

2017

RAD: No screwdriver required. Oh so soft, yet bomber. BAD: No highback adjustment puts forward lean out of rider control.

Tested And Approved 2017 Presented by evo.com

Best snowboard gear of 2016-2017? We've got you covered. Going into winter, we want to know what gear can be trusted when put through the wringer. But testing over 500 boots, bindings, goggles, gloves, helmets, splitboards and powder boards, and other backcountry gear and accessories in every snowy corner of the country was a massive undertaking that the TransWorld staff couldn't handle alone. So we sent the latest developments in snowboarding goods to our team of testers spread across the country. With so many unique features in the lineup and different opinions from each tester—both compliments and complaints—there was plenty worth discussing. Some gear broke. Other pieces spoke volumes to functionality and durability. So here you have it: the most inclusive, all-encompassing gear test in snowboarding. If it’s in here, it’s been beat up and bent every which way – and tested, and approved.

Meet Our Testers:

Adam Broderick

As Gear Editor at TransWorld SNOWboarding, Broderick spent last season directing tests around the country when he wasn’t testing gear himself. He administered the Good Wood board test, powder board test, and backcountry test, while leading the glove test and coordinating the others, plus editing all Gear Guide text. He is the point of contact for all things gear-related at TWSNOW.

Mike Horn

Mike Horn’s first backcountry pack had bungee cords for snowboard straps. That’s a far cry from the innovative gear he tested in his Crested Butte backyard this winter. Mike’s been writing about snowboarding for a decade-plus, and he tends to get crusty when reviewing gear that’s not quite up to snuff.

Devin Silverthorne-Lillie

A New Hampshire transplant, Devin’s Ice Coast roots provide superior edge awareness, and with Breckenridge's Park Lane in her backyard, she practically falls from bed to her board. She put freestyle bindings on trial in and out of bounds—from frozen mornings to spring slush, backyard rail jams to sidecountry booter sessions.

Billy Brown

Billy Brown covered new tech for this year’s guide. The California native grew up riding the terrain parks in South Lake Tahoe, but for the past few years his career as a freelance editor has allowed him to snowboard around the world—from heliboarding in Whistler to riding post-storm powder in Valle Nevado, Chile.

Alex Showerman

A freelance writer based in Vermont, Alex took his powder hunt on the road last winter. He schlepped freeride boots, backcountry boots—and enough shells, puffies, and base layers to open a small gear store—around the globe in search of snow in locales like Vermont, Wyoming, Colorado, and Iceland.

Morgan Tilton

Reared in the San Juans of Southwest Colorado, as soon as Morgan could walk her dad strapped her in, and Telluride Ski Resort became her babysitter. Over the past 13 years, snowboarding has taken her through Wolf Creek’s whimsical powder days, USASA Slopestyle Nationals, and the cliff-riddled backcountry of Colorado and Wyoming.

Heather Hendricks

From the jagged peaks of Jackson Hole and the Canadian Rockies to the overt opulence of Aspen, the steeps of Alaska, and the striking faces of the La Sals, our contributing editor spent the season traveling to summits near and far. Heather toted along a bin full of boots and tested them all along the way.

Chris Brunstetter

From loitering shop kid to 22-year industry insider, Chris has spent most of his life in the snow and skate industries in Utah, even experiencing firsthand the rise and fall (and second rise and fall) of Forum. He tested freestyle boots and bindings in the man-made and natural parks at Brighton, Snowbird, and Jackson Hole.