Buying a new pair of skis can come with lots of questions whether you are brand new to the slopes and an experienced skier! You might have questions about different types of skis, boots and bindings.
When it comes to buying skis, one of the main questions to ask yourself before beginning your search is if you want skis that come already fitted with bindings, or if you want to buy skis and bindings separately and then have them professionally fitted.
Which option is right for you will depend on a few things- you experience skiing, how much you want to spend, what specifically you need from your skis and how convenient you want the whole process to be.
At a Glance
Skis can come with integrated bindings already built in, or skis and bindings can be bought separately. Integrated bindings are convenient and ensure a good match between skis and bindings. Advanced skiers may choose non-integrated bindings if looking for specific bindings for their needs.
What is the Difference?
Some skis are bought with their bindings already fitted and attached. These are called integrated of system skis. Here, skis and bindings are bought as a package and are usually designed to complement one another. For many beginner skiers, this type of ski is perfectly suited to their needs on the slopes and can
Alternatively, flat skis are bought without bindings already fitted. Bindings must be purchased and professionally fitted to ensure they are safe to use.
Skis with Bindings
Integrated ski bindings are skis and bindings that are specifically designed to match one another and are sold as a pair.
For most beginner skiers, integrated ski bindings are a great choice to help them to improve their technique when still learning.
System skis are also arguably the best suited to carving on groomed ski slopes. This is the type of slope and technique that many beginner skis start with, meaning that system skis are perfectly suitable.
System skis are generally more flexible and forgiving. These qualities are usually best suited and sought after by beginners whose technique is still improving. Skis with softer flex will allow greater ease when turning and be more forgiving of small technical errors.
Generally, as your technique improves, most skiers move to less flexible and stiffer skis to allow for skiing at higher speeds where greater pressure is applied to them. Integrated ski bindings are still available with a range of qualities such as flex, so even as a more advanced skier, you will likely be able to find a ski suitable for what you need.
As system skis already come with bindings that were normally specifically designed for that exact ski model, you don’t have to worry about them being compatable. The ski and bindings should already be an ideal match, and normally only need the bindings adjusting to fit your specific boot.
Remember, always get skis and boots altered by a certified technician for skis and boots.
Arguably the biggest benefit to using flat skis where the bindings are sold separately, is that they allow greater diversity in the bindings you can use.
For example, which many argue that system skis are more beneficial for carving, most other activities such as powder or park skiing are better suited to a flat ski.
Remember, always get skis, boots and bindings fitted and altered by a certified technician.
Flat skis are usually better suited to skiers who are more advanced than beginner skiers.
Generally, buying flat skis and separate bindings can be more expensive than system skis. On top of this higher initial cost, if different bindings need to be re-mounted by a certified technician, for example if you change to use larger boots, there is a cost associated with this process.
With many flat skis, new bindings may need to be completely removed by a certified technician and holes in your skis be re-drilled to re-mount the bindings on certain occasions. This can include if you change boots or buy second hand flat skis, where boots and therefore bindings are a significantly different size compared to the boots and bindings used with the skis previously.
One thing to make sure you look out for with second hand skis are how many times skis have been re-drilled and bindings re-mounted. If this has occurred too many times, the safety of the ski might be compromised. Speak to a certified technician for advice on the safety of your skis and bindings.
Should I Buy System or Flat Skis?
Whether to buy integrated skis and bindings or separate will largely depend on your ability level. For beginners, buying integrated skis and bindings are the most convenient and often the safest option.
Here are some more articles you might find useful: