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Bindings for Alpine skiing usually work by fixing the ski boot to the ski at the toe and heel. A binding acts to attach the boots to the ski but also to release the boot in case of a fall. To help prevent injury the boot is released by the binding if a certain amount of pressure is applied (usually created by the weight of a falling skier). The amount of pressure required to release the boot is typically adjusted by turning a screw on the toe and heel piece. This is called the DIN setting. The correct setting is based on height, weight, and level of the skier and is usually set by a technician when skis are rented or bought.
The cable binding, where the toe section of the boot is anchored, and an adjustable cable around the heel (for which there is a groove in the heel of the shoe) secures the boot. Used for cross-country, Telemark and ski jumping.
Unless telemark skis are being used, for Alpine ski touring, a special ski binding is used that allows the heel to be clipped down to the ski when skiing downhill, but which allows it to be released when climbing.
Skiboard and Snowblade Non-release binding
Traditionally, skiboards and Salomon's Snowblade have used non-release plate bindings. The reason being that skiboards and snowblades have traditionally been 100 cm in length or less, so the torque during a fall was assumed to be small enough that a releasable binding was not necessary. However, in recent years, as skiboarding has become a more established niche sport, releasable bindings have become a viable option to decrease the chances of injury. Spruce Ski created a riser which adapts between the standard 4 cm by 4 cm four-hole skiboard binding and standard ski bindings; furthermore, Spruce began selling their 120cm skiboard in the 2005-06 season which are only available with their releasable setup. Additionally, Salomon now offers most of their Snowblades with releasable ski bindings as well. Many riders still prefer the plate-style bindings, and SnowJam and Bomber both make high quality plate bindings.
|Ski boots are specialized footwear that are used in skiing to provide protection and warmth for the foot in snowy and icy conditions, along with a way to attach the skier to skis using ski bindings so that skiers ski over snow.
Ski boots were originally made of leather. As ski binding technology advanced from a free-heel boot to a fixed heel, boots advanced from leather to plastic with protuberances at the toe and heel to fit into ski bindings. Boots come in various degrees of stiffness; beginners typically like a softer, more padded boot, while more advanced skiers prefer a stiffer boot.
Ski boots are typically fastened using between three and five buckles, although various alternatives have been tried over the years.
Comfort has been improved in recent years by the use of conformable linings (usually heated to fit). These allow an inflexible outer shell to accept a broad range of differing foot shapes.
Different Types of Ski Boots
Ski Boots come in different types and styles. There are three basic types of ski boots which vary in the way the ski boots close around the boot and your lower leg - rear-entry, front-entry, and the mid-entry or central entry ski boots.
Rear-entry Ski Boots
|This is the simplest and cheapest type of ski boots and is best for beginners. They offer excellent comfort and ease in putting and taking them off by just unbuckling a flap at the rear of the ski boot.
Front-entry Ski Boots
Also known as "Overlap Ski Boots", this provides excellent control and precision while skiing. Front-entry ski boots reaches way above your ankle, and four buckles close the Ski Boots above a well-padded tongue. Its rear end may be cut a little higher compared to its sides. This high cut, called the spoiler, prevents you from shifting too far back.
Mid-entry Ski Boots
This combines the strengths of the rear-entry and front-entry ski boots. It provides the convenience of wearing rear-entry ski boots, at the same time offer the great performance and versatility of front-entry ski boots. You can recognize mid-entry ski boots by a wide-opening cuff which opens to the front and to the back.
Glide wax describes a range of waxes which can be applied to Nordic and alpine skis (as well as snowboards). The purpose of glide waxing is to decrease drag (hence increasing speed or give the user better control) and also to protect the bases of skis or snowboards.
Glide wax is usually made up of hydrocarbons, but more expensive and considerably faster waxes usually include fluorocarbons. The exact science of the effects of glide-waxing is somewhat mysterious, but it is believed that in the process of waxing the base becomes smoother and gains the water-repellent properties of hydro/fluoro-carbons. This creates less drag as the ski glides on the surface of snow. In modern waxes, water-soluble surfactants are formulated into the hydrocarbons. When skiing, the non-polar molecules in the wax repulse the relatively polar water molecules between the base of the ski and the snow, reducing friction. The effect of the added surfactants can be demonstrated with a droplet of water on a clean surface; the shape of the water droplet will flatten out when a small amount of soap is added to the droplet. Although the sufactants in soap are different to those in wax, the underlaying principle is similar. This allowed the introduction of all mountain, all temperature wax.
Kick wax describes a variety of waxes specific to cross country skiing. This wax comes in two forms, "hard" and "klister". Hard wax is a tar-like substance which comes in a small canister, used for new snow and/or snow that is "cold". Klister is a semi-liquid which comes in containers similar to toothpaste containers. Klister is notoriously sticky and deserves its reputation as a difficult wax to use, but excellent when used in old snow or snow that's relatively "warm."
Although the nuances of kick waxing are incredibly complex, all kick waxes serve generally the same purpose. The wax is applied to the portion of the ski extended out from below the region of the foot and when pressure is applied to this areas the wax grips the snow and allows the skier to propel themselves forward. This is referred to as the classical technique. What makes kick waxing difficult is choosing the correct wax. If a warm weather wax is used in cold conditions, snow may stick to the wax and increase drag on the ski. If a cold weather wax is used in warm conditions, the ski will be slippery and will not grip well.
|The ski helmet is an essential protection measure in skiing that is built and designed for multiple impacts. Similar to snowboard helmets, ski helmets are also insulated for cold weather. This protective gear comes in different styles and types - full shell, short shell, and full face models. It dramatically reduces head trauma when experiencing a fall and can be a life saver especially when venturing off-piste on rocky or woody terrains. A ski helmet must be properly fitted to provide maximum protection, performance and comfort.
Helmets undergo tests of multiple impacts and velocity forces against various sections of the helmet to determine performance in skiing accidents. Comprehensive certfication standards include ASTM, CEN 1077, Snell RS-98 and S-98. ASTM standards have been determined by a battery of tests on helmet models, including testing the strength of a helmet's retention system under simulated hot, cold and wet conditions. While ASTM and Snell's ski helmet standards are similar, Snell tests helmets obtained by purchase from randomly chosen retailers, testing the characteristics of the helmet as manufactured.
|Sunglasses are a visual aid, variously termed spectacles or glasses, which feature lenses that are coloured or darkened to screen out strong light from the eyes.
Many people find direct sunlight too bright to be comfortable, especially when reading from paper on which the sun directly shines. In outdoor activities like skiing and flying, the eye can receive more light than usual. It has been recommended to wear these kind of glasses on sunny days to protect the eyes from ultraviolet radiation, which can lead to the development of a cataract. Sunglasses have also been associated with celebrities and film actors primarily due to the desire to mask identity, but in part due to the lighting involved in production being typically stronger than natural light and uncomfortable to the naked eye.