Binding selection has becoming a bit more customized these days with the advent of touring bindings, and more flat skis available with less integrated systems. Many of our skis come with a chosen binding by the manufacturer, though other skis allow you the choice of binding.
Bindings at their most basic hold the ski boot to the ski, and will release in a crash. However, more specialized bindings like Touring Bindings change from downhill skiing mode to the a position in which you can lift the heel and walk up the mountain (assisted by touring skins on the bottom of your skis).
When shopping for a binding there are some key components you need to be familiar with.
Toe & heel piece: These two parts work together to release when you do crash. The toe piece releases sideways or upwards to release your boot, and the heel releases upwards.
Brakes: Brakes are two prongs that sit on either side of the binding. There are different width brakes for different widths of ski. When the ski does release, the brakes will flip down which will catch the snow- saving you from a runaway ski.
Anti friction devices- These are located on the bottom of the binding, where your forefoot would be located. They cut down on friction between the binding and the boot during release.
Ski bindings have a DIN setting (or Deutsche Industrie Norm) which is the level at which the binding will release. The DIN setting on your binding is dependent on your height, weight, ability, age, and boot sole length. The DIN setting relates to how aggressively a skiier is, rather than the ski level- though that does come into play as well.
We suggest that you get your bindings fitted and DIN set by a qualified ski technician to ensure they are fitted correctly for use and safety. All of our skis come with a free binding fitting to your exact needs.
We have however, created the below chat of DIN settings for your reference - this is to only be used as a reference guide.
The area which you choose to mount your binding will depend on the type of skier you are and the type of ski you are buying, and the type of skiing you will be doing. On most skis, the manufacturer will recommend a position where the binding should be mounted. For certain skis, the skier can make the choice where to place the bindings. A position further back will give you more float in the powder, and a centred position will give you the ability for riding switch and initiate turns better. The Majority of skis however simply have one position and this is determined by your boot being centred to the narrowest part of the ski.
If touring is your cup of tea, have a look at our special touring section of the website with a buyers guide and specialized kit.
For now just a brief description of touring bindings. Alpine touring bindings allow the skier to lift their heel to ascend the mountain, which then locks down in the descent. The design of a touring binding is a bit different to a regular binding due to this function and unfortunately so is the price! Also, we recommend that these bindings only be purchased by skiers using them for the intended purpose as touring bindings do not offer the same level of safety, in terms of release directions in a fall, as a normal alpine ski binding.