Front Bindings Locked On Downhill?

  • Creator
  • #49832
    Bryan McGurn

    Hi Guys,

    I’m new to skimo racing having done my first race last weekend, and absolutely loved it. While I realize the potential serious negative implications of keeping the front bindings locked on the downhills, I’m wondering what real racers are actually doing.

    Your input is greatly appreciated.


Posted In: Skimo-racing

  • Participant
    Rachel on #49897

    I can think of 3 questions:
    1) How much do you like your knees?
    2) How bad are the consequences if you did pop out of a ski?
    3) Avy risk.

    Bryan McGurn on #49905

    All good points. All well taken! Thanks for your input. I’ve added the extra step to my skin to ski transition list…

    Anonymous on #49956

    From a safety point of view, @rachelp is 100% correct. So with that in mind, you need to make your own decision.

    That said… if you are using race skis, many racers leave them locked to save time.

    I’ve wiped out with locked bindings and, so far, haven’t hurt my knees. Other things have happened instead: the ski breaks, the binding rips out, or the ski demonstrates how crazy soft it is.

    Further to the last point, if you are using longer or stiffer skis than race skis, then it may be wise to unlock the toes.

    Bryan McGurn on #49974

    Interesting. Thanks Scott. That’s kind of what I suspected. I think I’ll go with the “save the knees” mentality that Rachelp is suggesting, but it’s always interesting to know what other racers may or may not be doing.

    Again, much appreciated.

    Anonymous on #49995

    Another relevant note is that racers that are leaving their toes locked probably already have their transitions down to ~25 seconds (at the top) and ~35 seconds (at the bottom).

    So you could leave the toe lever as the last optimization once you have your transitions within a few seconds of those benchmarks.

    Diana on #49997


    At what point in the transition is it most efficient to unlock your toe pieces? I ask because when I unlock my toe pieces (on Dynafit ST Radical binding) by pushing down on them with my other ski or pole, they usually release fully to the point where I pop out and have to reset my boot in there completely. This feels like a significant time suck, so I’m wondering if there’s another way? I typically do it at the end of the transition, after ripping my skins with the toes and heels locked in.

    Thanks in advance for your insight.


    Anonymous on #50064

    @dkhitchen: I’m not sure exactly; I’ve never used those bindings or unlocked my toes in a race.

    In general, do it whenever it creates the least additional movement. So my best guess is around the time that you’re locking your boots into downhill mode.

    LindsayTroy on #50073

    @dkhitchen I have those bindings and I usually do it with my hands when I reach down to pull my skins. I have more dexterity with my fingers and I’m already down there. So I do binding toe pieces -> grab the back of my skin -> rip.

    Diana on #50078

    Thank you Lindsay! That addresses my issue, which is that I’m used to stomping the toe piece tabs with my other ski, which takes them all the way to release mode. Using hands instead should make it easier to click them into ski mode without releasing them fully. Awesome!

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    brianbauer on #62680

    I race skimo in a race binding. my bindings are always locked whether I am going up or down. I do not have brakes or leashes. if a ski comes off it is looooong gone. 1) it could hit someone and that is not ok 2) my race will be seriously delayed if I have to chase a ski down a mountain. I ski conservatively descending in races to prevent other injuries besides knees. yes I lose time in downhills to racers with better alpine skills, but I have to go to work on Monday…

    RE transition speed: it matters a lot. recently we had a race with 21 transitions. the diff between a 30 sec transition and a 1 min transition is over 10 mins.

    Anonymous on #63500

    very comprehensive, thanks for this thread..

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