Alpine Ski Binding Anatomy

When it comes to shopping for ski bindings, there are a number of components and technologies you should be acquainted with as you sift through manufacturer specs.This detailed guide covers everything you need to know to make an informed purchase.

1. Heel Lever

The heel lever disengages the binding’s heel lug for easy removal of the ski boot. In order to step-in to your binding, the heel lever must be in its down position. Once you step in, the heel lever will be in its up position.

2. Heel Lug

The heel lug is what holds your ski boot securely in place by clamping down on the boot’s heel lug. The heel lug houses the release force setting (DIN) spring, adjustment mechanism, DIN setting window, and forward pressure indicator. Designed to release vertically (and often laterally) during falls, the heel lug is a key contributor to skier safety.

3. Brake Blocks

Also called brake arms, the brake blocks are designed to drop below the ski and grab the snow when the brake is disengaged. This prevents your skis from continuing to slide down the hill when they become separated from your ski boot.

4. Brake

The brake is designed to be engaged when your ski boot is in the binding, and disengage when separated. The brake is what drops the brake arms to stop your skis from continuing to slide down the hill when they become separated from your ski boot.

5. Anti-Friction Device (AFD)

The AFD is a lateral release mechanism designed to ensure clean lateral release of your ski boot’s toe lug from the binding’s toe lug during falls. AFD’s are also sometimes found under the binding’s toe lugs in roller form. The AFD is a critical safety feature of the toe piece.

6. Toe Lugs

The toe lugs are what hold your ski boot securely in place by clamping down on the boot’s toe lug. The toe lugs work in conjunction with the AFD to ensure proper retention and release, and are a key contributor to skier safety.

7. Toe Piece

The toe piece houses the release force setting (DIN) spring, adjustment mechanism, and DIN setting window.

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