It’s essential to learn the signs of equipment deterioration before it’s too late. Checking your equipment will allow you to either repair or replace parts of your bindings before hurting yourself or others.
Ski and snowboard bindings need to be replaced when they start to show signs of cracking, damage and excessive wear. This is generally an indication your bindings no longer meet safety requirements.
See also: Are snowboard bindings important?
Do ski bindings wear out?
Bindings eventually will show signs of wear and tear. They withstand extreme temperatures and are under severe pressure when hitting those big runs.
Ski bindings degrade over time due to the high pressure placed on the plastic and metal that constitute the binding.
The din settings on your ski binding are shown on the toe and heel piece by a small numbered scale. The din setting is there to apply pressure to your boot to hold you in place, it is turned up higher or lower based on your weight, height and ability.
The heavier you are the higher your din settings will be for secure bindings.
What holds the tension in your din settings is your din springs, these are tightened up to apply pressure to the toe and heel of your boot, keeping you attached to your skis.
Having it too high or low can result in your binding releasing your ski boot at the wrong time e.g. middle of the run. Or, they may not release at all including when falling.
Your bindings will fail when the din springs start to wear out, therefore, releasing your boot at higher or lower pressures than they should. This is extremely dangerous as it can cause accidents if your ski bindings don’t release when you fall.
How to prevent bindings from wearing out too fast?
To avoid your ski bindings wearing out, visiting a workshop once a season will make sure your bindings are safe and working effectively.
Here are some tips on how to make your ski bindings last longer:
- Store your skis in a clean and dry area to avoid rust and mold
- Turn your din settings down to the lowest tension to allow the springs to stretch and therefore retain their tension when adjusted.
Do snowboard bindings wear out?
Similar to ski bindings, snowboard bindings are made from plastic designed to hold your boot in place.
Snowboard bindings can wear out due to the plastic straps and structure breaking down from wear and tear, weather, aggressive riding, and/or aging.
Snowboard binding accessories such as screws, toe and ankle straps can be easily replaced at your local workshop which carries spare parts.
On the other hand, cracks in areas of the binding such as the heel cup, base plate, high back and outside hardware cannot be fixed easily.
Under high pressure e.g. when landing a jump, this can cause these parts to snap hence releasing you from your bindings mid run.
In such cases, you’re best off replacing your snowboard binding.
Tips to make your snowboard bindings last longer:
- Store them in a dry area to prevent dampness and mold.
- Remove your bindings at the end of your holiday to prevent rust build-up and damage to the threads in your snowboard.
See also: How long does a snowboard last?
What are indemnified bindings?
To ensure your ski equipment is safe, one of the things to look out for is indemnified bindings.
Every year the ski industry releases a list of bindings that are still covered under the manufacturer’s guarantee. These are called indemnified bindings. This means the binding company will support a certified technician in case of legal action.
If your bindings aren’t on the list, they are likely unsafe to use.
It’s highly unlikely ski workshops will adjust or work on bindings that are not on the list. This in turn may result:
- Incorrect din settings – this is the scale that measures the pressure your bindings have on your boot to keep you in place on your skis.
- Lack of testing to ensure your bindings work correctly
- Lack of help for re-fitting a new boot or remounting your old bindings onto new skis
Without these services workshops provide, you could end up with a serious injury as your bindings won’t function correctly on the mountain.
Like most equipment, your ski bindings have a shelf life, so it is important to be mindful of this list to ensure your bindings are keeping you safe on the mountain.
How do you know if you need to replace your ski bindings?
Here is how to inspect your ski bindings to see if they need to be replaced:
- Din Settings: Check to see if your din settings can be adjusted, either by raising the din number or lowering it. This can be checked by a workshop technician to ensure your boot releases when it should.
If your dins are set too high, there’s a risk of serious knee injuries if your boot doesn’t release when you fall.
- Release Tension Check: This is checked every other holiday or season or if there is a change to the skier’s weight, aggressiveness or boot. This measures the amount of force used to release the boot from the binding and ensure it’s set up to release correctly when needed.
- Binding Torque Test: checked by a workshop technician, this test shows how much force your binding can take on both the toe and heel plate to release the boot. It checks that your din springs are working correctly.
- Visual Checks: checking for cracks or damage to the bindings, worn down AFD plates that help release your boot, spinning screws in your bindings, and correct ski boot fit.
