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The Real Cause Binding "Pre-Release"

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Rather than hijack another thread, I thought I'd start this one. In the "Upping Your DIN For Powder Skiing" thread I posted this:

From the chart my DIN should be set at 7. (Expert skier over 50. e.i. type 3) I never have them set that high. If given a choice I pick a skier type -1. (Yes, that is a choice, though not all ski techs give it to you.) Anyway that sets me up for a 4 to 4.5 DIN. If they won't set it that low, when I leave, I crank em down.

I like my knees and want to be using them in 30 years. I want those size 4000 shoes to come off before the knee or leg goes POP!

For what its worth, I've not had problems with pre-releases. I ski fast, hard, and leave trenches in the snow.
None of us is as smart as all of us.
It got me thinking, what is the real cause of binding "pre-releases?" Is it caused by over torquing of the foot due to technique. (I hate to use the term bad technique here.)

Even with low DIN settings, I've never had a pre-release problem. I've had skis pop off when I've fallen, but that's what I want to happen.

Thoughts, comments?:
post #2 of 27
Its caused by not drinking purple Kool Aid!
post #3 of 27
Pre release is just a ski's way of saying

"Watch this"

just before you do something really, really, dumb.

post #4 of 27
Originally Posted by Cgrandy
Pre release is just a ski's way of saying

"Watch this"

just before you do something really, really, dumb.

I think it's more like, 'hold my beer and watch this!'
post #5 of 27
Actually - it's a voice activated response to:

"Hey Joey! Watch me ....."
post #6 of 27
Originally Posted by L7
I think it's more like, 'hold my beer and watch this!'
Which, I suspect, is exactly what happened right before this little sequence. Talk about pre-release! :


Lonnie posted this a couple of weeks ago. I just can't stop laughing.
post #7 of 27

It's possible to generate excessive forces on the binding and remain in control. The binding only knows that it's very likely that you are in trouble. It does not know whether or not you are in a position to allow a recovery. When you're really good, you can step back in after a prerelease and continue on.
post #8 of 27
The DIN setting on a binding is standardized retention setting to release you in a slow twisting fall at a given slow torque under specific conditions. Skiers that experience high shock loads on skis also need to have a high degree of elasticity in the binding. Look and Rossi pivot bindings and some Salomons are well known for this characteristic, while Markers notably are not. Also, skiers on very high angle terrain tend to very sharply decamber their skis and rebound to the next turn. This also occurs when you land jumps. A bindng without elasticity and good forward pressure will separate from your foot no matter how high you crank the setting.

If you want protection from slow twisting falls, you need to find a setting that protects your bones and ligaments. That setting is probably within a point or two of your recommended DIN. If you impose shock loads on your skis or high energy rebound (hyper cambered), you need a lot of elasticity. Safe settings for retention, and elasticity can be achieved on the same binding.

Separate your ego from your DIN setting for a moment. Most skiers can ski at the recommended DIN settings in any binding. I don't think it serves any good purpose to claim that makes them a weak or less advanced skier, any more than claiming you need to crank you bindings down to ultra high settings makes you a better or more advanced skier, or perhaps a skier with flawed mechanics. If an expert has had problems with certain binding systems in the past, they have clearly learned to deal with it, or they wouldn't be experts, they would be pre-released fallers. I don't get it, what's to debate?
post #9 of 27
Pre-release does not happen when carving railroad tracks. As long as the force applied from the boot to the ski is straight down and smooth you can ski at low settings.

I don't know if you call it pre-release, or just release, but if you land on the tails of your skis after taking some air because the slope is 30 degrees and your skis are not, you could end up with upward release at the toe. I'm glad this didn't happen to me the last time I messed up at about 60.

Pre-release happens when the ski takes a pounding, like when you land off a roller and need to bang off a rapid direction change so you land with your edges set.

In the days before free-flex bindings, landing in a gully between two bumps would decamber the ski enough that the forward pressure exerted by the heel piece on your boot would drive it forward and cause the toe to release with the least bit of asymetry. As this was usually accompanied by a turn and a slowing down due to the front bump, many a ski came off when people were skiing a little faster than was wise in moguls.

