Ski Binding DIN Numbers — The New Macho Meter?

Post by blogger | June 26, 2014      
My DIN is bigger than your DIN.

My DIN is bigger than your DIN.

A slope inclinometer used to be the skier’s macho meter. Is obsession with DIN numbers the new gauge? Is the max DIN of a binding any indication of quality or durability? Is a “DIN 12” skier better than a “DIN 6” skier?

What we skiers call “DIN” is a standardized and calibrated rating of how “stiff” the release (or better stated, the spring loaded boot “retention”) of a binding is set to. The term comes from a German standards organization, more here.

It’s important to know that not all ski binding release settings are truly “DIN.” To be so, the binding must be certified as compliant with the DIN/ISO international standard. This is usually done through a company in Germany known as “TUV.” While virtually all alpine binding are TUV certified, as well as many frame type touring bindings, only a few frameless “tech” bindings are certified by TUV to the DIN standard. Therefore, the numbers you see on your tech binding are not necessarily “DIN” numbers, they are simply “release-retention values” that may (other than in the case of certified bindings) approximate DIN settings at the whim of the manufacturer. Thus, we call them “RV” numbers here at

Check this out for more about DIN ski touring binding issues.

Enough discussion of definitions. The point of this blog post is that maximum DIN or RV number on a binding is NOT a rating of binding quality. Nor is a high number an indication of how good a skier you are. Nor will it make you ski better.

Also, a common misperception is that a binding with higher maximum DIN is somehow more resistant to unintended release (prerelease) — no matter what DIN the binding is set at. Worse, skiers sometimes assume they can crank up to a higher release settings to prevent prerelease — with no consequences.

Having a higher available DIN/RV can indeed be useful if you need to adjust the binding to higher numbers because you’re bigger or ski aggressively and inadvertently pop out of the binding (prerelease) at lower numbers. More, if you ski out of the gamut of normal performance, say you’re a racer, cliff jumper or exceptional freerider, you may need a binding with higher available RV/DIN numbers.

In the case of no-fall terrain, the idea of super-high settings is 100% valid. Bindings should be cranked up to high numbers or locked out (or both, if lock is available) — and you should be qualified for the terrain.

But tuning a binding to NEVER prerelease in normal skiing is a different matter.

Problem is, if you exceed the upper level of settings as indicated by the DIN settings charts used by ski shops (see below), it is quite likely you’ll be injured in a fall due to your binding not releasing. Nonetheless, the valid argument in favor of over-cranking release settings is that falls resulting from prerelease can be hideous — especially in no-fall terrain.

The DIN chart settings may appear low, but they actually do work for a lot of people, especially at the Type 2 and Type 3 skier settings. But what if you need to go beyond that? A common approach is to just grab the screwdriver and crank the binding as far as it’ll go. Perhaps that’s valid, as the point of the exercise is to 100% eliminate prerelease, and any settings above the charted DIN standard are dangerous anyway. But I still recommend a more nuanced approach; if you need to go above the chart recommended setting only increase one number at a time, then ski. In my experience, unless you’re doing something like slamming cliff landings on ice, a binding setting that’s one or two numbers above the chart will work for nearly anyone.

Beyond DIN/RV settings. Know that the elasticity range, return to center force, anti friction mechanics and general engineering of a given binding are equal if not more important to binding retention and performance than the DIN/RV setting. For example, many versions of tech bindings have minimal vertical elasticity at the heel. That means you need higher release settings for aggressive skiing, which will conversely make the binding less safe.

Be it known: If you’re needlessly setting your DIN numbers at the max you might indeed get something to brag about over beers, that something being the new macho meter you bought for your orthopedic surgeon — his Cessna.

Comments, anyone?

DIN ski binding settings chart.

DIN ski binding settings chart. Click to enlarge.

Choose your “Skier Code” using weight and height, then follow line to right and choose DIN that corresponds to your boot sole length. IMPORTANT: Pick your skier type below, then use following correction factor: Type 1, no change. Type 2 go one step higher, Type 3 go two steps higher. Age correction: If over 50 years old reduce setting one step. To be safe, have your binding settings checked by a qualified technician at a full-service retailer.

Skier types: Type 1: Careful skier preferring moderate terrain, or a beginner skier. Type 2: Skier preferring average speeds and somewhat difficult runs. Type 3: Few skiers in this category; racers, extreme skiers, prepared to take risks, ski at high speeds. Most backcountry skiers are Type 2.


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104 Responses to “Ski Binding DIN Numbers — The New Macho Meter?”

  1. Randonnee November 26th, 2008 11:02 am

    That is a great point, Lou. Unless one is hucking, racing, or maxing out one’s ability downhill, smooth technique may not require a big DIN.

    Using Dynafit and even Fristche bindings has necessitated my development of a smooth and precise skiing technique. With my mass, I have easily walked out of both Fritsche and Dynafit (locked) while in touring mode, and one may understand how easily I can come out when cranking turns. The result for me has been the development of precise walking while touring and balanced, precise technique for skiing downhill. That is actually efficient, and not necessarily limiting. I do not fear steeps or hard snow, chutes, etc, since I have developed confidence with the bindings and technique that I use. I feel joy when carefully putting together smooth, fluid turns at speed in powder or packed snow.

  2. Sean November 26th, 2008 11:04 am

    Great post, Lou. One can find the one-upmanship of DIN ranges on full display at the Teton Gravity Research forums, where people brag on using race-stock bindings with DIN that goes to 16 or higher. Every time I read such nonsense I think of the thing that you captured with the image of a boot screwed onto a ski.

    I think people get caught up in DIN because they want to appear macho. They hear or read that mountaineers like you or Andrew McLean get into situations where you don’t want to lose a ski, and so they imagine themselves in similar situations and in dire need of security against such things. I’m always thinking they should just permanently fasten their skis to their boots.

    I’m a firm believer in using the lowest DIN setting that holds me in while I ski in my normal manner. Cranking up the DIN is a macho show, not evidence of wisdom.

  3. Carver November 26th, 2008 11:32 am

    So, here’s contoversy that comes up often.

    Should you step into your Dynafits and reach down and pull the front tab up one click for descent?

  4. Tucker November 26th, 2008 11:43 am

    I’ve always skiied at the factory-prescribed DIN setting, and, until I got my dynafits, have never prereleased.

    Now, having taken the dynafits on the resort (after two days at the end of last season skiing Tuckermans), I’ve discovered prereleasing. Thanks to the many discussions on this and other sites, I was not suprised when they did prerelease. (OK, I was suprised, but not shocked, 😉

    As the first commenter indicates, I’ve taken this as an indication that I need to modify my style, not adjust the bindings. I like my knees just the way they are, thanks.

    I also had the experience of skiing for several days in Chamonix with two guides who skiied on dynafits, on piste and off. One has been guiding for 20+ years, the other trains the French military. Our group included a bunch of extremely skilled skiiers, some who had racing experience. The two guides in their dynafits schooled us.

    With good technique, you can definitely do all you need to on dynafits, I’ve seen it myself.

  5. Lou November 26th, 2008 11:44 am

    Carver, I’ve never seen that pulling the lever up one click really did much of anything when it comes to release. Even locking it all they only locks out lateral release, not vertical, contrary to the myth of it being a “release lockout.” (Said myth could be partly my fault for not writing how-tos with more clarity…)

    The variety of clicks on the Dynafit touring lock/latch are there to compensate for small variations in boot/binding dimensions.

  6. Randonnee November 26th, 2008 11:45 am


    Yes. One click or more for me.

    I release right away on hard snow from five different Dynafit bindings with five different Dynafit boots. I am a big boy with lost of years working or walking in the mountains. I could not ski Dynafit on hard snow if not able to lock the toe. If not locked I may feel the front pins opening sometimes, and at times the binding releases very easily. The release on hard snow for me is from downward pressure to the ball of my foot. I have demonstrated this on the carpet in front of the shop guy.


