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.
Union Contact Pro
Rather than rethinking the binding, Union stripped weight and refined the ratchets, straps, high backs, and base plate to improve function and strength. Thanks to Union's quick-mounting mini disks, less than 5 percent of the base plate is in contact with the board, minimizing dead zones and allowing the board to flex naturally. [$230; unionbindingcompany.com]