Knee ligament injuries rank as the top reported medical issues from skiing. While most bindings today do a pretty good job at releasing when you crash, they don’t release in all situations, resulting in major knee injury. Stowe, Vermont based KneeBinding designed a new type of ski binding that they claim can protect your knees from injury in the majority of situations.
Most ACL knee injuries happen in the “back seat”–you fall backwards, your hips and knees bend, then you catch an inside edge and your bindings don’t release. If you catch a tip or tail and the ski rotates, your binding will normally release. But if you catch an edge and the ski is pulled directly sideways, no release happens, regardless of the amount of force applied.
Most ordinary ski bindings feature two release mechanisms–the heel opens up and forward and the toe opens to the left or right, allowing your boot to twist sideways out of the binding. While these release mechanisms are great at preventing broken legs, neither can prevent ACL injuries.
By contrast, KneeBindings offers a different type of release by using a third dimension that allows the binding to release directly sideways at the heel to mitigate knee injuries (called PureLateral). Once a heavy edge force is applied, your boot twists sideways out of the heel, saving your knee.
In addition to the PureLateral heel release, KneeBinding uses a hard, flat boot platform–front and rear–the exact width of the boot sole for better edge control and leverage. The binding gives a little under sudden impact (rather than simply releasing) and snaps right back. A further precise toe-height adjustment system eliminates any slop or play.
You can mount KneeBindings on any flat skis or even system skis by removing the bindings or plates that came with the skis. The bindings feature DIN settings from 3-12 and you can choose from a variety of brake sizes depending on the waist size of your skis.
The company recommends you purchase KneeBindings from one of their retail partners but you can also order them online for $399-$459 (carbon).