What Ski Bindings Are Right For Me?

Let’s talk about bindings but not in an extremely technical, “I know so much more than you and you’re going to know it,” kind of way. If you're looking for a technical deep dive, there's plenty of posts across the internet. We’re going to provide you with some general information so you can make an informed buying decision without having to become an expert in binding science.
 
BINDING TYPES
 
Essentially, there are three types of ski bindings;
  • Alpine Bindings for downhill skiing
  • Alpine Touring (AT) aka Tech Bindings for backcountry touring and downhill skiing
  • Telemark Bindings for telemark downhill skiing.

Alpine bindings can only be used for downhill skiing because you can’t release your heel for touring, while touring bindings can be used for both downhill skiing and touring. Telemark bindings are Telemark skiing specific.

ALPINE BINDINGS
Basically, there are 3 things to know when purchasing bindings for our skis.
 
DIN RANGE – Binding DIN is the industry adopted scale of release force. Make sure the range fits within your skiing ability and physical characteristics. On average, unless you’re hucking cliffs, are more than 6 feet tall, and weigh over 200 pounds, a DIN range of 4-12 will be sufficient.

BRAKE WIDTH –The arms attached to the binding heel piece are the brakes. The brake width must be wider than the waist (the middle, narrowest part, also called underfoot) of the ski. Generally, you don’t want to go more than 10mm wider and you want at least 1mm wider than the ski waist. For example, our SOS 166 ski is 101mm underfoot (waist) so you’d want to get a binding with a brake width that is 105mm-110mm.

BOOT COMPATIBILITY – Both alpine (downhill) and tech boots (touring) are compatible with alpine bindings, but alpine boots are not compatible with tech bindings (more on that in the touring/tech bindings section).
We do want to mention a newer product called Knee Bindings. These are designed to release when flexed a specific way. They’re great for people who have had knee injuries in the past.

ALPINE TOURING (AT) aka TECH BINDINGS

Alpine Touring (AT) or Tech bindings are much more complex and it can get technical fast. AT bindings use a pin-and-hole system to secure the toe of your ski boot to the binding for touring mode. If you need more information than is provided here, reach out to hello@coalitionsnow.com.
 
Basically, there are 2 things to consider when buying tech bindings.
 
BOOT COMPATIBILITY - You will need specific tech boots in order to use tech bindings. This has to do with that pin-and-hole system which allows you to walk with your heel free in touring mode and then lock in your heel when switching to downhill skiing.

WEIGHT - Weight becomes an important factor in the backcountry. When looking at tech bindings keep an eye on the weight as the heavier the binding the more fatigue you will experience.
 
Dynafit ST Rotation Series tech bindings are a great choice for our backcountry specific skis, the La Nieves, and if you're petite, the Dynafit Radicals with a 4-10 din range are also great.
 
Essentially, our recommendation for tech bindings is if you’re planning on doing 80-90% of your skiing inbounds but you want the option to go touring, grab a pair of the Salomon Shift bindings or a full frame touring binding.
 
Full Frame Tech Bindings are closely related to a traditional alpine binding and have a heftier structure. The downside is you have to fully unclip to transition from touring to skiing and, like the Salomon Shift tech bindings, they are heavier than other, more traditional, tech bindings. They’re less functional for long distance touring but are a great option if you’re looking at spending most of your time inbounds but want the option to tour in the backcountry. Marker’s F10, F12, or Duke, are great options for full frame touring bindings.
 
If you are an extremely aggressive backcountry skier (hucking cliffs, doing flips), Moment’s (very pricey) tech brand binding is a good one to take a look at.
 

TELEMARK BINDINGS

Telemark bindings are all about release options. All of our skis can be outfitted with Telemark bindings. If you have specific questions about Telemark Bindings, reach out to hello@coalitionsnow.com and we’d be happy to help.

 

GENERAL INFO

  • Where can I get my bindings mounted? Any ski shop or REI is equipped to mount your alpine bindings. Tech bindings may require a special jig requiring you to go to a backcountry specialty store.
  • What is the lifespan of ski bindings? The general rule of thumb is 150 ski days. If you ski 30 times a year, plan on replacing them after 5 years. 
  • Are ski bindings sold in pairs? Yes
  • How much does it cost to get bindings mounted? Prices can vary, but typically the range is $25-$50. If you purchase your bindings in-store, some stores will mount for free.
  • Can I remount bindings? Remounting is possible, but they can’t be remounted in the same spot. In order to keep the integrity of the skis intact, a professional is required to ensure there is 1cm from the center of one hole to another. Different bindings have different hole patterns, so have your professional check prior to drilling.

As always, if you have any other questions about bindings, send us an email at hello@coalitionsnow.com as we’d be happy to provide more technical information.