Travel - Skiing: What a Bind
Saturday 24 October 1998
That, of course, is what they are: insurance. In normal circumstances, bindings keep your boots attached to your skis. In abnormal circumstances they release your boots from your skis. You only discover how good your insurance is when you have a bad accident: and it's the same with bindings.
When I last had my skis tuned, towards the end of last season, the workshop pointed out that it was time to get new bindings. So I made an appointment with Bernie Haaser, equipment manager at the Ellis Brigham shop in Covent Garden, London.
I was, so Haaser told me, an exceptional customer: it was extremely rare for anyone to buy new bindings for old skis." Most skiers," he said, "are just not bothered about bindings, although it is the only part of their equipment designed to ensure their safety. What matters to them is whether the colour of the binding matches the ski."
Although bindings influence skiing performance, their characteristic difference lies in the ease with which they release the boot. All of them have adjustable DIN settings (Haaser, being Austrian, could spell out what DIN stands for: Deutsche Industrie Norm), and fitters use a complex table to choose a setting which reflects the skier's weight, style of skiing, and boot length. But because the stiffness of the spring differs from binding to binding, so does the range of adjustment. "And since beginners are likely to have forward or backward twisting falls, they need a binding which releases earlier, and quicker," said Haaser. "An aggressive skier applies more pressure, so he needs a stiffer release."
I admitted that I was only quite aggressive, and skied more on-piste than off: and Haaser prescribed a pair of Marker M8.1 EPS bindings.
I was particularly sold on them (at a price of pounds 109.95) because of the "biometric" pad above the toe: it lowers the pressure required to open the top of the binding by 25 per cent in the event of a backward fall - the kind most likely to damage the knees. When I have such a fall, as I probably will this season, I hope to find that it was money well spent.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant