I’ll be the first to admit, I rode step-ins back in the day. I know that’s not considered a cool thing, and to many people the concept today is an unknown. The benefit back then was clear to Midwest riders. Strapping on while sitting in the snow can be a cold and wet proposition some days, and when vertical drops are usually well below 700 feet at most hills, the time on the actual run isn’t all that long. Unless you are super coordinated, strapping in at the edge of a slope is risky and could have you slipping down at least part of the hill with only one foot strapped in.
Enter the step-in highback. the original step-ins like the Emery SIS (Rossignol) or K2 Clicker were just too prone to icing and you gave up a bit of control by having a system that was way too soft, or way too stiff for your riding. Step-in soft boot bindings like the K2 Cinch series are good because you use the boot you like that is right for you, and you get all the ease of a step-in binding.
I’ve been running Cinches on some of my boards for the past couple years, and I can say that for a good deal of Midwest riders, this could be the perfect binding. You set the straps to your boot and preferences, drop the back buckle cam and slide your foot out while you ride up the lift. When you get to the top, slide your toe in, lock the back in place, and ride away.
The Cinch CTS is not the first binding of this type, but the best of evolution in the style. Early soft boot step-ins, and many on the market today have a fixed front frame, meaning that while you can set it up to get in and out easy, you have a super sloppy fit that does not inspire confidence on the slopes. The frame of the Cinch CTS (and other bindings in the line) actually tilt the frame up a few degrees which lifts the straps out of the way. This allows you to have some room for sliding your foot in, but doesn’t sacrifice the security of the binding when its locked in place.
For parents, park rats, Midwest riders, the Cinch CTS is a great option. It has all the features and adjust ability of a traditional two strap design but with a little more ease of use. So give them a try – you can hang out at the bottom of the run while your friends are lagging behind. How many more runs can you do in the day when you;re not held up by your bindings?