DIN Settings, Age, & Related Questions

We recently received this question from Jason, a Blister member:


I am approaching that arbitrary deadline on the DIN charts of 50 years old.

(Editor’s Note: DIN Charts have only three age categories: 9 years & under; 10-49; 50 & over.)

My size, skiing level, and boot size have me at 9.5. Next year when I turn 50, according to the DIN charts, that value should drop to 8.

That seems like a big jump down. The way I ski and where I ski (Alta mostly) 9.5 has worked well for me.

What are folks really doing now? How did they arrive at 50 years old as the time to start cranking down the DIN values in the first place?

I ski fast….really fast. I get it, as I age my bone density will take a hit. But it seems there is a bigger risk to premature release at speed vs protecting against a broken leg. I am in good shape. (Great actually when I look around at some of the fellas my age.)

I just want to know what a real consensus is. I’ve asked a few of the old guys at Alta, and they are all over the map.

I just wanted to know if you guys have better optics on this and give me some guidance. Thanks.

Note on DIN Settings

Your DIN setting is calculated based on your:

  • Boot Sole Length
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Ability Level

The higher the DIN setting, the higher the force required to release from your bindings.

Calculating Your DIN Setting

Warning: Ski binding safety should be set and checked by a qualified professional. Use these calculators for reference only:

My (non) Answer

I personally don’t have any general guidance or guidelines to provide on this, so I’ll just reiterate that your DIN setting should be determined by a qualified professional.

But the original question was to try to get a “real consensus,” so I am putting the question to all of you, and I’m interested to see the range of responses.

A Couple Quick, Obvious Points

(1) We don’t need to say this (do we?) that you shouldn’t be trying to impress your friends by how high you run your DIN. Nobody cares how tightly you tie your shoes, and nobody cares how high or low you run your DIN. DIN settings are simply about preserving your knees — or your life — in a crash.

(2) There are a few legitimate reasons why skiers might choose to run their DIN (a bit) higher or lower than recommended. I think one of the reasons why an advanced skier might choose to run a little bit lower than normal — especially if they tend to run their DIN several points higher than recommended — is if they are coming off an injury, or simply aren’t skiing at full strength — so, for example, their quadriceps, hamstrings, and / or the surrounding musculature of the knee are not as strong as they have been in the past.

(3) As for an answer to the original question posed above? Should Jason dial down his DIN just because he has crossed that 50 threshold?  I think the safe answer here is to follow the chart, unless you really have good reason to think you are just as strong or stronger than you were last season (you are still strength training, still doing barbell squats, etc), and have benchmarks by which to assume that the surrounding musculature of the knee really will be able to hold up in a wrenching crash.

Your Thoughts / Practice?

It’s time now to hear how some of you handle the issue of DIN settings — when you stick to the charts, and what factors might lead you to deviate.


  1. Blister Member
    Michael January 4, 2018 Reply

    I’ve been a certified binding tech for 6 seasons. Part of my responsibilities was to test the function of each employee’s skis on our mountain, the patrolers and instructors. The research I did indicated that there wasn’t much reason to crank up anyone’s release value because a pre-release could usually be traced back to user error. Lately, however, I have begun to allow patrollers to use the III+ demarcation to fight off an inadvertent release while steering a loaded sled. Even racers, in my opinion, don’t need more than a III+ to effectively race, unless they happen to be Mikaela or Ted. All the info used to generate the release value does so for a reason, and in my 6 years, I’ve never had someone come back to my shop complaining about inadvertent release. Full disclosure: I’m an east-coaster.

  2. Blister Member
    Jamie Williams January 4, 2018 Reply

    25yrs, 6ft, 165lbs (75kg), 306mm boot sole length. Aggressive skier who regularly does strength training. All mountain and Freeride skiing I have my DIN set a 9. At this setting my skis have always stayed on when they need to and have come off when they need too. When I’m racing in Slalom and Giant Slalom I have my DIN set at 11. Reason for the jump is if I get my line wrong and hit icy ruts at the wrong angle I’ve had my skis rattled off my feet on lower DIN settings which is never fun. Very rarely do I find myself hitting solid icy bumps and ruts at the same speeds and edge angles when outside of a race course so I don’t feel the need to have my bindings any higher.

