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Choosing a ski binding can be fun, but it's also extremely important. The binding is the piece of gear that will keep you safe throughout the life of your setup if used and maintained properly. These days, bindings have become more versatile than ever to keep up with skiers' needs in the resort and the backcountry.
Typical alpine ski bindings have a DIN range in an indicator window, which directly affects how easily your boot will release from the ski system. Alpine ski bindings are meant to release both left and right in the toe, and upwards on the heel.
Based on your height, weight, age, boot sole length, and skier type, you will have a DIN setting that must fall within the advertised DIN range of the binding. You can use this Ski Binding DIN Chart as a basic reference to find your setting. Please give us a call if you need help navigating the table. For most women and lighter men (100 - 170lbs), a 10 or 11 max binding DIN should be sufficient. For larger individuals (160 - 250lbs) a 12 -14 max binding DIN would be more appropriate. Usually, only folks who weigh around 250lbs or pro/competition skiers will use a binding with a max DIN higher than 14.
Make sure that the binding brakes are an appropriate width for your skis. You must first find the millimeter measurement of the width of the ski. This number can be found on any product page on Powder7.com, and it's usually printed on the topsheet of the ski. Ski dimensions list three numbers, and the middle number represents how wide the ski is underfoot, where the brake will go. So if the dimensions are 115/90/112, then the ski is 90mm underfoot. This is the number you want to base the brake width on.
Generally, you want the brake width and the ski width as close as possible, erring on the side of a slightly wider brake. Most brakes can stretch up to 8mm, so you can usually get away with choosing a brake that's slightly narrower than your skis. On the other hand, you never want the brake width to be more than 12mm wider than the waist width of the ski. If you have too much overhang, brakes can get caught on pants, loose roots, etc. Choose the option that has the least difference between the ski width and brake width.
Once you have located your approximate DIN setting along with the brake width you need, you can now start shopping through the bindings. Most binding models have multiple brake width options so first find the model then check that that particular model comes with a brake that fits your skis. Below are some bestsellers in each category.
Tip: When choosing a binding over 100mm underfoot, we recommend using a binding with a horizontal spring in the toe piece for maximum power transfer. Those include Marker Squire, Marker Griffon, Tyrolia Attack. Also, Aggressive Park and Bump skiers tend to like the pivoting heel on the Look Pivot and Rossignol FKS bindings for maximum retention.
If you are an alpine touring enthusiast or are thinking about skiing uphill in the future, you will save a lot of time, headache, and money going with a touring binding from the start. There are various models of touring bindings based on how much actual touring you want to do.
With so many different alpine touring boots on the market, bindings have had to play catch-up. If you have a walkable boot sole (like GripWalk, WTR, full touring, etc), you may not be able to put your boots in every alpine binding. Double check (or call us!) to make sure you've got a good match. Bindings with adjustable toe height (Salomon's MNC, Marker's Sole ID, and Tyrolia's AT technology) are good fits. Be aware: you could also have a boot that will only work with full tech touring bindings.
It is always good practice to get your bindings tested once before the start of every season. Take your ski setup to any authorized retailer of the bindings and they should be able to do the test in 15 minutes for a small nominal fee. It is also good to turn the tension down on the springs in the summertime. In other words take your screwdriver and dial the setting all the way to the lowest numerical value. If you do this, you will of course have to get them re-tested before the start of next season.
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