>...If I already know my recommended DIN setting is it necessary to have new bindings release tested? ...
Lots of (maybe most) rental operations just dial in a setting for a customer and hand them over without doing any release testing whatsoever. These shops aren't getting sued every day, so at some level, this approach obviously can work.
Testing them yourself, as suggested by Ladede is another approach, and is certainly a significant step above doing absolutely nothing. However, I would make some additions to what he said.
First, I think that this approach is only suitable for an experienced, adult skier who has a good degree of mechanical sensitivity (eg, usually as obtained by years of working with tools and other mechanical devices, etc.) and will actually notice the slow onset of potential problems such the nearly microscopic rattling associated with the binding screws slowly becoming loose. Having a second pair of skis (at the same DIN setting) as a reference is a great idea in case slowly advancing corrosion or some other problem is hitting both skis simultaneously.
Second, I don't know what type of binding Ladede uses, but very, very few (eg, old Spademan's, Moogs, etc.) have a pure upward-at-the-toe release mode. The proper tests for the vast majority of bindings are sideways at the toes, and upwards at the heel. Some Atomics reduce the sideways release force when there is upwards pressure at the toe, but this is essentially an added bene, not the main function of the device, and the proper tests are still the standard ones I mentioned above. I would be very curious to know what bindings he is referring to.
Third, if you are going to "do-it-yourself" with respect to release testing, in my opinion, at minimum, you have to force 2 different types of releases (toe, heel) per ski, and it really is a good idea to do this at the beginning of each skiing day. Its not difficult or time consuming, and is exactly what I do myself (see my post time stamped 3/20/2003 - 0726 AM in this recent thread
What I said in that thread was:...just about every day when I first click into my skis, I will immediately force an intentional twist and forward release on each ski. If I can't do this, or if it feels easy/hard/odd in any way, I try it again. If it still doesn't feel good, I then take them off and look things over, or at worst, take them into the shop. Thusfar, the only things that this test has ever detected is some caked snow on my boot and a couple of loose mounting screws over the years. By seeing that this few second test even detects simple problems like these, I am reasonably confident that there are no other problems and that my bindings will likely be working when I need them. ...
Personally, I am quite confident of my tests, but I have been doing this for ~30 years, worked in a shop when I was young, mounted all my own bindings for my first 15 or so years of skiing, still work with mechanical devices in the lab, etc.
However, for the average recreational skier (ie, 10-15 days per year, one pair of skis, has skied for only a few years, not terribly mechanically inclined), what I would recommend is pretty much the industry standard recommendation: Have them release checked when you first begin to use a pr of skis, and have them release checked at the beginning of every season thereafter. There is no reason you can't supplement these formal shop tests tests with your own daily forced-release testing. This will give you experience at doing this, and may catch something important between shop tests. Usually, all it ever catches is occasional snow build-up on my boot sole that I hadn't noticed, but if that prevents a potentially injurious pre-release incident, its worth my time.
Hope this gave you some perspective.
Tom / PM
PS (in edit) - I've never been injured skiing in any way related to a binding problem.[ March 21, 2003, 08:29 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]