If you have ever skied before, your know you can't just stick your ski boots into any ski; you need a proper bindings to anchor a ski boot to a ski. Ski bindings are made specifically to cater to different types of skiing, from downhill to cross-country. When researching the best binding for you, you have to remember a few rules: your boot must be compatible with your bindings. And your preferred style of skiing and experience level should also be taken into account. It's not at all complicated, once you have all the information, and we're just the ones to provide it.
Here are some important points to consider when shopping for bindings.
* '''Ski Brake''': A small lever that flips out once the boot is released from the binding and prevents the ski from sliding down the hill.
* '''Anti-Friction Devices (AFDs)''': Makes sliding in and out of step-in bindings easier, and they can even be adjusted to favor a certain release direction.
* '''Adjustable Forward Pressure''': Crucial to allow the bindings to adapt to the torque when skis bend and twist. This is something that advanced skiers should be concerned with.
* '''Vibration Dampening''': Available on more advanced models and should be considered for pro skiers.
* '''Fore-Aft Adjustments''': Can move the bindings slightly forward or backwards depending on whether you are skiing in deep powder.
Gender and Mounting Placement
Women's bindings need to be mounted differently from men's bindings because their center of gravity is somewhat lower, meaning that they mostly rely on the lower body as their source of power and a way to transfer weight on the skis. To counteract this, women's bindings should be mounted slightly forward of center on the skis. Fore-aft adjustments may help to balance skis out better.
Skill Level and DIN
The amount of torque needed to release the boot from its binding can be adjusted by turning a screw on the toe and heel piece. DIN (Deutsche Industrie Normen) is the measure of how easily a ski boot releases from the binding. Why do you want the binding to release, you ask? The first is obvious--dismounting the boot from the skis allows you to take off the boots and hang around the ski logde in expensive winter clothes. However, if you ever take a face dive into the slopes and it turns into a real tumble, your skis need to be able to release so as not to cause an injury.
Traditional alpine or downhill bindings are a two-part system comprised of a toe and heel piece. They are installed on the skis at the right distance from each other so that when the skier steps down into them, his or her weight locks the device down around the ski boot.
Cross-country skiing is performed solely on flat terrain, which demands a free-heel binding that enables you to skate across the snow. They are to be fitted with cross country boots that connect at the toe. There are three types of XC bindings available, each with a specific purpose and brands that they are compatible with.
Telemark skiing is a cross between alpine and Nordic skiing, also called free-heel skiing. There are four types of telemark bindings which all enable the heel to release by only connecting at the toe. You will want to look at the spring tension or stiffness in a binding when selecting since that is what will determine the kind of support you will get from them.
A good pair of ski bindings will range somewhere in the $150-$300 range, with $200 being the average price for a good pair. Don't forget that after buying the bindings, they also need to be properly installed, otherwise it could be potentially dangerous for you out on the slopes. Many professionals will typically install ski bindings for under $100, but this cost should be taken into account when purchasing. Remember, it's all about what's going to feel comfortable for you out there on the slopes, so a pair of bindings that costs slightly more but provides a comfortable fit is worth the higher price.