  7. Lou November 26th, 2008 11:50 am

    Technique does have a lot to do with using DIN settings intelligently . But I guess throw it all out the window if your hobby is cliff hucking…

    Tucker, in which direction were you prereleaseing? Up or to the side? Since you can set these independently as with most other bindings, nothing wrong with doing some tuning. DIN numbers off chart do have fudge factor on either side, due to subjective things like skier skill.

  8. Njord November 26th, 2008 11:57 am

    Even racers don’t crank their bindings past 12 or 13 for GS and SL…

    SG and DH was a different matter (I only ever had 1 set of binding that went to 24, which I was scared of ripping my legs off with in a crash). The DIN conversations always remind me a little bit of “Spinal Tap” and how Nigel’s amp goes to 11, when he needs that little bit of extra!

  9. Tucker November 26th, 2008 12:00 pm

    Lou, I was prereleasing to the side on hard snow while initiating a hard turn. Happened twice in quick succession.

    I may also have had some snow/ice in the toe-thingie that the front pin goes into. After I fell, I certainly had some snow in the toe thingies, so it’s hard to figure out exactly what happened. (Obviously this is not good…)

    I plan on doing some more resort skiing so I can experiment some more and become more familiar w/ the bindings.

    I don’t think I know enough yet about these to determine exactly what the cause was. But clearly I’d rather do the practice and the resort than back up at Tuckermans. 🙂

    Thanks for the advice, it may come in handy.

  10. BullWheelRider November 26th, 2008 12:43 pm


    I learned the DIN lesson the hard way, last year. I admit that, on occasion, I do like to spend time in the park with the kids… and in the park a DIN below 10 is usually an automatic release upon landing for me. There is nothing worse than stomping a jump… and leaving your skis behind you the second you hit the ground.

    On the first day of the season last year I was screwing around on a green run with some friends… fell… and my skis didn’t come off. I wasn’t hucking a cliff, I wasn’t throwing a rodeo 540, I was cruising a groomer. Major ACL/MCL Meniscus surgery followed. It may sound crazy, but after missing a powder year for the ages, I’m taking no chances. I plan on skiing with a screwdriver this year… and tailoring my DIN to the situation. There is NO reason to set your DIN above 9 (unless you’re a big guy) to ski groomers.

    As far as DIN being a Macho Meter… it does seem a lot like 200+CM skis were in the 80’s/90’s. There will always be riders amongst us who are focused on outward appearances… but most of us are just out there to have a good time- and to save our knees for the next shot of powder.

  11. Ralf November 26th, 2008 12:53 pm

    Interesting discussion. I’m from Germany and want to chime in on the topic as to me, there seems to be a significant difference between ol’ Europe and the US.

    In fact DIN ISO 11088 is the norm that defines construction, adjustment and inspection of ski bindings. Within this norm the Z-Value is defined in relation to the amount of force necessary to release the binding. To determine the right value DIN ISO 11088 allows two different methods:
    First the Weight-Method which is usend in the US and Switzerland and uses the skiers weight and heigth to determine the Z-Value.
    In Germany and Austria however, the Tibia-Method is the most commonly used one and until 1994 only this method was approved. This method is based on scientific research on the toughness of the tibia head, it’s width is measured elow the knee in order to determine the Z-Value.
    Tolerance is 10% for the Tibia-Method and 15% for the weight method. This means cranking the Z up or down by 1 unit is allowed according to the individual skiers skills. For peopel jounger than 10 or older than 50 yrs. the determined values are usually lowered by 15%.
    The two methods are significantly different and might produce very different results. As I mentioned before, usage of the method depends a lot on location.

    In addition to that, a binding that allows high DIN Z-Values might make sense. ARGE, a German research group specialized in testing mountaineering and skiing equipment, found out that bindings of all manufacturers release most reliably when set to a Z-Value in the middle of their range due to the phisical properties of the springs. So if you are very heavy or have a strong tibia and need a DIN Z-Value of 12 picking a Duke ranging from 8 to 16 instead of a Fritschi Explore does make sense (at least if you don’t care for the extra weight).

    But I tele, so who cares about DIN ISO anyways? 😉

  12. Dave Cramer November 26th, 2008 12:56 pm

    Just starting this fixed-heel thing. Never came out of Diamar IIIs at the lowest setting (3), except when I was knocked off a lift (ugh!). Haven’t come out of Dynafit yet at the lowest setting, either. Must be those years of parallel skiing on really light Tele gear! Of course, I’m perhaps the slowest skier on the mountain…

  13. Dongshow November 26th, 2008 11:57 am

    A couple of things; first you touched on the myth that got the whole cycle started, the stronger spring = stronger binding myth. This is reinforced in peoples minds by the fact the super weak alpine bindings that people often break or pre-release with have low din numbers. The “race stock” bindings that go to 18 are more rare, not often seen on store shelves, and people have much less experience with them breaking or pre-releasing, because, well, there are fewer of them and they’re often set astoundingly high, so there are less stories of their failures to go around. There also seems to be a conventional wisdom that it’s easier on the binding to be towards the lower range of it’s din setting. Then you have the types worried about losing skis in the powder…

    This is mostly a resort skiing reality that is crossing into backcountry skiing because people are resistant to two types of bindings and would like one set to cross over. Resort skiing is often frantic, and the conditions are worse, and it’s done at a much higher speed. You go from smooth high speed powder to jarring traversses or moguls without warning, and bindings pre-realease commonly facing that stuff. The skis I ride around the resort (which is rare these days) are set way higher then my backcountry set up, which is so low it shocks me but I don’t really care as I’m yet to have a problem. Like Randonnee said, it’s a different technique in the backcountry. Most skiers don’t take the time to think about stuff though, believing the bigger, higher, better hype is simpler.

  14. Tucker November 26th, 2008 1:15 pm

    One other point that didn’t come out in the posts above: I love the dynafits. My first time out in them was skinning up and skiing the headwall at Tuckermans Ravine at Mt Washington in NH. Forgot about locking the front binding for touring (duh!) but even so skinning up was great . Flew by all the hikers. Carrying the skis up the headwall was cake as they’re so light (mounted on BD Havocs), and my second run on the dynafits was over the headwall.

    Had no problems at all on the entire run.

    One of the reasons I tried skiing them in resort is the Megarides I got are so much more comfortable than my Langes that I’d be really happy wearing them all the time.

    My AT experience so far has been a great one, I’m stoked to get back out off the resort.

  15. Sean November 26th, 2008 1:43 pm

    Dongshow, I don’t follow the rationale you’re suggesting. You’re suggesting that bindings are intended only to prevent leg bone fracture? You’re suggesting that the engineers want soft-tissue trauma because they only care about bone injury? You’re suggesting that a releasable binding can’t prevent an knee ligament tear, or knee cartilage damage?

    Help me out here. If I understand you correctly, and you are indeed telling the truth, then it seems I have been told a whole lot of lies by a whole lot of orthopods, ski binding engineers, and skiers

  16. Lou November 26th, 2008 1:54 pm

    Dongshow brings up a good point. Indeed, the original engineering that is still the basis of most safety bindings was done to prevent broken bones and definitely was NOT designed intentionally to prevent soft tissue injury. Any soft tissue injury prevention was just a side effect. Proof of this is two things. 1. Hjalmar Hvam invented the first safety binder in 1939 after he broke a leg, and it’s amazingly similar to most bindings 70! years later. 2. Amount of knee soft tissue injuires for skiers is epidemic.

    Sean, of course a release binding can prevent some soft tissue injuries, but I actually am of the opinion that we’ve definitely been sold a bill of goods when it comes to thinking they do as much as they should in this area, or are very effective at all.

    Meanwhile, we worry about what model helmet to buy. If ski bindings were an automobile safety system, Ralph Nader would have been involved and things would now be entirely different (grin).

  17. Lou November 26th, 2008 2:01 pm

    Ralf, indeed, it stands to reason that a spring mechanism compressed to around half its travel is going to work better, then one that’s compressed or unloaded to one extreme or another. In that sense the higher DIN bindings are indeed appreciated, especially by larger stronger skiers who need DINS around 8 to 10.

    By the same token, a smaller skier needs to watch that they have some “headroom” and “legroom” on either side of their chosen DIN setting.

