Bishop Bindings are already pretty damn powerful. There aren’t any cables flopping around, there’s an adjustable pivot location, and the whole damn thing is made out of machined metal. But there are always those folks out there — usually it’s a guy, and usually he has some regrettable tribal tattoos — who insist their boots, skis and bindings just aren’t stiff enough to handle their “shredding.” Power Maniacal Juice Heads rejoice! The Bishop Power Block is here.
The Power Block is a pretty simple addition to the Bishop binding. It’s just a ramped piece of plastic that snaps on to the front of the binding (secured with one screw) and gets rid of elf-shoe effect that your clapped out 75mm telemark boots have. In short, it means quicker engagement and more power.
I’ve had the pleasure of skiing on some Power Blocks for the past few weeks, and I can give some real world insight into what it’ll do for your skiing. The first thing that you’ll notice is it’s a bit harder to click into your skis. If you’re right on the border between two micro notches on your heel bail, try the one a bit further back and save yourself the headache of fumbling around like a jackass trying to get your skis on. Trust me, there will still be plenty of power and pre load.
Photo 1: Look! No dead spot under the toe. And believe me, this boot is jacked up from several seasons of my horrendous technique.
Photo 2: They aren’t super attractive, intricately machined metal like the rest of the binding, but they’re under your boots while skiing so you can’t see ‘em.
Second, there’s no heel flop. Pop off jumps, land switch, sit on the lift and shake your ski like a madman. Nothing. No flopping at all. It’s awesome. Third, there’s a TON of edging power, enough so that it kind of forces you to be on your game when making turns. While you’ll get an unbelievable amount of edging power, there’s a downside if you’re feeling lazy and want to get a little more slarvey.
The ski wants to track and drive the tip with authority rather than get sideways. Just be sure to drive it, or it’ll drive you. On that same note, if you’re skiing super blower bottomless powder, the tip won’t rise quite as easily as you may be used to. Keep in mind the caveat that I weigh around 150 pounds soaking wet, so you bigger folks may have an easier time engaging the turn in soft snow.
Power blocks are super powerful. They give you a crazy amount of edging power and ability to drive the tip down the fall line at the expense of some ease of turn initiation and sideways slashability. If you want to rip really powerfully, they’re for you. If you want to get all playful and bounce around the mountain, maybe not as much. Or give them a try for some days and leave them at home other days. They’re easy to install in about 45 seconds, so I recommend giving Power Blocks a try when you want to get sendy.
Photo 3: Old guy can still pull off a rodeo in variable conditions, thanks in no small part to a binding that has a tendency to save my ass when I blow it.