22 Designs Lynx Telemark Touring Binding – Light and Fast
70-year-old die-hards are still in leather boots, some of the younger generations have never skied 75 mm, NTN is taking off in certain crowds and a lot of people are somewhere in between. Telemark is fighting for its life in the ski industry and new gear is acting as the defibrillator. As technology progresses more interest is sparked leading to the evolution and growth of the sport, that’s the idea anyway. Many of us agree that it is time for telemark to repossess its backcountry access centered origin and the industry is doing just that. Telemark tech bindings are revolutionizing uphill travel methods and boy, am I stoked!
My first impression of the 22 Design Lynx bindings ($499) was their weight. Of course, when you get a pair of touring specific bindings in the mail the first thing you do is put them in your hand and feel how light they are. And for telemark bindings, these are some of the lightest on the market. They are just over 2 lbs per pair and due to this, the Lynx are setting a new standard for telemark touring bindings.
A little about the rest of my setup: I mounted the Lynx on a pair of 177 cm Nordica 100 mm waist skis and use Scarpa Women’s TX Pro boots. Both of these items are not the lightest but the Lynx help balance this out. I weigh 125 lbs and use the first/softest of the 3 levels, adjustable activeness setting. This feature helps customize the stiffness of the flex. I’ve skied these bindings in powder, mashed potatoes, on hardpack and on ice to name a few. I was impressed by their versatility and how they maintained high-quality performance through different conditions.
The beauty of telemark tech is in the toe piece. The pins eliminate the need to pick the whole binding up with each step and this is a beautiful thing. I’ve heard that each pound on your foot is equal to six on your back and with that information, I am very grateful for this binding.
The free pivot eliminates resistance and makes for smooth steps. Instead of burning all your energy before you even summit, you have saved some for the downhill and your turns will look prettier than ever. Because of the pins, these bindings are only compatible with some NTN boots so check your boot toe for pin inserts before it’s too late.
Another great addition to its touring performance is the heel risers. There are two heights that help you keep your weight on your heels while going up steep slopes.
The bindings switch from touring mode to ski mode via a bar that attaches to the duck butt (protrusion in front of the arch of your boot). To tour, push down on this bar so it lays flat against the flex plate. This will keep it from hooking to the duck butt and allow you to only be attached to your ski by the tech toe.
To ski down, lift the bar and step in. To go back into tour mode you will have to take your ski off. When you’re touring you will want to lock the toe out. There is a lever at the front of the binding that you need to pull all the way up so the ski doesn’t come off mid-tour.
On the way down, you need to push that lever back down so the ski can come off if you get in a nasty wreck. However, I lock the toes out when I’m skiing without leashes. I know you’re not supposed to, but the bindings released very easily once and I’m scared of losing a ski.
When it comes to dropping the knee, I have found that their flex pattern is different from other bindings I have skied. They have an appropriate, slightly progressive, stiffness throughout the majority of the turn but when you drop lower you hit a bit of a wall and the bindings quickly have rock solid springs.
You only notice this at the lowest point of your turn, otherwise, they have a smooth flex. This is neither good nor bad. It keeps you from bottoming out and breaking the binding but it is also an abrupt stopping point. There is a very small “dead zone” just at the beginning of your flex. The springs don’t engage immediately as you initiate the turn, but it is such a small space that it is not detrimental.
The bomber lateral rigidity of the bindings comes from the duck butt attachment bar. This keeps your foot in place and eliminates any play. Even the 22 Design Outlaw Xs have a little bit of wiggle, but the Lynx are incredibly sturdy and thus, make for more precise turning and edge control. This also transfers really well into alpine turns. The lack of movement in the binding helps you engage the ski and maintain control over your turn.
22 Designs Lynx Telemark Touring Binding Review
My biggest criticism actually has nothing to do with the bindings. I wish the 22 Designs staff was larger (or maybe they just smoke too much weed). If you need bindings ASAP, 22 Designs shouldn’t be your go-to.
Both the Lynx and my Outlaw Xs were shipped way later than promised, my boyfriend’s Outlaws came missing some screws and when I ordered stiffy springs they shipped the wrong size. I’m not trying to totally roast the 22 Designs staff, they have been very helpful when I call and once you have the bindings and they’re ready to ski, they’re great, but there seems to be a lack of attentiveness among the staff there.
The sizing is similar to most NTN bindings, there are two sizes you can order, small and large. The size break for Scarpa and Crispi boots is 26.0/26.5; for Scott and Garmont boots, the break is 25.5/26.0.
The lightest AT bindings are now in the sub 10 oz category blowing telemark bindings out of the water. However, I like to think of these numbers as motivation. If AT can do it, why can’t telemark? The 22 Designs Lynx has begun to close the gap and I suspect more progression from them in the future.
So the bottom line is: these are some light bindings compared to the other telemark bindings out there which resemble small metal tanks. If you want to go fast, crush some big spring objectives or just simply have lighter, more modern bindings, I’d encourage you to check out the Lynx. I like how they flex, how they transfer powder, and just as importantly, how they assist you in traveling uphill.
Growing up snowboarding and hiking in the bitter cold winters and humid summers of northern Vermont, Eliza learned how to beat up gear and quickly became infatuated with new technologies. After moving to Colorado in 2015 to pursue a degree in recreation and outdoor education at Western Colorado University, her passion for the outdoors grew exponentially. Soon after, she picked up rock climbing, telemark skiing, backpacking, canyoneering, and is slowly learning to love rafting. Through these learning processes, Eliza began to understand the importance of the right gear and hopes to share her experiences and knowledge with others through Engearment.
Now working for Beacon Guidebooks as the ‘Wearer of Many Hats’ (yes, that is her official title), Eliza has learned the ins and outs of the outdoor industry. She has also worked on marketing teams, as a photographer, media coordinator, outdoor instructor and as a wrangler. She is especially excited to encourage other women in the outdoors and is an advocate for diversity and inclusion.