Skiing would be impossible without the binding attaching your boot to your ski, but adjusting your ski bindings can seem confusing and intimidating. However, if you follow some simple steps, you’ll be able to easily adjust your ski bindings.
The 5 steps for adjusting ski bindings are:
- Match your ski boot to your binding in millimeters
- Decide on boot positioning
- Calculate your DIN value
- Adjust to the correct DIN value
- Check your work with a professional
Although there are only five steps, this procedure is a little complicated. Adjusting your binding correctly can significantly improve your safety on the slopes. Below we will expand on the five steps and how to minimize any errors in your adjustments.
5 Steps For Adjusting Ski Bindings
1. Match Your Ski Boot To Your Binding In Millimeters
Somewhere on your ski boot is a small number in millimeters. This number indicates the length of your boot’s sole. You can usually find the number etched onto the outside of your boot’s heel. In addition, you will find two sliding scales in millimeters on your ski binding, one for the front part of your binding and one for the back part of your binding.
Once you know the millimeters on your boot, you need to match the front binding and back binding by sliding them to the correct millimeter. There will be two levers to release the binding to allow it to slide.
The front binding usually has a lever that pulls out to the side, where the back binding has a lever that pulls up. The front binding will slide towards the tip of the ski, and the rear binding will slide towards the ski’s tail.
2. Decide On Boot Positioning
The next step is to determine where you want your boot to sit on your ski. If you are a beginner, this is not crucial. Centered will probably work fine for you. If you are a little more advanced, you have to ask yourself whether you will be riding switch, in the park, or in deep powder.
If you plan to ride switch the best place to position your boot is in the center. This is because when you switch to riding backward, you want the same balance point as if you were riding forward.
If you are riding park, mounting your binding slightly back from the center will allow for quicker spins and forward landings, but if you prefer mainly switch landings, you might want to stick to a center mount.
If you are freestyle riding in deep powder, you will probably want your bindings pretty far back towards the tail, so that you can bend your knees and stay in a squat position without falling forward into the loose snow.
Once you have determined how far back from the matching millimeter you want your skis, put the levers back in place and ensure that your binding no longer slides forward or backward.
3. Calculate Your DIN Value
The DIN value is a number that represents the force required to release your boots from their skis. You don’t want your bindings to come apart too easily, but you also want them to release if you wipe out.
To calculate your DIN value, you need to take your height, weight, boot size, and skiing ability into consideration. Height, weight, and boot size are the more apparent influencers of DIN value. The bigger you are, the more influence you will have on the release point of your bindings.
Ability is one of the less obvious influencers of the DIN value. If you are a beginner, you will want a DIN value of 2-7. This DIN value will allow the binding to more easily separate as you are learning and your tendency to fall is higher.
As you progress as a skier and start skiing steeper and more challenging terrain, you will need a binding with a fair amount of retention. A DIN value of 5-12 will be more suited for a higher skill level. The only time you want your binding to release is if you were to wipe out majorly.
Dangers Of An Incorrect DIN Value
The DIN value calculation is a pretty precise science that involves many factors. Failure to adjust your DIN value to the correct setting can be detrimental to your safety.
Even if you choose to wear a heavier backpack on a particular day, you must adjust your DIN setting. Having a DIN setting that is too high is especially dangerous as a failure to release could result in a torn ACL or other injuries.
Having DIN settings that are too low, while great for beginners, can have you ejecting at an inopportune time and hiking uphill to retrieve your skis.
Conditions And DIN Value
Most of the time, the conditions do not affect your DIN value, but sometimes it is worth the adjustment. For example, if the snow is super soft, the binding helps absorb the energy, and the DIN value can be lower. On the other hand, if you are skiing on a particularly icy day, you might want the DIN value up at a higher setting.
There are calculators online that prompt you for all the essential DIN value factors and let you know what they think your DIN value should be, but I would not recommend relying on these calculators alone.
It is always a good rule of thumb to start out slowly on newly adjusted bindings.I do not recommend charging down a run going full speed after freshly adjusting your bindings. Feel them out before going full send.
4. Adjust To The Correct DIN Value
DIN value is adjusted using a series of screws. To adjust your DIN value, you should find the adjustment screw in the side or on the front of the toe piece of your binding. Somewhere on the front binding will be a window with numbers on it. If you turn the screw clockwise, the numbers in the window, or the DIN value, will rise, and if you turn it counterclockwise, the DIN value will lower.
To adjust your back binding, pop the heel piece up as if you were about to put your boot on. Doing this should allow better access to your rear DIN screw. Below the heel piece, you will find another window with small numbers. As with the front, turning the screw clockwise will make the numbers rise, and counter-clockwise will lower the numbers.
5. Check Your Work With A Professional
Because bindings are such an integral part of your safety, it is always a good idea to get them double-checked by a professional at a ski shop. Having someone who knows what they are doing look at your bindings will give you that extra reassurance you need. It is especially vital to have a binding technician check your gear if you are new to skiing or new to setting up bindings.
Many factors go into a proper DIN value calculation, and it is easy to miss one of them. Ski boots and bindings also differ from one brand to another, and although DIN values should be universal, you will find different brands require slightly different DIN settings.
Also, keep in mind that all the adjustments are very small. We are dealing with millimeters here, so, unfortunately, a small error can make a big difference. A ski boot and binding professional will give you the extra reassurance that you will be safe on the slopes.
Bindings are one of the most important pieces of your ski gear. Adjusting your bindings correctly can significantly influence your safety on the mountain. Once the millimeters of your boot’s sole match the millimeters on your binding, lock them into place.
Then, correctly calculate your DIN value and turn the DIN adjusting screws to the value you calculated. Lastly, double-check your work with a professional to ensure there are no errors before hitting the slopes.