Agreed. Before I get into my Highly Scientific Method for How I Determined my Current Binding Settings for Each Discipline Rap, let me just briefly wax forensic about prereleases. You would tend
to think that a good Safety First rule might be to duly consult the DIN slash ability charts, see what your recommended DIN is, then go a number under
that. After all, if you prerelease, so what? That's better than not releasing, right?
Well, yes and no. In a race course, at a minimum, a prerelease causes a DQ or DNF and a non-result. However...a prerelease can also be a pain-inducing event. The worst feeling, as a racer, I submit, is to be tooling along at about 65, go over a bump, and hear one ping
, not two. Now you have two choices, neither enviable: (1) Try to perfect your high-speed one-ski-only balance slash turning skills...very quickly, or (2) Put your now ski-less boot down, which is guaranteed to produce a body slam that will ensure your entry into the Hulk Hogan Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Even if you're not in a race
course, I submit, a prerelease can be a Bad Thing...as in, you're arcing turns off the Ridge at Taos, and your downhill ski suddenly decides to depart for parts unknown for no good reason.
So whether you color between the lines and use the DIN chart, not a bad idea, or come up with a number based on your own independent research, I think what you'd like
to do is find a number that prevents prereleases but lets you vacate the scene of the crime when that becomes advisable. Fortunately, bindings are so much better than they used to be, with improved anti-shock and all, that we can all, as Masters Racer suggests, go with lower numbers.
So...back to my personal DIN Seeking Science Fair Project. I've been skiing on Atomic bindings, specifically 1018s for some years now, so let's say that was not a variable. A couple of years ago, I'm cruising around on a pair of 183 GSs with the bindings set on 10.5, and...you guessed it, for no apparent reason, I hear a single ping
and promptly beach it to avoid any further drama. I dial up to 11, and I've never had a prerelease in SL or GS since. Note that I scrupulously (1) transport my skis in a rocket box to protect the skis and bindings (2) Use cat tracks, as needed, so that my boot soles do not come to resemble the bottoms of my 5 year old hiking boots and (3) Wind all the tension off my bindings for the summer, or if I'm not going to ski on a pair of skis for a while (4) Never leave the heel cocked unless I'm about to step into the binding.
Now, the other end of the scale. A few years back, this is in a SG on Go Devil at Keystone, 204 Atomic SGs, 1018s set on 12, I'm winging along, coming into a steep bowl section, and I go into a big, right-footed airplane turn...a little too straight, doing about 60 and I hit a berm on the downside of the gate...ping,ping, and I'm out doing a face-first skeleton sled slide (without the skeleton sled...) into the fence. Fortunately, it's steep and slick, so all I get is road rash on my nose, a slight tweak in one knee and the other shoulder...and a badly bent ski. So you know
there was a ton of force, but my bindings ejected me like Pop Tarts zooming out of a toaster, which is what was supposed
So there it is. I still don't know for sure
that the numbers I'm using are the right ones, because they're clearly past whatever I'm supposed to be skiing on, at my age...but I still
think my method is worth at least a B+ in this year's Rocky Mountain Masters Science Fair...
Originally Posted by MastersRacer
The This is Spinal Tap
excerpt (these go to 11) really is close to the mark.
I think that settings as defined by DIN are right for anyone that is just free skiing. Many masters racers set their bindings beyond what I feel is safe; in general I'd say anything over 14 for what we run is too much. I run a max of 13 in DH, 12 in SG and 10 and 11 in SL and GS respectively. There isn't a good rule for how racers come up with their settings. Some tighten up until they don't 'pre-release'. I haven't heard of anyone dialing down until they do
'pre-release' and then dial back up one. It is an interesting question that I will attempt to find an answer to as I go to the races this year.
I do think that skiers, racers included, use the DIN as a macho meter. Or claim they need a high setting to stay in their bindings when in fact they should work on their technique instead of reaching for a screwdriver.