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Frustrated intermediate skier looking for information on ski bindings.

Poll Results: You believe ____

Poll expired: Feb 25, 2011  
  • 80% (25)
    skiers should have easy access to any and all information pertaining to thier bindings
  • 19% (6)
    only certified mechanics, shop owners, etc. should have complete information about ski bindings
31 Total Votes  
post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
O.k.  So I'm getting the vibe that this is a totally taboo topic within the ski community at large, but where in the big wide world could a person find information on adjusting/ mounting/ maintaining ski bindings?  Whenever I bring this issue up, everyone gets all hush-hush like I'm asking them to help me build an atom bomb or something.  And to a point, I get it, no one wants to be liable for injuries.  But I believe that the rarity of good, accurate information on this subject simply contributes to injuries, as people will continue to set up their own gear, for whatever their reasons.

If you really think about it, the level of secrecy here is really pretty absurd.  The most recent books I can find detailing binding systems are from the eighties and early nineties.  Binding manufacturers won't even give their own consumers copies of manuals, issuing bogus statements like "For liability reasons, we can only provide that information to a Certified Marker Technician. Please consult your local Marker retailer [from the Marker website]."  I would think that this would, or at least should, violate some law.  If I purchase a product that has the potential to cause me bodily harm, I should be entitled to any and all information available pertaining to the use of that product, so that I may discern for myself that it is being properly and safely used. 

The most frustrating thing here is that I know bindings are simple machines and would require little knowledge to maintain and adjust, but still some basic information is necessary.  I could figure things out by trial and error, but I just don't want to go experimenting with a device that could twist my legs into pretzels. 

So all complaining aside and in all seriousness, where could I learn to maintain and adjust ski bindings?  I plan on skiing the rest of my life, and I refuse to continue putting my own safety in other people's hands (sorry I guess I'm a being a little paranoid, but I just like the peace of mind of knowing things were done properly, and for me that only happens when I do them myself).  I asked the owner at my local shop how I could learn and he gave me a nasty look and told me that the industry was already saturated with techs (he thought I was looking for a job).  I googled "Ski technician certification courses" and came up with few results from the UK and Switzerland but nothing in the U.S.  So all you techs out there, how did you come to be techs?  Did you get a job a ski shop and they trained you?  Or were you born into a long dynasty of ski mechanics, sworn to protect the secrecy of your craft under threat of death?
post #2 of 29
fret, I can understand where you are coming from - you are concerned about someone else being entrusted with your safety. But, can you understand the other side of the problem as well? Do you insist of car manufacturers providing thier customers with full details on how the seatbelts and airbags work? If you were injured in an accident, would you prefer a qualified, experienced surgeon to do the job, or would you want to learn and try it yourself?

As you say, there are courses in Europe, but I don't know of any over with you. Good luck in your quest!


Oh, and welcome to EpicSki.
post #3 of 29
Quick! Download and save it on your pc before it disappears off the interturbe!
http://www.rlanctot.com/Medias/Certification/Ski/FISCHER_TM.pdf
post #4 of 29
Contact the rep for the binding line you are interested in and state that you wish to get certified.  Alternatively try the same thing with the shop.

Remember that there are very specific tools (jigs, drill bits) for some of these bindings that if not used increases risk of a binding failure.  I think this is a major reason why it is done thru shops with manufactrurer supplied forms to be filled out and manufacturer supplied jigs, bits, etc... 

Mike
Head binding certified
(note basically same bindings as Fisher and Elan - Tyrolia)
post #5 of 29
At one time yes, bindings were the domain of the certified ski shop, using specific jigs and drill bits to attach the bindings. Not rocket science, but it was not something that the average DIY'er could do, and still applies to "flat" skis. Now though, many skis come with a mounting plate already installed and the bindings simply slip right in, adjust, and lock down with a lever (ie Rossi) or a single machine screw (ie Atomic), essentially making these bindings "demo" bindings. It is unfortunate that our always-blame-someone-else-for-our-stupidity litigious society forces companies to make assertions as to who is qualified to follow instructions.

