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Is it possible to "overbuy" bindings?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm a light (110 lbs) beginner. Someday, I may be a low intermmediate, but not today. Because it is near the end of the season, there are some good deals on bindings. I can get Marker Titanium 1300 Piston Control or Look P10 Team Ti for less than $125 or I can get Marker M1100 CC xi or Look Nova 10's for $75. I don't mind paying the extra money (I like my knees facing forward, thank you), but after reading some of the stuff here, it seems like the higher priced bindings are made for more agressive skiers and may be too stiff/unforgiving/heavy for me.

I like to sit down when I panic (i.e., when I get over 5 mph) so the slow backward twisting falls are my speciality. Any advice?

post #2 of 20
Yes - it is possible to over buy, and that is what you would be doing with the 1300s. Lots of debate about whether Marker or Look is better and I have no first-hand knowledge of the two lower cost bindings you mentioned, but you'll be fine with them.
post #3 of 20
You need to find out what your DIN setting is and then buy a binding that stradles that number so that you are in the middle of the bindings range.
ie: If your DIN is a 6 get a binding that goes from 3-10 not one that goes from 6-14. bear in mind that as you improve your binding setting will go up but not all that much. Overbuying doesn't serve much purpose.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
They all seem to have Din's that start at 3 or 4. Mine is going to be at the low end of the spectrum, for sure. Mostly I want something that will let my TOEs escape when I go down backward.
post #5 of 20

You do know that backward twisting falls can cause your ACL to tear off? And that all bindings have issues with release in slow backward twisting falls?
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yes, that's what I've been reading here. I don't know what an ACL is, but I would bet tearing it will hurt. I've been reading on techniques for fall prevention (feet together, arms forward, hands over skies), but I did want to get the best bindings possible.
post #7 of 20
That's the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. It holds the shin from sliding forwards from the thigh. If you break it, you've got surgery to fix it, and months of rehab.

Stop falling like that! The best bindings in the world can't guarantee that you'll be safe in a slow twisting backwards fall. It's the holy grail of binding technology. To my knowledge, no one does that really well.
post #8 of 20
Markers are supposedly proned to pre-release, and looks (P or Px series) are supposedly the safest on the market for good skiers, as they authorize skiing at lower DIN setting without pre-release (I'm going to be flamed...).
Now, for a beginner, I would vote marker M1100CC, because
- Markers are good in backward falls. Probably better than Looks P10.
- Markers are easy to step in.
- prerelease won't be an issue for you.
- Looks Novas are so-so.
- Markers 1300 are over-kill. (keep your money).

Now, please correct me knowledgable experts, all of those are '04 models aren't they ? Are those prices such bargains ?

Edited after seiing cross posting by BiigE :
Markers are not 100% safe in backward falls indeed. No bindings are. But safer than other brands.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by BigE

Stop falling like that! The best bindings in the world can't guarantee that you'll be safe in a slow twisting backwards fall. It's the holy grail of binding technology. To my knowledge, no one does that really well.
Stop falling like that? What? Do you think I do it on purpose? Good heavens! I'd give my eye teeth to get to the bottom of the bunny trail without snow on my butt.

It would, however, be far less entertaining for the children zooming past me...
post #10 of 20
As a beginner, you may just want to choose the lightest weight bindings available. Many beginning skiers complain that the skis are just too darn heavy to move. Much of that weight is the binding, but you can choose lighter weight skis too.

I think the Look Nova series is the lightest, but you may want to check yourself. Most binding companies post the weight when they talk about binding specs.

Another issue to watch for is boots that are done up too tight, are too stiff, and won't bend. You need to be able to bend at the ankle to balance well. Hopefully your boots are well matched to your size and ability.

Oh, and welcome to skiing!
post #11 of 20
Originally Posted by Phoebe3
I've been reading on techniques for fall prevention (feet together, arms forward, hands over skies
How long are your arms? For you to get your hands over skies would require arms that are very long - maybe even 6 miles - and this could be causing the slow backward twisting falls.

In all seriousness though, keeping your hands forward and over your SKIS is a great piece of advice. This will help to keep you forward and balanced before a fall, and also help with injury prevention during a fall. Have you considered taking a lesson? A good instructor would be able to help you acheive better balance, and that might reduce your instances of "panic". Also - as Big E said, stop falling like that. If your description in the original post is accurate "I like to sit down when I panic ", then you do really need to try to avoid doing that. If someone wanted to deliberately tear their ACL, sitting down while skiing would probably be one of the best ways to do it. How are your turns? The reason I ask is that if you keeping turning left (or right - funny how that works), you will eventually be headed across the hill, or even slightly back up the hill. This will slow you down and reduce the need to panic, and therefore reduce the need to sit down...
post #12 of 20
Sounds like you've been reading this:

If not, check it out.

Also, this video is helpful: http://www.vermontskisafety.com/vsr_direct.html . Easier (for me at least) to visualize the safer approach by watching the video.

That said, I got a partial ACL tear this season from a slow twisting rear fall in which my Look P10 bindings did NOT release. So Phillipe's preference for Marker over Look if this is your concern seems right.

