Ski bindings attach your boot to the ski to help your boots and your skis act as one. They have a safety release system which enables them to detach in the event of a fall. There really are just two rules to follow for ski bindings:
- Boot and binding must be compatible.
- Always have a professional adjust the settings of your bindings.
Bindings consist of two main pieces, the toe and heel. If you should fall, the toe piece releases sideways and occasionally upwards. The heel piece can release in many directions but mostly upwards.
Many skis don't come with integrated bindings because the type of binding you need varies from person to person and boot to boot. It's essential to make sure you are up on the right bindings for you. Ski bindings can keep you safe while skiing and they also minimize vibration and help to absorb shock. Equally, the wrong binding with the wrong setting can be a liability.
SKI BINDING COMPONENTS
These come with all bindings and are attached to the heel. They stop your skis from sliding off on their own after release, so you can easily reclaim your skis for more downhill fun. The brake width of your ski (that area which is the middle section of your ski) should be at least as wide as the waist, which means if your ski waist is 75mm, you'll want to purchase ski bindings with brakes in the 75-95mm range. You need to have the correct width, because anything too wide or too narrow will be ineffective, making them unsafe.
Anti-Friction Devices (AFD)
These pads mount on your ski under the forefeet. They are made from Teflon® or metal. Your boots will easily slide out of the bindings when the toe pieces are released.
This material, found under the binding, is there to make your edge hold better. If you are into racing downhill, these lifters will enable you to angle your edges with greater efficiency.
These bindings are the most popular. They have a fixed toe and heel. Calibration is required to achieve the best performance and safety.
These bindings are built to be lightweight while maintaining durability.
These bindings are designed to skin up or hike up the mountain, then ski down. With these, the heel piece can be released from the ski while the toe piece remains fixed to your ski as you climb through the fresh snow.
These use more metal components for added durability. They also have a narrower platform because race skis are narrower in the waist.
RELEASE SETTINGS (DIN)
You will want your ski bindings to know the exact moment to release you from the settings, as well as how to hold you in place. These are your DIN settings, also known as Deutsche Industrie Norm. These German standards have been in use by the ski industry for a long time.
Release settings are based on your height, weight, age, experience, the type of skiing you do, and your boot sole length. The lower the number, the less force is required to release the binding. Whichever binding you choose, they all offer a range of release settings (3 to 10 for intermediate models and 14 or 16 for very advanced models.)
WHICH BINDINGS ARE RIGHT FOR YOUR SKILL LEVEL?
Bindings for children have lower release settings than those designed for adults. You may find that some of these bindings may work on adult sizes as well.
Beginner or Intermediate
People learning the skiing ropes tend to be cautious. If you are a beginner, you don't need the highest release setting or the most lightweight materials. You might, however, think about a lower range or mid-range model. Remember, if you are a heavier person, you'll need a higher release setting. And your bindings may need to go to the next level, too.
You know what to do out there. You're aggressive and love pushing the envelope. You will require a higher release setting. Look for more lightweight bindings made of titanium to enhance your high-speed skiing and to fly over high terrain.
When you go looking for all of your ski equipment, professionals can help determine the best fit for your skis, boots, bindings, and everything else. If you are not a certified binding technician, don’t attempt to adjust your ski bindings, or your DIN on your own. Leave that task to a ski professional because that's what they do. Your ski specialist will figure out the best DIN range for you and decide how strong you need those bindings to be.
Ski bindings will keep you safe out there. While this guide will point you in the right direction, don’t hesitate to ask for help to get the right bindings for you and to set them up safely.