Sunday, 16 November 2008

Time to Tighten Your Bindings

For those of you who loosened your DIN settings when putting your skis away at the end of last winter - as I advised in my Summer Ski Care post back in May - don't forget to tighten them up again before you hit the slopes. I know it seems obvious, but it is easily overlooked and a ski pre-releasing can have unpleasant consequences.

A few years ago I was working as a Plongeur (washer upper / kitchen porter / dogsbody) in Meribel. After a couple of days of hard work on arrival, I got my first chance to go for a ski. I grabbed my old straight Salomon Equipes, went up the chairlift and did about three turns in chopped up snow before both skis ejected. Thinking this was a bit odd, as I wiped the snow out of my goggles I checked the bindings and realised both were wound down to about three. I put the skis back on and gingerly traversed onto smooth groomed terrain to take the easiest route back down and find a screwdriver. Unfortunately I forgot myself halfway down, and took a tiny bit of air from a tiny bump. As I landed the right ski released and the brake chose that moment to detach itself from the ski - I think the screw pulled out of the plastic. The ski accelerated faster than I could manage on one ski at the time, and I careered after it, terrified that it would injure somebody, or worse. Luckily it shot off the side of the piste and into the trees without doing any damage. Less luckily that was the last I saw of it, despite an extensive search. I was forced to become a full-time snowboarder for a couple of weeks until I found a pair of previous season Volkl P40s in a sale rack.

I know it is early season, and you may not be skiing for another few weeks or months, but the season is beginning, so a reminder is timely for resort staff, ski-bums and anyone getting some snow in before Christmas. Of course forgetting this little detail won't usually lead you to lose a few hundred Euros' worth of ski kit, but it can easily lead to unexpected falls and potential injury. One final point to note, is that it important to tighten the binding to the same DIN setting as it was at before, assuming it was correct. A binding set too tight or too lose can be dangerous. I will elaborate on pre-season ski servicing, and binding safety in the next couple of posts, but for now, ski safe.

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