When you find the best place to stand on a ski, IT IS MAGIC.
At Proskiguy, we believe that there is an issue that is mostly ignored when helping skiers choose new gear and then the ski, binding, and boot system is being assembled. Many of us do not think about these three items as a complete system, but in fact, that is exactly how it all works on the snow for you. It is easy to understand how a ski too long, or too short will not offer us the maximum performance. Hopefully we also know that a boot that is too big, too small, uncomfortable, or the the wrong flex will not allow us to ski our best either. But, what about the binding? How can the binding component of the system affect how we ski, or can it affect it at all?
The answer is yes, a binding can help us ski better. The most obvious way it can affect performance, is by providing a very tight coupling between boot and ski. The better this coupling, the better our energy is transmitted to the ski's edge; affects how a ski holds its edge at speed, or on hard snow, and how precise steering control will be for you. But, there is another, less discussed way that a binding can affect your performance, and for the average skier, weekend warrior, this might be a much bigger deal than a tight connection.
We believe that where you stand on the ski is a really, really big deal. But, so far, there has never been a way to figure out, calculate, or in any way predetermine, where is the best place for a particular skier to stand on the ski. We know that ski companies work seriously to estimate where the best place to put the mounting mark on a ski. They have to take this seriously, because the wrong place means few will like the ski. But any location they choose can only be a general estimate. And, there are really big differences in us, from one skier to another; different height, weight, body shapes, boot sizes, boot models and geometry, skill levels, skiing technique, preferred terrain and more. The odds that we would all want our boot located on the ski, with the center of our boot sole in exactly the same place is highly unlikely. Maybe the predetermined spot is the best for some skiers. But, how can it be the best for all of us? And if not for you, how can we know where to place your bindings on your new skis?
For lack of a better process, we believe experimentation is the only way to get the answer to this questions. So, should we all buy a demo binding to go on our new skis, with an adjustable position toe and extra long heel track? This would work, but it is not the best choice. Historically, demo systems have been significantly heavier, which most of us would not want. And, they have mostly had large increments of adjustment at the toe, which does not offer the precision needed to get to exactly the right spot. Most narrower, front side performance skis now come with a binding system included, which offers this solution with no choice of binding necessary (Blizzard IQ, Volkl Motion, Head PowerRail, Dynastar and Rossignol Konnect, Nordica Recoil, K2 MXC, Atomic Warden DT, and others. And, every binding company offers demo systems.
The majority of skis though, sold in the US are flat skis, with no binding system included. Marker recently discontinued the only binding system offered on the market that was intended to make this experimentation super easy, and also possible to do on the mountain. It was called Schizo, and it was offered in three different DIN ranges (11, 13 and 16). But, it was also sold at a $100 premium over the same binding in a direct mount configuration. And, it was never seriously marketed as a solution to the riddle of where to stand on your new skis. And, it is now irrelevant because it is gone.
So, there is really only one ala carte binding system offered for sale that offers the ability to easily move the toe and heel, AND that is also intended to be sold as a retail product to the end user; Head/Tyrolia's PowerRail system. It is included as the binding system for all of Head's upper end, frontside ski models (SuperShape, Instinct, Joy and the new 2019 V series). But, it is also offered for sale as a stand alone binding for purchase in multiple versions, and with multiple different rails to go on just about any ski you buy. The PowerRail itself is very low, very wide, and very light. Increments of adjustment are only 5mm, so it is very easy to find the perfect spot to stand, and no tools are necessary to make the adjustment. There are versions that go from kid models with a max DIN of 4.5 up to performance bindings with a max DIN of 14. At Proskiguy we stock many PowerRail and SuperLiteRail bindings from top to bottom of this range.
Is this the perfect solution to the issue? Not really, because moving the binding correctly to maintain adjustment to the boot is critical. Mistakes can be made, which can affect the bindings ability to release when necessary, or to retain the boot as needed. But, as long as a technician performs the adjustment, PowerRail is an effective and easy way to experiment with location on the ski.
Today's skis have very short side cut arcs, so there is far less edge engaged with the snow than ever in the history of snow skis. And, the sidecut shape is very deep, so the ski can arc quite tightly. In our opinion, this is what makes boot location so important to determine if a skier is to ski his or her best.
So, there are really only two choices; mount a binding at the factory determined mark, and then adjust your skiing to work best at that spot. Or, choose a binding that allows for experimentation to find the best spot for you right now, on your brand new skis. If you later decide to change your boots, then this spot may change, especially if your boots are not as current as your skis.
Proskiguy is simply all about everyone having fun on the snow. We like to discuss this issue, because we want to help. When you find that spot on the ski, skiing will suddenly get easier, and when it is easier, it's more fun. It will be magic!
Let us know if you have questions about this. Or, let us know if you have found the magic spot on your skis. We love good ski stories. Thanks for reading!