Binding Placement; Taking Skis from the Scrap Barrel to First Place
We have all experienced owning a pair of skis that just don’t ski or feel right. Over the years, I have had many conversations with fellow skiers regarding this topic and rarely have we been able to ascertain a real explanation. After some trial and error I have developed a potential solution and with nothing to lose, it may be worth trying. With a few adjustments to the binding placement re-inventing those skis can be a real possibility. They may even become your new favorite pair.
Recently I discussed binding placement with one of our top master racers as she was about to send a pair of her skis off in a last ditch stone grinding effort before retiring them for good. She followed the suggestion of adjusting the binding placement and two weeks later won a major citizen race on those same skis. Here is an example of a pair of skis that went from the scrap barrel to first place! The bindings on most skate skis are mounted on the balance point or between 0.5 cm and 1 cm behind the balance point. This may be fine for most skis but for some this location is not on the “sweet spot”. If this is the case you may experience poor performance where the skis just don’t feel right, they may plow when climbing, or the tips may grab on the V2 stride. The skis may be improved by relocating the bindings. Although ski flex and binding placement vary from one manufacture to another; the key measurement appears to be the relationship between the binding clip, contact point, and distance from tip to tail. Specifically, the ratio to determine binding placement is the distance from the binding clip to the contact point to the back of the ski and the distance from the binding clip to the front of the ski. Ideally this ratio should be 2/1 with the rear contact point at or just under your heal when you transfer your weight to the heal of one foot. If the measurement does not meet these criteria move the binding back on the ski 1 cm to 2 cm. Then re-measure the ski contact points to see how ratio and measurements change. You may also want to remove the bindings from the skis and confirm the original binding location as a reference point before making any changes. For most skis final binding location seems to work out best between 1.5 cm and 2 cm back of the balance point.
However, in some cases the bindings was move as far as 3 cm back of the balance point. Once the change in binding location has been made you should experience a significant change in performance. Where the “wedge” is a subtle change and really only noticeable on climbs; the binding change will show a significant improvement on the flatter sections of trail. Slight changes can impact the overall feel of a pair of skis that previously just didn’t feel right.