Oh dear, look what lots of training does to lightweight bindings! One toe piece broke at the end of December 2012 (after 5 months’ heavy use), and the replacement broke 2 and a half months later. Again fairly high use at 30-35,000m vertical, but that’s less than half of what I’d typically do in a winter’s training. The third broke after 7 and half months’ use, so stood up to much more than the others. As you can see they all broke in pretty much the same zone, though the first was initially through the crampon mount hole and the 2nd and 3rd were initially through the rear binding mount hole.
Now I’m only 67 kgs (147 lbs) and have these mounted on a narrow race ski, so am not exactly putting huge forces through the binding, but obviously enough to break them. This is potentially really dangerous as a binding failure in a no fall zone could be fatal. Now, when I’m on these skis I’d very rarely be in a no fall zone, but it’s not only on the downhill that this can be dangerous. On the uphill there are plenty of places where if you lost a ski, you’d potentially lose balance and end up falling quite a way if the snow’s hard. And when a toe piece breaks like this, the toe lock no longer works: the ski keeps popping off even when locked. Add to that the potential danger of a runaway ski hurting someone else and you can see this is something to keep a close eye on.
So… if you’re using lightweight bindings, make sure you check them for cracks before and after every use!