I) What are they for
An alpine ski binding has an essential role in terms of safety. Firstly, it keeps ski and boot bond together when skiing. This ensures stability, control and response. Secondly, it protects skiers from injuries and releases the boot in case of a fall.
Depending on the type of skiing (alpine, racing, touring, freeride, freestyle…), bindings may have different specifications and features designed to meet specific needs. A touring ski for example, is designed with lightweight as main asset. That makes climbind easier. On the other hand, a racing binding is made with materials that maximise energy transmissions from boot to ski.
II) The anatomy of an alpine ski binding
a. The toe piece
The toe piece is the front piece of the binding, in which the tip of the boot clips. There is a spring going through the piece which you can adjust with a screw located in front of the toe piece. The adjustment of this spring defines how much lateral pressure needs to be applied on the boot before releasing it on a side.
b. The heel piece
It is the rear piece of the binding. There are two kinds of bindings:
- Mounted on a rail, they allow to adjust the binding to the boot length. There is a lever which moves when pressing the heel on a ‘switch’ after you put the tip of the boot in the toe piece. This heel piece works on a vertical axis and the setting of release value defines the level of pressure the binding needs before releasing the boot.
- the “pivot heel piece”, without any rail. These bindings can pivot in order to release the boot when there’s a torsion.
c. The brake
The brake is designed to prevent the ski from sliding downhill when you’re not on it (risk of loss or injury if the ski hits a skier further down). It is made of two metallic parts, a pad and a spring and it is located in the fore part of the heel piece, just underneath the heel. When you are locked into the binding, the metallic parts of the brake raise above the snow and let the ski glide without dragging. When the binding releases, the brake goes down and drags onto the snow to slow the ski down and eventually stops it.
The settings need to be done carefully by professionals. They are done according to specific norms (AFNOR) and depend on the skier’s weight, height, gender and skills. The release value, also called DIN value, is the amount of pressure (lateral and/or vertical) that needs to be applied on the bindings to make it release the boot. It is essential to know this value and adjust your bindings according to it. Come have a look at our Alpine Grip Walk, MNC, and Alpine Walk To Ride ski binding sole standards amongst many others in our online shop.
IV) And more
When you buy alpine or touring ski packages with Glisshop, the mounting, fitting and setting of the bindings is free and done by a skiman. You will save time and ensured of the setting quality. Stay safe with us!
V) Glisshop recommendations
- When we set your bindings, we need to know your measurements. Please be as precise as possible: setting your release is done according to what you tell us.
- Do not overestimate your abilities, it is a safety issue. A beginner needs a binding that releases easily to cope with the falls of the first slopes. An expert racer needs a binding with a high DIN value so it doesn’t release when lots of pressure is applied on it at full speed.