If you got your backcountry setup and you're already signed up for an avalanche course, all you've got to do now is figure out how to travel up the hill. Learning how to skin using your skis will be y [...]
How to Choose Ski Bindings
Published: Nov 21, 2020
One of the most important pieces of your ski equipment are ski bindings. Without these, you just cannot use your skis. They provide a direct connection between you and your skis, and to keep you safe, the ski bindings release you from the ski whenever the pressure that is exerted on them exceeds the release settings.
Choose ski bindings by determining the waist width of your skis, and your DIN settings. Also take into consideration their construction and durability, brake width, whether they are compatible with your skis, and your skill level.
When choosing ski bindings, you have to remember to have your ski bindings mounted, adjusted, serviced, and inspected by a certified ski binding technician.
But to give you an idea, and to provide you with more information on how to choose the right ski binding, read our guide below.
Your ski's waist width will determine the size brake that you need, while your weight, height, sole length, and skiing ability will determine the DIN settings or release force settings. Once you've established the right DIN range and brake width, you can look at the additional features that it offers.
These are important for the safe operation of a ski binding in order to prevent injuries. The standard binding release settings in the industry is known as Deutsches Institut für Normung, or simply ‘DIN.' This refers to torque rating, and is measured by a combination of your boot size, height, weight, and skiing level. It is not recommended to adjust your DIN settings by yourself. Instead, it is best to have a specialist do it for you.
Ski bindings' DIN chart
|Skier Weight||25-65 lbs||30-100 lbs.||50-165 lbs||65-200 lbs||65-240 lbs||65-250 lbs||130-285 lbs||130-300 lbs||150-200 lbs|
|Ability Level||Beginer - Intermediate||Beginner - Intermediate||Beginner - Intermediate||Beginner - Intermediate||Beginner - Advanced||Intermediate - Expert||Intermediate - Expert||Intermediate - Expert||Expert - Pro|
|Brief Description||Lightweight children||Junior Skiers||Heavier beginning or beginning to advanced junior skiers||Intermediate junior Skiers or lightweight beginning adult Skiers.||Beginning Skiers or lightweight intermediate to advanced adult Skiers.||Intermediate Skier who are heavier or lighter weight expert adult Skiers.||Heavier or more aggressive intermediate to expert adult skiers.||Heavier Skier, very aggressive advanced and expert adult skiers.||Aggressive expert big mountain skiers and racers.|
|DIN||.5 to 2.5||.75 to 4.5||2 to 7||3 to 10||3 to 11||3 to 12||6 to 14||6 to 16||8 to 18|
These are designed to stop your skis after release, so that you can recover them quickly and not put other skiers in danger. The waist width of your skis will determine the ski brake's width. It is best to choose a brake width that is not over 15mm wider than the waist width of your skis.
If your brakes are too narrow, they will not be able to clear the edges of your skis, and will not deploy accurately when your skis come off. On the other hand, if your brakes are too wide, they can drag when you put your skis on edge.
Construction and durability
The ski binding's strength is another important aspect. For experts and advanced skiers, it is best to look for ski bindings with beefier construction and stronger materials in order to be able to accommodate the intense forces of high speed skiing, even in steeper and more technical terrains. The features that you should look for when considering durability are the material's density and strength, DIN range, metal parts, stiffness, and the design of pivot points.
Cautious to moderate skiers do not need the highest DIN settings, or the most lightweight and impact-absorbent materials. Instead, you can choose a lower-end to mid-range ski binding to save money while remaining safe. However, if you are a heavy person, it is best to have a higher release setting.
For the more aggressive skiers, it is best to have a higher release setting. You should look for a ski binding that is lightweight, and constructed with performance metals to enhance high-speed skiing, even on steep terrains.
Ski bindings with lower release settings best suit kids, and are designed to accommodate kid-specific ski boots. Some Junior ski bindings work well on adult ski boots as well.
When buying new ski boots, your ski bindings need to be adjusted to accommodate the new boots. Alpine bindings are somewhat adjustable, but the adjustment range is limited, and may need to be remounted to work well with new ski boots. In all cases, it is best that any changes and adjustments only be made by a certified technician.
AFD (Anti-Friction Devices)
These are mounted under the forefeet, and are made of metal or Teflon pads that will allow the boots to easily slide out of the bindings when the toe pieces release.
The lifter is located under the binding, and has the ability to boost edge hold and response. Nowadays, a lifter is more of a race feature. It dampens ski vibrations, and absorbs shocks on landings. However, not everyone needs or wants lifters, because too much lift can make skis heavier and less versatile.
These are made for specific skis, and are packaged as a system. Generally, integrated bindings are available on all-mountain skis and wider all-mountain skis. These are often desirable because they flex more naturally, and have better edge hold. This will allow easy turning.
This aspect indicates what size of boots will fit into the bindings. Ski bindings with a wide range of adjustment will fit a large variety of boot sizes.
The ski bindings' mounting location on the ski affects the skis' performance. The farther back the binding is mounted, the stiffer it feels and the less turn initiation it allows. Most brands recommend a mounting position and it is best to have a qualified ski shop mount them for you. Women's ski bindings are often mounted slightly forward due to the fact that a woman's center of gravity is farther back than that of a man. Park and pipe skiers often choose a forward mount.
After purchasing a ski binding, you should configure its DIN setting, or ASTM set, and have it tested by a certified technician. As noted earlier, this will be based on your height, weight, age, level, and the ski boot's sole's length.
Specialized ski bindings
Demo ski bindings are typically used for rental skis, and are made to adjust quickly and efficiently to a large range of boot soles' lengths. It consists of a scale that is on the plate in between the heel and toe pieces, and will indicate the boot sole's length that the binding is set for.
These bindings are designed to be used with telemark boots. Telemark bindings flex under the ball of the foot. They allow the heel of the boot to travel freely and permanently up and down to enable the the Telemark's turn technique.
These ski bindings will allow a skier to lift their heels to be able to travel uphill with climbing skins, and lock them down for a descent. These are designed for touring, but can also be used for lift-served skiing.
It is best to have your skis tuned and your ski bindings inspected by a professional technician before each ski season.
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