Mounting the ski bindings forward or central Subscribe Pub

The bindings placement is an important element of Fore-aft alignment, together with the Ski boot setup, so let's take a look at some thoughts on where to set the bindings. It will impact your carving ability and overall skiing.

NOTE that mounting your own bindings is a very advanced and serious endeavour. The consequences of improper mounting of ski bindings can be extremely hazardous to your health! An improperly mounted binding can, among others, come off of the ski or release the boot when you don't want it to, resulting in injuries or worse!

It's best to ask a professional shop to mount the bindings. Here is some thoughts on where to mount them.

While the final position is a matter of experimentation and personal preference, tThere are several ways to determine the starting point:

  • middle mark
  • BoF over CRS
  • sidecut mount

Terminology

In setting the bindings, these concepts are relevant:

BoF Ball of foot, the part of the foot where you put most weight when shifting weight forward (roughly where the first/second metatarsals meet their proximal phalanx).

CRS Center of Running Surface - the center point between the contact points of the base with the snow/floor

Middle mark most skis and boots have a middle mark, where the manufacturers think they should be placed (so that the mark on the boot aligns with the mark on the ski).

TODO add at least one photo

Be sure to read Factors that determine the ski behaviour and Ski behaviour and testing for more details on all the elements that affect ski behaviour.

Also, the Ski feedback is an important element in fine-tuning a ski. The ideas below are starting points - each of us will have different preferences, depending on the shape of the body, the experience, skill and feel.

Marked skis/manufacturer's default

The default setting is aligning the middle marks on the skis and boots, to get the manufacturer's intended feel of the skis. If you place the boots here, the skis will ski the way the manufacturer intended.

Most skis are marked, they have a mark for the middle of the boot. This is where the middle of the boot should be aligned with.

In this case, the steps to find the mounting positions are:

  • loosely clamp the bindings on the skis
  • place the boots in the bindings
  • slide them around until the mark on the boot sole aligns with the mark on the skis.
  • clamp them down and mark the holes

Some argue that the marks are placing them too far back, as the manufacturers try to make it easy for unskilled skiers to skid instead of carve and all carvers should move them forward, see articles below.

We found that to be partially correct. Few skis like to be skied mounted "central". Most skis feel better when mounted either forward or back from "central". However, there are no simple rules that we can apply to all skis and all skiers on finding the best place.

It takes some experience and experimentation, to find the best place for you!

BOF over CRS

The technique is certainly a big consideration when choosing the position of the bindings, but don't forget that it also depends on the skis... park skis like to be ridden in a more central position, for better neutral balance when rotating in the air for instance.

We will focus on "piste" skis, with a look at performance and carving.

At the higher performance end of skiing, the common practice seems to be to match the BoF with the CRS. The basic idea is that good skiers can get forward and bend the ski nicely into a carve and this would yield the best use of the ski and the best response. Some manufacturers may muddy this a bit with varying ski construction (i.e. a softer tip or a square tail) but these variations go more towards how the skis perform at different places in the turn (better initiation or a more powerful exit).

Mounting BOF over CRS

To mount BOF over CRS, we have to determine the two and align them:

  • determine the BOF
    • place your foot in boots
    • bang on the sides with a screwdriver until you determine where the BOF is and mark it on the side of the boots.
    • align your foot outside the boot with the features of the boot (first metatarsal, the bony ankle protrusion (medial maleolus)
    • mark the spot most likely to be your BoF
  • determine CRS
    • lay the ski on a flat floor
    • mark the contact points tip and tail
    • find the middle of the distance between them
    • mark the CRS
  • see above how to find the position of the bindings, but this time align the BOF mark with the CRS mark.

Note that some measure the CRS by holding both skis base against base, pressing sufficiently to de-camber them (i.e. flatten the skis) and then find the tip and tail contact points, see the last article linked below.

Sidecut mount

Another good starting point would be based on the sidecut: place the middle of the boot sole (the mark) on the narrowest point of the ski. It's easy to find the narrowest point of the ski, so this is a lot easier than BOF over CRS and some swear by this method, regardless of ski.