    All this reminds me. When my son was small, I took one of the springs out of the Dynafit heel (there are usually 2) to make a really nice super-low DIN in lateral mode. Worked great. For the vertical release we just had to use the lowest setting and it was a bit stiff.

  18. Lou November 26th, 2008 2:09 pm

    Tucker, yep, make SURE you have those sockets in the boot toe cleaned out. When using Dynafit for resort skiing, they tend to get iced up when you’re walking around, and since you’re not using the binding for touring the ice never has a chance to get worked out by the tiny cutters on the toe pins.

    Trick is to first make sure the holes are clean, but also swing your ski and foot a half dozen times with toe engaged and heel free, to “seat” the toe pins and let them clean the holes.

    If you keep prereleaseing to the side after getting those better habits, look at your ski technique and possibly dial up lateral release setting a notch or two.

    Since you can twist out of most bindings (when they’re set to recommended DIN) while simply standing and making a twisting motion with your foot, it stands to reason that that same motion could be duplicated while skiing, and if that’s happening it’s time to adjust technique — or dial up to DIN 19 if you’re lazy (grin).

  19. Ralf November 26th, 2008 2:11 pm

    Only avoiding broken bones might have been the original intention of release bindings but the IAS (International Workgroup for Skiing Safety) that developed the Tibia-Method does focus a lot on avoiding ACL, PCL injuries. As I said the DIN number is related to the physical force which is required to release the binding. Yet this force is a lot smaller than the force required to tear ligaments. However, the problem is the direction and the point at which this force is applied. That’s why alpine bindings already distinct front, rear and side release. But these mechanisms still can’t cover all possible situations which is why severe knee injuries still happen. Even at low speeds with low DIN settings. A slow rotary fall is a worst case and can mess up your knee pretty badly.

  20. Dongshow November 26th, 2008 1:20 pm

    BullWheelRider: as Ralf mentions the Din number corresponds to the force to break a leg, the force to tear knee ligaments is significantly lower and is possible standing with ski boots not clipped into skis at all. Using the DIN to protect knees isn’t going to do much good.

  21. Lou November 26th, 2008 2:26 pm

    Ralf, the road to misfortune is paved with the best intentions. I appreciate the effort to make bindings that protect knees, and perhaps there are some models out there that actually do so effectively. But the proof is the numbers, and the reality is a sad medical disaster and I believe somewhat of a consumer ripoff.

    What amazes me is how accepting people are of the rash of knee injuries, some of which are career ending, or will be so as the biological clock ticks and old injuries reap their consequences of osteoarthritis, failing ligament repairs etc. Not to mention the financial cost of all this.

    What we might need is a bio-sensor system. Something attached to the knee that interfaces with the binding, and tells the binding to let go when motion and forces will damage knee.

  22. Ralf November 26th, 2008 2:45 pm

    Lou, I think the problem with most injuries is not the binding providing insufficent protection but the skier. There are so many people out there who don’t know their limits. Ski resorts are overcrowded and weak skiers go at top speed. Last winter there was a discussion going on in Switzerland whether to introduce speed limits on the slopes. Statistics prove that mostly young, untrained or tired skiers suffer severe injuries. And to get back to bindings settings, 90% of the skiers that were injured had their bindings not set up properly.

  23. Sean November 26th, 2008 2:48 pm

    Another often overlooked reason for continuing knee ligament/cartilage damage despite binding improvements — modern skis have more radical amounts of sidecut, which allows a whole lot more torque to get generated in a very quick period of time with no real speed needed. The same thing that makes them so fun, makes them more prone to setting a skier up for a knee injury.

  24. Lou November 26th, 2008 3:18 pm

    Thanks for the amazingly astute comments you guys! Ralf, I can see how poorly set bindings and crumby/tired skiers could really skew the numbers. And I’ve heard of the sidecut torque problem, it’s an interesting dilemma. I’m just glad I’m not a turkey .

  25. Dongshow November 26th, 2008 2:37 pm

    Thanks for clearing that up Ralf and Lou, we’d discussed all of this in a full semester “ski instruction” coarse at U of U that was super informative, but it’d been a while and I was working from memory.

    I’m actually more bothered with people blaming injuries on equipment malfunction. The number of broken bones blamed on Marker bindings rather then the 40 foot huck to ice that preceded it is stupid. We all laugh about the absurdity of “the beacon will save me” mentality, but then people go and do the same thing with their bindings. I think it’d be better to understand that ,yes the safety features are nice but injuries happen. I’ll quit before this rant branches out…

  26. Tucker November 26th, 2008 3:47 pm

    Lou, thanks for the tips, much appreciated.

    It’s really a wonderful thing that a newbie at alpine touring can come to this message board and get advice from one of the legends.

    I added this site to my RSS feed last spring, and have been following it all summer. My friends all do think I’m nuts, btw. 😉 But it’s been time well spent.

  27. Lou November 26th, 2008 3:55 pm

    Tucker, once your friends see that truly core guys like me ski with their boots screwed to their skis, perhaps they’ll come around?

  28. Rando Swede November 26th, 2008 5:14 pm

    C’mon Lou… throw us a bone here. All we really want to know is what DIN setting YOU ski and then we can all do the same thing! 🙂

    Great discussion though. Technique should always trump equipment.

  29. Lou November 26th, 2008 6:19 pm

    Something like screwtorque 38?

    Seriously, seems like I end up with my Dynafits set at 6 lateral and 7 vertical most of the time, though I go 7/7 sometimes, and or 8/8 for extreme skiing, and also use the lateral release lockout for extreme skiing. I used low numbers whenever possible, as I baby my knees like you wouldn’t believe. My body weight hovers around 155 and I’m 5-11 tall.

    Everyone has to fine tune for their own style of skiing, weight, etc., the charts are just a guideline in my opinion.

    WildSnow publishes a chart here:

    Which tells me to use 6.50 for regular skiing and 8 for extreme. That’s without an age factor, which they say can be one step back down on the chart if you’re over 50. I get my settings by trial an error, interesting how close to the chart they are.

  30. Scott November 26th, 2008 11:42 pm

    All this talk of knee injuries is making me want to snowboard more this year 😉 Of course, then the wrists, back, and neck are in more danger, but the risk of knee injury is my biggest concern with skiing.

  31. John Gloor November 27th, 2008 12:42 am

    Interesting topic Lou. I used to routinely eject out of my Diamirs (10 din) before the freeride came onto the scene. I am just short of 6′-5″ and weigh 215 lbs +-. I do not huck much in the backcountry out of caution, but I did drop the punk rock band!. I have had eight surgeries and a skin graft from a 14 din setting when i was 22 years old and was fearless, so I have understandable opinions on binding settings. When the Duke came out i thought, at last, a binding I can ski and tour in at the same time, The reality is that for my budget and climbing oriented skiing, the Duke is overkill. I can’t justify the weight of a metal based 16 din binding, especially when following 145 lbs gazelles on most of the tours i do. I have seen several people with no touring history raving about their beefy setups while knowing full well that they did not tour ten feet in their Dukes. Total resort poseurs! This is a binding with a very niche usage. One or two hour sidecountry skiing trips in alpine boots seems reasonable, and I would buy them in a heartbeat if I had the financial ability. The reality is that my Freeride+ binding at pegged at 12 works fine for me and has released just fine on a few occasions. Do not expect your touring bindings to handle the abuse of your alpine race bindings. If you are in any touring boot, I feel it is very questionable that you need more than a 12 DIN binding for a forward release. The boots are just too soft! Twisting release settings are comparable for AT and alpine boots since the stiff structural sole along with the leverage provided with the long leverage arm of the sole can vastly overpower human anatomical strengths.
    How do cliff huckers release? My guess would be a straight back release from a backseat landing (good protection by Marker alpine) or any make in a forward loading. If this is your forte, then lug a heavy binding around.
    My Fiance on the other hand skis on a 12 din binding since we got it on sale cheaper than the 10 din bindings we could find. She is within the din range but on the lighter side. Ultimately, your bones or ligaments will determine what your proper din setting is,not your ego. I learned the hard/expensive and painful way. Think of your body as a crow bar. Are you as tall as me and can you exert as much force (weight X velocity)? My bones exploded at a 14 din alpine setting twisting forward landing. My advice is to err on the side or caution in the backcountry unless your filming heli can extricate you promptly. Then go for it!

