Gear Made Clear: Ski Bindings

Gear Made Clear: Ski Bindings

It’s all too easy to forget that bindings help keep your knees, ankles, ligaments, etc. from getting mangled during your high-octane skiing exploits. A secure connection between your boot and binding ensures you’ll have maximum power transmission (go ahead, drop that hip) and an able body at the end of the day. So, appreciate those bindings of yours by getting to know ‘em.


DIN or Release Value

DIN is a German acronym that represents the release force setting of your binding. When adjusted in conjunction with your forward pressure, the DIN value signifies the amount of force required to eject your boot from your binding, based on your weight, height and skiing ability. An industry-wide standard for tech bindings has not been established, but their release value mirrors the amount of force needed for release with regards to approximate DIN values.


Elasticity

Elasticity is the amount of movement permitted in the toe and heel before your boot separates from the binding. In the event of a powerful impact, say, attempting to stomp a giant cliff drop, a few millimeters of lateral and vertical movement is allowed without release. Stronger and heavier skiers should look for bindings with more elastic travel.


Forward Pressure

Forward pressure (below) is the amount of force your binding applies to your boot to keep it in place. The distance between the binding’s toe and the heelpiece determines the forward pressure. To adjust, technicians utilize screws in the heelpiece, along with the fine-tuning of your DIN or release value, to determine how much force it’ll take to discharge your boot from the binding.


Ramp Angle

Defined as: The difference in height between the heel and the forefoot, resulting from the combination of boot and binding construction. If you happen to employ a stance that puts unequal pressure on your inside or outside edge, or you tend to lean too far forward when you ski, ask your friendly shop technician to adjust the ramp angle; this will improve your fun levels on the hill.


Antifriction Device

Located underneath your toe, the antifriction device aids in the release of your boot from the binding, when necessary. A sliding AFD moves from side to side to reduce release friction for when an eject is needed. A static AFD is immobile but coated with Teflon to reduce friction and enable release.


Sole Compatibility

Ski boot soles and ski bindings must correctly pair. There are three sole types: Alpine bindings (below left)—the most popular of the bunch—are compatible with DIN-certified soles and are geared towards resort-oriented skiers. Tech soles (below middle) have inserts in the toe and heel to accommodate the clamping pins of frameless tech bindings utilized by backcountry skiers. Walk-to-Ride soles (below right) are rockered, making walking and hiking easier. What’s not to love?


Frame vs. Tech Bindings

Frame bindings (below left) are just like traditional Alpine bindings, but fixed to a frame or rail that makes direct contact with the ski. The heel of the frame can be disengaged, allowing the user to lift up the heel and ski-tour uphill. Frame bindings are affordable but heavier than their tech counterparts.

Tech bindings (above right) are frameless, featuring a heel and toepiece. Each piece utilizes pins to connect with inserts on the toe and heel of the boot. When ski-touring, the heel is completely detached and then locked back down for the descent. Tech bindings offer incredible weight reduction for efficient uphill travel and—thanks to ever-changing technologies—still offer top-notch reliability for rowdy descents.

Browse the top bindings of 2017-2018

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