You know-straps and ratchets and whatnot.

A good set of bindings is a must. Next to a pair of boots, this is one of the highest priorities on the comfort list. How ya suppose to reach absolute shreditude if your feet ain’t comfy? I don’t care if it snowed four feet on your birthday and there’s free beer in the lodge-foot pain equals one pissed-off little shredder.

And don’t be thinking they’re all the same, neither, ’cause they’re not. All you park dogs might want something with a little more flex and smaller highbacks, while the all-mountain-type dudes (and dudettes) would probably be better off with stiffer highbacks and baseplates.

For the most part, trends in the binding end of things seem to have died down. Which is a shame, ’cause there were some really bad ones that are fun to look back on and laugh at today. “Companies are listening to their teamriders and to what the market wants. They’re making functional bindings that aren’t all gimmicky and don’t fall apart,” says George Kleckner from the newly launched Union Binding Company. Function and no gimmicks? Sounds good for the consumer, but bad for all those bitter, washed-up dudes who need that kind of material to write intros for the Buyer’s Guide binding section.-Chris Coyle