Testing Accuracy of Alpine Ski Bindings

ASTM International’s snow and water sports committee (F27) is developing a standard to establish new minimum performance requirements for the release mechanisms of alpine and alpine touring bindings.

Alpine touring bindings allow skiers’ heels to be free for uphill travel and allow the heel to belocked into place for downhill skiing, while alpine bindings always lock the heel down. The standard specifically applies to those bindings with safety release mechanisms.

“Other ski bindings standards and their test methods only account for certain types of force that can occur during skiing,” says ASTM International workgroup leader David Dodge. “The proposed standard includes additional test load conditions to broaden the range of performance situations to make safety testing more accurate.”

According to Dodge, founder of Dodge Ski Boots, all bindings on the market had the kinematic axis near the tibial axis. When the kinematic axis and the tibial axis are near each other a force/couple or pure couple produce similar results. Recently, bindings have been introduced that have kinematic axis far from the tibial axis. Consequently, test procedures on these bindings produce very different and often misleading results.  

The proposed standard (WK65030) will include theses new designs to allow for more accurate results and to better expose potential design flaws. These new performance standards will accompany the existing ASTM International test method for measuring the quasi-static release moments of alpine ski bindings (F504).

For more on ASTM International standards used in ski and snowboard equipment, see this infographic

ASTM welcomes participation in the development of its standards. Become a member of ASTM.

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