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Ski Binding Basics: Choosing the Right Gear

Ski bindings and breaksIf you’ve been skiing before, you realize your bindings are important. The way they transfer your energy down to the ski’s edges, and hold your feet in place while turning, is a fundamental task that is the only thing making skiing possible. But they’re also what makes skiing safer, by allowing your skis to release from your feet during a fall to protect your limbs and joints getting damaged by the rotation and movement of these large, heavy boards we slide down the mountain on. 

For both of these reasons, picking the right ski binding is important. But a quick looks at even our well-written descriptions reveals a whole lot of numbers, from DIN to width to weight. It can be tricky to figure out what works for you and your skis, so we put together this simple guide to help you narrow down the field and focus on the bindings that will do what you need them to do.

System vs. Flat

Some skis are sold packaged with ski bindings, and a lot of those ski packages use a unique mounting system to let the skis and bindings integrate, and to make the installation process easier (more on that in a moment). If you purchased a package like this, there’s no decision left to make because you’ve already got the bindings you need!

But a lot of skis are not sold like this, and instead are sold as “flats”. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have camber or rocker, instead it means that the topsheet of the ski is flat, with no bindings or system already installed. Almost any binding will fit on a flat ski, which means picking the right binding becomes your responsibility. While this can seem difficult at first, once you narrow the selection down based on your needs as a skier, and the needs of the ski, things get a lot more clear cut.

Ski binding closeup

Brakes and Brake Width Matters

The easiest way to narrow down your choices is by only looking at bindings with appropriate brake width. To figure that out you need to know the waist width of your ski, which is often included in the name of the ski. For example, the Head Kore 93 has a 93mm waist. The Stockli Stormrider 88 has an 88mm waist. And the Nordica Navigator 85? You guessed it, 85mm.

Some skis, like the Rossignol Soul 7 or Bomber Timberline Alpine, don’t include the waist width in the name. But don’t worry, we’ll always include the waist width in our product descriptions, or you can stop by your local Peter Glenn or contact us HERE and we can help you figure out your skis waist width.

Once you know your ski’s waist width, you’ll want to pick a binding with a brake width at least that size, but no more than 15mm bigger. This ensures the brake will easily swing down past your ski edges, but doesn’t stick out so far that it gets stuck when you’re carving hard, or riding in powder.

How to Choose Your DIN Range

The next question you ask yourself is how strong you need your bindings to be. Since ski bindings are designed to release your boot in the event of a fall, the springs inside need to be tuned to match your ability level, as well as your physical weight. Your ski technician will set your bindings to the appropriate DIN setting while he’s installing them, but you can use this handy chart to figure out what DIN range you’ll need from your bindings:

Skier Weight

25-100 lbs (11-45kg)

50-160lbs

(22-72kg)

65-200lbs

65-250lbs

130-250lbs

130-285lbs

130-200+lbs

150-200+lbs

Ability Level

Beginner-Intermediate

Beginner-Intermediate

Beginner-Intermediate

Beginner-Advanced

Intermediate-Expert

Intermediate-Expert

Intermediate-Expert

Expert

Description

Children

Children to Young Adults

Advanced Young Adults, or beginner adults

Beginner skiers, or advanced skiers who don’t weight much

Heavier Intermediate, or lighter expert skiers

Heavier skiers, or aggressive and expert adult skiers

Aggressive skiers, especially those who are physically larger

Racers, big mountain skiers, or people who want to destroy their knees

Recommended DIN

0.5 to 4.5

2 to 7

3 to 10

3 to 11

3 to 12

 

6 to 14

6 to 16

8 to 18

Once you’ve narrowed it down to skis with the right size brake for your skis, and the right DIN range for you, it’s a simple matter of picking from the available selections. But wait- this last step might be the most important.

Peter Glenn Ski ShopThe Importance of Professional Installation 

Ski bindings are complicated machines. With multiple angles of release, and a whole world of springs, wings, sliders and boot heights, it’s important to make sure you always have a certified ski technician install, and test your bindings. If you purchased any part of your setup, boots, bindings, or skis, from us you can rely on our staff to help with the installation (call your local store for pricing). Our convenient store locations give you the perfect opporunity to meet with our staff and find the right fit for you. 

We'll then mount and adjust your bindings so you can focus on what matters most, hitting the slopes!