If you’ve been skiing for a while, then you probably know how important the ski binding position is. When it comes to ski binding position and performance, even small adjustments to the binding can be significant. The bindings will impact muscle strength and skeletal alignment, and therefore have an impact on performance and comfort.
If you’re buying new bindings or are thinking of adjusting the mounting for better performance, there are a few things you should consider first.
Skier Type: Which Bindings to Choose?
The bindings themselves should align with your skier profile. The mount will also be based on how you identify yourself as a skier; type I (beginner), type II (intermediate), or type III (advanced). After you determine where you are, a local shop tech can install your bindings and adjust them based on your ability level and preferences.
Check out the video below about ski binding position.
Ski Binding Position and Performance: What Mounting Point Works Best?
How your skis perform in different terrain and snow conditions is dependent on the mounting position of the bindings. The binding mounting position is also based on needs and preferences. Here are a few mounting points and how they impact performance.
Traditional/Recommended Mounting Point
The traditional or recommended ski binding mounting point is a few centimeters behind the true center of the ski. It is based on how the skis are designed to perform. The default setting aligns the middle marks on the boots and skis. This allows the skis to ski the way the manufacturer intended.
Performance will generally be supported by using a traditional/recommended mounting point—and this is especially true for beginner skiers. Manufacturers place the default mounting point in an area that will enable unskilled skiers to skid—acting as a speed management and control tool. More advanced skiers tend to prefer carving, which is easier with a forward mount.
True Center Mounting Point (Forward Mount)
Taking advantage of the symmetrical design of Park and Pipe skis, a true center mounting point is found by measuring the exact middle of the ski. By using a measuring tape, you can measure the ski from tip to tail to find its true center. Best for backcountry skiing, this point will typically be a few centimeters forward from the traditional/recommended mounting point.
When it comes to performance, mounting the bindings forward will make the skis feel shorter. Because there’s less ski length in front of the binding, less weight is needed to turn. This means that at lower speeds, it will be easier to turn—good for freestyle skiers. The skis will be more balanced while skiing switch or while on boxes and rails.
The downside is that mounting the skis forward (especially too far forward) means that you’re at risk of having your skis dive into the snow. You have less stability when it comes to general downhill skiing. With more power in the tips, there’s less power coming out of turns. It’ll also be more difficult to maintain a float and the skis will be less stable at high speeds. In carved turns especially, it may also be trickier to respond as efficiently.
Mounting Bindings for Freeride (Back Mount)
Having the binding further back from the traditional or recommended mounting point moves the weight of the skier back. This allows the ski to float through powder, crud and rough terrain, and skiers will get more power from the tails. Particularly helpful in maritime/oceanic climates, a back mount will help when skiing in wet and heavy snow.
Mounting the bindings just slightly back is recommended to ski freeride or on-trail. You’ll have more control. When you’re freeriding, it’s best to be lighter on your skis and having the bindings mounted in the center or front makes you a heavier skier.
The further back the mounting of the binding, the more stiff it will feel. It will feel less playful and you won’t be able to turn as smoothly—especially on hard packed snow. That said, this ski binding position is best for powder days.
Other Ski Binding Mounting Position Considerations
When it comes to ski binding position and performance, there are some other considerations that will play a role.
- Women have a center of gravity that’s further back than men’s. As a result, the bindings are typically mounted slightly forward of center.
- 95% of the population will ski well using the factory recommended mounting points. If you are unsure about the mounting position, just stick with what’s recommended.
- Snow conditions will impact how the ski performs. In an ideal world, every skier would have different skis with different binding positions for both compact and powder snow. This might not be realistic but is definitely something to keep in mind.
- The camber profile of a ski also affects where the best mounting point is. If the ski has a lot of early rise in the tip, the mounting may be better behind the center line. Whereas a traditional camber works best with a traditional/recommended mounting position.
- Many skiers like to work with different binding mounting positions to see what works best for them. It’s good to start with a manufacturer’s mounting position, then make small adjustments based on your performance goals. While there are a lot of online tips and recommendations, it’s ultimately going to be up to you and your preferences to find your sweet spot.
Ski Binding Position and Performance: Before You Get Started
If you’re advancing as a skier and looking for a good way to improve your performance, adjusting the ski binding position may be just the trick. It’s good to learn the science behind how your movements impact the skis and your overall performance, and experiment with different binding points will help you discover what works for you. Be sure you consider your typical snow conditions as well as what type of skiing you prefer to do. If you’re new to skiing, stick to the traditional/recommended binding position.
There are a lot of resources to help you mount the bindings yourself. However, if you’ve never done it before, it may be best to go to an expert or stop by your local ski shop to have them do it for you.