Christy Sports – Ski Buying Guide
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT BINDINGS FOR YOUR NEW SKIS
While ski bindings can often be an afterthought when purchasing new ski gear, they are a critical piece of equipment. Having the right bindings to ensure compatibility with your skis and boots is crucial to an enjoyable day out on the mountain. Follow this guide to help you pick out the right binding for you! There are three main components in choosing a ski binding: the main use of the binding (downhill skiing, uphill touring, or both), the brake width, and the DIN range.
TYPES OF BINDINGS
The three main binding types are: traditional alpine, alpine touring, and tech bindings.
Traditional alpine bindings are the most common binding type and are used for downhill skiing only.
Alpine Touring (AT) bindings are made with the ‘touring’ ability, meaning the heel of the boot can unlock from the binding, or the heel of the binding unlocks from the ski, so you can hike uphill with climbing skins. The heel is then locked back in, and the skins are removed from the base of the ski for the descent.
Tech, or Pin bindings, are a more specific AT binding and are used for both alpine touring and downhill skiing. These tend to be lighter than the frame style AT bindings, but the frame bindings are typically better for resort use. Tech bindings are only compatible with ski boots that have pin inserts on the heel and toe.
SKI BOOT COMPATIBILITY
It is essential to confirm boot and binding compatibility when purchasing new bindings (or boots). The different binding types above are designed to work with specific ski boot soles. Ski boot manufactures follow the International Standards Organization (ISO) standards for specific boot sole shapes and dimensions. The traditional alpine bindings are compatible with boots stamped with the ISO 5355. The touring standard is ISO 9523 and these boots are compatible with touring bindings. Multi-norm compatibility (MNC) bindings are compatible with either ISO 5355 or 9523. GripWalk boot soles are NOT compatible with traditional alpine bindings. It is highly recommended that all binding mounts, remounts, or adjustments be handled and tested by a professional manufacturer certified technician*.
The brake is on the heel piece of the binding and is used to stop your ski from sliding away in the event of a release. The brake must be wide enough to cover the waist width of your ski. For example, if the waist width of your ski is 90mm you will need a binding with a brake of at least 90mm. You do not, however, want the brakes to be too big for your skis because they can stick out the side of the binding too much and present a hazard. So, if your ski is 90mm wide you would not want a brake over 100mm wide. Some, but not all, brakes can be replaced for a different size.
The German Institute for Standardization (Deutsches Institut für Normung), or DIN, refers to the numerical range the ski industry uses as the release settings in ski bindings. The range, generally from 0.75 – 18, refers to the amount of force placed on the binding before the ski boot will release. The higher the number the more force it will take for the boot to release from the ski. Your DIN is determined by height, weight, age, and ability level or ‘skier type’ (1-3+) using a manufacturer approved DIN chart. A certified binding technician will set your DIN when your skis are mounted.