Ski Binding Buying Guide
By Steve Kopitz
Ski technology and shapes have changed so rapidly in the past 5 years that bindings have had to evolve with them. As modern skis have gotten wider the bindings have had to grow wider as well. Now bindings have much more control and power to them with this wider platform. The key things that you must consider when choosing the best ski bindings for your skis are the DIN Range, Binding Type and Brake Width. As with all ski equipment the heavier or more aggressive you are; the stronger or heavier-duty your equipment should be.
Bindings are not only the way to attach yourself to your skis but they are an important piece of safety equipment as well. They keep you in your skis when you need to be locked in and release you when the appropriate amount of force is applied to let you out in order to prevent injury. Since they are safety equipment they should only be mounted, adjusted and tested by certified technicians. It is strongly discouraged by skis.com and the manufacturers that you make any adjustments to your bindings yourself no matter how minor they seem to be.
All ski bindings are required to have a safety brake. They come in many different widths and are often replaceable. When purchasing a ski binding please make sure that the brake width is at least as wide as the waist of the ski you intend to put it on. Try to avoid brake widths that are more than 20mm wider than the waist of your ski.
Downhill bindings, the majority of what skis.com sells, have a standard fixed toe and heel. They are calibrated and manufactured with safety and performance in mind.
Alpine Touring bindings are designed to hike or skin up the mountain and then ski down. The heel piece releases off of the ski while the toe remains fixed to the ski for making your way up to freshies. This category includes bindings that are designated as sidecountry/backcountry that work as well as downhill bindings but allow you to skin.
Race bindings maintain a narrow platform due to the fact that race skis are still narrow in the waist. They typically use more metal components for additional durability and have higher DIN ranges to accommodate higher speeds.
Binding Brakes are replacement brakes in case you have bent or broken yours. They allow you to only replace the brakes if you change ski widths.
The DIN Range dictates what weight/ability range your bindings are designed for. DIN varies by height, weight, age, ability, and boot size, so knowing these basics helps to instantly narrow down the correct choice for you. Skiers that weigh more, are taller or are more aggressive require higher DIN settings. Also, if two skiers are the exact same height, weight, age, and ability but they vary in boot size, the skier with the smaller boot is able to put more torque on the ski bindings therefore needing a higher DIN setting. Here are some basic guidelines on what DIN range to look at.
• .75-4.5 Youth Skiers Only Under 109lbs.
• 2-7.5 Youth and Teen Skiers or Beginner Adult Skiers Under 140lbs
• 2-9(10) Teen and Intermediate Adult Skiers under 150lbs
• 4-12 Intermediate to Advanced Adults less than 200lbs
• 6-14 Racers or Advanced/Expert Skiers 150-210lbs
•9-16 Advanced to Expert Skiers over 190lbs
The higher the DIN range ski bindings have the more durable it is designed to be. This is important for more aggressive skiers, freeriders and freestylers. While the highest DIN setting may be greater than what you need, the binding will hold up longer against the rigors of aggressive skiing. Bindings that mention steel or metal components are typically going to be more durable.
To keep things simple for you, figure out the best DIN range for yourself, decide how strong you need your ski bindings to be and check the waist width. Remember that ski bindings are an important part of keeping you safe while skiing. Now you are ready to shop for bindings.