  3. Cody Blank January 4, 2018 Reply

    One of those calculators gives me 5 and the other gives me 8 for the exact same numbers inputted…

    I normally run 8 anyways, and know I wouldn’t be stoked/ would be rereleasing with 5 even in my alpine bindings and damp heavy skis.

  4. Todd January 4, 2018 Reply

    I’m 25, 5’9″, 135lbs, BSL 297-310mm. I run DIN 8, which I guess is the “III+” value. I’ve had skis come off at the “III” value of 6.5, and all the way up to 7.5, in situations when I’d rather they didn’t. 8 seems to work pretty well.

  5. Aaron January 4, 2018 Reply

    Almost 52
    220 lbs
    BSL 328
    Fitness Instructor/Ski Instructor
    Used to run 8 but regularly kicked shoes skiing bumps, or hitting rocks at the high t in Alta. Kept incrementally dialing higher until I was happy when they came off.
    Turning 52 in January so I’ll dial em back down to maybe 8.5 with the exception of my teaching skis, which see physics not normally part of Skiing.
    3+ DIN recommendation is 8.5.

    Great article below on increasing your bone mineral density and tendon and ligament strength.

    • Aaron January 4, 2018 Reply

      Had all pairs as high as 12 DIN.

  6. Blister Member
    Branislav January 4, 2018 Reply

    I’m 187cm, 100kg, boot lenght 360. I used to have DIN 10. In december there was a fresh snow in Vrátna 45cm, riding Bibby tour mounted with Duke. In high speed I hit the shark, hidden rock, then unintentional frontflip, after this first flip tails got stuck in the snow and I was continuing into another frontflip – left leg was released and my body continuing moving forward with right tail ski stuck in the snow. Right ski released just when I was bend with head to the ground. Finished with intraarticular fracture of tibia and femur plateau. Reason was my right ski didn’t released and was stuck with tail in the snow, whole fliping forward, whole body weight was pressing femur to tibia. Next tíme I will try to be friend with 8 :)

  7. Blister Member
    Bredey January 4, 2018 Reply

    I’m 27 y/o, 5’11” and 158 lbs in boxers, expert / aggressive & playful directional skier (drops, straight airs, shifties, slashes, but not many spins and no flips so far), ski the whole mountain in all snow conditions and tour a lot.

    I’ve followed this approach so: Started out low (maybe 6 or 7) and bumped it up in half increments until I’m didn’t prerelease anymore.

    Alpines: I run my DIN at 8 and I’m fine.

    Pins (Tecton): Front: DIN 8, Back DIN 8.5. Reason: I’ve prereleased out of the Tecton a couple of times at the heel vertically when hitting compressions or drops, but the front seems to be fine. I initially had front and back at 8, but recently bumped up the back I didn’t have this prereleasing issue with the Vipec (Black / TUV) at that DIN Value last season. Maybe it’s the binding, maybe because I’m skiing harder than I did last season, I don’t know.. It’s too early to give any useful feedback on this, but I’ll report back later.

    Question to you guys: What do you guys think about bumping up only the heel piece? Stupid or genius?

  8. Paul seglund January 4, 2018 Reply

    I have been using 8 and am a pretty aggressive skier out in the battle zone most of the time. I rarely crash and skis typically don’t release but I had binding failure last week where it cracked the plate underneath but didn’t release. I am 58 and 200lbs on older rock skis.

  9. Chery Many January 4, 2018 Reply

    I’ve worked in a part of the industry that deals with more release calculations than most for a lot of years. The bottom line is that the SIA (the people who agree on the release chart for the most part) have an interest in your safety. They spend millions of dollars on lawyers, actuaries, doctors, engineers and physicists, every year, to do research we don’t really want to know about. The industry approach, as far as I can tell from my position in it, is to put the burden on the shop to fail. While the bar isnt so high as to be unachievable, it is a pretty good smell test for you as a user. Don’t trust a tech who doesn’t care about their indemnity. Failing that, if they do go off the chart, ask questions you would ask an ortho doc crossed with a structural engineer and they damn well better have a good response. The industry itself is terrified of BOTH early and late releases and just wants to be able to sell you equipment for more than one season.

