How to choose your ski touring bindings

How to choose your ski touring bindings

Do you like to go on ski touring trips and are planning a trip out on hard snow or a glacier crossing? Then you're going to need a pair of crampons! See how useful crampons are for ski touring, and how to choose the right ones for your skis.

How to choose your ski touring bindings

What are crampons used for in ski touring?

The crampon attaches to the bottom of your ski, a bit like a standard crampon attaches to the sole of a mountaineer's boot. The aim is to be able to bite through hard snow or ice when the slope is too steep or the surface too slippery. In fact, ski touring crampons, like normal crampons, are made up of metal points; they become necessary when the skins no longer grip the snow sufficiently. The sharp teeth of the crampons dig into the snow on either side of the ski to prevent it from sliding backwards. So you move forward efficiently and safely. It's the smart accessory to progress with greater safety.

How to use crampons on touring skis?

You’re in the middle of a ski tour, the slope becomes steeper, and the snow harder. It's time to take your crampons out of the bag! Because unless you have old touring skis with crampons attached directly to the ski, you’ll have to install them on your skis.

  • How to install crampons on touring skis?

    To install them safely, it’s advisable to do so on flat ground. It's easier and safer at the same time.

    1 - Take off a ski (just one ski at a time)
    2- On the binding of your ski, there’s a stop in which you can insert the crampon in a vertical position.
    3- Check the crampon is properly inserted into the stop, then fold it down so that the teeth are on either side of the sole of your ski.

    You then just have to reverse the process to remove them.

  • Carefully prepare to install and remove crampons while hiking

    To easily install your crampons on snowy slopes, on difficult sections, take time to perform the procedure at home. As with mountaineering crampons, ski crampons are handled with gloves in sometimes perilous situations. That’s why practising installing the crampons in a quiet environment at home is important.

    This also lets you check that they fit correctly on your ski bindings.

  • How to move forward with ski crampons?

    Be careful, as once the crampons are installed on your skis, your approach will change: with skins, you slide the skis towards the summit before moving forward. With crampons, you need to lift your foot to detach the crampons from the snow: their excellent grip keeps you safe, but this changes the technique for moving around.

What size crampons should I choose for my touring skis?

If you’ve started looking for crampons, you’ll have noticed they come in different sizes. The right size for your skis will depend on the width of your ski at the waist. Hiking crampons therefore come in 100mm, 90mm and 80mm sizes. You need to choose the right size for your skis. If they’re too small, the crampons won’t pull back on each side of the ski. If they’re too wide, that risks creating build-up of snow between the crampons and the ski, which is annoying when you walk.

Be careful: You must also check compatibility with your binding

The width of your skis is important in choosing your crampons, but that’s not all. You also need to check they’re compatible with the binding found on your skis. Furthermore, if your bindings are equipped with climbing wedges, you need to disengage them when using the crampons, otherwise they won’t be able to penetrate the snow to their full length, which limits their effectiveness.

In summary: to choose the right crampons, it’s important to take into account the width of your skis at the waist and the binding that’s there. All ski touring skiers know that the few grams of a set of crampons isn’t much weight in the backpack compared to the safety they provide. It's better to have them and not use them than not to take them and find yourself in a dangerous situation.

Do you have further questions about ski touring crampons? (FAQ)

How to choose your ski touring crampons?

You need to take into account the width of your skis at the waist and the make of the bindings. These two elements are key to finding the right crampons.

What are the different types of crampons?

Today, the most common crampons are mobile crampons that can be carried in a bag and attached when conditions require it. They can be installed on the binding at the forefoot and move with it. The first crampons were fixed to the ski, which made progress slower since you had to walk with the skis rather than glide. Some brands also offer crampons that attach to the ski and have two positions: a resting position: the crampons aren’t engaged, and an active position where the crampons stick into the snow.

You now know almost everything about hiking crampons. For your safety, always check that your crampons are in your bag before leaving for a day’s ski touring. It's better to carry a few extra grams than find yourself in a dangerous situation! If you’re wondering what to take with you for your ski touring outings, follow our advice: Getting equipped for cross-country skiing ?