Safety bindings on skis: safer and better

The race for the gold, silver and bronze of winter sports is underway again. The whole world is watching athletes perform in their events, as they squeeze the last bit of energy out of their bodies.

Perhaps there should also be prizes for the best performances of the "engineers of winter sport." After all, high-tech equipment is a basic necessity in nearly all types of winter sports today, and it has made its own contribution to new speed records. And not only that: Modern equipment also continuously makes the sport safer.

Measurement technology plays a decisive role in improving and optimizing sports equipment. There can be no knowledge without tests: That is why researchers and developers work at test benches and in field tests to optimize sports equipment.

Sports safety: A small but critical element of the ski illustrates this point: the bindings.

Ever since there have been skis (so for many hundreds of years) there have also been bindings to go with them. Of course the boot and ski have to be held together in one way or another. Originally bindings were simply open leather straps.

With the development of skis – and especially as skis were produced in greater numbers as skiing became popular – came also the development of modern ski bindings. The binding is actually more than a critical safety component of every ski. It also transfers the force from the athlete's foot to the ski. That means its shape and design are relevant to success in the sport.

Binding technology made a great leap forward in the 1960s with the advent of safety bindings. Among others, French entrepreneur Georges Salomon (1925-2010) revolutionized and transformed the market with his safety bindings that opened automatically when the skier fell.

Ski bindings were and still are objects that must undergo tests and inspections – primarily with strain gauges and measuring amplifiers.

For example, an article on our web site that is now almost 30 years old describes the "Reproduction of release kinematics of alpine ski-bindings"

But more recent research also deals with the same topic, as shown by this article:

A comparison of the two articles shows that binding technology has certainly advanced in the last 30 years. But the test and inspections in both of these cases were based on one reliable choice: force sensors and amplifiers from HBM. Because reliable measurement results are needed for safety-relevant elements.

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