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Binding failed to release

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
My wife has new skis (Black Pearl with Marker bindings). This year we have spent 4 weeks on the snow but she suffered two falls - day 1 and all but the last day. Both falls were slow motion events. The 1st was when someone nudged one ski from behind and twisted her knee, the second was in deep off piste and again twisted her other knee. The bindings did not release on either occasion.

The initial set up was based on weight, age and ability. They were adjusted again in week 4 to a lighter setting as she found the skis hard to lock, especially if there was any snow in the binding.

Her skiing is solid and fast on and off piste. She loves the skis but now wants to sell them and start again with a different binding as someone said Marker bindings are not really suitable for women.

My view was that slow speed events would not normally release and that as a fast skier she would definitely not want an early release on piste or mid manoeuvre. Am I correct or should she get a feminine binding?
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@garystarling, standard bindings release from a forward force at the rear and a twist from the toe. As twist from the heel doesn’t cause a release.

I have switched to kneebindings as this gives a third twist from the heel release. This is designed to protect against ACL injuries (of which I only have half my reconstructed one left - hence the bindings!)

Spyderjon was able to replace the bindings that came with my last two skis with the kneebindings.

I have put a review on here if interested. Nb depending on hole positions it may not be possible to switch to them.
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Link

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3301108&highlight=#3301108
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@garystarling, I’d tend to agree that slow falls may not trigger a release and you definitely don’t want a release when you don’t want to!

“Someone said...” what? How would a binding know the riders gender? Rubbish.

@NickyJ’s bindings are designed to be somewhat more protective but it’s difficult to acquire any really good evidence as to whether they are in practice.
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I ski Marker Squire bindings, 23-24 boot size, mature female. Sometimes they release, sometimes they don't, irrespective of speed or other falling factors. My Elan, Look and other bindings behave exactly the same.
Never heard of gender-specific bindings.
I think the OP's view is correct: I wouldn't expect an immediate release on a slow 'tip over'. I also wouldn't want pre-release: but having said that, I ski mine both fast and in some heavy UK conditions and not had any issues so far. Last non-pisted fall, one ski caught in the deep and it released, though with an inevitable twisting wrench (unsurprising).
With 2 ligament damaged knees, I assess conditions and make a conscious decision as to whether I'm taking the risk running tight settings or loose, and adjust accordingly if I wish. But it's always a risk (especially to the knees): the nature of skiing.
Presume the din settings are in line with usual guidance charts?
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under a new name wrote:
“Someone said...” what? How would a binding know the riders gender? Rubbish.

True. But in general women have wider hips and shorter legs than men, so quite feasibly put slightly different stresses through bindings - in which case some designs could in theory be more suitable.

But I suspect that any differences due to gender are small relative to other factors (height, weight, boots, fitness, skiing ability etc).
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garystarling wrote:
They were adjusted again in week 4 to a lighter setting as she found the skis hard to lock, especially if there was any snow in the binding. True some Markers are a bit finickety to step into but that has NOTHING to do with release

Her skiing is solid and fast on and off piste. She loves the skis but now wants to sell them and start again with a different binding as someone said Marker bindings are not really suitable for women. Someone talking completely out of their anus

My view was that slow speed events would not normally release and that as a fast skier she would definitely not want an early release on piste or mid manoeuvre. Am I correct or should she get a feminine binding? No such thing. I'd go with your view - you need to subject the binding to the force it is designed to release at. Some slow speed falls don't achieve this or necessarily happen at the release angle. Learning how to fall properly (including sacrificial sideways falls onto a hip is probably a better investment.


My comments in bold. I've had a tibial plateau fracture from a late release and a fibula fracture from a non release- at no point did I blame the binding, the mechanics of that falls were such that they did its job, just teh force vector was wrong.
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@Dave of the Marmottes,
Quote:

True some Markers are a bit finickety to step into
They truly are. I've never had such difficulty as with my current bindings, so much so that I'm thinking of asking spyderjon to change them.
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Wot @Dave of the Marmottes said. Anyone talking about female specific bindings is talking ballcocks.

Yes, some Markers are hard work to step into. I think this can be made easier with improved leg strength, a conclusion I came to after a fib fracture on my left leg. I have two sets of bindings, one Marker, one Atomic. The DIN setting is the same on both, 5.5. The Atomics are easy to step into. The right ski is easy with the Marker, but not the left. I don't take any notice of which ski is left or right, so it is my leg not the binding which has the variable. I have lost a lot of power in my left leg when it comes to being able to push downwards, and I couldn't drive for a while. I still often have to use my hand to assist when I click that binding.