The manufacturers do match the sidecut shape to the camber and flex pattern of the ski, to get a ski that makes sense and skis the way they envisioned. If the sidecut didn't match the camber, the ski would grab randomly as it bends and likewise, it would de-camber weirdly if the flex pattern did not match. This is why in ski reviews you hear mentions about the

My experience

I love Atomic race bindings, since most are very adjustable, some even tool-less. The X Race bindings have one tab that you can use to move it in one of no less than 8 positions, from far forward to far back, about one inch each way.

When you set the bindings more forward, the feeling, in the beginning, is that of overpowering the tips of the skis and having no feeling for the tail, which we will hate in the beginning. You lose power out of the turns.

When you move them far back, the ski becomes harder to turn... you do get more power from the tails, of course, but lose some feel for the tips.

So... going a few times back and forth until I left them slightly forward and now I’m happy at about quarter-inch forward. That seems to be my sweet spot in GS. In SL, more central feels better, but it depends a lot on the actual ski. For all-mountain and rockered skis, the mounting point varies - I usually start with the manufacturer's mark to get a feel for what they intended and experiment from there, or, if the new ski is similar enough to something else I already know, I start at the known favorite position.

This will vary based on individual preferences and even conditions, especially when the adjustable bindings make it easy to move.

Next time you demo some skis, you should ask the rep there to move the bindings for you, sometimes the demo bindings are easy to move. Go 1cm forward and then 1cm back and see how you like it - often that completely transforms the ski's feel.

Compensating

Don't use the position of the bindings to compensate for other fore-aft issues. The boots are the first to look at when you have fore/aft issues, then technique and the skis are last.

Skiing with the boots undone++ is a good way to improve and figure out your fore/aft balance - see Ski boot setup.

Having said that, binding placement is an element in the fore/aft equation, one that can be easily solved.

Other changes

Moving from a larger boot to a smaller boot (i.e. from a 295mm to a 285mm) will effectively move you forward by half the difference (5mm in the example) and vice versa... so you may have to remount the bindings when changing boots, if the difference in behaviour is too big.

More considerations

Before we close this subject, while the two ideas above are good starting points, let's look at some other issues that influence the binding mounting position.

Type of ski I have a twin tip, which is mounted very central, maybe 3 inches forward of a normal all-mountain or on-piste mount. The reason is that this is best for doing tricks and spins, to feel the ski balanced. Basically, this is not mounted to be "skied" on, but to do tricks on!

Where you ski it and how So do take the intended use of the ski into account! Here, we'll focus on mounting skis meant to be skied and specifically, on-piste - where the CRS matters (for a rockered ski, the CRS is essentially the middle of the cambered portion)!

Body type influences the bindings mounting point a lot, but it's not easy to determine how. If you are a member, you can ask for feedback on your particular situation...

Self-steering if the skier's weight is behind the middle of the ski, then when the skier stands on the ski and puts it slightly on edge, the ski will start to skid and turn. This "self-steering" effect is a reason why the bindings are mounted aft of the middle of the ski.

Also, if you look at most sidecut skis, the narrowest point is behind the CRS, so if we mount BoF over CRS, the skier will usually apply pressure in front of the narrowest part of the ski! This will help in bending the tip of the ski more and establish the carve and it's more helpful than bending the aft part of the ski!

Interesting articles

Interesting notes and articles on setting the bindings with a forward bias, if you have the time:

www.epicski.com/a/ski-binding-placement-fore-aft - no longer online, but here's some quotes:

[...] the World Cup level skis are often tested starting with a ball-of-foot (BOF)/crs mount.
[...] our results over the years have shown that a BOF/CRS mount works well on nearly all skis in all conditions.

Note that generally racers are set forward 1-3cm in general, apparently. And the good ones test all positions until they find what they like. And the really good ones carry a few pairs of skis mounted differently...

Also, look at the tables there: most skis are marked back 1-3 cm by the manufacturers…

www.realskiers.com/ski-bindings.htm

Also, quote:

What the research team saw with their own coaches' eyes was that every skier in the diverse group skied better in the forward position, with no other variables of any kind.

More reading:


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By: Razie | 2013-01-21 .. 2019-10-11 | Tags: post , equipment


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