I for one have not had a shop install bindings for a number of years, and gasp, yes, I even adjust DIN settings all by myself, however, if something happened as a result of my actions, then it's my fault and I am not likely to try and sue anyone.
post #6 of 29
Might be interesting to take a certification course and learn all this stuff, but I'm pretty sure those courses are not free, and there's a separate one for every binding manufacturer. Then, as someone mentioned previously, there are all those wonderful specialized jigs, drill bits, etc. one needs to acquire. Seems like you would need to own an awful lot of skis to make this pay off.

Yeah, anyone can install the system bindings, and binding adjustment does not seem to be rocket science (although when I watched last time, the shop used some kind of computerized gizmo). I too have done it myself on more than one occasion with no consequences, but for a $15 or $20 fee and 15 minutes of my time, it's worth leaving this to someone who actually knows what they're doing.
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by frethawk View Post

 I asked the owner at my local shop how I could learn and he gave me a nasty look and told me that the industry was already saturated with techs (he thought I was looking for a job).

Not exactly.   

He though you were asking him to sign off on your certification, after you trivially pass it online.    And then he's responsible.  
post #8 of 29
 Speaking as someone who works on my own skis and sets completely different ASTM settings (DIN) than what the charts say, I can understand why people would want to know about their bindings.  However, speaking as a tech certified by all major binding manufacturers, the biggest reason it is discouraged is that most people who adjust/setup their own bindings do not set their forward pressure properly.  Also, I have seen so many times when "Dad setup up Johnny's ski's" that the heel is no long attached to the adjustment track.  Shops are also testing the release values (both lateral and vertical heel) to make sure that the binding is releasing within a specific range of torque values.

BTW, if you know how to find it all of the information from the manufacturers is available online and available to anyone.
post #9 of 29
I'm sympathetic with the original poster (even though he is an intermediate).

Quote:
Do you insist of car manufacturers providing thier customers with full details on how the seatbelts and airbags work?


My car at least came with an owner's manual. It tells me lots of stuff, including how to adjust some things (seatbelts, even!) and change the oil. I also have a service manual, which doe, indeed, give reasonably full details on how the seatbelts and airbags work.

If you want to be all sinister, what the binding manufacturers are doing is telling people not to touch their bindings, in the hope that they will do so, and that the manufacturers can then use that as a defense, even if the bindings are faulty.

I've mounted multiple sets of bindings to plates. So far as I can tell, the vast majority of experienced skiers do, from time to time, adjust the DIN or forward pressure on their bindings. Typically, you have to figure out how to do this through word of mouth or by fiddling around. People don't know how to adjust their bindings properly because nobody's telling them how to do that. That's not encouraging safety, it's avoiding it.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post
My car at least came with an owner's manual. It tells me lots of stuff, including how to adjust some things (seatbelts, even!) and change the oil. I also have a service manual, which doe, indeed, give reasonably full details on how the seatbelts and airbags work.
 


Yes, unfortunately only Porsche that I know of specifically restricts who is to work on the car.



If you want to be all sinister, what the binding manufacturers are doing is telling people not to touch their bindings, in the hope that they will do so, and that the manufacturers can then use that as a defense, even if the bindings are faulty.

Or, if you want to be reasonable, they are protecting ski shops, so that Joe Lawsuit is less tempted to frack about with the binding  after the ski shop has set it

(and issued Joe Lawsuit with a receipt saying so, a receipt that gives Joe Lawsuit an opportunity to sue the ski shop for something he did himself).
post #11 of 29
There are really 2 separate issues here:

1.  Initial installation of bindings.  This may require specialized tools/jigs etc. (except in the case of system bindings where the rail/plate etcl is already installed at the factory; in these cases the installation of the binding on the rail/plate is generally not too difficult and in my experience (solely with railflex and flowflex bindings) instructions for how to get the bindings onto the rail/plate are included with the bindings) and information regarding installation may be hard to find.