BTW, I think the reason my tear is partial and not full is I worked hard last summer and fall on strength and balance exercises and cycling to build up hamstring and quad strength. It helped my skiing if nothing else, and I like to imagine it also helped minimize the injury. Conventional wisdom is women are more prone than men to ACL injuries, and stand to benefit more from training (article in NY Times last Thursday to that effect). So if this is a concern - as it appears from your posts - I'd suggest searching the health and fitness forum here for some ideas on training to avoid ACL issues, or looking at the fitness articles in Ski magazine and the like, and commit yourself to some sort of training program. Which will increase your confidence and ability when you get back on the slopes next season.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yes, that was the artile I was reading.

As far as lessons go: I took a couple of lessions 25 years ago B.C. (Before Children). I was able to do pole turns on the green slopes and it was a lot of fun. Then I didn't ski again (no money, no time) until 4 or 5 years ago. I went to June and spent 45 minutes going down the beginner run. I couldn't stand up for more than 20 feet at a time and by the time I got to the bottom I was exhausted. I would have taken the skis off and walked down the hill, but I couldn't get the darn things to release. I said to my husband, "never again."

Looking back, I think the equipment had a lot to do with it. Being an idiot, I wore two pair of thick socks and sent the first set of boots back because they were "too tight." Also, I carried a great deal more of my weight in the back than 25 years before. I suspect having women's skis with the binding a little forward will be a big help.

Anyway, I'm not against taking lessons - I'm just tring to get my ducks in order so technique is the only thing I have to worry about.
post #14 of 20


Give us a picture of the whole package. Start with the boots and skis and add height and weight and where you ski.

Are you in the same old skis as five years ago or were they rental skis and boots?

You can't compartmentalize the components and have a happy outcome.

Give us a bigger picture to work with.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
I am 5'4", weigh 110 and am a 50 year old couch potato. I have skiid (many years ago) the beginner slopes at Mammoth and plan to ski a local resort that has 2 lifts and 1 beginner run here on the eastern slope of the sierras.
I have a pair of Nordica Next boots, which will be replaced when I can get to a good bootfitter. The skis are new old stock 2004 Dynastar Exclusive 8 Actives 142cm. I'm looking at Marker bindings at REI online. Will get one of the following:
M1100 Contact Control,
M11.0 Titanium contact Control six, or
M12.0 Titanium Glide Control xi.

All are under $100. I'd like them to be light but don't need them to be fancy. When I fall, it is usually backwards. I will never be an agressive skier, but will eventurally want to ski the Blue slopes.

Does this help?
post #16 of 20
I personally am a big fan of Look bindings. I've had a pair of p14s for about 4 years now and they have been ideal. The p14s are essentially the same binding as the p10's, just with a higher din setting. I work in a ski shop and have found that Marker's are prone to pre-release, and also they're prone to physical breakdown. Again, that is just MY experience. Every skier has an opinion on bindings and it usually is a personal thing. However, Look is some of the best in the biz, and the turntable heel that is used on the P10's is actually good for preventing injuries caused by slow, backwards twisting falls. Another option that you might look at is Line bindings. I'm not too familiar with them, but I do know that their binding is specifically designed to prevent knee injuries.
post #17 of 20
looks... never markers
post #18 of 20
I haven't been keeping up with the current crop of bindings, but as of a year or two ago, Tyrolia had a number of models that were able to decrease the sideways toe release force if they detect upward pressure on the toe piece. They call this "diagonal release". While this doesn't completely solve the problem of the backwards twisting fall, it's a step in the right direction (at least for low level skiers).

I've recommended these to a number of my returning students and haven't heard any complaints, busted knees, etc.

Whenever someone tells me they have a problem similar to yours, I always look to the root cause, and in most cases, it is fear. There is a good chance that you are ordering yourself to go down slopes that are just a bit too steep / long / exposed / croweded for what the primitive part of your brain believes you can do safely. The net result is falling backwards. Get yourself a private lesson with an instructor who will tell you that it's perfectly acceptable to go slowly on the most gentle beginner slope until your technique truly becomes adequate for more advanced terrain, slightly higher speeds, etc.

Best of luck,


PS - To the guys recommending Looks, I love them as much as you & have them on many of my boards, but come-on, this is a newbie. She is going 5 mph max, not going Mach Schnell, she doesn't need elasticity for staying in when going over rough terrain, she isn't going to pre-release, and even if she does, she isn't exactly on release-and-you-die terrain, and longevity of the binding is not the same issue for her as it is for those of us that ski 50+ days per year, or put bindings on rental skis.

Looks, especially with the turntable heel, are a fine binding, especially in deep snow, but she needs an "anything wrong and your out" binding.
post #19 of 20
You are talking about the P series.

The Look exclusive series is cheap/light and does not have the barrel heel piece that folks like so much about the P series (same toe though). Dunno how they compare to Tyrolia.
post #20 of 20
IMO, the smaller spring Markers are fine, and that slightly higher chance of pre-release is probably a GOOD thing for an early level skier of your age.

Because the release isn't "pre" for your knee joint, it's exactly at the level of force you want. It's just inconvenient if you're skiing high difficulty stuff hard. Some technically strong skiers are willing to risk more stress to their knees in some falls in return for more convenience/safety when you absolutely can't lose a ski.)

But I'd also put in a vote for Tyrolias - I use them, and the heel also has a limited diagonal release. As someone with seriously bad knees, I can tell you that I haven't felt ANY pull or jerk with them at release, compared even to Markers. Smoothest eject on the market...
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