- Indemnified Binding: Does your ski binding appear on the indemnified list? If it doesn’t, you should get new bindings.
These checks should be done by a mix of a professional and yourself.
How do you know if you need to replace your snowboard bindings?
Snowboard bindings have a similar checklist to ensure you’re ready to go on the mountain. These checks can be done by yourself, though getting a workshop technician’s opinion gives you better insights and a fresh perspective.
Here’s how to check if you need new snowboard bindings:
- Checking all the structures of the binding for cracks or excessive wear.
- Checking all ankle and toe straps to ensure there is no crack or tears and that all rackets work and hold tension.
- Checking all screws and base plates are not stripped and they hold your binding in your board with tension, therefore not spinning.
These checklists will allow you to see if your bindings are in good working order or if they need to be fixed or replaced.
How often do your ski and snowboarding bindings need to be replaced?
Ski and snowboard bindings need to be replaced once they no longer hold your boot in place with the correct tension.
You may be lucky and only need to replace your bindings when it’s recommended:
- Every 10 years for ski bindings
- After 50 to 100 days of use for snowboard bindings (depending on how you use them)
This is just a guideline of how long your bindings should last. Be sure to check your bindings for signs of damage throughout the season.
Also store them in a clean and dry area to prevent storage damage such as mold and dampness.
Should you replace your bindings with your boots?
You don’t necessarily need to replace your bindings with your new boots unless they don’t fit into your old bindings.
Adjusting a ski or snowboard binding to a new boot involves adjusting your footplate, ankle and toe straps, and high back position for the boot to fit correctly. This can be done by yourself or with the aid of a professional.
If your ski or board bindings no longer work with your new boots, you may have to consider new bindings.
See also: How long do snowboard boots last?
Should you replace your bindings with your ski or snowboard?
When buying new skis or snowboards, you don’t have to replace your bindings if they can be remounted.
Your existing ski or snowboarding bindings can typically be reused on your new skis or snowboard if:
- They fit the width of your skis/board without heel or toe drag.
- They show no structural damage.
- You have the right screws and plates to match up with your new skis/board – these can easily be purchased to match.
Here are some adjustments you can try for fitting your new boots into your bindings:
- For ski boots: move the toe and heel piece closer together to make sure the binding pieces fit securely on your ski boot without any gap. You can adjust the AFD plate under your boot by raising or lowering it to make sure the boot sits flush to the binding.
- For snowboards boots: try adjusting your footplate, ankle and toe straps and high back to fit securely around your new boot shape and style.
If you can’t adjust your bindings to fit the shape and size of your new boot, here are a few other things to try:
- For ski bindings: try to remount your skis bindings with a greater distance between your heel and toe piece, as long as there is enough room on your ski, to make more room for your boot.
- For snowboard bindings: Look at buying larger ankle straps or ladders that offer more room for your boot.
This should be done by a workshop professional to ensure the remounting is correctly done. For example:
- Your old screw holes need to be plugged to avoid water damage
- The correct drill pieces and jig must be used to create the new holes with the right shape for your binding
- The new holes are drilled at least 8mm away from previous holes to ensure your binding doesn’t rip out
This is essential to the longevity of your remounted ski bindings and to avoid permanent damage to your skis or bindings.
See also: Are snowboard boots supposed to hurt?
Do bindings affect ski or snowboard performance?
Binding affects your ski and snowboard performance through stiffness, riding style, and fit.
Ski and snowboard bindings are the key ingredients to your setup. Not only do they hold you in place, but they also give you the flexibility to personalize your style of riding.
The different types of bindings are:
- Alpine bindings: these are used on the mountain daily, riding groomers, hitting small jumps and riding small amounts of powder.
- Park bindings: these are generally softer for snowboarding bindings and have a higher din setting for ski bindings. They absorb more impact when landing jumps and are usually lighter in weight
- Touring bindings: These are used for hiking up the piste into the backcountry, they require a specific boot and are paired with powder skis/split board allowing you to explore new terrain without ski lifts.
Each binding is designed for optimal performance for your specific riding style. That said, they can be interchanged e.g. touring bindings on piste or alpine bindings in the backcountry.
Using the right bindings for your discipline, however, will give you the best performance. It will allow you to absorb vibrations/ chatter, distribute power from your body into your snowboard/skis, turn smoother and keep your feet comfortable.