Ski bindings are the all-important component that anchors you and your ski boots to the skis. Convenience, performance and riding style are all important considerations when selecting the right pair of bindings for your setup.
Types of Ski Bindings
Step-in bindings, also called alpine bindings, are by far the most popular type of binding for downhill skiers. The simple design allows each binding to attach to the boot at the heel and toe. A hinged heel allows for easy step-in. The design delivers a solid combination of performance and convenience. Cross-country and telemark bindings do not anchor the heel to the ski, and are ideal for cross-country skiing.
Getting In and Out
When purchasing bindings, one of the most important considerations is being able to get in and out quickly and easily. The ski boot should easily step into the binding and deliver a tight hold. However, this hold should be balanced by the binding’s ability to release the boot from the ski in the event of a fall. Failure to do so significantly increases the chance for serious injury.
DIN Release Settings
To ensure proper release during crashes, ski bindings can be set to release after a specific level of pressure is applied. This level of pressure is known as the DIN. Most ski bindings feature a range of DIN settings that allow the rider to adjust the specific release setting. Choosing the correct DIN setting varies according to skier height, weight, boot size and skill level. However, a rough guide for proper DIN settings can be outlined based on skier weight:
Less than 125 lbs: 0.75 to 4.25 DIN
126 to 180 lbs: 4.25 to 6 DIN
More than 180 lbs: 6 DIN or higher
Please bear in mind, the better a skier you are, the tighter your bindings could be. If you are unskilled, you want your bindings to come undone when you fall so as to prevent injury.
Ski Binding Features
Once binding size and DIN setting have been determined, it’s time to look at specific features. Different features are advantageous to different riding styles. Some of the most important include:
Release directions: Most heel-side bindings allow for upward release and toe-side bindings allow for sideways release. However, some allow for upward or sideways release at both the toe and heel.
Ski stiffness: Harder skis deliver more vibrations to the skier. Bindings made of rubber do a better job of dampening these vibrations.
Forward pressure: Skiers who ski under high pressure will likely desire a binding with a forward pressure mechanism that ensure the boot stays attached to the ski.
Binding lift: bindings that lift the boots farther above the skis allow greater ground clearance and are ideal for carving in deep powder.
Adjustments: the ability to easily adjust the bindings for different ski conditions is a great feature for those who enjoy riding in a variety of snow conditions.