2.  Adjustment of bindings.  I have found online the DIN setting charts for most manufacturers (and they all seem to be relatively standard), and the Fischer settings chart is in the link provided by Ghost above (great find, Ghost, I'm adding that to my library; I especially like that it has the part number for the various screws, as we've got a number of sets of Fischers in the Skibowski family) and have always set up the bindings for myself and my family members.  It isn't rocket science at all.  The forward pressure adjustment can be a little non-intuitive on some bindings, and you should make sure that you understand how that setting works and how to set it properly.  But the DIN settings just require that you look at the chart and find the correct box with your setting, I just don't see that is something that's terribly difficult (I keep the DIN setting chart with me when I go skiing).  Many people in today's specialized society are scared off by things that look, or are made to look, complicated, but in the case of dialing in binding settings, that just doesn't seem too complicated to me.
 
I was putting my boots on at the lodge during a recent trip and I overheard a man standing next to me talking on his cell phone to a friend and the gist of his conversation was that he had rented his skis down in town (20 miles away) and had gotten to the mountain and had found that the bindings hadn't been adjusted to fit his boots and that the folks at the rental shop at the ski resort wouldn't adjust them because they hadn't rented them to him and he was going to have to drive back down to town etc. to get the bindings adjusted.  I'm not sure what everyone thinks is the right thing to do in this situation, but I volunteered to set his bindings up for him (and these were rental bindings, which are even easier to adjust (for boot length) than normal bindings) and he very appreciatively said fine (after he asked me if I really knew what I was doing) and I spent less than 5 minutes setting them up (set boot length, set DIN for toes and heels based on DIN chart and his specs, set forward pressure) and then he happily went off skiing.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Big Skibowski View Post
  I'm not sure what everyone thinks is the right thing to do in this situation, but I volunteered to set his bindings up for him (and these were rental bindings, which are even easier to adjust (for boot length) than normal bindings) and he very appreciatively said fine (after he asked me if I really knew what I was doing) and I spent less than 5 minutes setting them up (set boot length, set DIN for toes and heels based on DIN chart and his specs, set forward pressure) and then he happily went off skiing.

Wow. 


Just wow.


You're a brave and lucky ski dude.
post #13 of 29
Anyone with a modicum of mechanical ability should be able to set up bindings.  I've been doing it for 10+ years, more out of lack of nearby shops than anything else.  I'm only risking myself and my family's safety.  However, I probably would've done the same, Skibowski.

It's not rocket science.  'Course, I are an engineer (ChE); that's almost a rocket scientist.
post #14 of 29
frethawk,

I feel your pain.  I've walked out of three real deal ski shops that have been in business for years and folks rave about them.  Each time something was wrong with my bindings.  Mostly it's been simple things like; forward pressure set differently on each binding, tension (DIN) set differently ski to ski.  When I brought my daughters skis one time for an operational check of the binding, I asked the tech (kid) how he knew what to set the forward pressure at and he said "I go by feel."

I think Vermont Ski Safety (or something like that) offers a course.

Wear The Fox Hat,
I disagree - It is a perfectly acceptable practice to go to an auto parts store, buy a repair manual, some tools and parts then go home and replace/adjust your brakes on a 4000 pound vehichle that is going to go 70 miles an hour (or more) next to similar vehichles.  The owner of the vehichle has the choice to take on that responsibility or hire someone else.  Same goes for motorcycles and bicycles.

Airbags and Bindings aren't apples to apples because the setting on bindings are subjective (type of skier), and the skier has already taken on part of that responsibility by stating (could be incorrect) what type skier they are.  Way too many loop holes in that.  The only user choice in airbags that I know of is to turn it on or off for your passenger (I have this option in my Jeep Wrangler).  All other airbag options are pre-set by the manufacturer.

Everyone gets on the lawsuit wagon when it is really to keep the work in the shops.

