Ski bindings are often an afterthought for the beginner skier. It’s not until after a few tumbles, you might realize just how important these pieces of equipment are. For advanced alpine skiers, as well as backcountry and tourers, getting the best ski bindings can transform your skiing.

Good quality bindings designed for your skiing style will inspire confidence in you but they can also add some serious weight to your set-up. Ski bindings suited to you will allow you to push your limits and challenge your own ability, all while knowing that your bindings have your back.

Ingenious pieces of technology, ski bindings can look complicated first off. We’ve broken down the must-know information on bindings so that by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what you need.

 

QUICK ANSWER: THE BEST SKI BINDINGS

  1. Marker Griffon ID
  2. Tyrolia AAAttack 13
  3. Salomon T Warden MNC 13
  4. Marker Jester 16 ID
  5. Look NX 12 Dual WTR
  6. Marker Kingpin
  7. G3 Ion LT 12
  8. Marker Tour F12 EPF
  9. Salomon Z12
  10. Look NX 11

 

 

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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST SKI BINDINGS

PICTURE
SKI BINDINGS
BEST USE
DIN RANGE
WEIGHT PER BINDING
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
SKI BINDINGS
BEST USE
DIN RANGE
WEIGHT PER BINDING
PRICE
RATING
Marker Griffon ID
Overall
4-13
2.1lbs
$$
5
Tyrolia AAAttack 13
Overall
4-13
2.2lbs
$
4.3
Salomon T Warden MNC 13
Overall
4-13
2.4lbs
$$
5
Marker Jester 16 ID
Alpine/Downhill
6-16
2.2lbs
$$
5
Look NX 12 Dual WTR
Alpine/Downhill
3.5-12
2.2lbs
$
5
Marker Kingpin
Ski-touring
5-10 or 6-13
1.5lbs
$$$
4.5
G3 Ion LT 12
Ski-touring
5-12
1.0lbs
$$$
5
Marker Tour F12 EPF
Ski-touring
4-12
2.3lbs
$$$
5
Salomon Z12
Budget
4-12
2.2lbs
$
4.1
Look NX 11
Budget
3.5-11
1.7lbs
$
5

 

 

SKI BINDINGS 101

 

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST SKI BINDINGS

 

1. TYPE OF SKI BINDINGS

 

ALPINE/DOWNHILL

The most common type of bindings, alpine bindings are for downhill skiing and will be found on all downhill skis in the resort. Both the toe and the heel of your alpine ski boots clip into alpine bindings and stay fully clipped in unless you take a fall.

Some alpine bindings are also compatible with AT boots and WTR boots (described below).

 

ALPINE TOURING (AT)/RANDONÉE

Touring bindings allow you to be clipped in at the toe but unclipped at the heel. This allows you to lift your heel and to gain the motion essential to ski-touring. When you’ve reached the top, you can clip your heel into the binding – effectively turning it into an alpine/downhill binding – and ski down. More often than not, you can even adjust your binding mode with your ski poles, making life even easier.

Alpine touring bindings come in two types. AT bindings (sometimes with frames) and tech bindings. While AT/frame bindings are great for touring and downhill, they are heavier and lift with your heel during touring. Some frame bindings are compatible with both traditional alpine/downhill boots as well as AT boots.

Small, lighter and more streamlined, tech bindings are great for experienced ski-tourers who don’t plan on spending much, if any, time in the resort. Requiring compatible tech ski boots, tech touring bindings allow you to lift your heel while the binding remains attached to the ski, eliminating that extra weight and proving much better for long hikes.

 

2. DIN RANGE

To prevent leg injuries in a fall, ski bindings are designed to release when a set force is applied. When you fall in certain ways, your skis will come off to prevent injury but similarly, you don’t want to pop off a side hit and find your skis fly off upon landing. That won’t look good in the GoPro edit!

DIN settings are an internationally standardized scale that indicates the force required before the bindings release. Beginner skiers, children, and lightweight skiers usually use lower DIN settings while expert skiers and heavier skiers will have higher settings.