Many years ago I had a ski pre-release just going over a bump (edit: the whole run was very bumpy so it could have been a combination of bumps) at speed. I didn't try to get my foot back in, just skied one-footed for a while as I slowed down. At speed, simple contact with things not moving at the same speed can break bones.

Release happens when the skis stop because they hit a rock or cliff or railbox and you don't stop. A friend of mine broke a ski this way( skied into a cliff or rock pile); the bear-trap binding didn't release. Crazy Kids!
post #10 of 27

I agree with you. Good skiers move with the equipment (along the length of ther ski) and not agianst (acrost) it. Sufficient force to pre release is caused by:

worn bindings
worn boot soles
worn out ski core
improper forward tention
improperly set din
set for another skiier
set for another boot
din turned down for storrage
worn out skier
improper technique for the snow conditions
snow under the boot sole
poor binding construction

Any one of these can cause "pre release". 95% of the time ,it is human error is some capasity.

Lets not go to the old assumption on din settings, if a little is good, more is better. Quality bindings give the skiier a good amount of latitude or forgiveness. Not all bindings are as forgiving and can fail (pre release), when other bindings are "all right" with agressive skiing.

post #11 of 27
Great stuff from Ron and CR.

I remember one of the best pieces of advice I was ever given, "Try to ski as if your bindings are not even there. Don't use them as a crutch." Meaning have enough rhythm, flow and anticipation in your skiing that skiis "know" where they are going to go.

Tweaking your release setting is fine. Just make sure all other variables are accounted for.
post #12 of 27
I remember hearing about a test a few years ago, Tomba was on a race course with a special binding that had sensors to measure the release forces. The forces never went over a release of DIN 4.5.
Of course, I doubt if he had any missteps.....
post #13 of 27
Originally Posted by 2-turn
I remember hearing about a test a few years ago, Tomba was on a race course with a special binding that had sensors to measure the release forces. The forces never went over a release of DIN 4.5.
Of course, I doubt if he had any missteps.....
Gee, I wonder if Tomba races at 4.5.....not!
post #14 of 27
I know a relaiable masters racer that saw Lasse Kus's bindings at Copper

set at 23.

Most of the WC racers on Atomic are set a 16. I think betaracer or logruve posted that!
post #15 of 27
post #16 of 27
Originally Posted by ssh
Thanks for posting that again Steve! I have said numerous times in the threads attacking marker & atomic bindings that more often then not it is pilot error technique wise.

I got completly pooh-poohed, but there ya go. If you are on your ski in the wrong way, at the wrong time or skiiding isideways in ruts, or get light on your outside ski in a race course, it makes no difference what your DINS set to; Your coming out!
post #17 of 27
Exactly! And before any wanna-be experts post why that Web site is wrong, please consider that Carl and his team have done more real scientific research into binding function and injuries than anyone else on the planet ever. There is no one more expert than them. Period.
post #18 of 27
disclaimer:i ski and rep marker.

the only issue i have ever known with a binding occured when the forward pressure setting was incorrect. my din # is eight. i ski a "six" all day long in bumps, powder, crud and have no issues.

why a "six"? i feel safer that way. i don't feel there is any such thing as a pre-release. when i want out i want out. i also have no desire to experience any elasticity.
post #19 of 27
You know yourself better than anyone RG, and no one should doubt you, but why would you ski at a lower than recommended setting?

Do you fall that much that you need to worry if your skis will come off? Your chances of falling in a manner that will cause knee injury are so slim. You are actually putting yourself at more of a risk skiing at a lower setting and having a ski come off when there would be no reason for it.

Ten years of Patrol and of all the injuries I attended to, the least were knee injuries. And, of those knee injuries, most of them were by beginner and lower intermediate abilities, with bindings set where the should be or from bindings that were obsolete and out dated or didn't work properly.
(borrowed skis, hand me downs, used purchases)

I had a couple that come to mind actually tear knees up falling while standing in lift line, slow backward falls, the classic injury fall. Most slow twisting backward falls occur on green and blue slopes or cat tracks where people are either aren't concentrating or are beginners.