  10. Blister Member
    Jeffrey January 4, 2018 Reply

    I have always set my bindings at recommended the beginning of every season, and only increased when I really want my skis to stay on, when I know I will be skiing fast on weird snow, or if I start popping out. For popping out, it has to be at least two times in a rather short period, since I always assume the first is user error. Only decreased when I’ve been injured.

    6’2″, 230#, 37. Quite strong, and flex skis. Don’t find that makes much difference in release though. Recommended is 10, when I’m concerned I go up to 11-12, never more. Last year, I was skiing with a partially torn calf for a bit, set DIN to 8 on that leg, since I really didn’t want to tear it the rest of the way.

  11. Rod January 4, 2018 Reply

    I’m 69, 185, 5 9. I ski at din 11, have done this for the last 30 years.
    Expert skier, ski stuff where my concern is pre releasing rather than breaking a bone.
    I lift heavy weights, both legs and upper body. Let press 600-700 lbs.

    Also mountain bike a lot.

    Last year I got concerned about my bone density and I had a test.
    Luckily, my bone density was one standard deviation higher than a 22 year old male, so I’m staying at 11.

    I still come out of the bindings in a hard fall, even though a couple of times I felt my ankle stressed just before the release.

  12. Blister Member
    Jim January 4, 2018 Reply

    There are several factors to take into account with age.
    1) Even if absolute muscular strength is maintained, rate of force development decreases with age. Can training slow this change. Numberous study’s would indicate yes. But there are limitations one can slow the rate of age related decline but not prevent it. It is this rapid force generation that come into play whilst the reflex arc fires mitigating abarent joint range of motion and forces.

    2) How stong one is is also a variable. Can you squat twice your body weight (a end point that indicates a high level of absolute strength) how many repetitions can you do at 80% or 60% of that weight ( relative strength) if you have low relative strength and you are late into a run when u need to recruit this high force development but can not due to muscular fatigue then these gonna be a problem.

    3) Ballance of strength. Looking at knee injuries especially non contact ACL injuries the ratio of quadriceps strength in relation to hamstring strength become an important variable. It is actually the hamstring that provides significant knee stability. Excessive quadriceps strength training in the absence of enough hamstring strength with actually increase the incidence of knee injuries.

    4) With aging connective fissure becomes less elastic do to the decrease in elastin ( a protien in connective tissue) not much you can do about it.

    5) the amount of connective tissue in muscle increase making the muscles “stiffer”

    6) are you skiing terrain where pre releasing is highly consequencal?

    I have seen many complex lower limb fractures and connective tissue injuries. Not from skiing per day but mechanism aside they can be real nasty.

    Just my thoughts cheers

  13. Evan January 4, 2018 Reply

    I’ve done my time as a ski tech, instructor, and patroller. Now I’m a weekend warrior unless I’ve got the powder flu or doing a pre work tour. I’m lucky enough to have better than average balanced and sometimes ski out of strange situations. I like to take moderate drops and prefer to ski on wider ski at a high rate of speed off trail whenever possible. My 3plus din comes out at 11 and run 12 on all of my setups. I did the dial up method years ago and landed at 12 when they stayed on in all the situations I wanted them two. I have my fair share of proper ejections and have never had a situation where I wanted them to pop off and they didn’t. The main basis of my decision is 99 percent of the time I want the skis stuck to my boots and I am willing to take the calculated risk that comes with my choice.

  14. Blister Member
    Big K January 5, 2018 Reply

    At 54 I think the DIN call out for me was, is, around 7 for my age/weight. With two major back surgeries this year and knee surgery last year DIN is the last setting I need to question. Now having told myself that I have ended up at eight based on a couple of releases I thought were too soft. Momentary lapses in judgement resulting in awkward falls have caused myself most harm, as opposed to too light a DIN setting.

  15. Blister Member
    David January 5, 2018 Reply

    47 years old
    210 lbs
    Runner, high-intensity workouts

    In the past, I’ve had good luck running 9.5 on Axial2 14’s and Marker Barons, but not on Salomon “Z” style demo bindings that I put on a pair of my pow skis. Cranked those up to max (12) and still prereleased constantly. I suspect that the forward pressure on those things is somewhat less than precise.

    I’m getting a lot more aggressive as the years pass, and most of my major crashes have been the result of prereleases. Generally, I’ll be turning as I absorb a soft-ish bump, and all the sudden my ski is gone. No sensation of strain on my legs in the least. Just a sudden surprise, generally followed by an unintentional front flip.