I won't be changing the Markers for this reason, I'll just do more cycling etc. to build the muscle back up. This approach may also work for the OPs wife. I've had no issues with the point of release.
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@garystarling, I'd suggest getting the bindings checked, @spyderjon has a release testing mechanism at his shop here https://www.thepisteoffice.com/index.php/2015-06-24-16-30-03/binding-release-testing.html

I'd also get the settings double checked by Jon, making them lighter won't make any difference to her ability to step into them, but potentially could cause a nasty pre release accident, especially as you've said she likes to ski fast.
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My friend doesn't like his Look bindings because they never come off in a fall, where his Salomons always do, both set the same.
Tried to explain Look are more elastic but he's having none of it..........
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@Scarlet, very true, I have a sore left knee and it's the left binding I have the most difficulty with.
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garystarling wrote:
she found the skis hard to lock, especially if there was any snow in the binding.


I have Marker Griffon 13 ID bindings on my new skis and have exactly the same problem. I have to use the tip of my ski pole to scrape snow out of both the front and rear of the bindings; otherwise they are really difficult and often impossible to lock.
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Awdbugga wrote:
garystarling wrote:
she found the skis hard to lock, especially if there was any snow in the binding.


I have Marker Griffon 13 ID bindings on my new skis and have exactly the same problem. I have to use the tip of my ski pole to scrape snow out of both the front and rear of the bindings; otherwise they are really difficult and often impossible to lock.


Yep that's just a perk of the Royal heel - ask anyone who's ever waited while I've faffed with my Dukes, Griffons etc. Good bindings that soak up abuse but you have to get precisely aligned, free of detritus and stomp in hard.
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DIN settings consider your height, weight, boot length and skiing ability/style and may make a slight adjustment for age. Nothing I can find mentions gender.

That said talking to a guy that fitted skis for a chalet company that allowed preordering with this data, gender came into it as the guys overestimated their ability and the gals underestimated their weight. Just pop on the scales over there.....
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Quote:

the guys overestimated their ability and the gals underestimated their weight.

Laughing
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@chocksaway, My wife recently bought some skis with mounted bindings form Glisshop and their DIN calculator takes into account gender. 5.5 for male and 4.5 for female. This was confirmed by other calculators on the web. 4.5 seemed quite low for her when clicking-in and we ended up splitting the difference and bumping to 5.
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@Ozboy, Interesting, I was going to have a look but I'm not giving my e mail address to yet another ski shop online, but then google took me direct, I note that they don't use height as one of their parameters. Mmmm minefield to keep the lawyers going!
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@Ozboy, I believe you, but it doesn't make any sense to me. Do women have more delicate knees or something?

This is a slight tangent to the OP, however, as regardless of what DIN you set there are no "female" bindings. Okay, there might be some with flowers on rolling eyes but they are otherwise the same. The only restriction is that some bindings start at e.g. DIN 6 which may be too high for many smaller skiers, but that applies whatever gender.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Good bindings that soak up abuse but you have to get precisely aligned, free of detritus and stomp in hard.


Yep I found that out in the end. It pays not to be too gentle with them and stomp in hard, as you say. To be fair, they unload me when they should do; which is reassuring.
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Scarlet wrote:
@Ozboy Do women have more delicate knees or something?

I don't believe so per se, but the average woman of comparable weight and height probably has less overall muscle and leg strength (which could affect the knee), and seems more prone to ACL and other ligament damage, for reasons not, I believe, fully understood.
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@Grizzler, But women are often larger of calf and thigh, no? Hence why women's boots are different shape around the cuff. There may be something in the ACL stats, and I'd be interested in the research if that's the case.

I'm with @chocksaway – I've previously never seen a DIN calc that took sex into account, so it looks maybe like something Glisshop have taken upon themselves.
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I thought the rationale for sex differences in DIN settings related to differing bone density and strength?
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@garystarling, curious to know what was the DIN setting?

FWIW-I gave up with Marker Bindings a few years ago. I had Griffons on one pair of skis and Squires on another. (both set at around 5-5.5 for me at 5ft 5 and 61kg). Always struggled to get the Griffons back on after a fall in powder or off piste if the "angle of stomp" was not perfect, they were REALLY stiff, to the point where those skiing with me have had the patience of a saint waiting for me while I struggled to get them back on. The Squires drove me nuts as they sometimes refused to click in when I was simply on piste-though I think that was a design fault that may now have been rectified.
Being a relatively lightweight skier, I've plumped for anything but Markers since-usually pretty basic Salomon bindings and have had no problems at all.
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Women perceived as less aggressive?
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I've spent far too long trying to download (without paying) the official standard with no success.

I'm pretty sure sex isn't a consideration though.. Everytime I've looked at charts etc (and that's not that often to be honest) it's boot sole length (i.e leverage), height (leverage) and weight (force on levers).

https://www.wildsnow.com/1428/ski-bindings-din-settings/
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Some of the charts don’t also account for the > 50YO din reduction (which I think is resoculous as I am late 40’s) and perhaps their are instructions in the notes that accompany the charts.
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@Ozboy, yep, a lot of the charts that come up in Google are just the chart without the notes or explanations. There is also an adjustment for ability, so ideally you need the whole sheet.
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Scarlet wrote:
@Ozboy, I believe you, but it doesn't make any sense to me. Do women have more delicate knees or something?


