Where Do You Place Your Bindings
Binding placement is something I've thought about for a while but never tried experimenting with until recently. I kind of assumed that the manufacturers had the right spot dialled in pretty well and that adjustment was maybe something for experts and racers. Also not living near a ski area and therefore having more limited time, I thought it was one for other people.
I listened to this podcast: Global Skiing: Binding placement effects on skiing with Lou Rosenfeld on Apple Podcasts
and a subsequent one in the same series with Tim Cafe.
Lou is a boot fitter from Calgary and has carried out a lot of research in conjunction with some ski manufacturers.
As a result I had a play on our indoor snow moving the bindings forward on my Nordica SLR slalom skis which I haven't had long and which were feeling ok but not really great.
I initially moved them 2 stops, I guess just under 1cm and found an immediate difference. I felt a better engagement with the ski and better balance through the turn giving me a sense of much greater control. I moved them another stop and the positive feeling was magnified. In total I moved them 1.6 cm forward.
The limit of the biding mounting stopped me from further movements and due to COVID our indoor snow centre is now shut but it's definitely something I'll be playing around with when I can.
I don't know what others do. Maybe some of you experts already change the settings but I thought it was really interesting and quite a revelation to me.
That's interesting, Adrian.
Haven't experimented with that yet. Read a paper where they had some ski racers timed through gates. They moved the bindings both forward and back without telling the skiers which way the move had been. They checked the times and also got them to rate the feeling as better/same/worse. The feelings matched the times. IIRC 4 of the racers were faster forward, four were faster back and one was faster with one foot back and the other forward! So it seems it is a personal/physiology thing down to the individual leg. 🤔
Reilly McGlashan said in a vid on the Volkl Racetiger SCs that he moved the bindings back 2cm from recommended. Tom Gellie seems to find it works better with his binding forward.
Handy to have track bindings for quick adjustment.
@geepers yes it's very much to do with individual morphology. TG talks in a lot of detail about this in the podcast with Tim Cafe.
Something I found interesting was that the elite racers were less affected by movement than less skilled racers as it was proposed that their extreme expertise enabled them to make very sophisticated and rapid compensation.
This, to my mind, would suggest that lower end skiers would probably benefit the most. I don't know about you but I've skied on skis that I just couldn't get on with and assumed maybe I wasn't up to them. Perhaps it was the binding placement.
There were some figures to suggest Nordica skis could be moved as much as 3.7cm which is huge.
Interesting subject. As for off-piste skis I tend to move my bindings a bit back (actually I drill them moved back as pin bindings I use have only heel piece adjustable). I do that to avoid tips sinking in deeper snow. But for piste skis I thought one wants to have the boot mounting point (aka sole midpoint) exactly at the ski waist (where its minimal dimension is)- this way when we can bend the ski easier than if we have the midpoint moved away from the waist. On the other hand- moving binding 2cm away wouldn't probably make and difference (by 'difference' I mean the effort you need to put to bend the ski)- even on SL skis with small radius, where the offset in ski length causes bigger change in ski width. Well, I think I'll need to give it a go next time I'm on a slope:)
@kuba it's worth experimenting Kuba. I assumed that the mid ski marker was accurate but in fact it isn't for many manufacturers. Also we all have different limb dimensions. I have a fairly long body. I think my thigh and shin are fairly regular but I'm not certain. I'm 183cm and about 74kg.
It's unlikely that I would have the same balance as someone of say 170cm and 90kg with a short shin bone and long femur.
@adrian_hamilton good point- I didn't consider body types; was only thinking about ski construction. As for the marker- I'll grab my caliber this evening and see where the boot midpoint is located on my SL skis.
@kuba take a listen to the podcast I linked. It's really interesting.
I remember having a pair of Atomic carving skis about 20 years ago that had a binding with 3 settings that you could adjust with the flick of a lever. I recall it being slightly easier to initiate a turn with the bindings in the foreword position but it was pretty easy to adjust to whichever position they were in... so just settled on the middle one.
I also recall the first generation of Rossignol Experience had a binding position that I felt was way too far forward. They were meant to be a one ski quiver at 88mm but dove like crazy in powder and the long tails always got caught up in bumps. Probably the only ski I ever noticed significant negative effects of binding position. Drove me crazy:)