Binding Model: Union Strata
Binding Size: Medium
Stance and Angles: 21.5 15, negative 12 Goofy
Boot Used: K2 Thraxis
Boot Size: 10
Board Used: Interior Plain Project Honalee, Nidecker Mellow, Nidecker Gun, Yes The Greats, Dinosaurs Will Die Brewster, K2 Afterblack
Rider Weight: 195
Location: Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain
Conditions: Moguls, chunder, ice, firm snow, fresh snow, slushy snow, high winds, no winds, sunny bluebird, overcast and crap, and fresh snow falling.
Binding Adjustability: This has the standard flip cams you know and love from Union, they will be a little tight when you first adjust them. After that you have additional placements for the heel strap and ladder. The toe strap and ladder can be pushed down and put into one of three grooves. The final piece of adjustment is the forward lean on the highback. You want to talk about a frustrating overly complicated mechanism that shouldn’t exist, here it is. Why do you have to push it in and twist it to get it to engage? Wouldn’t a screw be easier? It’s overly complicated for no fucking reason. My suggestion, set it and just forget it for life.
Straps: I think a lot of people are going to look at the minimal padding of the Forma Ankle Strap and see it as inferior. It’s not, this is actually a super solid ankle strap that reduces pinch points due to the lack of material. They contour well to any boot shape and hug it just right. The way the toe strap is designed it too will contour to any boot shape and stay locked down. Overall the straps are super solid and grip extremely well. The other big thing I want people to know is that in the past Union has had issues with screws backing out and straps falling off, this has been rectified with a locking washer mechanism.
Ratchets: The ratchets were super smooth and catch free. What I liked is the release tab is just large enough to get one fat index finger under it to release without it sticking.
Highbacks: The highback works extremely well. It’s not overly huge yet not so small that you get boot bang when you drive into it. There’s rebound and snap where you want it, yet it’s forgiving and flexible where you need it.
Binding Flex: Here’s the thing about the flex laterally there’s more play in it than from toe to heel and you’ll notice that when you drive into the binding while flexing the board from the center or off the tail. That mini disk is very noticeable, as someone who traditionally doesn’t rock a mini disk binding it was a little off putting on the first few runs, but then I started to become accustomed to it, this does create a bit more of a surfy feel to it. Now when you’re driving into the straps there’s a lot of power transmission to it but I feel that the baseplate somewhat lessens it. Overall it’s a middle of the road binding flex making it highly capable inside and outside of the park.
Ride: These weren’t the dampest bindings I’ve ever been on but they also weren’t overly lively. It was a binding that you could power into it from time to time but you could be laid back and surfy with it. It’s the type of binding that lets you just ride and forget about it.
Rider in Mind: All mountain guy with a propensity for being a bit more surfy.
Personal Thoughts: Did I love this binding? No. Did I hate this binding? No. It’s a binding and it worked at holding me down and there are some seriously good things with it like the Forma heel strap and the toe strap. The highback flex is nice but the highbacks forward lean adjustment just seems so overly designed for what it should do. At the end of the day it’s a binding that will appeal to Union fanboys, rad dads that want something that will be a bit easier to drive with, and people that just want a binding that does binding things.