By Jim Schaffner
At first glance, the binding’s a simple link that holds the boot to the ski. But for ski racers hitting high speeds, it becomes more complicated — we want that binding to hold us to the ski at all times unless we fall, and then we expect the binding to release. So it has to absorb all of the forces generated by speed and gravity, and has to let go when these forces become too great.
Meanwhile, modern plates and assorted shims underneath the binding now provided increased leverage over the ski edge, and the ability to fine tune the fore-aft balance.
So if you're tuning and tweaking your own skis, it’s critical that you follow the right steps in setting up your bindings.
Lay out all of the binding pieces and screws and plates before you begin the mount.
The must-have tools include, but are not limited to:
• Tape measure (in millimeters)
• Center punch
• No. 3 Posidriv screwdriver
• White carpenter’s glue
• Calipers (in millimeters)
• Correct size drill bit (if drilling)
• Tap and brace for the standard-industry AB threads
Critical Steps for Success
1. Measure your mounting points on both skis from the tail before you drill or begin attaching the binding to the ski.
2. After drilling, tap all of the holes.
3. Use white carpenter’s glue, a small dab on the edge of the hole, to lubricate the screw going in, and to help prevent vibration that loosens the screws while skiing.
4. When installing lift plates, take the time before you shoot the binding on to stack the plates under the binding. Then run the screw all the way down and visually inspect to see that you have four threads showing below the plate
5. Use a cross pattern to tighten down the binding to the plate.
6. Place the boot in the system and set the forward pressure of the heelpiece and the toe height adjustment if the binding has one.
7. The boot sole also has a role in the system, especially if you have made modifications to the boot sole for canting or lifting. So need to make sure that the DIN norms have been respected.
The Most Common Mounting Mistakes
• The binding screws are too long, penetrating into the plate or ski more than 8 mm.
• The binding screws are too short, penetrating into the plate or ski less than 8 mm.
• The incorrect style screw is used based on the shape and style of the screw head.
• Lift plates were removed and the screws were not exchanged for shorter ones.
• The screws weren’t tightened enough to seat the head into the binding.
The Most Common Adjusting Mistakes
• Incorrect forward pressure, either too much or too little.
• Increasing the DIN setting higher than necessary on race day.
• Forgetting to reduce the binding DIN setting after a race when switching to training.