The MFD Alltime is classified as a ski accessory that serves as an adapter to an alpine binding, enabling that binding to be used for both touring and downhill purposes. The plate is mounted to the ski via a hinged front pivot piece and a floating heel block to allow for more natural ski flex. As you can see in the photo, the front pivot allows the plate to swing from 0 degrees to about 90 degrees, providing a full touring motion for the user. The back end of the plate has a hinged locking mechanism that doubles as a climbing riser which allows for 0, 6, and 14 degree positions. The alpine binding is mounted to this metal plate via pre-drilled threads based on manufacturer’s measurements and voila, we have a fully functional alpine touring device and bomber downhill setup.
I had been researching the Alltime for over 6 months before purchase, and had many of the same concerns that the masses had been conveying through sites like backcountry.com and Blister Gear Review. Two of the main concerns were the length and weight of the plate. The plate is noticeably longer than a comparable setup of a Marker Duke/Baron or Salomon Guardian. This length would seemingly have negative effects on the natural flex of the ski, as the heel block of the plate mount sits much closer to the tail than do the heel pieces of the aforementioned competitors. One might think that the ski’s longitudinal stiffness would be increased, thus creating a more pronounced ‘dampness’ while skiing. For a skier who likes to ride on a very lively, poppy ski, this could be a detriment. Then again, some skiers may prefer a more damp ride as it can eliminate chatter through crud, chopped up snow, etc.
Second of the concerns was the weight. This thing is heavy and there are no two ways ab….well, there are two ways about it.
It is definitely heavy when you first inspect it. You wouldn’t expect a piece like this to be attached to a ski. After mounting it to my 186 Moment Night Trains with Solly 14 Drivers, I had the same sentiment – heavy. Lugging them from parking lot to chairlift is noticeably different than carrying my 186 Dynastar Big Troubles mounted with Look PX12s. Moreover, I can feel a weight difference when carrying them on short hikes. For me it isn’t a big deal as I more or less consider it training for the long term, but for some lightweight tech elitists this weight difference simply will not do. It all depends how you look at it though – this is only the first way about it. I personally do not have much of an issue with it given the performance it provides on the down and I have adapted quickly to the added weight.
Speaking of the down…this thing is as bomber as they come. Now take this with a grain of salt because I have no experience with comparable AT systems, but I have yet to feel any discernible difference skiing on the Alltime binding versus a normal alpine setup. The weight is categorically unnoticeable. I have been able to ski tight trees, spin, flip, and pivot with every bit of confidence and more. Whatever increased dampness that has been previously reported on other sites is negligible in my eyes.
With over 20 days skiing on the Alltime, I have yet to feel as though the plate’s weight is a detriment or that it noticeably affects the natural flex of the ski. Moment Night Trains are relatively stiff for the big, more playful powder skis that they are, and I do not feel as though the Alltime has increased this stiffness. They maintain their even flex and have yet to disappoint in hardpack, crud, and variable conditions. Additionally, pivoting the skis in tight trees is easy and confidence-inspiring. That could be more of a credit to the Night Trains, but again, if there are any ill-effects from the Alltime plate in terms of swing weight or flex I have yet to notice them. I have skied anything from hardpack and bumps on maritime snowpack in Whistler to blower powder at Wolf Creek and have been nothing but pleased. These things allow you to rip and should be trusted as a 100% fully functional alpine setup.
Now for the uphill…
Being that I am new to the alpine touring game I will be short with my analysis, as I can shed neither a plethora of wisdom nor technical know-how given my limited experience. I will, however, say that these things can really rip uphill as well. Yes, the weight is noticeable and I am 100% sure a Dynafit setup will better serve climbers on the way up. It’s pure physics. I will not say that the weight of the system renders it useless as an effective touring device. There are a couple of advantages to the MFD system over others, two of them being the flat 0 degree position and the 14 degree climbing position. The 0 degree setting allows for easy gliding and efficient travel over flat lands, though the back heel lock does catch on the floating heel mount when making low angle climbs (working on getting that fixed now). The 14 degree setting is beastly. Talk about getting uphill quickly – I never thought I’d be able to travel up 30 degree slopes so quickly on any touring system, no less the MFD. It was truly easy to truck uphill at a fast rate. Moreover, the Alltime has proven to have tons of torsional rigidity – a characteristic that is much appreciated on side-hill maneuvers and tight situations.
With 6 total days of skinning and over 20 days skiing on the Alltime, I will conclude that what the systems lacks in terms of low weight it more than makes up for in other areas of performance. It is exactly what you want for a downhill binding, which is to not even know it is there. The difference in skiing between a regular alpine binding and the Alltime plate is completely unnoticeable. The uphill performance has its drawbacks but also provides several strong assets by way of the climbing positions and torsional rigidity. You can climb up skin tracks with confidence and know that when you are sitting at the top of that sketchy line you are going to have a bombproof binding to hold you in on the way down.