Online Equipment Warning

 

Before purchasing used  or  new ski equipment online, consider the following from eBay Buying Guides

There are several things you learn buying bargain new and used ski equipment, whether outfitting yourself or your kids.  Whether you shop for gear at swaps, on Ebay, internet retailers, or Craigslist, probably the single most important thing you need to keep in mind is whether or not the bindings you purchase (when you buy bindings or skis that have bindings mounted) are INDEMNIFIED.

What does indemnified mean?  Basically, it means the manufacturer of the binding (or the company that bought them out) continues to stand behind the binding in terms of verifying it’s ability to function as it was designed to to reduce the risk of injury during a fall.  What does this mean to you?  It means the difference between being able to use the binding, or having to replace them if they are no longer indemnified.  No reputable ski service shop will touch a binding that is not indemnified.  Obviously, since your safety or that of your child or family member is at stake, you wouldn’t want to have your equipment worked on by a shop that does not put safety first, would you?

Fortunately, you don’t need to phone the overworked techs down at Joe’s Ski Shack and ask about the half a dozen bindings you’ve seen on the used skis you’re interested in to find out if the bindings are indemnified.  Every year the NSSRA (National Ski & Snowboard Retailers’ Association) compiles a convenient list that can be found on the internet (just search for “indemnified binding list” using a search engine)

The list shows which current and noncurrent (manufactured previously) bindings are indemnified.

So be smart.  Before you buy or bid on a set of new or used bindings (some “new in box” bindings may have been sitting around unsold for a decade or more),  find out exactly what make and model the bindings are and verify that the bindings appear on the most recent indemnified bindings list.  If the seller can’t tell you what make and model they are, avoid them.  If you are interested in a set of skis with bindings mounted on them, find out what exactly what type of bindings are mounted).  If they are not indemnified they will have to be replaced.  A conscientious seller should give you all vital information up front:  Binding make, model, DIN range, and (for mounted bindings) the range of boot sole lengths the binding will accommodate without needing to be remounted.

The reason you need to know the DIN range of the bindings you’re thinking of purchasing is so you can figure out whether the range of DIN retention settings the binding is capable of will accommodate the skier. You can find binding setting charts on the internet that give recommended DIN settings for a given skier weight and boot sole length.  If your tween skier weighs 130 lbs and has a relatively short foot or is an agressive skier they’ve probably outgrown those junior bindings that top out at 4.5 DIN.  Conversely, if your 99 lb. junior racer with size 9 feet wants a pair of 145 cm skis, make sure the lightly used pair of skis you found don’t have adult bindings mounted on them (DIN range 4-10) or you’ll have to replace them.

I’m sure some DIY types out there will wonder “why do I even need to bring my skis to a shop to have the bindings adjusted?  I can just use the handy internet chart!”  You can do this, however, it involves substantial risk.  Speaking as a lay person (not a lawyer) you’re going to have a much harder time getting the binding manufacturer to pay your medical expenses if you adjust your own bindings and get injured.  Further, the reason you’re better off in general going to a ski shop is because they have equipment that actually measures the torque exerted on a boot as it twists sideways, forwards, or backwards to simulate an actual fall causing the binding to release.

So they don’t just go by the numbers indicated on the indicators on your bindings, they verify the precise release setting (torque) the manufacturer calls for for your weight and boot sole length.  Unless you’ve got one of these babies (don’t even ask how much they cost, and no, you can’t use your automotive torque wrench glued to a mannequin foot) setting the release settings using the indicator numbers on your bindings just won’t be as accurate (wear, variations due to manufacturing tolerances, boot sole geometry, debris in the binding, etc. all can cause a difference between the indicated release torque and the actual measured release torque).  “But wait a minute, Mr. Smartypants!” you say.  “When I rent skis they don’t use one of these machines, they use the chart and the indicator on the bindings”.  True, and that’s one of the downsides to renting equipment.  Any place renting skis should check all of their bindings periodically on one of these machines to verify that the release torque indicated is close to the actual release torque.  In practice they probably also err on the side of caution by reducing the setting from what the chart calls for in case the indicator reading is low (how many times have you heard people on rented skis complaining about their skis popping off unnecessarily?)

Finally, junior bindings on youth skis tend to be mounted so that the center of a typical sized boot will be properly located on the ski; if your child has longer than average feet, or is skiing on shorter skis since they’re just beginning, you may need to have the bindings remounted to locate the boot properly on the ski.

Play it safe Thunder Ridge Racers: consider buying or swaping locally!

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