It's also a fact that good skiers like yourself with good control and technique will more than likely never put the ski into a position where it will release. That day will come though.Skiing in deep powder in the trees you'll catch a tip on a submerged stump or limb or rock and most times when you could have continued on and recover your ski will come off and you could do a header into a tree, or tree well or over a drop. Then you'll be thinking, if my bindings had been set where they should have been, this might not have happened. I hope it never does as I wouldn't wish bad luck on anyone let alone someone I respect as being one of the top instructors in Colorado.

As far as Marker goes. I skied Marker for many years. My issue with Marker was a bad fall about six years ago, maybe five. I was having lunch when I got a call on my radio about an injury on a black trailhere where I ski. I ran out and clicked into my skis and hit the lift. While heading down the slpe at a real good clip, my right ski clicked and released.I tried to ski to a stop on the left ski but as I tried to stop took a rather nasty plant directly on my right shoulder. Now there was two rescue calls. I knew I was hurt badly as my whole right arm was numb and tingley. I got up and put my ski back on and continued down to the accident scene. I quickly acessed the injury and called for backup and explained that I was also injured and was of no help to the girl. To make a long story short, I toreall the major ligaments and muscle groups in my right shoulder. Had major surgery four weeks later, cost me five months of work.

Here's the question. Was it pre-release? Did I not clean the snow off my boot before I clicked in? Did I not here the snap crisply when I stepped into my skis? Why did it just release? I didn't hit anything on or in the snow. It was a nice groom day. I surely didn't cross my tips as I don't ski with my boots glued together. Could have been anyone of those factors. It came down to ice build up under my boot or pre-release. I blame the Markers. Have used Rossi's and Looks ever since. Haven't fallen since and haven't had a ski come off since. By the way, they were at recommended din setting of 7.5.

This din thing is all up to the individual. I'm not an instructor and don't recommend anyone turn up their din just because I do. I just think it isn't harmful to do it and in certain circumstances, makes sense.

And don't use Markers
post #20 of 27
Lars, FWIW, your experience of injury statistics isn't typical. Knee injuries from phantom foot effects on modern carved skis are up dramatically. Furthermore, this FAQ on the Vermont Ski Safety site educates skiers on ways to avoid knee injuries based on an on-going 26-year study of skiing injuries: http://vermontskisafety.com/faq_skie...iers_tips.html

Again, that web site is the best available source for scientifically determined ski injury information.
post #21 of 27
And every year we had a clinic on how to prevent knee injuries for all the instructors and employees of the Resort. All information supplied by the Vermont ski safety site. I know.

All I'm saying ssh is they're not all din related. Most are caused by poor ski technique and risky ski practices such as jumping. Trying to recover from an off balance situation instead of knowing how to fall. Read the brochure. I bet din is hardly mentioned.
post #22 of 27
"Lasse Kus's bindings at Copper

set at 23. "
not possible as his bindings only go to 18...
post #23 of 27
Lars, then I misunderstood. My reading of your post was that knee injuries are rare and only occur for low-level skiers.

I agree that DIN isn't the culprit, but for that reason I tend to ski at relatively lower settings--and work on staying smooth.
post #24 of 27
Originally Posted by Lars
Read the brochure. I bet din is hardly mentioned.
Actually, it might say release settings(DIN) have nothing to do with knee injuries. Modern bindings were designed to prevent leg fractures, which they do very well. Thanks to the leverage of higher ski boots and sidecut skis, knee injuries are on the rise. When you get yourself in the wrong position, the ligament pops well before the binding can react. That's why Vermont Ski Safety advocates modifying software to prevent knee injuries. Thier course deals with not getting into the position where your knee is put in jeopardy, and it's surprisingly quite simple to implement into muscle memory.
post #25 of 27
Vermont ski safety actually should be good reading for everyone. Like I said in an earlier post. We always gave the instructors and other resort employees a mandatory seminar every year before the season, on how to recognize positions of recovery that might lead to injury. We also told them on ways to prevent injury when in this position. Basically teaching them when to give up the recovery and how to fall. It was just one of the things that happened each year. Just as boring as the lift recovery practice we had to do every year. One of the best ways to prevent knee injuries is knowing how to stay out of the backseat.
post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 
Great discussion, thank you to all who participated.
post #27 of 27
If ones technique is efficient, one shouldn`t have to have higher than recommended settings,
at the most..
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