Even though many beginners aren’t aware of the fact, ski bindings play a critical link in a ski setup. That’s why finding a pair that’s just right for you is going to be key for staying safe on the slopes.

But how do you go about finding ski bindings, why do you even need them, and how are they supposed to work? Today, we’re answering all questions as we break down how to find the best ski bindings for beginners.

What Are Ski Bindings?

Ski bindings are a crucial bit of kit for every skier, no matter their skill level. The bindings are the connection between a skier and their skis as they transfer energy from the body into movement on the snow.

Some manufacturers design skis with a pre-picked track mounted on bindings to ensure optimal performance. Other skis come with drill-mounted bindings, which have to be drilled into the surface of the sky and permanently attached by professionals.

Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to both, which is why it’s important to choose the right pair.

How Ski Bindings Work

Standard alpine ski binding consists of two main parts – the top piece and the heel piece. These two pieces work together to ensure the bindings perform as they’re supposed to. Let’s take a look at these two main components, along with others to help explain how ski bindings work.

Top Piece

The toe piece is the front section of a binding and it’s the component that secures the front of your ski boots to your skis. It’s incredibly important the toe piece works correctly, especially during twisting falls.

Twisting falls are one of the worst types of injury that skiers can sustain and they often result in damaged knee ligaments. The toe piece consists of an anti-friction device (AFD), a Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) setting, and horizontal wings.

Heel Piece

In the rear section of a binding, you’ll find the heel piece, which secures the back of your ski boots to your skis. The heel piece is incredibly important because it protects your knees during fall. During a forward fall, you can over-extend the knee joint, causing a dislocation.

A heel piece has a vertical release mechanism, which allows the boot to slide out on the binding vertically. It consists of a DIN setting, a brake, and a vertical arm, which works with an internal spring. That spring is what grips your boot to the skis and stops you from simply stepping out of them.

What’s more, the internal spring has a specific retention that equates to the amount of pressure it takes to open the arm and that skiers can adjust.


The brake on your ski binding has one simple function and that is to make sure your skis don’t fly off when they come off. Once you step into the bindings, the brakes will sit flush with the top of the ski. That keeps them away from snow and out of the way so you can enjoy a smooth ride on the slopes.

Anti-Friction Devices

Built into the toe piece, you’ll find an anti-friction device (AFD), also known as a gliding plate. The AFD allows the ski boot to easily slide out of the binding once the toe piece is released.

There are two main types of AFDs: static and moving. Static AFDs are made from low-friction materials, like plastic or Teflon, and they allow your boots to slide over the AFD without getting caught on anything.

On the other hand, moving devices typically have a plate that’s held onto a track with a spring, which allows the plate to move and take the boot with it.

What Are the Best Ski Bindings for Beginners?

The two biggest factors that determine which ski bindings you should get are where you like to ski and the type of skis you have. Ski bindings are divided into three main types depending on terrain and the specific skis, not your skill level. So whether you’re a pro or a total novice, here are the types of bindings to consider.

Alpine Skiing

Bindings for alpine skiing are made for skiing downhill and for those who like to go from piste to powder to park. They come with all-track mounted bindings, and they’re the most popular type of drill-mounted bindings.

Bindings for alpine skiing fit all alpine ski boots, but not Telemark boots or Alpine Touring (AT) models. When you’re shopping in the alpine bindings section, you will come across the piste, powder, freeride, freestyle, junior, and sport models.

However, they are pretty similar in design and have an adjustable DIN setting, as well as a toe and heel piece. Those components allow your boots to be released from the binding in the event of a fall.

If you decide to go with bindings for alpine skiing, it’s important to choose ones that suit your skiing style, ability, weight, and height.

Alpine Touring

Alpine Touring or AT bindings are designed for skiers who like to ski down and climb up. Even though they look pretty similar to alpine ski bindings, the difference is they come mounted on a special frame. That frame vertically pivots at the toe, freeing your heel, and allowing you to hike uphill. Once you’re ready to climb down, you can then lock the frame back onto the ski.

Most AT bindings will fit AT and Alpine ski boots thanks to the adjustable toe ramps. Another important thing to know is that these types of bindings have releasable toe and heel pieces, as well as adjustable DIN settings.

Backcountry Skiing

Backcountry bindings include Telemark and Randoneé bindings, which are specifically designed for free heel movement to support climbing. Telemark bindings have a free heel, which users can’t lock down and they don’t release during a fall.

However, Randoneé bindings have a free heel movement for climbing, but you can lock them in the heel when descending. They’re often not DIN certified even though they can release at the heel and toe.

Final Thoughts on Ski Bindings

Ski bindings are an essential piece of kit and one that you shouldn’t be without when you’re on the slopes. Take into account where you’re going to ski, your skiing style, weight, height, and the other considerations we mentioned to make the best, most informed decision.

Once you have your ski bindings, it’s time to hit the slopes close to any of the all-inclusive Club Med ski resorts. Perfect for skiers and snowboarders of all ski levels, the Club Med resorts offer a world of luxury, top-notch service, and some of the best pistes in the world.