Ski bindings are an essential piece of equipment that secures your ski boots to your skis. These small contraptions, located at the toe and heel of where your boot fits on top of your ski, may not look like much at first glance, but are very important when it comes to controlling your skis and keeping you safe from harm.
When you purchase a new set of skis, they typically do not come with the bindings mounted on them. That is because bindings are a separate piece of equipment made by different manufacturers. As such, they need to be purchased separately and then mounted on the skis after purchase either by a ski tech or at home.
Though the task can seem daunting, It’s not too hard to mount and adjust ski bindings. Let’s take a look at how to perform the task.
Before learning how to mount and adjust your own ski bindings, it’s important to make sure you’re up to the task. If you don’t feel comfortable with the process in this guide, you should take your skis to a ski shop and get them mounted by a technician. You also need a few common tools.
If you don’t have them (or have access to them) you should have your bindings professionally mounted as well. Ski bindings play a large role in your ability to ski, and they also contribute to your safety. You need to have them mounted correctly.
If you don’t have the proper tools or the skills to do a good job, you should pay a small fee to have the bindings mounted professionally.
A lot of the time, if you buy skis and bindings at the same time, the shop will mount them for free. Take advantage of that offer if it’s available.
How to Mount Bindings on Skis
There are three steps to get the job done, in general.
The first thing you need to decide on if you’re going to mount your own ski bindings is where you want to place them. Almost all skis come with a center mark that’s used for reference when mounting bindings.
Beginner skiers will want to use this mark and mount their bindings directly in the center of the skis. Other styles, such as all-terrain and freestyle skiers, will also want a center-mounted binding.
There are also instances when you want to mount your ski bindings away from the center. Skiers who want a terrain park-specific mount might want to place the bindings forward or center because it allows them to ski switch (backward) and can also increase turning speeds.
Skiers who want a powder ski setup might want to mount the bindings behind the center in order to create more float and bounce in deep snow conditions.
2. Drill the Holes
After you decide on the mounting location for your ski bindings, you will need to drill the holes. In order to do this, you will need a drill, drill bit, and a jig.
Any common drill and quality drill bit should get the job done. If you are used to doing any home repair or DIY jobs around your house, you probably have these tools. You will also need glue to keep the bindings in place once the holes are done.
For those not familiar, a jig is a piece of plastic or metal that you place on top of your skis so you know where to drill.
This is crucial because if you don’t drill in the correct location, you’ll have to drill again. You can either purchase a jig from the manufacturer or get a universal one at a ski shop. There are paper jig options, but those aren’t as exact.
Once you have the jig on top of your ski in the correct mounting position, you can drill the holes. The important thing to note here is that you don’t want to drill too far into the ski and go all the way through it.
If you’re comfortable with a drill, this should be pretty easy. If you’re not, you might want to make a few practice drills on a piece of scrap wood to get the hang of it first.
The jig will also instruct you on what size to use. These sizes can vary from ski to ski and it is important to get this correct.
A hole that is too big will not hold your bindings and if you go too small, you will have to drill again. Once you drill the holes, make sure to get all of the scrap and drill shavings cleaned out before proceeding to the next step.
3. Screw and Glue Bindings In Place
The next step is pretty simple. You’re going to place your bindings over the drill holes and attach them with screws and a small amount of glue (or other adhesive) to hold them in place.
Place the bindings on top of the skis and match the holes over the top of the drill holes. Place a small amount of glue in the hole before inserting a screw. Fasten the screw either with a proper screw tip on the drill or by using a screwdriver.
You want the screws to be tight and secure. However, if they’re too tight they’ll crack the plastic on the bindings.
If you think you might attach new bindings or remove them for any reason, you can get away with not placing glue inside of the drill holes. Once all the screws are in place, you are ready to adjust your bindings.
How to Adjust Ski Bindings
Ski bindings are adjustable so they can properly release your foot if you fall, twist, or turn. That is an important safety feature that can prevent injury on the slopes.
These adjustments are based on your size and ability, which means they differ from person to person. You need to adjust your toe piece, heel piece, and then set your DIN settings.
For the toe piece on each ski, you need to make two slight adjustments.
First, set your boot sole length, which is marked on your ski boots in millimeters. You will use a screwdriver to make this adjustment.
Next, adjust your toe pressure, also known as toe height. This adjustment is not needed on every binding and can also be completed with a screwdriver.
For the heel piece, you need to use your ski boot to find the proper length setting in which your boot pops out of the binding when pressure and force is placed on it from side to side.
You can initially eyeball this measurement by setting the heel at a distance that allows your boot to sit securely on your foot. Once in place, simply adjust to get the bindings to release when force is applied.
The final adjustment is in the release settings of your bindings. If you’ve seen ski bindings before, you’ll notice a series of numbers on the toe and heel piece.
These adjustments are known as a DIN setting and you can figure out your setting here. You make this adjustment with a Phillip’s head screwdriver and match them to your weight and ability.
Without bindings, you would essentially be sledding on each foot rather than skiing. You can imagine how difficult that would be.
Now you know how to mount your own ski bindings. As with so many ski-related projects, it isn’t as difficult as it first seems. All you need are a few tools and a little bit of know-how.
Remember, the process is also easy to get done at a ski shop if you feel uncomfortable with the task or don’t have the right tools. Ski bindings are very important and they should be mounted and adjusted properly.
Have you ever mounted your own ski bindings? Was it easy or difficult? Let me know in the comments below!