Teaching folks how bindings work is no more dangerous/absurd than teaching how an engine works in drivers ed.  If you want to be safe, you should know the INTENDED use and EXPECTED outcome of the equipment you are using.  You should also know at least enough about the bindings, skis, car, truck, bike so when it is acting up, you can safely and intelligently decide wether to contiue skiing, ski down to a shop, walk down or call a tow truck.

Ghost,
You're da man!

JMO,
Ken
post #15 of 29
  I like and do my own work because of how much I depend on it's correctness. Just like my diving, car and climbing equipment. I just get visions of "technicians" answering their (security blanket) cell phones talking in some meaningless (needy girlfriend or boyfriends)conversation and not concentration on my gear.  It takes a long time to earn my trust. 

 Just the other day I saw someone taking delivery of their new mounted skis in a Sport Chalet store. You should have seen what they did to brand new bases on these skis. None of my old ski bases look that bad. For some unknown reason It looked like they stoned away about half of his bases. Good thing the buyer knew what he was looking at. What the hell are they stoning the bases on new skis for?

 Yeah I like as much information as I can find on all my equipment. I recently bought a mounting jig. I tried through the company. They acted like I wanted missile launch codes. If I were them I would worry more about the monkeys in the field that they have mounting their bindings. I've had it with Marker's new ownership. I like their products but their people all need to go in a painful way.

 Skibowski you a good man! Better than me. I hope your parents made many.

 I don't know what business your in today but, all I find is apathy everywhere from everyone. It's more than refreshing on that rare occasion when you don't.

 Listen up out there! Triple check everything that you are paying for! The stuff that I have seen............
Edited by skimalibu - 3/1/10 at 8:17pm
post #16 of 29
They don't give out info, because they want you to go and support your local authorized dealer with some business; they think that makes up for selling a ton of skis cheap to big box stores, preventing the dealer from making his typically huge markup.
post #17 of 29
5 minutes with Google- if you can't handle that then directions will be useless anyway. 
post #18 of 29
Jigs

Head Tyrolia.

WorldCup iSL RD - need race plate jig to attach plate to ski.
WorldCup iSL RD, iGS, etc.. need jig to mount free flex bindings on ski
WorldCup iSL (not RD), SuperShape, SuperShape Speed, SuperShape Magnum, SuperShape Titan, Team GS, Team Sl - no jig required.
All Joe, Jimmy, Richie, etc... and twin tips - jig required.
All RailFlex skis - no jig required and less than 5 mins to mount the bindings.  Railflex bindings are basically as easily adjustable as demo bindings.  Takes longer to take the binding out of the box than it does to mount them

Mike
post #19 of 29
I mount all my own bindings, system or not, mounting plate or not.  Jigs are only to save time and reduce mounting errors.  All my mounts turn out right with the correct forward pressure.  I set the release settings according to the chart, 'cuz I trust the experts that set up the chart and it works very well for me.  Then, I pay a shop to test the binding release.

Bindings are simple.  Once mounted, just keep them clean.  Never, ever put the uncovered bindings on a car top rack.  If you car-top, be sure the bindings are covered.
post #20 of 29
I think it's still worth going to a shop that tests your bindings with your boot in a machine. Not all boots are really 100% the same and without actually checking the release your little Din window setting is only a rough approximation.
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by aschick View Post

I think it's still worth going to a shop that tests your bindings with your boot in a machine. Not all boots are really 100% the same and without actually checking the release your little Din window setting is only a rough approximation.
 

