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​CAST Touring Is Doing Big Things For Skiing in Small Town Idaho

Lars and Silas Chickering-Ayers are the masterminds behind CAST Touring - the worlds first ski touring binding to combine a pintech toe four touring with a full alpine binding for desceding. Now 10 years in, CAST is proof that it's possible to run a business and live the dream in the Tetons. | Max Ritter photo.

Did you know that one of the most innovative backcountry ski binding systems on the market is fully manufactured right down the road from TGR HQ? We recently stopped by the CAST Touring factory in Driggs, Idaho to see where the magic happens. The brainchild of pro skiers and brothers Lars and Silas Chickering-Ayers, CAST was created with a simple mission in mind – to create a better, safer, and more reliable ski touring binding. Their time spent competing at the highest levels of the sport and exploring rowdy backcountry lines across the globe led them to want to create a new binding system that’s trusted by some of the best athletes worldwide. The facility, tucked into a small industrial park next to the Driggs Airport is a testament to the hard work and bootstrapping attitude the two brothers have brought to their vision.

A look at the CAST Freetour binding system itself. | Max Ritter photo.

Running a manufacturing business in small-town Idaho certainly comes with its own set of challenges. Lars and Silas both grew up in Vermont, and pursued careers on the Freeride World Tour, so they are no stranger to doing things the hard way. Lars started tinkering with ski bindings and other tech very early on, creating the first iterations of the CAST system while still competing. After going back to school to learn the ins and outs of manufacturing and industrial design, Lars teamed up with his younger brother Silas to start CAST in 2012. With the help of some investment from family and friends, as well as a good chunk of their own savings, the two are now running a successful small business in the Tetons. Watching Lars and Silas lovingly tinker with the machines on our visit demonstrated their passion for the project, and showcased how mixing business with pleasure can definitely work out.

A set of brand-new pintech toes on the assembly line. | Max Ritter photo.

The CAST Freetour binding system is the world’s first pin-tech touring system that also captures the release and safety of a traditional alpine binding. Combining a modified Look Pivot 15/18 binding with an in-house manufactured tech toe allows CAST to create a hybrid binding unlike any other. The magic happens in how the binding toe piece mounts to the ski – using special screws, the removeable Dynafit-style tech toe piece clicks into place and can be swapped out in seconds for a Pivot toe. The turntable heelpiece remains mounted to the ski as normal and has a special heel-riser/lever system to lock the brakes in place for touring.

With everything done in-house, CAST can control all parts of manufacturing from raw material to finished product. | Max Ritter photo.

Silas gets his hands dirty on one of the factory's CNC machines. | Max Ritter photo.

Having in-house manufacturing has allowed CAST to go from tinkering in a garage to fully manufacturing a working product. With numerous industrial-grade CNC machines, a materials testing facility, an assembly room, and a warehouse, it’s a full-fledged headquarters. Keeping everything in-house gives them 100 percent control over quality – something imperative to the product itself. When it comes to bindings for hard-charging freeride skiers, they simply need to be trusted. Today, CAST sponsors a long list of the best freeride athletes all over the world and is the binding of choice for recreationalists who put a premium on performance and reliability.

The next batch of bindings are currently being assembled by the team in Driggs, so make sure to get an order in before they sell out again.

About The Author

stash member Max Ritter

I manage digital content here at TGR, run our gear testing program, and am stoked to be living the dream in the Tetons.