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gear reviews

Gear reviews | Fritschi Diamir Vipec Black Edition

The safety pin system from Switzerland in the endurance test

by Lorenzo Rieg 01/29/2016
With the "Black Edition", Fritschi has brought out a revised version of the Vipec for this season, which, like its predecessor, combines maximum safety with high ease of use, light weight and great downhill performance. We have already tested the binding.

With the "Black Edition", Fritschi has launched a revised version of the Vipec for this season, which, like its predecessor, combines maximum safety with high ease of use, light weight and great downhill performance. We have already tested the binding.

To the tester

I am 183cm tall and weigh around 75kg, I am quite fit but certainly no muscle man. I go on a lot of (quite long) ski tours, but I also enjoy skiing in the ski area. Over the last few years, I've tested more or less every binding on the market. In addition to the various Vipec generations, I have also regularly used the ATK Free-Raider and the Beast 16 and Vertical ST from Dynafit in recent winters.

Even in very steep, tough conditions, the Vipec inspires confidence.

Last year, I used the previous model for around 60 days; I've been using the new "Black Edition" since the start of the current season, but due to the mediocre snow conditions and the late start to winter, I've only had around 15 days on the binding. Due to my experiences with the previous model and the clearly recognizable changes (see below), I still dare to write a final test report.

Of course, the binding was mostly used on tours of all kinds, including a few days of pure ski resort skiing. I used the binding on two different skis: mostly on the DOWN-skis CountDown 107, as well as a few days on the Movement Vertex.

First impression

The Fritschi Vipec naturally makes quite an impression, as it is packed with innovations to ensure function, safety and comfort when touring, without being too heavy.

Open front jaw - ready to board!

The first thing you notice is the toe piece: It looks very different to the typical low-tech bindings. Although it also has pins that secure the boot via its inserts on the ascent and descent, it can do a lot more. For example, the release value can also be individually adjusted to the skier on the toe piece, which ensures that the ski literally detaches from the foot in the event of a fall. This reduces the risk of injury and should also prevent false releases. Another safety feature is that release of the binding is also guaranteed on the ascent, as the Vipec is not completely blocked here either.

The rear jaw is mounted on a sliding bearing, which guarantees that the length of the binding is compensated for the bend of the ski, ensuring consistent retention forces and reliable release. In addition, switching between uphill and downhill mode or adjusting the climbing aid can be easily done with the ski pole. Operation is quick and easy.

Fritschi puts a lot of thought into the details. This is shown, for example, by the different "Color Clips", with which the binding can be individualized in design, as well as the crampons, which can be adjusted by a folding mechanism so that they penetrate deep into the snow even when the climbing aid is active (often crampons do not work well when the climbing aid is unfolded). This in turn also increases safety.

Changes compared to the previous model

Compared to the Vipec from the 14/15 season, a number of changes have been made to the current model that significantly improve various aspects of the binding. On the toe piece in particular, the entry point into the binding has been improved. Instead of the rather high wire bar, you now step onto a lower lever with your boot. Together with the new guides for the boot, the entry is now really much better. The release resistance in ascent mode has also been increased. Although the binding still has a safety release here, unintentional release, e.g. during powerful hairpin turns, should be avoided. It is not really visible that more metal has been used in the front jaw around the slightly longer spring, which is probably also the reason for the slightly increased weight compared to the previous version.

A better protection against icing of the binding in ascent mode has been implemented on the rear jaw. This prevents the accumulation of snow and ice during the ascent, which occasionally made it difficult to switch to downhill mode on the previous model.

Test report

First of all, I would like to point out once again that correct adjustment of the Fritschi Vipec is really very important for proper function. Not only do the Z-value and contact pressure need to be adjusted, the distance between the pins on the toe piece may also need to be correctly adjusted to the boot!

Getting into the first version of the Fritschi Vipec was not always easy, but this has been greatly improved with the new Black Edition. The boot is now easier to position correctly and the premature closing of the front jaw no longer occurs. The entry is still not automatic and is simply different from alpine and frame bindings or pin models from the competition, but it is much easier to get into the "Black Edition" than into the original Vipec. However, it is still helpful if the ski is as flat as possible in the snow and you get in with concentration. Getting out is very easy. As with most pin models, you push down the lever at the front with the pole and the boot is released.

An advantage of the Vipec is that all actions are acknowledged with an audible "clack". When changing the climbing aid, switching between ascent and descent mode or adjusting the toe piece to ascent mode, you immediately notice that everything is in place.

Switching from descent to ascent mode or changing the climbing aid is easy and does not require bending down with the ski pole. If you have the skis in your hand anyway, the lever can of course also be quickly switched by hand. The stoppers initially remain folded out, which helps to hold the ski in place when getting on. After pulling up the lever at the front (I do this with the ski pole upside down), you are ready for the ascent. The stoppers fold in well when first loaded and therefore do not interfere with walking in any way.

On the ascent, the Vipec is conspicuously inconspicuous. The low weight and comfortable walking compared to a frame binding is of course a big advantage, while the slightly higher weight compared to some pin models from the competition is not really a problem, especially if you are using wide freeride skis anyway. The fact that the rear jaw, and therefore some weight, is shifted backwards in ascent mode means that hairpin turns also work very well. The ski folds away easily, although of course the mounting point also has an influence on this. I have not experienced any unintentional release on the ascent, as was sometimes reported with the previous model, with the Black Edition. The climbing aids are easy to operate with the ski pole plate and provide reasonable angles. Personally, however, I ski most of the time without the climbing aid, and I use the first climbing aid in steep hairpin terrain. I only use the second one to make tracks.

I use my hands to switch from uphill to downhill mode, although after a bit of fiddling around it works with the ski pole (preferably the other way round with the strap). However, you usually have the skis in your hands to remove the skins anyway. With the old Vipec, you occasionally had the problem that the lever could not be pulled all the way up due to icing, especially after tracks in deep snow, making it difficult to get the rear jaw into downhill mode, but this is no longer a problem with the new Black Edition due to the revised rear jaw.

During the descent, the Vipec works very well, as expected. The power transmission is great. Especially in harder types of snow, the Vipec feels more like an alpine binding than a pin binding thanks to the elasticity in the binding and the length compensation. While I was a little more cautious with the Vipec at first, I now trust it completely, as I haven't had a single false release. This point is of course crucial. With many competitor models from the pin range, I have the problem that I have to worry about losing a ski with every little bump, which is why I then block the toe piece, which is of course not ideal either. The Vipec works really well here, it stays reliably on the foot even at high speeds on rough ground or a hard slope. Even higher drops (ok high is relative, I'm not getting any younger) are handled surprisingly well. Nevertheless, I know that the binding can release in the event of a fall - a clear advantage!


This is a great binding for anyone for whom the additional safety and ease of use are worth a little extra weight. If the Z-value is enough for you, you can't go far wrong with the new Vipec. However, you should bear in mind that this is a touring binding and not a true freeride binding. I wouldn't recommend it for hard continuous use in the ski area, but the binding can easily cope with occasional freeride or piste days in the ski area.

Advantages & disadvantages

+Adjustable release on the toe piece
+Release also on the ascent
+Top downhill properties
+Innovative crampons
-Entry into the toe piece requires some practice


RRP 484.95
Z-value 5-12
490g without stoppers (one binding, pair 980g)
Stoppers available in 80/90/100/115mm
Crampons available in 90/115mm

Here is the manufacturer's website with further information, here you can order the binding from our partner store

Photo gallery

This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

Show original (German)


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