    Replaced the Z bindings with STH 16’s which the shop returned to me set at 12, along with a note saying “be careful.”

    That setting scares me. I am going to reduce the setting to 10.5 and see if I stay in, because I want to ski until I’m 100. Seems to me like between the III and III+ charts, you can get a range of possible settings and do your own fine tuning.

    Still glad I got a high-DIN binding, though. Even if I’m not using its top end, it’s build more durably. I tend to break things, and I want stuff that’s going to last years and years.

    Aaron – thanks for sharing the bone density article.

  16. Blister Member
    rillburgher January 5, 2018 Reply

    Hi Jason– The key is to “know thyself.” I’m 54, former ski industry guy for 15 years. You consider the right things: your body, your athleticism and aggressiveness, and your home hill. As a further refinement, also consider your boots, particularly the forward flex. How boots transmit shin pressure forces to the heel piece can vary in my experience. With race boots, I usually ran my heels a bit higher, or suffered heel pre-releases. These days I telemark and my tele bindings don’t release. On alpine gear I’m comfortable at Type III corrected for my over 50 status. It’s only DIN 6.5 but works fine because I don’t slam stuff, but rather finesse, feather, and carve aiming to use a centered stance. You ski fast at Alta. Not me, I never go truly fast at my home area in the East. Your strong high-speed blasting down steep Alta chop seems a scenario for pre-releases… do you drive the tips using tall stiff boots? Or, does your ski reward a centered stance? Consider the entire system of skier, slope, boot and ski, and the resulting forces put into the bindings. Tweak as needed the industry recommendations– know thyself.

    The other replies are great, I learned some interesting stuff from Jim’s post above listing six factors… great stuff.

  17. Blister Member
    wilk800jkw January 5, 2018 Reply

    Thanks all for your comments! I love Blister. A couple of answers to Andy’s questions.
    I have Salomon XPro 130 boots. I ski on J Skis Metals, 186 mm, for deeper stuff and I split between J Skis Masterblasters Prototype 186 mm and Volkl Kendos 184 mm when things get tracked out. I tend to drive the tips hard, and have a more forward stance. After the advice from you all, and given where I ski and how I ski, I think when I turn 50 this year I will leave the DIN alone and see how I start to ski over the next few years. As everyone on this site knows, a good look in the mirror is always good. The comments and links are very helpful. I think “Know Thyself” should be a Blister mantra……


    p.s. Whoever pissed off Ullr in the west, please apologize, we need the snow!

    • Aaron January 6, 2018 Reply

      Ready to cut some skis in half and burn em at midnight.
      Whatever it takes to get Ullr back on our side!

  18. Blister Member
    Steve Hodapp January 6, 2018 Reply

    I’m 63, 155lbs, 5’9” and reasonable fit for my age. Been skiing for 50+ years and consider self to be advanced/expert depending on your perspective. A couple years ago I bought a new pair of Stockl’s and the DIN was set to 6.5. Experienced two falls one day at Squaw. One while going fast and straight over some very rough hard crud and another while coming out of Classic Chute. At that time I didn’t correlate the falls with pre releases. About a week later while skiing a groomer and making hard carves something felt funny and I looked down to discover one of my skis had fallen off. Forced myself to fall so as not to go into the trees off the side of the run. Ended up taking the skis into our local shop to check the Look Pivot bindings and the bindings were fine. Upped the DIN to 7.5 and have not had any pre releases since. I set all my skis at 7.5-8.0 at my own risk now for fear that a pre release could relsult in worse than a broken bone.

