Setting up Bindings for me and my kids the next season. Shop wants $60 per pair of skis?! Do you DIY? This is the only game in town...

caliksier

In the parking lot (formerly "At the base lodge")
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Hey, so I am getting ready for the next season. The shop manager for my local shop made a deal with me where he adjusted my skis for my kids and I every year for free. He did this because I bought most of my gear from him and sent several friends to him. He just left the company and the new management is not having it.

I lost my free ride, and they want $60 per pair of skis, sticker shock. So I am wondering what do you all do? I have 3 kids and myself, passing skis down each year as the kids get older. This is $240 a year, that's a one night stay somewhere. Geeze... So a little about me, I do everything myself, I have to, to save money in this single income family. Change my own timing belt, replace my own pool liner, no contractor touches my house, no mechanic touches my cars which are purring with 219k and 179k miles. I'm even my own architect... so I don't swallow $240 for binding tests easily.

I can set the boots, calculate the proper DIN, and adjust the bindings, I know how to do that. What I can't do is prove they are calibrated correctly, i.e. test them that they will work at the torque they are supposed to. That's all I want the shop to do, just test it! and they want $60. There is no other game in Oklahoma City.

Safety is number one for me, but I am wondering if binding safety is overblown like "change your oil every 3000 miles". For your car, follow the engineering tech pubs (users manual), change oil every 7,500 miles. What is the testing requirements on bindings? Is it every year? or is it every X years?

Here are my solutions... Please advise here, anything I am not considering?
  1. What is the binding test interval requirement?
  2. I could adjust them myself. This would assume that they are safe because they were safe last year. This I can't prove. Don't some of you adjust your own bindings annually? And how do you test them?
  3. Find a shop close to where I am going (12 hours away), hope I make the appointment, and hope they honor it with same hour service? I tested this for waxing in early April, (usually do it myself) but this is Late December, already called and they are 3 weeks out.
  4. Just bite the bullet and pay the $240.
What other options do I have, what would you do?
 

Philpug

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That's all I want the shop to do, just test it!
Sorry, but it's not "just test it". You have to have someone do the paperwork, log the gear in, label it, schedule it, put it away where the tech can hopefully find it after your drop it off, the tech (do you want someone that makes minimum wage or a competitive salary?) then needs to get the gear, THEY have to check the charts and cannot jsut go off of your ability to read the chart and make sure everything is compatable and in working order ... all of this before they "just test it", because it is their signature on the legal document, yes, the work ticket is a legal document. Finally test it, sign it, put it away where the staff can hopefully find it when you return to pick it up. When you come in, someone to find the gear, go over the legal agreement and ask you to read before signing (these three words are very well the most important that every shop person needs to remember) then have you pay for it. Then store and catalog the paperwork for 7 years.

None of the above includes the cost of buying, testing and calibration of machines, if you want bindings that are calibrated correctly, you need machines that are also calibrated correctly to do that. Training and certification of employees, all costs.

All that if there are no snafus, such as, but not limited to...
  • Illegible writing
    • is that a 3 or a 5?
    • 1 or a 7?
  • Missing information no...
    • height
    • weight
    • age
    • Skier Type
      • missing
      • or, two types circled
        • all too common
  • With three kids, gear mixed up

There is more than about an hour in this whole testing process that takes place. If the average employee earns abtou $20/hour and there are operating costs for the shop and overhead. What is a fair price?

Here are my solutions... Please advise here, anything I am not considering?
See above, what you are not considering. ;)
  1. What is the binding test interval requirement?
No requirement but suggested every year.
  1. I could adjust them myself. This would assume that they are safe because they were safe last year. This I can't prove. Don't some of you adjust your own bindings annually? And how do you test them?
How old are the bindings? The older they are, the more of a chance they might not test within range. Might not. And thats why it is suggested that bindings are tested and why you are getting them tested.
  1. Find a shop close to where I am going (12 hours away), hope I make the appointment, and hope they honor it with same hour service? I tested this for waxing in early April, (usually do it myself) but this is Late December, already called and they are 3 weeks out.
Same hour service for four pair? Not likely. The best you can hope for is overnight.
  1. Just bite the bullet and pay the $240.
Shop around the Calibrating costs, go back to the shop and see if they will match it.
What other options do I have, what would you do?
You pretty much covered them all and I am sure there are a still few things/steps I might have forgotten, paging @Mike Thomas and @Greg Whitehouse to the SkiTalk Courtesy Phone.

With all that said, I cannot disagree that $60 is above market price. :)
 
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Tony S

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Move.

Seriously, lots of sympathy but no one can make this decision for you.

Short of moving, your best bet is to cultivate a relationship with a good family oriented shop at your regular destination, if you have one. Buy your stuff from them and try to negotiate an arrangement. Remember: Good, Quick, Cheap - pick two.

No shop not run by your brother is going to take your word that the binding is set up perfectly and ONLY do the torque tests. Once they write the ticket they own the whole of the adjustment process from soup to nuts. I'm sure you can see why.

Edit: Crossed posts with Phil. Oh well.
 

