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Whats the benefit of having your bindings close to the ski?


bhs
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Went snow skiing last week and watched the New Zealand ski team running gates. I noticed that the kids had what looked like riser plates under their bindings.

Got me thinking, I often hear that it's best to have yours feet right on the ski. I read that Andy Mapple removed the rubber from his binding so he could be flat on the ski. In another thread about rear toe plates Bruce Butterfield mentioned that he liked having non skid instead of thick padding.

Why?

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The amount of lift in Alpine skiing is restricted to 50mm from snow surface to bottom of heel. Most racers are just under the limit because it gives you increased leverage. It’s restricted partly due to the increase in knee and hip damage it causes. A side advantage of lift is reduced boot out which is like blowing out your fin water skiing.
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On snow skis if you don't have riser plates you can only tip the ski over so far until the boot will hit the snow. They call it booting out; the boot making contact with the snow will cause the skier to lose his edge. On a water ski this is not a consideration because of the ski being wider and the boot skinnier.
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Lift increases leverage. Stiffer boots increase leverage. Narrow skis increase leverage.

 

Icy snow needs strong edging. So we sharpen our edges to race in stiff boots on narrow skis with binding lift. For bumps and powder, you see softer boots, fatter skis and no lifts.

 

Water is quite soft. We have beveled round edges, skis that ride deep, wide skis and some rubber bindings. Excess leverage is not useful for waterskiing.

 

I have experimented with lifts on a slalom ski. It's a subtle effect but not particularly good. Going super flat also wasn't magic. Molded Intuition liners with orthotics gave ankle and foot stability - which translates to better performance.

 

A rear boot/toe should be at the level of the front door. Not for leverage or getting closer to the water but just for balance. Obviously, different length legs or foot/ankle issues might call for lifts or wedges.

 

Lifts aren't that helpful. Non skid gives good feel and grip - which might be more important than any geometry advantage or disadvantage.

 

Of course, a 1 meter lift makes the course narrower - if you have the skills to control the ski.

 

Eric

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Lifts and wedges have been part of my ski binding systems for over 40 years. With the advances of boot technology in the last 15 years for me and a Bridgeport mill I have nearly perfected my binding needs and now can utilize fin and binding placement that is more of a standard configuration.

Talking with my daughter who is a DPT most every one has one leg that is slightly longer (or shorter) then the other. I think for slalom skiiing, one foot in front of the other configuration there is a void in the technological aspect of lifts and wedges for slalom ski application. And even canting of bindings are not or rarely utilized in this aspect of sking.

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