  19. Blister Member
    jsl January 6, 2018 Reply

    5′-11”, 165, 325 boot, 60+. Toe 8 Heel 9. Chart number says 7. First day of the year DIN is set -1 or close to where the chart recommends just to see how the body feels and give some time for the joints to toughen up some then it’s immediately back to normal settings. Skiing profile is similar to the original poster. Two speeds, On or Off. Little Cottonwood Canyon is skied almost exclusively, back country and in area. Anything less than about 40 MPH or a pitch under 40 degrees is usually not very interesting. Bredey has answered his own question regarding heel settings based on his touring binding setup. Running the same DIN on the toe and heel doesn’t work. Since the laws of physics don’t know the difference between in or out of bounds it seems logical, all thing being equal (which they are not) bindings for both would be set the same. The unequal variable is how elastic or how much return to center the binding has. Touring bindings are a work in progress right now while conventional bindings can have a huge return to center for the toes (this based on my experience with a pair of Head women’s slaloms that came off the world cup tour). Rillburgher’s comments are spot on about evaluating whether you need a higher setting for the heel. It depends on how you initiate the turn. If you work the ski hard and ski only directionally you need a higher heel DIN. If you drive the ski hard in deep snow you need a higher heel DIN. For those of us coming from the era of straight skis who had little problem getting the skis to work it was mandatory for the heel to be set higher. My experience was anything less than +2 and I could twitch on turn entry and be out of the ski doing a swan dive. You had to put a strong impulse into the shovel of the straight ski to get the reverse camber started. It may have only been momentary but the move had to be decisive. Current alpine bindings are a good step up from earlier equipment and you can safely run lower DIN numbers but the heel/toe differential still exists.

  20. Blister Member
    Scott January 7, 2018 Reply

    I am over 50, 6’4″, 240 lbs and an expert skier. I have tried both the under 50 (8)and over 50 DIN settings (10) for a III+ skier and surprisingly both worked fine and I did not have any pre-releases. When I was younger and skied a lot of moguls, fast and catching a lot of air, I did pre-release a lot and had to up my din setting to 10-11 range. My BSL is 336 which lowers my DIN.

    Going up to a 12 number would make me question if I need better bindings and I would check my forward pressure setting to see if it was at least mid range or better. I traded skis with another guy one day who ignored my warning that he didin’t have enough forward pressure (I could clearly see it) and after two pre-releases and a head gash he gave me back the skis and went to first aid.

    I think the 50 year old cut off is a little abrupt for someone in good shape an who skis regularly. If you have been off skis for a while and are getting back into it over 50, then I would definitely adhere to the lowered setting.

  21. Holger January 7, 2018 Reply

    Hi, I think this a complex questions to answer, because which DIN is right depends very much on each persons indivdual data/set-up/etc.. In order to bring it all in one chart one can assume that some risk adverse calculation took place while putting the chart together.

    For myself I can state that I think I am out of the chart. I am 48 years old, 6’2”, 225 lbs which a boot length of 337 and an expert skier. I do a lot of sport and work out three times a week. According to the calculator I should set my bindungs to DIN 8 (Level 3) or DIN 9.5 (Level 3+). However, those settings do not work for me on the hill.

    I am mostly freeriding and spent less than 10% on groomers. Currently I have almost all my skis at DIN 11. The reason is that I used to experience a lot of pre-releases at DIN 10. The bindungs I use are Salomon 916, Look Pivot and Marker 9.2 mostly on long & fat Freeride skis.

    The only binding were I set the DIN on 9 is Look Pivots. It is my experience that Look Pivots do not pre-release that quickly and therefore I can run them on lower DINs.

    My brief and most likely over simplfying conclusion is that those charts do not take in consideration the rather well trained freerider, who is riding on long heavy skis through less than perfect (aka “heavy”) deep snow. That is the only reason I am at DIN 11. On piste or in perfect powder (on that rare occasions) 9 or 10 might be okay.

    In the end I would use the charts as an orientation and would see if those recommended DINs do fit with your real world expericene on the hill. And yes, of course should one start that process bottom up and not top down (DIN-wise).

    • Willie B. January 8, 2018 Reply

      Spot on comments about big skis and sloppy snow. I have the same problems, and very similar settings.

  22. Wade January 7, 2018 Reply

    I’m just under 5’11”, and turned 50 last month. Half an inch and one year can put me at 7 or 10 according to Marker specs, and most of my bindings are Marker. That’s a huge range in force; I’m not impressed with manufacturer calculations, it appears to be all formulae with lazy assumptions.

    A 9 works great for me, I have clean releases when they should release, and never prerelease.

    I can say with certainty that the 7 that they say I should be at is dangerous. My wife and I share a quiver as she’s totally badass, really tall, and her BSL is only 8mm < mine. But she sets her DIN to 7. This is what Marker says I should be at. On a few occasions I've taken a shared ski out, adjusted it to fit my boot, but forgot to dial up the DIN. As soon as I go into some tight trees with speed, I get reminded to turn it back up, because one of them has come off, and I've taken a spinning header.

