If the skis make the skier and the board makes the boarder, then the bindings make both the skis and the board. Lightweight, flexible, and low-profile bindings give slalom skiers a better feel for the mountain in the same way that a cushioned strap and a well-placed pivot point give a rider more control at top speed. Here are the best bindings – the unsung heroes of downhill – that you'll find on shelves and black diamonds this year.
Now Drive Binding
Two years ago, Now blew away the industry by adding a pivot point on the sides of a traditional strap binding – similar to the pivot of a skate truck. The point added leverage to toe and heel edges, dampened the ride, increased power, and created a floatier feel. This year's version is beefed up for strength in freeriding and firm conditions. [$300; now-snowboarding.com]