Ski bindings: How to avoid common injuries

Posted By: The Ski Channel on June 23, 2010 10:45 am

(Image: Les Manley…bindings??, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from doglotion’s photostream)

Anybody who skis knows that eventually you have to take a fall. Lucky for us, the snow is usually more forgiving than dirt or concrete.

However, while big jumps sometimes lead to big crashes, many injuries on the slopes occur when ski boots don’t separate from their bindings.

The ski bindings that attach to your boots are designed to release your boots from the skis when you take a fall. This frees your self from most knee injuries that can happen when the skis get bent, twisted, or stuck in powder, trees, etc.

Tearing of cartilage, bone fractures or breaks, and ligament ruptures all are a result of the boots not detaching from the skis when things go wrong.

The truth is that most skiers don’t know how to test if their own bindings will release correctly.

The DIN setting is the component on your bindings that is used to set how much pressure your boot can take before detaching.

If your DIN is set too low, your boots can detach from your skis from simple maneuvers down the slopes.

On the contrary, if your DIN setting is too high, then your boots will not detach from your skis, and you might just be stuck upside down in a tree all day long.

So how can you be sure to get it right and avoid possible injuries?

Unfortunately people can’t depend on any ski shops or gear hire to handle this correctly.

The best person to help you would be an expert that has ski technician qualifications.

Any ski-field gear fitter could possibly make mistakes when under the pressure of a large line of anxious skiers, impatiently waiting to get onto the slopes.

The official DIN setting is decided through the combination of your height, weight, ski boot sole length, skiing style, and age.

Get your DIN setting estimation at:

There are two simple tests that you can do to assure that your DIN is set correctly.

You will need a friend and a large-blade Phillips screwdriver.

Most DIN adjustment screws are slot style, but some come as Phillips.

(Image: scrambling into CC, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from doglotion’s photostream)

(1) To test your back binding release, have your friend stand on the back of your skis, then lean forward and fall on to your hands. Your back bindings should release, and the heels of your boots should snap free from the bindings.

If they do not release, unscrew the big tension screw a figure or more, and do the test over again until your boots will release.

(Smaller numbers mean less holding tension or pressure. For example: “1″ will release much easier than a “5″ setting)

(2) To test your front binding release, have your friend simply kick the toe of each boot in a sideways direction. Your boots should pop free with an average kick.

If they do not, loosen your bindings and do the test over again until it works.

When your bindings release your boots during these tests, then you can be almost certain that they will when you need them to on the slopes.

These tests are simple, quick, and effective in preventing many common injuries that skiers face, season after season.

So be smart and proactive about your safety on the slopes. Get your DIN setting right and avoid the pain, disappointment and expensive hospital bills.