Stay safe on the slopes

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Por Sandrine Tranchard
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With this year's ski season now open, you have decided to stow away your old gear in the attic and get yourself new skis and boots. Yet, whether you are buying or renting brand new or second-hand equipment, getting your ski bindings adjusted is essential before hitting the slopes.

But did you know that ISO standards keep you safe as you glide through the snow? Whatever your ski preference – cross-country, alpine touring, downhill or telemark – there are International Standards for each type of ski bindings.

While skis, bindings and boots may not be made by the same manufacturer, all three components must be compatible. And this is where ISO standards play a key role. Bindings must perfectly fit the boots while releasing the boot from the ski with minimal effort in case of a fall, so as to ensure maximum safety.

Ski equipment manufacturers rely on ISO standards for things like binding screw dimensions, mounting characteristics, or the binding mounting area on skis. Some standards deal more specifically with the determination of release moments and the selection of test methods for bindings, while others are primarily intended for retailers. The objective is to establish practical procedures for the different phases involved in the selection of binding components, their mounting, adjustment and control.

For example, effective release of the ski boot depends on the dimensions and design of the contact areas, which are accurately defined; this explains why your skis may come off when you fall. So next time you get frustrated searching for your skis in the powder, clicking into your bindings again and finding your balance, remember that they only came off because they were optimally adjusted thanks to standards – ensuring you hit the slopes safely!

Read the Interview of Helmut Holzer, Chair of ISO technical subcommittee ISO/TC 83/SC 4, Snowsports equipment.

For more information, visit the ISO Website and enter “ski bindings”.

Sandrine Tranchard
Sandrine Tranchard

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