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Backpacker Magazine – Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011

Maintain Ski Gear: Back Up Your Bindings

Be proactive about preparing your ski-systemís hub.

by: Heather Hansman

Back up your Bindings
Back up your Bindings

>> Check your screws.
Before any ski trip, check your bindings’ screws for tightness; depending on the drill pattern, you could have between six and nine screws per binding. They should be snug, but not frozen or stuck solid. If screws are stripped and won’t tighten at all, change them out. This may involve a trip to your local shop to get holes redrilled or rethreaded.

>> Know your setup.
Practice adjusting, disassembling, and reassembling your bindings—in your living room first, then outside in snow. In cold temps, you’ll have less dexterity, and in the backcountry, an unstable work surface. Avoid on-snow hassles by training at home.

>> Pack for repairs.
Each make and model has a quirk: Tele bindings develop cable problems, while step-ins might break more often in the heel. Understand your bindings and plan accordingly by bringing extra parts, especially screws, toe- and heelpieces, climbing bars, cartridges, and cables (some companies sell prepackaged repair kits). Also, pack a multitool compatible with your binding (we like Brooks-Range Ski Binding Tool); it’s no use having an Allen wrench if you need a Phillips head screwdriver.

>> Improvise. If you can’t fix a broken binding, attach your boot to your ski as securely as possible. With duct tape (good for holding broken cartridges and heelpieces together), bailing wire, and rubber ski straps you can jury-rig a solution to get out in an emergency. If you have a total binding blowout, walking may be safer.

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