  32. Geof November 27th, 2008 12:51 am

    I run my Naxo 21’s at a 7.5. This is a tested din rating ( I teach with mine) I’ve never had them release when they weren’t supposed to. I look at a rated binding this way… I look to find the middle of the overall rating for my setting 7/8. So, the 21’s, at 14 are right in there. To me, this puts the springs in an optimal range for durability. Might be worthless, but makes sense a bit to me. I also have an older set of Naxo’s that are rated at 12… Never an issue with them either. I like the 21’s best cuz they look the shiz-nit 😉

    We have an instructor (20yrs) that skis anything, everything and shreds. He can twist his foot out of his bindings standing still… Must be SOMETHING to technique…

  33. Geof November 27th, 2008 1:00 am

    To the above, I disagree that AT boots are too soft to work at a higher din (though I totally agree with your point)… A lot of the the newer AT boots are nearly as stiff as Alpine boots. Maybe not full race boots, but definately stiff. I just “moved up” to Tornado’s, which are so much stiffer than my old Denali’s (used to be THE boot) that it makes the Denali almost feel like a tennis shoe. I can’t even ski in them with the “stiff” tongue. To painful.

    The line of AT/Alpine is blurring SO rapidly, especially with the advent of the interchangable soles, that I wouldn’t be suprised to see more people buying AT boots, for all the reasons we like them. Or, seeing Alpine boots follow the same weight trimming technology that the current AT boots possess.

  34. John Gloor November 27th, 2008 2:30 am

    Geof, Thank for the agreement on the safety side my post. I have not skied the tornado, but I have owned the red and blue Denalies and I ski the Garmont Axon now which feels stiffer than either of the Scarpa boots. I can blow through the flex stops on the Axons with ease (a product of my height and weight and agression). I would suffer anke compression injuries before another tib/fib injury with a forward loading. They do not come close to my Doberman 130 boots which are marshmallows compared to the 150 flex plug boots. I feel that the crew buying 14-16 Din bindings are probably coming from the high end alpine race end of the spectrum and are very agro skiers. This is the market for the high din bindings. My point is that I feel any touring boot is overpowered by a din setting of 16 especially if is a lateral or twisting fall. In those conditions, almost any plastic boot will result in injury unless the settings are correct. The problem is that it is hard to rip at the official settings. I’m supposed to ski at a 8 or 9 when I really ski at an 11 or 12 which is still low for my size.. I carefully ski each new ski in to get a feel of how each binding is releasing and work the setting up from a conservative low. When I see a world cup victory on touring boots i’ll change my opinion of their abilities to exert power.
    As for the alpine soles, I feel they are a gimmick to tempt crossover skiers. Most, if not all of the hardcore backcountry skiers I know prefer a vibram/lugged sole for the desperate climbing that always happens when one leaves the crampons at home! When I ski the resort, there is no chance you’ll see me on some mushy touring boot. I’ll put the money aside to buy the proper boot for each usage and not try to make one boot pull double duty. on another note, how can BD sell the Factor with the alpine sole standard and make one buy the AT sole as an extra? It’s like selling a jeep with slick tires. WTF. I’d like to see a study as to whether the alpine or AT soles are stiffer. My guess is that they just appeal to different users. As stiff as todays touring boots are, they are not anywhere close to a race or high performance alpine boot, and they should not be. The very traits that make a good touring boot are avoided in a race boot. My Doberman has the upper cuff riveted to the lower boot and has no traction sole. The foam injected liner is cold and heavy. They suck for touring, but i’ve used them when my AT boots were broken. I will gladly take the skiing limitations of a touring boot for the BC and I have no need of a race din binding considering where I will be and how I will be skiing. (in re-reading my post it appears argumentative- not my intent. I do not feel like editing it now and it is bedtime for me).

  35. Lou November 27th, 2008 8:45 am

    Gloor, good points all. Keep it coming!

    Interesting, as the issue of boots being too soft for binding release at high DIN used to come up when people used climbing boots with bindings such as Silvretta 404. It’s indeed a valid issue. At some point, the boot simply can not transfer the force needed to effectuate a release, and thus the “release” happens inside the boot (groan).

    In my old school ways I still think I should be able to release from my bindings by twisting my foot or jerking my heel upward — though I’m pretty careful when testing this as I’ve hurt myself doing it.

    Have a good Thanksgiving everyone, we’re outta here for some time up in the mountains.

  36. Mark November 27th, 2008 9:05 am

    Dynafits are my only binding now. Keep the sockets clean and you’re good to go. My DIN is set at 8. I’m 149 pounds and don’t leave the ground a whole lot anymore. Back in the day in high school, my DIN was a bit higher for mogul thrashing and the occasional drop. So far the knees are in decent repair. Wish I were skiing today! Went out with the dog for the first time Monday. What a great experience!

  37. BullWheelRider November 27th, 2008 10:11 am


    Your point is valid, and I’m no equipment expert. Talking with my surgeon (Richard steadman) it is clear that modern equipment has increased the rate of ligament injuries, while decreasing bone injuries. He did say, however, that plenty of thought goes into acl issues as well.

    I can only say this: had my din been lower, in that situation I’m confident my ski would have come off. The binding in question was the duke. I am in no way blaming the equipment. This year I did get my first set of dynafits… Because I have decided that i’m done chasing my youth in the park- and can’t bear a lost season. However, I still have those dukes, and will be carrying a screwdriver.

  38. chris davenport November 27th, 2008 4:50 pm

    I have a couple pairs of Salomon 12-20 DIN’s for sale LOL

  39. Lou November 27th, 2008 5:25 pm

    Count me in! Group buy? (g)

  40. stephen November 28th, 2008 12:38 am

    BTW Scott, the only time I’ve ever injured a knee was in the only 1/2 day of snowboarding I’ve ever done – I was forced into it at Whistler ~20 years ago. Yeah, I know – “Just say no.”

    When I fell, my body twisted one way and the end of the board caught and twisted the other way. Knee in middle => 1 damaged medial ligament. This has thankfully been quiet for several years now, but it used to be that one messy fall would leave me with a sensitive knee for the rest of the season. Hopefully all will be well in India next year.

    Snowboarding is NOT the solution to knee injuries! And no, I have no desire to try it again.

  41. Nick November 28th, 2008 10:57 am

    Both Salamon and Marker bindings upgrade the componants when upping the DIN. The Salamon “green springs” aka race bindings have substantially more metal and less plastic. In my experience the toe wings last much longer when made from metal and are usually the first thing to go when plastic. I’ve always thought the overall life of the binder is lengthened when skiing at the lower end of the DIN range, ie. I’m a hefty 210lbs and use a 14-16 DIN, I have a salamons with a range of 12-22 DIN. I am using the low end of this DIN range and lengthening the overall life of the release spring. Just like turning your DIN down for the summer storage season.

  42. al November 30th, 2008 9:17 am

    I have been skiing a din of 7 for many years ,I just look for a binding that is going to have 7 some where in the middle of the range.In the past I have set bindings a din or 2 low at beginning of season and then crank up the din till the ski quits falling off and for me thats alway at 7

    since going to the freerides I do find the heels pre release with an AT boot sole so I crank the heels only to 8

  43. Tyler December 1st, 2008 5:57 pm

    I love this quote, “If you’re needlessly setting your DIN numbers at the max you might indeed get something to brag about over beers, that something being the new macho meter you bought for your orthopedic surgeon — his private jet.” Its funny and so true!

  44. Lou December 1st, 2008 9:19 pm

    Tyler, thanks for the words!

  45. Sam Reese December 2nd, 2008 3:46 pm

    Ski Instructors don’t count: They have different reasons to dial the DIN up.

    I was a ski instructor for two winters, and My quiver consisted of Voelkl 724 Pro’s (DIN 6.0: Hard drivers), Line Mothership Flites (DIN 6.5: Park/Pipe) and some beater K2’s that I can’t remember the model of that I used for teaching (Din 7.5).

