What is the safest ski binding

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What is the safest ski binding

Postby idahorob » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:22 pm

Last December I shattered my right lower leg when one of the plastic "ears" on my almost new Head PRD 12 bindings broke off while skiing high-angled turns on a moderate groomed run at Sun Valley. This has been a long road back and isn't over, but I switched doctors and the new guy, a former ski racer, just took nine screws out of my hardware this week, leaving three screws holding in a long plate down the outside of my tibia. Even though I'm sore from the new incisions my knee already feels a lot more human. Hopefully, getting rid of this metal will let me move better and have less pain with braking forces, like going downhill.

The big surprise, though, was that the doc told me I should go skiing this season. Groomers or powder only, good snow, good visibility and nothing excessive or stupid. I had thought I'd have all the metal out this winter and maybe a total knee replacement a year after that to correct the valgus angle my knee healed with. Nope. Now plan is to leave the rest of the metal in unless/until I get too much knee pain and then to deal with it.

So, I'm looking forward to testing myself on the slant board to check for my tolerance of the forces. I'd appreciate your advice, though, on what are the safest bindings. The broken ones were on my Head Peak 86's, but I have a similar design on the bindings on my Supershapes.

FYI, my lawyer sent the bindings to a laboratory in Michigan that tests plastics and the preliminary report is that the plastic in the binding was defective and that defect was what caused the failure. I'm hesitant to use any binding with plastic in it now, but I really don't know much about alternatives out there. Help?!
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Re: What is the safest ski binding

Postby h.harb » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:31 pm

Glad to see you are on the mend. There is the "knee binding", but who knows, what if it opens prematurely, that is as dangerous as not opening. If your accident is because the binding broke at the toe hinge point, that's like a pre-mature release. When I blew my knee out last winter my binding on my hurt knee didn't release. If I set it lighter it would pre-release at high speed, free ski, carving, especially with big angles and torque if I hit small bumps or uneven snow. So the best we can say is ski bindings are far from perfect. Saying that, they rarely break. However, I use a free flex 14, it's all metal, it's heavier, but this doesn't bother me.. With Marker, I have to set a higher DIN to 10 on the heel, than Tyrolia ie. Head, because they release easier.

With wide skis there is more leverage on the binding, especially on hard snow. On a wide ski, If you are really tipping on hard snow and hit a hole or uneven spot, the torque can multiply tremendously on a toe piece.

So I don't have the answer, is one better than the other? Not sure, but all metal bindings will definitely be more sturdy.
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Re: What is the safest ski binding

Postby oggy » Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:33 pm

Sorry to hear about your accident, Rob. On the topic of binding, last year I got a Look Pivot 14, and I must say that it's been a while since I was last so pleased with a piece of equipment. I got basically zero pre-releases the entire season, skiing mostly off-piste (I have them on my fat skis), in all kinds of nasty terrain, having them set at DIN 8. And I weigh about 90kg, which would be around 200lbs I guess. This is in contrast to the Tyrolia bindings on my Fischer skis. That one is something-12 model, FX12 or somesuch, which should be the same bindings as on your Heads. I mostly use those on groomed, and they are set at 9 yet they do occassionally pre-release. Still I have a feeling that they are better than the Markers on my old skis.

The thing about the Pivots is that they are extremely elastic, meaning that they allow a larger displacement of the boot from its normal position without releasing, as compared to other bindings. In other words, once a torque is applied, the binding starts releasing, but if the torque fades quickly (as if in when you hit a bump, as opposed to something which wants to rip your ligaments), the boot goes back to the normal position.

If you do decide on those, be careful, since Look had some cheaper versions with a similar or even exactly the same name in the previous seasons. The ones in the photo are the ones I got. BTW I think you should be able to find them for a bit less money than that.


I think the website's got it wrong, I'm pretty sure that the toepiece is plastic, and just the heel is metal. The Pivot 18 should be all metal.

Of course, these are only my experiences and there are always going to be risks involved in skiing. At any rate, I hope you heal well and have a good season. And I hope that the metal doesn't screech in tight turns ;)
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