Yep, I read a story about ACL injuries in footballers recently that stated that female ligaments were more prone to injury - they suggested it was hormonal (obviously!).
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Male/female differences are not accounted for in the DIN charts but it wouldn't surprise me if they were in the future, particularly in the over 50 yrs category as there's a far higher proportion of over 50 women showing signs of osteoporosis than over 50 men (source: my consultant neighbour who specialises in this).
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www.bobski.com/safety/french_binding_system_self_test.pdf

Bindings do not release every time you fall unless you set the DIN setting to the lowest possible. A slow motion fall with little force is unlikely to release bindings on a setting set for a fairly competant skier.

Downhill skiers would find their skis flying off at every turn if the force required to release the bindings were so minimal. Changing your skis and bindings will not change this simple fact.

If you are concerned about it, reduce the DIN setting and ski again. If they still do not release when you fall, reduce the DIN setting again. Do this until your skis release every time you fall. Then tighten the DIN setting when you are about to do a mogul field at pace.
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@Bigtipper, I can't find the link now, but there used to be a site advising and showing people how to check binding release before each day. Twisting the foot until the binding either released or started to, ditto lifting heel. I used to (still sometimes do) test them quite a lot like this, though whether it had any point I don't know. Not sure if this was widely accepted practice (obviously not for race settings), though not personally recommended for sore knees, either.

@spyderjon, osteoporosis and other things would mean that the consequences of falls could be worse (i.e. fracture prone), but it shouldn't affect the soft tissue parts of injuries, nor whether a binding releases or not in the first place. And does the fall or its consequence increase or decrease risk if the binding releases very easily?
I suppose that we delicate mature ladies should really just be sitting at the sidelines, sipping creamy cocoa, now... None of that nasty dangerous aggressive or off piste stuff for us any more. Gets my nice long crinoline dresses all dirty and wet anyway; though the bustles are useful for snowboard padding Laughing
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@Grizzler, the din is not yo protect soft tissue anyway...it's to prevent broken legs. My bindings are on the minimum ... 4. Not sure what i will do when I get proper old
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holidayloverxx wrote:
@Grizzler, the din is not yo protect soft tissue anyway...it's to prevent broken legs. My bindings are on the minimum ... 4. Not sure what i will do when I get proper old


You can get bindings which go lower.
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My Marker bindings are currently set at 7 both for the toe piece and the rear release setting. When in Verbier a ski technician set one of the DIN settings lower than the other to ensure at least one ski released in the event of a fall. My DIN settings do not go down as low as 4, I guess those must be the female bindings.

Sometimes pictures are removed from the link above. Sometimes this was me, and sometimes I do not recall doing it. The picture was a picture of my marker bindings toe piece, which has an on/off switch at the top for a piston. Took me 18 years before I worked out what this switch was doing. I now use my skis with the switch turned on, previously it was turned off.

My weight is lower now than when I was skiing in Verbier, by a significant amount. My DIN settings are slightly lower now.
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Bigtipper wrote:
My DIN settings do not go down as low as 4, I guess those must be the female bindings.

They are not female bindings, just bindings with a lower release setting.

Anyway, I'd be more concerned about using 18 year old bindings. I've seen old bindings fail spectacularly at the toe piece due to plastic degradation, and while the result was a PITA to get out of the back country, it could've been a lot worse.
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Bigtipper wrote:


My Marker bindings are currently set at 7 both for the toe piece and the rear release setting. When in Verbier a ski technician set one of the DIN settings lower than the other to ensure at least one ski released in the event of a fall. My DIN settings do not go down as low as 4, I guess those must be the female bindings.

Sometimes pictures are removed from the link above. Sometimes this was me, and sometimes I do not recall doing it. The picture was a picture of my marker bindings toe piece, which has an on/off switch at the top for a piston. Took me 18 years before I worked out what this switch was doing. I now use my skis with the switch turned on, previously it was turned off.

My weight is lower now than when I was skiing in Verbier, by a significant amount. My DIN settings are slightly lower now.


My bindings are normal bindings - not "female". If your bindings are set correctly they should come off - having one ski set lower sounds very odd
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I just used a couple of DIN calculators. For my weight, height, skier type, boot size it was 7 but is now 6 because I have turned 50. I am not sure if I am going to change it this year, but I might take it down half a notch next year.

There was not any male/female related question on the calculator. Also it did not ask if I had male or female bindings.
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On the locking issue, she was particularly concerned that if she was off piste the effort required to put the skis back on would be alomost impossible as stamping hard is not an option. We in fact experimented several times to try and find an effective technique on the edge of the piste.

As a result of both falls her tendons / ligaments suffered. She had a day off after the first fall and then was able to ski with a knee brace for the rest of our season. The second event gave her a harder twist so she felt she should take the last two days off. She can walk OK but is quite concerned and planning to get a specialist to check her knees for any damage.
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The DIN calculator tells me I should set my bindings to 6.5. My knee surgeon (a keen skier) tells me to set them to max 4. I set them to 4.5. Never had a pre-release.
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