    Why were my teaching skis higher? Because if you fall or blow out while in uniform, you gotta buy the entire ski school a round.


    (fyi: Planting a pole in the lumbar of a snowboard instructor on his toe edge is always good for laughs, free beer.)

  46. Tucker December 2nd, 2008 5:17 pm

    Followed Lou’s advice on making sure the pins were seated in the toe sockets of the boot, and no ejections last weekend. Skied hard.

  47. Lou December 2nd, 2008 8:33 pm

    Excellent Tucker, enjoy!

  48. Snowdog 23 May 20th, 2009 7:44 am

    Love the blog – I just worked through the whole thing! I worked as an instructor for 10 years before moving to the UK and working with equipment. I’m amazed that recreational skiers still fixate on DIN settings like they used to with length. I think I’m agreeing with everyone when I say that you should use the lowest DIN you can get away with for the end use you’re using it for. Obviously you’d be putting more stress on your gear carving at high speed in resort than grunting up an alpine pass. The chances are pretty good that you’d be using different equipment as well… Buy gear that suits what you’re going to be doing MOST of the time and accept that it has limitations everywhere else. As a parting shot, I’ll mention that if the sport were completely safe it wouldn’t be as much fun. In the words of my old ski school director “If you’re going down STAY DOWN – Pride heals faster than knees!”

  49. Lou May 20th, 2009 9:56 am

    Good points there Snowdog!

  50. Travis December 7th, 2009 11:05 am

    I was wondering what are people’s opinions about telemark non-releasable bindings are versus dynafit on preventing knee injuries. I can not find any information that directly compares the knee injury rate to each other. I have found studies that claim that telemark knee injuries tend to be less severe compared to alpine skiers.

    I just tore my MCL with telemark bindings skiing some early season conditions (trees, grass, some snow evident! 🙂 I am not sure that a din binding would have prevented the tear. Anybody have thoughts on this or have seen similar injuries with din bindings?

    Thanks TS

  51. Lou December 7th, 2009 11:09 am

    My opinion has always been that using a non-release binding for backcountry skiing is a form of temporary insanity. I’ve been vilified for that opinion. Whatever. I still feel that way.

  52. Travis December 7th, 2009 11:17 am

    How about knee safety for all around skiing using a non-releasable binding telemark binding? In the backcountry setting having the skis attached in an avalanche is your concern correct, Lou?

  53. Randonnee December 7th, 2009 2:05 pm

    Travis, I would concur with Lou without question. Non-releasable bindings offer no safety in comparison to a Dynafit or any binding that is DIN rated. It is interesting that some would take exception to the obvious.

    In all likelihood the Dynafit would have released and prevented that injury. I own and use 1/2 dozen Dynafit bindings of various types and all release according to the DIN standard, and do so smoothly. Even in the skinny-ski 1980’s I hauled folks off of the mountain who had fractured their ankle, for example, while skiing moguls on their leather and skinnies.

  54. eric February 8th, 2010 8:54 am

    what would be a proper din setting on slilvretta 404’s paired with koflach arctis vario
    for a upper intermediate/lower advance 150lbs skier. and is it true that AT bindings tend not to release when skied with ice climbing boots because the boots are too soft ?

  55. Lou February 8th, 2010 8:57 am

    Eric, there is no correct DIN setting for climbing boots. The DIN numbers are calibrated to protect a person wearing ski boots. The forces are MUCH different in soft boots. Broken ankles are much more common, for example.

    Thus, the correct setting for the DIN numbers is whatever holds you in without unplanned release. And don’t hesitate to set the lateral and vertical release to different values. Also, ski them freeheel as much as you can. Much safer.

  56. eric February 9th, 2010 8:57 am

    thanx for the info. i’ll just go to a lift and experiment, start at the lowest and go up a notch at a time.
    but i think the boots i mentioned, the koflahs, are actual ski boots, or were meant to be at least. tho they do have the general shape of an ice climbing boot with a rockered treaded vibram sole, the plastic seems heavier, the ankle cuff is higher and stiffer, the inner bootie is higher still, they have buckles rather than laces and a strap/clamp thing in the back of the leg to switch from touring to descending.
    i come from a tely background with no prior experience with alpine or randonnee equipment so the gear is a bit foreign to me.
    thanx again for the valuable and useful information

  57. Lou February 9th, 2010 9:42 am

    Eric, those are probably rando boots, or close enough. So just use a DIN chart and do your settings that way.

    DIN chart here:

  58. eric February 10th, 2010 8:52 am

    thanx again. very helpful. the whole conversation was also very informative. great blog

  59. Matt June 26th, 2014 10:37 am

    I hope this hasn’t already been asked. I read as many comments as I had time for.

    The question: which is more important, height or weight? I am 63kg, which is a solid “J”, but 178cm, which is almost an “L”. Just pick the value in the middle?

    For what it’s worth, I have found a DIN of 6 or 7 has worked well for me over the years as a type 2-3 skier, which is right where the chart would put me, but I thought I would ask.

    Also – for backcountry skiers, the height/weight correlations seem a little…heavy. Don’t they? I race skimo, and while my weight is competitive, I am definitely not one of the skinny guys at the races.

  60. Lou Dawson June 26th, 2014 11:33 am

    Hi Matt, what I’ve always done is consider the skier and their gear as well as the basics of the chart, then shift the final result to the letter rating, when the height/weight doesn’t fall exactly. As for height vs weight in terms of importance, I’d guess that skier weight would be more important, but that’s just a guess. Some of this is based on the assumed strength of the skier’s body parts. Thus, an overweight individual who is short in stature would have the bone structure of a smaller person but still might weigh to the point of moving the dial on the chart.

    In the end, you can see why these sorts of charts are a pretty rough guideline. The whole system is really quite a mess. Even the DIN standard allows a significant variation in what the binding actually measures in the lab as opposed to what the numbers printed on the binding show. Can’t remember off hand what that is, but I remember when I read it that it made me chuckle — and think it was perhaps time to improve.


  61. Eric June 26th, 2014 12:35 pm

    Looking at that first pic with the 3 screws I just don’t think that would hold me. I’m pretty sure I’d need 5 screws. 😉

  62. Tyler June 26th, 2014 1:43 pm

    I worked at a few ski shops over the last 12 years, I can say that DIN-flation is rampant. So many people looking to buy the Duke over the Baron, or the Vertical FTs (or even the Beast) over the STs. The reality is that few of these people are large enough, strong enough or skiing aggressively enough to warrant the RVs on these bindings.

    Great article Lou!

  63. Lou Dawson June 26th, 2014 1:55 pm

    I ski better with six screws.

  64. jbo June 26th, 2014 2:39 pm

    Matt, DIN/ISO 11088 specifies use of the highest row, meaning lowest release value, when faced with a mismatched height and weight. As Lou suggests there is a lot of grey area. Bindings are green lighted when measured within 15% of the specified torques on the chart, which is one row up or down. If values are between one and two rows off, they can be adjusted up or down to compensate. Outside of 30% they need debugging or binning.

  65. Eric June 26th, 2014 3:57 pm

    Seis tornillos? Sí, Lou es muy macho!

    That’s interesting Tyler. What part of the country are you in? I’m an owner at shop in Boise, Id and we are seeing the opposite. We’re mainly an alpine shop that sells some AT but we sell probably 1 Duke to 20 Barons and probably 1 of the 16 DIN versions of the Adrenaline or Guardian to 10 or their 13 DIN counterparts. As far as Dynafit we have yet to sell a Beast, sell Speed Radicals and Radical FT’s.

    As far as DIn settings as a whole, I’d say most of our customers give us their info and we set and test their bindings and they never have an issue or care. We do have some pretty ripping old guys (over 50) that lie about their age so they can get their bindings set where they need to. That’s the one beef that I have with the charts. I’m 53 and ski every bit as hard as I did at 49 or even 39. That all being said we still have a few people who measure studliness by their DIN value but surprisingly it’s not as many as it looks like everyone else is dealing with.