Yeah I agree.  But you know if your bindings are old or on "the list" they won't even do that for you. Stupid if I owned a shop I would do it at no charge for a DIYers. If someone took the time and made the treck to my door......No problem! I feel the good will would pay off in other ways.
post #22 of 29
I've watched rental shop employees get "certified".  It involved watching a 20 minute video and taking a 10 question multiple choice quiz.  It takes about 90 seconds to set a rental binding.  No testing done after the binding is set.  If modern rail-style bindings are virtually as simple, any mechanically included person should be able to do it.  But, yeah, it would be nice to have the information to do it.
post #23 of 29

I gotta say...being new to this community, that the secrecy surrounding binding adjustment is pretty surprising.  It's not rocket science...plain and simple...and as long as you're only adjusting your own bindings (that only you will be skiing) I can't seen any reason why manufacturers (or this online community for that matter) should make the information readily available.  I mean we're flying down a mountain, surrounded by rock trees and people....we're already taking risks..it's the nature of the sport.  Maybe it is because society is so litigious, I don't know...just seem strange NOT to include instructions on how to use a product that YOU purchased and that YOU will own.  It's true that most people don't have the tools to test torque...but last few times I demo'd skiis no one at the shop tested torque either.    

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by learn2turn View Post

 It involved watching a 20 minute video and taking a 10 question multiple choice quiz.

Exactly.    The "controlled" information and knowledge can be trivially learned.



Therefore every argument founded on "it isn't rocket science" is false and invalid.


Because "controlling" the information was never about how complicated the information is.
post #25 of 29
Interestingly in Europe ALL car manufacturers MUST LEGALLY make all service material available to customers if asked for it. They seem happy to do this and despite a car being able to do far more damage than a ski, dont seem to get sued for people servicing their own cars

They cant even insist you take a warranty service or repair at their dealers, you can do it yourself as long as you follow their standards

I think under European law you could sue a ski manufacterer for NOT telling you how your bindings worked especially as all the adjustment screws are not tamperprrof and visible to the end user and therefore would be deemed to be user settable
post #26 of 29
If I had a ski shop, and I was faced with a lawsuit for a 'mis-set' binding DIN, I'd use this website and TGR in my defense.

"See, people adjust these themselves all the time, you cannot prove the binding wasn't touched after it left my shop, so you can't prove we did anything wrong." Brilliant. No more lawsuits = all the info you guys want.

All of these "it's not Rocket Science'" comments. It's freakin' simple. There is something at the back of the binding that indicates correct FwdP, figure out what it is. Use a ski you know to be correct as a guide... just how dumb are all of you 'rocket scientists' anyway. Take 10 minutes to look at your equipment... hell, skip two dumb posts on Epicski and figure out how your gear works. There are only 6 adjustment mechanisms on the average pair of bindings, 4 adjust DIN, find the other two... guess what they do. It is easy, stop whining and man-up. 
post #27 of 29
Is posting binding manual on this website allowed?  We can easily gathered all the information in a single thread.  Just not sure about copy right and legal liability.
post #28 of 29
post #29 of 29
How did you know when the forward pressure was set correctly and who calculted the DIN setting, apart from that I agree some bindings are esay to slide onto a rail, Ski techs also check that the boots being used comply with the DIN standards for boots.

It certainly is not as hard as it used to be back 30 years ago when even mounting jigs were rare.

Our binding cert exam is about 30 questions, about 10 of them are on DIN calculation, if you get one of them wrong you have failed the exam.

The binding companies over here don't mind non industry people coming along provided they are invited by a shop and there is room in the class.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroGravity View Post

At one time yes, bindings were the domain of the certified ski shop, using specific jigs and drill bits to attach the bindings. Not rocket science, but it was not something that the average DIY'er could do, and still applies to "flat" skis. Now though, many skis come with a mounting plate already installed and the bindings simply slip right in, adjust, and lock down with a lever (ie Rossi) or a single machine screw (ie Atomic), essentially making these bindings "demo" bindings. It is unfortunate that our always-blame-someone-else-for-our-stupidity litigious society forces companies to make assertions as to who is qualified to follow instructions.

I for one have not had a shop install bindings for a number of years, and gasp, yes, I even adjust DIN settings all by myself, however, if something happened as a result of my actions, then it's my fault and I am not likely to try and sue anyone.
 

Edited by paulski - 3/19/10 at 3:44am
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