Alpine Ski Bindings FAQ
By Steve Kopitz
The following is a list of many of the frequently asked questions about alpine ski bindings. To obtain the answer to any question listed below, please click on the respective question in the list to jump to its answer.
A: Alpine ski bindings are classified into the following types: regular, integrated/system, wide brake/freestyle and race. Determining the binding type that you need will be based on the skis that you have. Regular alpine ski bindings are standard bindings that are mounted onto skis, whereas integrated/system are bindings that are built into part of the ski. Wide brake or freestyle bindings are wider to accommodate the wider twin-tip/freestyle skis. Race alpine ski bindings are lightweight with a higher DIN range to respond to the forces generated while racing. For more information ski binding types please refer to our ski binding buying guide.
A: Skis that are sold with Alpine ski bindings attached are known as integrated bindings, as they are built into and are a part of the skis themselves. (You might also see these set-ups called system skis.) Unless you’re an experienced racer or freestyle skier with specific binding needs, integrated bindings are highly recommended. With flex being key to the functionality of shaped skis, they have quickly become an industry standard. Think about it this way: When you drill regular Alpine ski bindings into a ski and drop in the boot, you end up with shaped ski that flexes above and below the binding zone, but not within in. This is a dead zone, like skiing with a metal rod in the middle of your skis. Once manufactures realized that shaped skis weren’t performing to their potential due to this boot/binding combination, they created integrated bindings that “float” on top the ski. The bindings do this by moving back and forth as the ski flexes, keeping constant pressure on your boots to hold you in. The end result is that integrated bindings give skiers the full benefit of a shaped ski’s potential. For more information about integrated bindings please refer to our Ski Buying Guide.
A: The general purpose of a brake is to stop the ski from skiing away when you are released from your bindings. Due to the nature of a Twin-Tip/Freestyle ski, these skis can be wider then most downhill skis. These skis are also referred to as “Fat Skis”. This type of ski needs a specific wide binding to accommodate the wider ski. Standard binding brakes are not wide enough for this style of ski. When determining what wide brake binding to purchase you will need to know the waist width of your ski, this way you can avoid purchasing a wide brake binding that will not be too narrow. On all of our wide brake binding product pages you will be able to find the brake size. These are stated in millimeter measurements.
A: Whenever you buy new bindings or have your bindings adjusted the technician will determine your DIN setting based on key factors. The DIN setting will determine the tension point in which you will be released from your alpine ski bindings while skiing. The word “DIN” is an acronym for Deutsche Industrie Normen. This German industrial organization bears the responsibility of setting the standards for binding release tensions. These important safety settings are determined by your: height, weight, boot sole length, skier type and age. For more information on DIN please refer to the ski bindings buying guide.
A: On any given ski binding there will be a DIN range; a typical DIN range for an adult ski binding would be 3-10. Your DIN number needs to be set correctly, so you will not be released from your bindings to quickly or to late. If the number is set to low you may be released to early and have trouble skiing. In turn if the number is set to high you may be released to late, this may cause injuries during a fall. Your DIN setting will be determined by several key factors and should only be adjusted by a trained technician. You will be asked if you are a Type 1, Type 2 or Type 3 skier. Type 1 skiers are conservative, Type 2 skiers ski at a moderate pace and Type 3 skiers are daredevils. This question is asked in order to determine your DIN setting. Your setting will also be determined by your: height, weight, boot sole length and age.
A: Ski brakes do not assist you in stopping while skiing but are used to keep your ski from skiing away during a fall. When you are released from your bindings the lever on your ski brake flips down and digs into the snow surface. As a result, your ski is rescued from a life as an orphan.
A: Kid’s bindings should only be mounted onto kid’s skis. Kid’s alpine ski bindings have a smaller DIN range, will only accommodate a kid’s sized boot and the brake is narrower than an adult ski brake. The lower DIN range will result in a low release-setting to accommodate a kid’s small size and weight. An adult will need a higher DIN setting. Recently manufacturers have created kid’s system skis with integrated bindings, with the same technology as the adult system skis. These integrated bindings are also only meant to be on the kid’s system skis.
A: Down hill alpine ski bindings and boots are universal between the manufacturers. This means that all downhill ski boots will be compatible with downhill ski bindings. When ordering downhill alpine ski bindings you will want to keep in mind the type of skiing you will be doing. If you are a racer and have race skis and race boots then you will want a race binding. Also, if you have wide or “Fat” skis you will want to order a wide brake binding, but any downhill boot will be compatible with wide brake alpine ski bindings.