  66. John S June 26th, 2014 4:09 pm

    I too read all the DIN-bragging that goes on on TGR, but pay it little mind. I like my knees way more than what someone else might think about my skiing ability, etc.

  67. Lou Dawson June 26th, 2014 4:33 pm

    Que macho!

  68. Lou Dawson June 26th, 2014 4:35 pm

    That chart is really old. Is there a new version of it, shop boys and girls?

  69. jbo June 26th, 2014 5:46 pm

    Lou, I fear the ISO copyright police. Luckily the values haven’t changed. Your chart is missing the torque values in newton meters though.

  70. Lou Dawson June 26th, 2014 6:10 pm

    I forgot what I derived that chart from, but it’s a derivative work for sure, no problem with police.

    Not sure if the source had the torque values, but they’re probably not necessary for a site that’s not B to B.


  71. Jim Milstein June 26th, 2014 7:53 pm

    He who skis with six screws is completely screwed.

  72. Lou Dawson June 26th, 2014 7:56 pm


  73. ty June 26th, 2014 10:29 pm
  74. XXX_er June 26th, 2014 11:56 pm

    “I was wondering what are people’s opinions about telemark non-releasable bindings are versus dynafit on preventing knee injuries.”

    Purely anecdotal but 12 yrs ago my Tib/fib released on tele bindings in the type of fall I had taken many times on alpine bindings, I sold what were at the time brand new tele bindings to buy the 7TM releaseable tele binding , I have had no injuries since , now I ski fixed heel more & more on Dynafit and no problem

  75. Lou Dawson June 27th, 2014 8:49 am

    Added the classic Spinal Tap “But…this goes to 11” video clip. Enjoy.

    Also, anyone interesting in DIN binding issues should check out:

  76. See June 27th, 2014 8:55 am

    I wonder about the possible benefit of having heavier springs in tech binding toes. I have it on good authority (LD) that Vertical FT toe springs are heavier than Vertical ST.

    The type of tech binding prerelease that concerns me occurs when the non-adjustable toe spring tension is exceeded causing the toe piece arms to spread and release the boot. Seems like heavier springs would be useful in this case.

    Re. clearing ice from the toe sockets: I recently tried some BD Prime boots and found that every time I swung my foot to clear the sockets the toe of the boot would hit the lever and release the boot. Very annoying.

  77. Lou Dawson June 27th, 2014 9:49 am

    See, correct, stiffer springs in the toe are good, to an extent. Too stiff and you’d get excessive wear or perhaps other issues. As the engineers tell me, you can’t change anything in a machine without consequences.

    RE boots in tech bindings: Dynafit makes a recommended toe box shape spec available — and designing a toe box that’s compatible with tech bindings is a simple matter of placing the boot in a binding and spending 10 seconds testing it. If a boot maker chooses not to use that shape, their boot may hit the binding toe on some tech bindings and open the binding. Known issue, and yet another thing ski shops should be testing for before they write orders for boots.

    30 years of tech bindings, and boots are still hitting the toe of the binding and opening it up. Groan.


  78. Billy June 27th, 2014 11:55 am

    This post struck a chord with me. After multiple heel releases I determined I needed to tighten down, and low a behold ended up with a torn calf. If only I could understand the chart I could figure out the extent of my foolishness.

  79. Drew Tabke June 27th, 2014 11:57 am

    I’ve been encouraging my hard-chargin’ freeride friends to see who can ski with the lowest DIN. Definitely much manlier trying to make GS turns through refrozen spring moguls with your springs backed all the way out, amirite?

  80. FREEEEEERIDEer-er June 27th, 2014 1:01 pm

    Lou, I’m honored that I inspired a post! I would write a long winded comical response about how hard I shred and how I haven’t ridden with my binders at 6…since I was 6…but I wouldn’t want to offend the masses who can apparently manage to poke around with their skis barely held to their feet. I guess since I rock my din at 14 so I can drop madd cliffs all day long that makes the a macho badass? Awesome I’ll take it! 😉

  81. Lou Dawson June 27th, 2014 1:32 pm

    Freeride, no joke, binding technology is dark-ages, the way most bindings are made they simply can’t support modern freeride style skiing without being cranked up to possibly injurious levels. I’m fully aware of this unfortunate situation.

    IMHO, aside from some kind of tech we’ve all never hear of, the solution to this dilemma is just add more shock absorption (travel) to existing binding technologies. Unfortunately, most of the freeride marketed bindings don’t seem to make much effort to do this. Some appear to offer more vertical travel at the heel, but I’ve not seen any that appeared to offer better elasticity for sideways forces.

    With the right binding technology, racers and freeriders could ski at safer RV levels.

    As it is, again, I totally understand how it can be necessary to “go to 11.”


  82. Eric June 27th, 2014 3:30 pm

    For those who are wondering.

  83. ptor June 28th, 2014 12:26 am

    I used to have a pair of non-releaseable bindings that I would use for serious missions based on the old carbonfiber silvretta bindings. I took off the sliding heel unit and replace it with a custom machined aluminum one with a ‘crampon bail’ style closure. Worked really well and they actually did come off if I really had a good prang because of the toe bails that had elasticity in them and would pop out. These days, the way folks are skiing the pin bindings locked down (including myself), it’s kind of the same non-releasable thing, but worse. Accepted risk for specific purposes?

    The most worrisome thing I see is people lift skiing on pin bindings daily. There needs to be real DIN and significant elasticity for TUV certification to warrant this kind of use of pin bindings in my opinion. Otherwise it’s a needless risk when alpine binding options are much more wise. Those skiers are getting away with alot and missing tons of performance. I think the one pair of skis mentality in that sense needs to be shelved for the time being until pin bindings can match the release qualities of alpine bindings…unless you’re a ‘freerider’ and can handle the weight of a Guardian/Cast type of setup for the one pair of skis. Maybe baggy clothing makes you smarter (doesn’t cut off circulation to the brain)?

  84. Lou Dawson June 28th, 2014 7:31 am

    Ptor, exactly.

  85. lederhosen42 June 28th, 2014 9:50 am

    I think the context of lift skiing should be defined more specifically Ptor, in terms of “needless risk” and “missing tons of performance”. For example, at Shames mountain where I lift ski, the tech binding is used quite ubiquitously by a large percentage of passholders who both use lift and ski tour in one ski quivers. The snow tends to be soft, hard moguls rarely form due to the (in ‘normal’ winters) frequent snowfalls and the tech binding is truly a reliable compromise tool for most of these guys, many who are hard chargers. I’ve heard of a few dynafit explosions over the years but nothing outside of any reasonable expectations of reliability based on a bell curve of probability. I personally have used the dynafit binding exclusively for over 15 seasons now, release value set lowish (7), ski with finesse and have never had any problems that weren’t sourced to my own user error (getting lazy not extricating snow/ice packed under toepiece components) Having said that, indeed, I wouldn’t use the dynafit binding on a daily driver on a manmade snow ski hill out east…different tools for different jobs.

  86. ptor June 28th, 2014 2:54 pm

    Hey Lederhosen,

    Your point is super valid but you’re all just still ‘getting away with it’ as far as I’m concerned. Specifically, I was mostly referring to people that spin days of laps without touring using their pin setup. And of course the pin binding option works for scenarios like Shames (where I have also skied and toured and loved) but as usual I was spraying my opinion and i still say they don’t ski anywhere near as good (totally my personal opinion because that’s what matters most to me unless I really have to go a long way and I’m keen and open to hear more about the rumors of WC racers testing some pin style contraptions) and are not as safe as the heavy options (totally objective reality) REGARDLESS of the kind of snow and skiing, so I ask…why bother for a one ski kind of existence? But even in my poorest of dirtbag scenarios, I always had multiple pairs of skis and always will. But if I only did off the lift touring, which is relatively easy compared to climbing a whole mountain and usually associated with large or small hoardes of others setting a track, I would way rather haul the extra weight for off the lift touring because of what I mention above.