Alpine bindings traditionally have a wide DIN range around 3-12. Expert bindings might start from DIN range 7+, making them too high for beginner or even intermediate skiers.

It’s easy to get an idea of your required DIN settings by inputting data like your height, weight and skiing level to an online DIN setting calculator. DIN settings should ideally be set by a professional.

 

3. WEIGHT

Standard alpine ski bindings come in many different weights and the lighter the bindings, the more expensive you’ll find them. However, for resort skiing and lift-accessed areas, the weight of your ski bindings shouldn’t affect you much.

Backcountry and ski-touring are where every ounce of extra weight matters and it’s worth paying a bit extra for super lightweight bindings. Ski-tourers who don’t go to the resort at all may well prefer tech bindings which are fully stripped of any extra weight and make excellent companions on those long touring days.

 

4. BRAKES

Ski binding brakes are little arms that sit flush with the ski while moving and pop down the moment your skis boots are released from your bindings – through a fall or by manual ejection. Brakes are designed to stop the ski from moving by itself. This is important in a fall as runaway skis can injure others or lose themselves in snow drifts.

Brakes need to be wide enough to clear the edges of your skis but not so wide as to touch the snow while you’re edging like a pro. This means that you must know the waist measurement (center width) of your skis before buying your bindings. Your brakes must be wider than your skis!

 

5. BOOT COMPATIBILITY

All alpine/downhill boots have soles that are compatible with alpine bindings and conform to ISO 5355. So for resort skiers, your boots are always going to be compatible with your bindings. The key is to have your bindings fixed to your skis by a professional once you already know your boot length (different from shoe size).

While alpine bindings are compatible with alpine boots, ski-tourers don’t have the same guaranteed compatibility. Tech bindings are only compatible with specific tech touring boots, limiting you to that specific set-up. Only a few companies make bindings that are compatible with both alpine boots (ISO 5355) and alpine touring boots (ISO 9523). However, if you want to enjoy ski-touring and resort downhill with the same boots, you’ll need these dual-use bindings.

WTR is an acronym that is popping up more and more and means Walk-to-Ride. These boots have more of a sole rocker (as opposed to the flat sole of an alpine boot) which allows you to walk with more ease than if you were wearing standard alpine boots. WTR compatible bindings are almost always also standard alpine bindings and some also work with touring bindings.

 

ideal ski bindings to have

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/gblakeley

 

SKI BINDINGS REVIEWS

 

1. BEST SKI BINDINGS FOR OVERALL USE

MARKER GRIFFON ID

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Intermediate and advanced skiers

DIN RANGE: 4-13

WEIGHT PER BINDING: 2.1lbs (0.9kg)

COMPATIBLE BOOTS: Alpine, AT, and WTR

PROS: Can be used as touring bindings or downhill, solidly built to give greater confidence on the mountain, Marker’s Triple Pivot Elite toe system absorbs impact and reduces risk of early ejection

CONS: Expert skiers on the heavier end may need a higher DIN setting

 

 

 

TYROLIA AAATTACK 13

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Intermediate downhill skiers

DIN RANGE: 4-13

WEIGHT PER BINDING: 2.2lbs (1.0kg)

COMPATIBLE BOOTS: Alpine

PROS: Affordable with an excellent build quality, low profile yet still give the aggressive skier confidence to ski hard, 3.0in (77mm) AFD (anti-friction device) offers good release

CONS: Only for use on skis with a width of 3.1in (80mm) or wider, not designed for touring

 

 

 

SALOMON T WARDEN MNC 13

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Skiers who love touring as well as downhill

DIN RANGE: 4-13

WEIGHT PER BINDING: 2.4lbs (1.1kg)

COMPATIBLE BOOTS: Alpine and AT

PROS: Great mid-range DIN settings allow intermediate and advanced skiers to enjoy these bindings, excellent shock absorption through under-toe transfer pads, sliding AFD (anti-friction device) ensures smooth release