    My fault for forgetting this important step, but manufacturers need to reevaluate their charts. They make no distinction between someone 5'6" and 5'10", but a huge distinction between ages 49 and 50.

    A quick aside for skiers like me who refuse to change where and how they ski just because they're no longer 20 years old… consider armor with non-newtonian material. I wear it every day. It's light, comfortable, and it really works. I can shoulder tag a tree at 25mph and make the next turn. Renoun puts it in their skis, and it's a remarkable ski, but that's another conversation.

  23. Blister Member
    Nick January 8, 2018 Reply

    I’m 54 and 175-180lbs. 315 BSL. Slowing down a bit, not as fit as I used to be and need a new knee. Skier type 3+ has me at 8.5 if I I’m 5’11” on the chart and DIN 7 if I’m 5’10”. I’m about 5′ 10.5″. I have fks/pivots at 7 in the toe and 7.5-8 heel and race bindings at 8.5 for SL skis, 9 for GS skis and 10 for SG.

    My son is 13, 5’4″ and 115lbs. His BSL is 295. The 3+ chart has him at 6.5 DIN. His race coach sets his bindings at 9 for training skis and 10 for his race skis. I set his free skis are at 6.5.

  24. Willie B. January 8, 2018 Reply

    I always have problems with pre-releasing, and the solution is much more complicated than simply choosing a DIN value. I’m sure that anyone who is truly an expert skier can attest to the same difficulties. Theres nothing like screaming down chunky steeps when all of a sudden one ski has been blasted off (more hazardous to a lot of things than just your knees). I also like to do nose butters, on a pair of 193 Bentchetlers, which understandingly puts a lot of force on a bindings heel piece. If you want to successfully perform this move and not just do a double eject faceplant, you’re going to need a more solid DIN setting than the traditional chart.

    Each binding I’ve owned has seemed to perform slightly differently, with huge differences across brands. I’ve always found Marker and Look to have the best hold (I set at 11-12) and Salomon to have the worst (generally crank to 14-15).

    To determine an optimal setting, I generally start at 1+ chart recommended, and gradually bump it up as needed. You’ll know when you release and didn’t mean to. If that happens several times in one day…its definitely time to bump it up a bit.

    Bottom line: you know your bindings, body, ski ability, and strength better than any chart can tell you. If you’re constantly taking violent falls, your knees feel stressed, and your skis never eject, then your DIN is probably too high! If your skis eject constantly for no reason, or you can’t do tricks/lines you want, then your DIN is clearly too low.

    Be smart, don’t adjust too quickly. Go in small increments, and feel it out.

  25. Blister Member
    mallthus January 20, 2018 Reply

    49, 6’2”, 320lbs, BSL 325, Type 3

    Not only are the age definitions arbitrary, so too are the weight divisions. Nothing takes into account the difference between fat and muscle, as well as topping out at 210. Am I overweight? Of course, but even when my body fat percentage is in the low teens, I’m still 1-3 non-existent categories north of that 210 number.

    If I were to use my recommended DIN setting of 8.5, I’d be popping out of my skis all day long, as I did on a recent demo day. In fact, I thought the bindings were defective until I remembered that my local shop takes care of me by just remembering my bindings are normally set to 10 when I have them test my bindings late each summer.

    To be fair, I’m an aggressive skier that likes to ski very, very fast, but I can’t help feeling like the charts are just incomplete.

  26. Aaron January 29, 2018 Reply

    26 years old, skiing for 22 its, and a certified tech for 8 years. Our shop fully certifies our techs, and the recommendation is to go a full setting lower for 50+. Now this is purely for liability reasons. But from personal experience, chart calls for me to be at an 8.5, I ride a 13 ALL the time. This is due to the demo bindings we use on our rentals and high-end demos. The small amount of play that results from the adjustability of the binding makes for a less reliable release. Its important of course to start with lowest setting, and gradually move up as necessary. As you can imagine, the only way to determine “as necessary” is to pre-release. I have mine so high from releasing multiple times and continuing to crank them up. Now, if you have solid mounted bindings, or retail based, the release is much more accurate as opposed to the adjustable bindings. It is important to know your own physical limits, as well as your current mechanical limits on hardware.

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