    My other opinion is that it has been such a shame that all this energy has gone into pin frenzy over the last years instead of developing a light step in with proper release dynamics and thus less need for marketing exploitation, cross brand incongruity and debate of DIN settings. Having an engineering background, it blows my mind that, despite their relative functionality, Dukes, Guardians and Fritschis ever left the laboratory and onto the store shelves. Where’s my titanium Emerys dog-gone-it?!?!?!?!? Maybe I should get on Kickstarter 😉 I’d rather have those than some flipping drone.

  87. lederhosen42 June 28th, 2014 3:57 pm

    Ptor, I really don’t know what your problem is. The last time I wiped out skiing 7.35 years ago, my Dynafits released just fine! 😉 Good points raised in your posts though.

  88. ptor June 28th, 2014 4:25 pm

    Leder, I don’t really have a problem except that I lack a giant machine shop and technicians at my disposal with an unlimited budget. I sincerely hope you never have a problem either. I guess I just wipe out more than you. We all have different experiences, both personal and second hand, with the same equipment and I feel genuine concern with some skier’s habits. I just think things can get even better so I’m compelled to comment. Complacency kills. Awesome we can all share each other’s opinions and experiences on Lou-dawgs webthingy here and manufacturing types can read it.

  89. XXX_er June 28th, 2014 10:37 pm

    200kms to the east of lederhosen42 its pretty much the same scenario, everybody getting away with using dynafits all the time myself included because there is lots of new snow, no moguls and no crowds

    terrace is a wonderful place, the lederhosen, the sausage parties and where did they get all those blond women!

  90. Lou Dawson June 29th, 2014 8:04 am

    Regarding “getting away with” using tech touring bindings as daily drivers lift served. I’m reminded of the literally hundreds of times I’ve seen people at ski resorts click into their Dynafits, reach down and lock the toe, then take off down the hill with not a care in the world, even though they’re skiing on essentially a non-release ski binding that could cause a life changing injury. I’ve always felt that was tragic, and I don’t blame it on the binding whatsoever, but rather on people who simply make poor decisions on gear choices and how they use it.

    On the other hand, I 100% see the need for bindings that do not prerelease, as one of the primary causes of many horrible injuries as well as deaths is prerelase of ski bindings — including tech bindings. Indeed, there have been several well documented tragic deaths over past years that were directly caused by a tech binding prerelease, in one case I recall, it was pretty obvious the user neglected to de-ice, as well as not locking the binding in no-fall terrrain.

    I’d agree with Ptor, in that there is a need for better bindings. However, as an industry insider I can tell you that making the ultimate tech binding at low weight is not as easy as it might appear, especially with full release as well as a good brake system. Yes, we’ll see better and better bindings, but it’s not happening overnight. Beast, for example, is a step. As is ideas like CAST. Further, just simply building a classic tech binding that’s ultra reliable in terms of breakage, as well as having stronger toe springs, is a step as well. Latest Dynafit Radicals are a good example, perhaps ION as well, and Plum in latest iterations though their lack of functional brake is a problem.

    I’ll finish on a practical note: Please everyone, if you use a tech binding in no-fall zones:
    1. Check bindings for stress cracks and breakage both at home as well as before descent.
    2. De-ice and test your click-in while you’re at the top of your run.
    2. Lock binding toe, and use high vertical (up at heel) release value settings.

    As for skiing that’s in normal terrain where a fall is less consequential, if you’re skiing with locked bindings you might evaluate why you’re doing that and if it’s really wise. I know hundreds of skiers, including myself, who’ve figured out their release values so they can ski tech bindings unlocked in normal terrain, and thus have some sort of safety release (though nothing is perfect.)


  91. XXX_er June 29th, 2014 4:25 pm

    I ended up running the tech binding everywhere last season because it was attached to my favorite ski and the Mercury turned out to be enough boot, I do have alpine gear if the piste gets too hard but fortunately northern BC is not whistler. I never lock the toes, if I need to lock the toes … should I be there ?

  92. Brian June 29th, 2014 8:49 pm

    “In other words, a tech binding has very little elasticity in vertical release mode, thus requiring a higher setting than it would otherwise to hold in a given skier.”

    So true. I find a Dynafit 12 to be about equivalent to a DIN 8 in the vertical direction when skiing. This was found through skiing and not bench testing when evaluating, for the first time, when and where I would use Dynafits. Releases were similar. For me at 170lbs and 300 BSL, I need about 13 in the heel and 11 in the toe, via experimentation. 13 in the heel for larger cliffs into deep snow (the sudden deceleration throws you forward) and 11 in the toe, for firm bumpy conditions when skiing fast (otherwise the downhill toe/ski can sometimes rattle off my foot – super scary and dangerous – sucked figuring that one out over time).

  93. Brian June 29th, 2014 8:58 pm

    ^^^ 13/11 is for DIN. I use 10/10 for Dynafit and lock the toes for no fall terrain. A 12 RV Dynafit is a waste of weight for me, since 12 still won’t hold my heel in for everything. 10 is good enough for small cliffs and normal skiing, for me.

    “I’ll finish on a practical note: Please everyone, if you use a tech binding in no-fall zones:
    1. Check bindings for stress cracks and breakage both at home as well as before descent.
    2. De-ice and test your click-in while you’re at the top of your run.
    2. Lock binding toe, and use high vertical (up at heel) release value settings.”

    So true. I had a really scary prerelease this spring in a no fall zone on firm snow. Came close to loosing it down the mountain side, and would have been severely injured, if not dead. Check your bindings often and before dropping in!

  94. Robbie Corner September 17th, 2014 3:25 pm

    Lou, I’ve read lots of your ski and binding reviews and am wondering your height and weight as it applies to your ski length/model and binding model recommendations. I am buying my first tech binding set-up for touring and in-bounds after skiing alpine the first 28 years of my skiing life, and telemark the last 25. I am a 60 year old expert skier (skiing 80-100 days/season) who now avoids cliffs and moguls, but loves light weight gear and steeps. I weigh 140 and am 5′-6″ tall. I just bought some new Scarpa Maestrale boots. Which model of Dynafit (or other) binding would you recommend for me? And would you the K2 Wayback 88 or 96 (I’m a K2 guy) as the best all-around ski for touring, powder, steeps, and inbounds? Thanks!

  95. Stephen Moore February 5th, 2015 12:00 am

    Wow! Binding and ski technology have sure come along way since my first days of skiing. My mother was a ski instructor and I was fortunate to live in Yosemite as a baby. I began skiing at the burly age of 2 apparently I was fearless and durable. My first skis were wooden, red and had cable bindings. The poles were bamboo with the really cool metal hoops and rubber baskets. I quickly outgrew those planks and graduated to my first set of fancy Volkl Tigers with Solomon bindings and metal poles. I raced with them and had several awesome yard sales, no broken bones or sprains. I managed to end those skis with a failed back flip at age 5. The skis broke between the tips and the front binding. I skied back to the lodge backwards with the tips pointing skywards. Mom was displeased. Today I don’t ski quite as reckless as a young daredevil but I still go hard in whatever the mountains can dish out. Funny thing, skis and bindings still work pretty much the same way now as they did then. If you sucked then, you got punished just as you do now. And broken legs or sprains happened then just the same as they do now. The stunts have gotten bigger, the skis fatter and the bindings a tad more trustworthy, but physics has remained the same. Ski hard, wipe out hard. If you are screaming down the mountain and dismount a ski, expect a major yard sale. If you lock down your bindings while touring and get buried up to your eyelids by a lanch don’t expect to free up your feet cuz it ain’t gonna happen. And finally, newer bindings don’t allow you to ski harder or faster, the old ones worked just fine for that too, although you may have premature ejectulation or a severe compound fracture of you fibula and tib. You could still ski kamakazi just fine especially on a pair of 215s. Though I must admit no older skis could compare to the new fat boys for pow. Oh and last but certainly not least. We used to set our bindings by the lean test. Yep! Lean as far forward as painfully possible until ejectulation and then tighten a tad more. That’s as good as she got like it or not.

