Binding Tech

 

Integrated Binding Systems   motion

Stroll into the shop, head toward the racks of shining alpine skis, and one thing you’ll notice is that the majority of the skis we sell are designed and packaged with integrated binding systems. When you purchase skis, matching bindings usually come with them. Before systems, normal mounting procedure required drilling and then directly screwing the binding to the ski so the toe and heel were fixed. Today’s bindings are affixed to rails or plates integrated into the skis themselves (eliminating the screws), allowing the binding to slide forward and backward on its rails.  This allows the ski to achieve a more round flex to get better contact with the snow for great carving.

 

Do All Skis Have Integrated Systems?

Nope. As we explained above, the floating binding and rise are designed primarily to increase power and edging ability on harder snow and groomers.

Most park and pipe skis are sold flat, meaning that they lack any rails, plates, or otherwise funky mounting systems. The reasoning: Since freestyle skiers are generally not out carving the mountain all day, they wouldn’t receive any benefit from an integrated system. Also, many of these skiers have particular binding systems they are comfortable with (certain models have more reliable retention when landing a jump switch, for example) and appreciate the freedom of choice a flat ski provides. Lastly, a flat ski lacks any built-in rise, and keeping the boot closer to the ski increases stability on rails and stomping airs.

Fat skis are also sold flat for many of the same reasons stated above. Powder skiing requires lots of small adjustments on a gloriously unstable surface. The lack of riser helps with stability in these situations. Typically the edges and sidecut of the ski do not aid in turning in powder, so no powerful carving is done at all. It also provides the option to choose a particular binding, perhaps one suited to landing 100-foot cliff hucks.

 

Wide Ride type bindings    wideride

As wider skis have become more popular, the Marker binding company realized that the bindings needed to keep pace to help skiers control these wide skis.  So they built a family of wider bindings to give the skier more control over the new mid fat and powder skis.  They do this by making the mounting points  wider, making the binding housing bigger and stiffer, and beefing up the boot contact points.  If you are investing in new wider skis make sure you get a binding make for them.

AT/Randonnée Bindings

We don’t need to stinking lift.  AT bindings allow the skier to disengage the heel of the binding from the ski to allow the skier to climb back up the mountain without changing boots or skis.  Once you are at the top, lock your heel back down and rip it up.  You will of course need to add a gripping surface to your skis (i.e. skins) for the climb up.  There are 2 main categories of AT bindings.

Frame Bindings    markerat

These are compatible with regular alpine ski boots and they are generally more powerful and less flexy than tech bindings.  Unlike tech bindings, most of these bindings are at home at the resort enabling you to have one setup for lift serve and backcountry.

Tech Bindings   g3-ion-tech-binding

Also known as Dynafit (the original manufacturer) bindings these are usually a fair bit lighter and require a specific AT boot, alpine (or DIN sole) boots are not compatible.  This system is all about keeping a light system for long climbs or tours, it can be half the weight of a Frame binding/alpine boot setup.