Ski bindings are a critical piece of the ski equipment puzzle.
Your safety is paramount, and bindings are designed not only for performance but also to help you avoid injury.
There are many small but essential factors to consider when you are checking out bindings. Some of these include compatibility, flex, sizing, ability level, terrain choice, and a mysterious little setting known as DIN.
While all of these aspects should be looked at carefully, today, we’re going in-depth on the importance of DIN settings.
What Exactly is DIN?
DIN is an acronym that stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung, translated into English as the German Institute for Standardization.
It is the original standard that the ski industry has adopted in ski bindings, and is now published by the ISO (International Standards Organization). DIN settings relay how much force is required, specifically forward pressure and torque, before the binding releases the boot from the ski.
By having a universal set of numbers to refer to, ski technicians can reliably set the DIN for individual skiers. You will find a DIN number in both the toe and heel portions of the binding of your ski. A higher DIN number means that more force needs to be applied to the binding before it releases. A lower setting, meanwhile, will release at a much lighter pressure.
Only trained technicians should adjust DIN settings. They will precisely tailor the number to the skier, and each adjustment will have a direct impact on the binding. If the parameter is too low, your boot will pop out of the binding unexpectedly. If the DIN number is set too high, your boot will remain in the binding too long.
Either of these scenarios is extremely dangerous. You can launch out of your bindings in the middle of a turn, or you can twist your ankle and knee unnaturally as you fall. The setting needs to be accurate and fitting to you as a skier.
How are DIN Settings Calculated?
There are a few different approaches to calculating the correct DIN setting for individual skiers. In parts of Europe, mostly Germany and Austria, they use something called the tibia method. They measure your tibia at the knee and plug that number into a calculation for your DIN.
In the United States, we use the bodyweight method. Similar to the tibia measurement, your bodyweight is plugged into a formula, resulting in a DIN setting.
There are several variables that technicians input into the DIN calculation. The first is your bodyweight, as mentioned above. The second factor is the length of the sole of your boot, followed by your age.
Next, they plug in a value that corresponds with your ability level. These levels break down into three categories of skiers. Type 1 is a beginner to lower-intermediate skier. Type 2 is intermediate to early advanced skiers, and Type 3 is expert-level skiers who exert a lot of force as they ski fast down the mountain.
Once you input all of these numbers into the calculator, a DIN number is established. Technicians may make minor adjustments to this setting, though, after asking you a few questions. For example, if you are aggressive, spend a lot of time in the park, or like to ski moguls, your DIN settings would need to be modified accordingly.
Many shops and online resources provide DIN charts. Similar to the DIN calculator, these charts can give you a good idea of the overall range to set your bindings. While not as specific as the calculator, they can be helpful. Here is what a typical chart may provide:
- Beginner-Intermediate; small kids; 25-65 lbs. DIN: 0.5 – 2.5
- Beginner-Intermediate; older children; 30-100 lbs.; DIN: 0.75 – 4.5
- Beginner-Intermediate; heavier kids, 50-165 lbs.; DIN: 2 – 7
- Beginner-Intermediate; intermediate kids, lighter adult beginners; 65-200 lbs.; DIN: 3 -10
- Beginner-Advanced; beginner adults, lightweight intermediates; 65-240 lbs.; DIN: 3 – 11
- Intermediate-Expert; heavier intermediates, lightweight experts; 65-250 lbs.; DIN: 3 – 12
- Intermediate-Expert; heavier, aggressive adult skiers; 130-285 lbs.; DIN: 6 – 14
- Intermediate-Expert; heavier adults, very aggressive skiers; 130-200+ lbs.; DIN: 6 -16
- Expert-Professional; very aggressive experts/racers; 150-200+lbs.; DIN: 8-18
As you can see, there is a wide range of DIN settings, even within similar categories. This vagueness is why it is best to get a general idea using charts and calculators and then head into the shop to get a more specific adjustment.
Your expert in the shop will likely ask you further questions to get to just the right DIN setting. One major factor that can affect your proper number is your style. More than a simple “ability level,” your style involves the terrain you like to hit, the speed at which you like to ski, and your aggressiveness.
For example, say you love to ski steep, narrow chutes, where you are required to complete technical, precise turns. That type of skier will want an especially high DIN setting. The last thing you want is for your boot to release from your binding when you near the top of a rocky couloir.
Another factor to consider is your age. While age is a part of calculators and charts, certain age groups demand unique settings. If you are younger than nine years old or older than fifty, you should scale down a level on your DIN due to the risk of tibia fractures.
Ski bindings are intricately designed for safety and performance. You will want to ensure that you have compatible boots and bindings, matched with the type of ski that you need. While many factors contribute to your protection, none does so more than the correct DIN setting.
You will need to be honest and upfront with your technician, and make sure that they understand you as a skier completely. Your height, weight, age, and ability are all critical, and your style will determine the specific setting that you need. Once your bindings are all set up, and your DIN settings are dialed in just right, you’ll be guaranteed a great day on the slopes.