  96. Lou Dawson 2 February 5th, 2015 1:55 am

    Robbie, sorry I missed your comment in the hectic world of international blogging (grin). I’m 5’11” and around 160 lbs or less when I’m fit. But I don’t base recommendations on my own weight or height, I’d always ask the person. If you’re going modern, I’d get some Dynafit Radical FT so you have ski brakes, and the wider Wayback. Once you get familiar with tech bindings you can make some changes, but that’ll be a good all-around setup to get you started. You’re not the first guy to have been a tele holdout and finally switching in your later years… perhaps you guys need a website all of your own, like (grin)

  97. Mark Kaeck August 12th, 2015 4:16 pm

    While I agree that just turning the DIN way up is stupid, I find that the shops set the DIN too low for me based on their charts. I am still fairly heavy at about 210 lbs, but most of it is muscle. I put 1350 lbs in 45 lb plates on the leg press machine. They set the DIN down because of my age, as I will be 60 in January. I am in very good shape, however, and still charge double blacks. They usually want to set my DIN at about 7. I have to sign a waiver to get them to set it to 8.5, which is where I prefer it to not be walking out of my bindings.

  98. Lou Dawson 2 August 12th, 2015 4:18 pm

    Mark, yes, the whole thing is a mess. Hasn’t changed much since the 1970s.

  99. Mark L December 1st, 2015 11:19 pm

    This is really helpful. Like Robbie I am figuring out my transition to AT from Tele. I grew up Nordic and Alpine skiing, and when I started tele 25 years ago the gear was lighter, safer, and more comfortable for touring than anything available in AT. Now the boot is on the other binding, so to speak. As a weekend warrior pushing 50 with 2 school-age kids I figure I can use any advantage I can get, especially in the cascade concrete we get in the PNW 🙂

    Problem is, I have no idea what my setting is in the AT realm when I am looking at bindings. I am currently heavy at 175 and 5’9″, but rarely drop below 165. I am a backcountry ski patroller and usually wear a beefier pack on patrol tours (15-20 lbs). I wear a 26 mondo, which puts me around 300mm sole length. I’m a Type 3 skier, but don’t consider myself a hard charger by any stretch. I usually keep my speed down unless it is managable conditions and terrain. But I do like a steep pitch now and then (I consider 40-45 degrees steep), will jump turn in narrow terrain, and I’m not the smoothest. I occasionally ski with a bigger pack for overnight trips (not huts). Since I am not about to buy the biggest, baddest boots (considering the Spectre or Fischer Tansalp) I expect the boot to absorb a fair amount of stress before transferring to the binding, but I’m not sure if that is perception or reality.

    I figure I will probably have to spring for a 12 or higher binding, given what is on the market (Kingpin, Radical FT 2, Beast 14, Ion). Going with a DIN 10 binding ( Rad ST 2, Kingpin 10) wouldn’t seem to leave much margin. I’m most likely looking at a 95-105 ski. Any thoughts?

  100. JJ May 14th, 2016 6:55 am

    My recommended DIN setting is definitely too low. I ski fast but mostly on-piste at lift-serviced terrain. A few years ago at the recommended 8.5, I had a few pre-releases, so I increased to 9.5. No problems after that. The skis released fine when they should have released and no more pre-releases.

    Last summer, I turned 50. When I spontaneously decided to try a pair of demo skis at a tent at the top of a lift, the tech asked me a few questions and set the bindings for me. First turn at speed and out I flew. WTF?!! Because I was 50, the setting was reduced to 7.0. That’s ridiculous. I’m keeping them on 9.5, even that 3+ setting at 8.5 is too low for me.

    It’s not macho. It’s just not wanting to get hurt from a pre-release, which I have experienced too many times at the recommended chart settings.

  101. Lou Dawson 2 May 14th, 2016 10:01 am

    The chart “DIN” settings are engineered and scientifically proven to be the torque settings that help prevent torque injury to your legs. I you ski with higher than chart settings, then you have less and less protection from torque injury, while yes, higher release value (RV) settings can help prevent some forms of pre-release by essentially locking the binding.

    Thing is, there are some kinds of pre-release that higher RV settings actually don’t have any influence on. Since your higher values prevent pre-release in your on snow testing, you do have that advantage, But a myth in the ski world is that simply cranking up binding settings prevents any pre release. Simply not true.

    In the end, any binding that can not be skied at near or exactly at chart recommended release settings, with proper adjustment and reasonable ski technique, is not a good binding. BUT, keep in mind that the DIN/ISO standard allows the actual binding setting value to vary quite a bit from that indicated by the numbers printed on the binding. Those are only intended as a rough guide. To actually know what value you are skiing with, you have to have the binding and boot combo machine tested. Even then, ski flex, snow or dirt under you boot and things like that can cause the release value to vary.

    Get the picture? It’s all actually all quite primitive. Lots of room for improvement.

    More, I’m still not convinced that tech bindings can really double as heavily used resort bindings.


  102. Albert J. Adams November 25th, 2016 5:20 pm

    As a shop owner, binding tech, lifelong skier,BC guide, and competitive racer, here are some thoughts. 70% off guests/clients over estimate their ability, and have a hard time fitting themselves into the type I, II, Or III box. I am a III and above skier, but rarely set the DIN to that level, as racing and extreme skiing is largely in my rear view. II or II+ is fine 99% of the time.
    When interviewing clients as to ability, if III comes up for a rental or new mount, I generally tell them it will be set at II+. Why? Because if you truly are a III, then you know how to “crank ’em”. If not, it is unlikely you fall into the III category.
    I also point out how much easier it is to put your ski on a couple of times than to take a cast of once.
    Skis are tools attached to you, so use them gracefully without forcing, and without pushing the tool beyond the limits it was DESIGNED for. Bindings as well.
    That said, pushing those limits is common these days as skis are easier to use than ever before and bindings are for the most part, incredibly reliable.
    Elasticity between the toe and heel is crucial as the ski flexes in a deep hard turn, which shortens the distance between the two. While, conversely, rebound or lengthens it.
    Conventional binders deal with this simple physics exam much better than tech bindings, that, by their nature have much less elasticity. They can then “pin” your boot in an extreme counter flex by driving the heel pins into the shell, or pop off when the ski rebounds from an extreme counter flex or un-weighting condition.
    ALL Bindings suffer from this. Just that techs are more susceptible. But all do.
    The extreme flex and counter flex of the ski changes the bench mount pre-load on both the toe and heel springs, there fore changing the DIN setting, momentarily.
    There is also the interface of the boot/ binding surfaces.
    If you climb a lot with skis off and wear the toe and heel cups to a frayed or degraded condition, or you don’t check for ice on any binding, the interface is compromised.
    Changing the DIN settings will not solve that. Being smarter than your bindings will.
    Road salt is also a culprit.
    I belive, from experience, that a pre- release is likely more dangerous than a non release.You likely will enter a trajectory that you don’t want to experience.
    I also believe that cranking your DIN is not the answer, for one hucked landing, or one extreme turn…

    So what is the solution?

    As I pointed out before, skis flex, bindings have elasticity, to accommodate the change in flex or counter flex. But boot soles do not. They are rigid. And they need to be.
    But, what if the soles were spring loaded, like skis and bindings. You could set the bench mount neutral, and set a din on the sole to match the Din on the binding???
    let me know.

  103. bill fenton April 26th, 2017 3:21 pm

    surprised no one has come out with an electronic binding release.
    an e-binding. or a smart binding? anyway – something that adjusts the DIN according to the ski speed and trajectory. and can be manually adjusted via bluetooth. so before landing after a big jump the DIN automatically increases .
    would use GPS for speed, angular momentum sensor for trajectory changes.
    automatically goes to reference DIN settings if no data. might even have a memory chip to remember race courses and BC slopes.
    if this seems fanciful, think about those electronic bicycle shifters that cyclists seem to be in love with lately.

  104. Lou Dawson 2 April 26th, 2017 5:17 pm

    Hi Bill, I’ve probably spent 100 hours talking about this with various ski binding engineers. The main problem is said to that for the unit to be 100% reliable it requires quite a bit of space and weight. Secondary problem is reliability, which has to be pretty much triple nines. Totally doable other than that. Or so they say. You can bet someone is working on it, probably Salomon-Atomic. An independent inventor could perhaps make a stab at it, but they’d need money. Lou

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