How to choose your freeride/touring bindings

Have you just bought a pair of freeride skis that you want to ride for freetouring?
The choice of fixings can be a real headache.
But don't panic, we’ll give you all our advice to make the best choice!

Freetouring is simply off-piste ski touring where you look for beautiful virgin slopes. It differs from ski touring in that although you can access virgin powder areas by climbing with your own thighs, the freetouring skier also enjoys routes close to the ski areas to make the most of the lifts before putting on the skins and having the most fun on the way down. So to enjoy the downhill and ensure your safety when freetouring, it is important to make the right choice of freetouring ski bindings according to the amount of freetouring skiing you do and the type of skiing you do..
Get all our tips on how to choose the best freeride/freetouring binding.


Freetouring bindings

Freetouring has won over many people and freetouring binding models are being developed. So, to choose a binding model, you can define your freetouring expectations, your priorities and of course check the compatibility of your boots and skis with the bindings. There are four categories of freetouring ski bindings. Ranging from the lightest bindings to optimise climbing to models similar to downhill ski bindings for safety. And some models even attempt a compromise between lightness and safety.

Specificities of freetouring bindings

The specificity of a freetouring binding is to have 2 different positions: one for uphill and one for downhill. In the mounted position, knives can be added to the inside of the binding for added safety in hard snow.



    In the ascent position, in the walking position, the shoe is attached at the front of the binding and the heel is free to slide and climb. Climbing wedges can be placed under the heel depending on the degree of slope to minimise the pull on the calves and make the climb easier. Fixings have several levels of wedge to adapt to the degree of the slope. To place the wedge, this is done with the tip of the stick. The bindings can be fitted with knives when the snow becomes too hard and the skins no longer adhere.



    In the downhill position, this allows the boot to be connected to the ski like an alpine ski binding. The binding holds the entire ski boot in place and releases it in the event of a fall. On a binding with inserts, to secure the shoe, the heel piece must be rotated to put the rear inserts in the correct direction so that the inserts face the shoe so that they fit into the heel of the shoe. All you have to do is clip on the front stop, then the heel. On a plate binding, you just have to put the plate in contact with the ski and lock it with the heel.

Which binding to choose for freetouring skiing

To choose the ideal freetouring binding, you need to consider your style of skiing, whether you spend more time off-piste around ski areas or if you are a fan of remote areas and are addicted to the slopes. On the other hand, the possible adjustments to the binding (DIN, wedge) and the compatibility of the freetouring binding with the ski boot must be considered. The weight of the binding is also an important criterion for ease of use.

The criteria for choosing a freeride / freetouring ski binding

Freetouring combines the ascent of mountain touring and the descent of freeride skiing. You’ll need to look for a freetouring binding that has the advantages for both practices: for freeride and mountain touring.


For freeride skiing

With a more freeride style of skiing, you need to have a binding that holds up downhill but allows you to climb easily, the priority here will not be lightness for the binding. A good lateral transmission helps to control the width of the skis. Therefore, opt for detachable ski bindings that allow the heel to be released when skiing with skins.
There is a choice between inset bindings which are lighter and therefore more efficient when climbing and plate bindings which are safer when descending.
There are also bindings that combine the advantages of both systems to avoid injury on the way down.

And for ski mountain touring?

With the "mountain touring" style of skiing, you will need lightness in the ski binding to go uphill while wanting to enjoy the slope on the way down. In mountain touring, we are looking for very light and disengageable ski touring bindings, as we have to climb by ourselves with skins. Ski bindings with inserts are the most suitable for this type of practice. However, it can be noted that the release quality is less secure than with plate bindings.

Din adjustment.

The DIN is an important safety element, it is a unit of measurement that allows you to set the release time according to your height, weight and ski level. It is important to determine the required elasticity and release value when purchasing ski bindings. This means that you take off your skis less often than with a pair of ski bindings without DIN adjustment. Triggering in the event of a fall prevents many injuries. To adapt this release threshold to each skier, a standard setting, the DIN setting (generally between 1 and 13 and can be higher on some bindings) is recommended on the heel piece and on the front stop. The DIN numbers on the ski binding correspond to the skier's weight and level.
For example: An expert freeride/freetouring skier who weighs 80kg will set a DIN between 8 and 9, a beginner freeride/freetouring skier who weighs 80kg will set a DIN between 7 and 8.
It should be noted that front touring ski bindings with front inserts do not have a full DIN adjustment because it is pre-set for a fall release.