CONS: Not particularly lightweight for ski-touring, can’t be used with skis narrower than 80mm

 

 

 

 

2. BEST SKI BINDINGS FOR ALPINE/DOWNHILL

MARKER JESTER 16 ID

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Expert skiers

DIN RANGE: 6-16

WEIGHT PER BINDING: 2.2lbs (1.0kg)

COMPATIBLE BOOTS: Alpine and AT

PROS: Well-built bindings that can cope with aggressive skiing, moveable AFD toe piece enables this binding to work with both alpine downhill and touring, outstanding shock absorption to withstand all-mountain abuse

CONS: Only designed for skiers 130lbs and heavier, only come in black

 

 

 

LOOK NX 12 DUAL WTR

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Beginner to intermediate alpine skiers

DIN RANGE: 3.5-12

WEIGHT PER BINDING: 2.2lbs (1.0kg)

COMPATIBLE BOOTS: Alpine and WTR

PROS: Low starting DIN range will appeal to novice and lightweight skiers, easy clipping in and out, fast changing between downhill and WTR

CONS: Lacks the brute force build quality of the Marker Jester 16 bindings, not ideal for heavier users

 

 

 

 

3. BEST SKI BINDINGS FOR SKI-TOURING

MARKER KINGPIN

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Expert ski-tourers who like a bit of piste skiing

DIN RANGE: 5-10 or 6-13

WEIGHT PER BINDING: 1.5lbs (0.7kg)

COMPATIBLE BOOTS: Tech

PROS: Excellent for touring and impressive on downhills too, wide hole pattern gives more direct energy transfer and better control, fully DIN certified to give utter confidence on fast descents, fast and easy to transition between walking and skiing

CONS: Heavier than similar touring specific tech bindings, expensive – even for tech bindings, isn’t compatible with every tech boot

 

 

 

G3 ION LT 12

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Expert ski-tourers looking to save weight

DIN RANGE: 5-12

WEIGHT PER BINDING: 1.0lbs (0.5kg)

COMPATIBLE BOOTS: Tech

PROS: Super lightweight and minimalist, retention leashes instead of brakes save weight and mean you won’t lose your skis is powder, you can turn your heels in either direction to lock in, very easy to get your boot in

CONS: Not ideal for hard pack descents, heavier skiers may find DIN range not high enough

 

 

 

MARKER TOUR F12 EPF

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Advanced backcountry tourers who like skiing pistes

DIN RANGE: 4-12

WEIGHT PER BINDING: 2.3lbs (1.1kg)

COMPATIBLE BOOTS: Alpine and AT

PROS: Easy to switch between touring and downhill modes, touring mode has three angle settings for climbs, compatible with ski crampons for icy terrain, new wider design for more power through the boot and into the ski

CONS: Smallest model still won’t fit a smaller woman’s feet, not noticeably light for touring bindings thanks to frame

 

 

 

 

4. BEST BUDGET SKI BINDINGS

SALOMON Z12

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Confident intermediate skiers who love resort runs

DIN RANGE: 4-12

WEIGHT PER BINDING: 2.2lb (1.0kg)

COMPATIBLE BOOTS: Alpine

PROS: Lightweight and responsive bindings with mid-range DIN settings, automatic wind adjustment allows your boot to sit securely within the binding, easy to clip in

CONS: Might not withstand aggressive skiing by heavier skiers, rough freestyle use will strain the bindings

 

 

 

LOOK NX 11

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Beginner and intermediate skiers on piste

DIN RANGE: 3.5-11

WEIGHT PER BINDING: 1.7lbs (0.8kg)

COMPATIBLE BOOTS: Alpine

PROS: Lightweight and a great price for novice skiers, easy to clip in and out, can deal with some off-piste, ensures good control on piste

CONS: Won’t withstand too much abuse or particularly aggressive piste skiing, no sliding toe piece sacrifices smoothest possible release

Top 10 Best Ski Bindings of 2017 – Best Ski Gear - Skiing Tips for Beginners -  Skiing Clothes For Women, Men and Kids
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