The different types of freetouring ski bindings

Each type of freetouring fastener meets a specific requirement. Several types of ski bindings have been developed:
- Minimalist stopper bindings with reduced weight
- Low tech bindings, a real compromise between weight, sturdiness and safety
- Hybrid bindings, more powerful and sturdy for downhill skiing
- Plate bindings for free hikers who do not have ski touring boots


The different bindings of the low tech range

These are freetouring or mountain touring bindings with a lightweight insert. These are ski bindings whose front and heel stops are designed with small lugs on which freetouring or ski touring boots can be wedged. 

- Bindings with a minimalist stop : It is a minimalist pair, the lightest touring binding on the market with a weight of less than 300g for the pair. No release system at the front and rarely at the back. 

- Low Tech bindings : heavier with a weight between 400g and 800g for the pair, and more secure than the competition range. They have a release system in the heel cup. Ideal for ski touring where lightness is required. There is a Low Tech fixture with a rotating heel piece equipped with 2 or 3 wedges, which allows the height of the wedge to be varied according to the degree of the slope. Also, some models are equipped with ski stops (200 g more per pair) for a more practical use.


Hybrid bindings

Significantly heavier, weighing between 1000g and 1800g per pair. However, they provide optimal security. It is an interesting compromise between the low-tech binding and the alpine binding. These ski bindings offer a classic insert stop with a heel piece very similar to alpine bindings. This type of ski binding is often intended for people looking for comfort and safety when skiing downhill thanks to the elasticity of the binding which allows it to absorb shocks. 

There are 3 types of hybrid ski bindings:

- Hybrid ski bindings with rotational stops : As with the Low Tech, the DIN release value is always set on the heel piece. On the other hand, the front stop is mounted on a spring system allowing a small amount of play in rotation. This system improves lateral release in the event of a fall, due to the varying degrees of elasticity of the binding. 

- Hybrid ski bindings with DIN release value adjustment on the stop : These ski bindings have an improved stop with the possibility to adjust the DIN release value on the front stop, in addition to the adjustment on the heel piece.

- Hybrid ski bindings with a so-called classic heel piece : it has a classic insert stop (pins) for easier walking and the heel piece is similar to an alpine ski heel piece (with climbing wedges). A system that improves the reliability of the removal of the boot and the support of the ski boot during the descent. This ski binding is only compatible with certain touring ski boots because of its heel piece without insert.


Plate ski touring bindings 

This is the ski binding that most closely resembles the alpine ski binding. There is an adjustable heel and front stop, which is mounted on a hinged plate that locks on demand to switch from up to down mode. This ski binding is compatible with all ISO 5355 ski boots and many touring ski boots. It has a multi-level wedge and a shoe size adjustment. It lacks weight, ranging from 1600g to 3000g for the pair.

Knives in hard or icy snow: the essential accessory for freetouring

Knives are notched metal accessories that are usually made of aluminium. With sharp teeth that dig into the snow on both sides, they are inserted inside the touring ski binding on the tip of the ski to make climbing easier and safer on hard or icy snow. The knives prevent the ski from sliding backwards when the skins and edges are not enough.


The little extras for great freetouring skiing

Ski bindings with lowtech inserts are the lightest. Low Tech with a minimalist stop are ideal for dry climb addicts.
For ski-touring skiers who like to go up and down, the light and practical Low Tech bindings are recommended. Their DIN adjustment and the different levels of rise wedge will be appreciated.
For skiers who want a compromise with the safety of taking off their boots and going downhill, the latest generation of hybrid low tech ski bindings will satisfy them.
Finally, for freetouring skiers who want optimum safety, you can choose between a hybrid ski binding or a plate ski touring binding. Plate ski bindings are as safe to release as alpine bindings.
À noter également que le prix d'une fixation de ski freetouring varie suivant la technicité de la fixation et du matériau utilisé.



Wedze communication team

Passionate about winter sports

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