James

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I would think just the release check without a mount or changing anything would be $20-30.

7065580A-2005-446D-A94A-DE1634B4AFA4.jpeg
 
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TS
C

caliksier

In the parking lot (formerly "At the base lodge")
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Sorry, but it's not "just test it". You have to have someone do the paperwork, log the gear in, label it, schedule it, put it away where the tech can hopefully find it after your drop it off, the tech (do you want someone that makes minimum wage or a competitive salary?) then needs to get the gear, THEY have to check the charts and cannot jsut go off of your ability to read the chart and make sure everything is compatable and in working order ... all of this before they "just test it", because it is their signature on the legal document, yes, the work ticket is a legal document. Finally test it, sign it, put it away where the staff can hopefully find it when you return to pick it up. When you come in, someone to find the gear, go over the legal agreement and ask you to read before signing (these three words are very well the most important that every shop person needs to remember) then have you pay for it. Then store and catalog the paperwork for 7 years.

None of the above includes the cost of buying, testing and calibration of machines, if you want bindings that are calibrated correctly, you need machines that are also calibrated correctly to do that. Training and certification of employees, all costs.

All that if there are no snafus, such as, but not limited to...
  • Illegible writing
    • is that a 3 or a 5?
    • 1 or a 7?
  • Missing information no...
    • height
    • weight
    • age
    • Skier Type
      • missing
      • or, two types circled
        • all too common
  • With three kids, gear mixed up

There is more than about an hour in this whole testing process that takes place. If the average employee earns abtou $20/hour and there are operating costs for the shop and overhead. What is a fair price?


See above, what you are not considering. ;)

No requirement but suggested every year.

How old are the bindings? The older they are, the more of a chance they might not test within range. Might not. And thats why it is suggested that bindings are tested and why you are getting them tested.

Same hour service for four pair? Not likely. The best you can hope for is overnight.

Shop around the Calibrating costs, go back to the shop and see if they will match it.

You pretty much covered them all and I am sure there are a still few things/steps I might have forgotten, paging @Mike Thomas and @Greg Whitehouse to the SkiTalk Courtesy Phone.

With all that said, I cannot disagree that $60 is above market price. :)

Hey thank you very much for the clarity with what happens behind the scenes. Appreciate all the work that goes into this that I did not realize. Many things in my job people do not realize that costs money and time.
I have been having them tested each year, does everyone else have them tested every year?
Looks like $30 is more realistic, and I appreciate your market comment. Unfortunately they are the only shop in town, but they have a second store in town as well that I have not talked to yet.
Bindings on one pair are brand new, the others are 2-3 years old. One pair were 2012 skis that has system bindings that I got in 2019 brand new, so I assume they had been sitting somewhere for many years.
 
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Thread Starter
TS
C

caliksier

In the parking lot (formerly "At the base lodge")
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Move.

Seriously, lots of sympathy but no one can make this decision for you.

Short of moving, your best bet is to cultivate a relationship with a good family oriented shop at your regular destination, if you have one. Buy your stuff from them and try to negotiate an arrangement. Remember: Good, Quick, Cheap - pick two.

No shop not run by your brother is going to take your word that the binding is set up perfectly and ONLY do the torque tests. Once they write the ticket they own the whole of the adjustment process from soup to nuts. I'm sure you can see why.

Edit: Crossed posts with Phil. Oh well.
Good / Quick / Cheap - Pick too... Totally! Before I got it good and Cheap, now its going to be Good and Quick, lol.

They are the only game in town, nobody else in OKC does this. Ugg...
 
Thread Starter
TS
C

caliksier

In the parking lot (formerly "At the base lodge")
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I would think just the release check without a mount or changing anything would be $20-30.

View attachment 183998
Thanks, this helps, its a national chain and I might call a store in Denver and see what they charge in a more competitive market and work with the 2nd store here in town and see if I can get them to budge. $240 is crazy in my opinion. $120 is more reasonable. I know I can get it a lot cheaper in Denver, but like Tony said, its not going to be fast.
 

Philpug

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$240 is crazy in my opinion. $120 is more reasonable.
While I went into what is entailed in the process, it is not like the shop is paying the tech and others specfically for the test, they are already on the clock and if they weren't doing this, they would be doing something else. Again I do not disagree that $60/per is high and worse it will stop people, like yourself from getting the test done.
 
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caliksier

In the parking lot (formerly "At the base lodge")
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While I went into what is entailed in the process, it is not like the shop is paying the tech and others specfically for the test, they are already on the clock and if they weren't doing this, they would be doing something else. Again I do not disagree that $60/per is high and worse it will stop people, like yourself from getting the test done.
Right on Phil, they have costs to pay but for me, where my head goes, $240 is one less night in a hotel and one less day on the slopes. I totally hear everyone else saying, "try your whole season and maybe the next gone if you dont come out of your skis during a bad fall." I get that too which is why I came here...

Good site with rational and well thought out discussions... Thank you.
 

fatbob

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I have been having them tested each year, does everyone else have them tested every year?

Speaking only for myself -no. And I suspect you ask the majority of skiers with their own skis they won't even have heard of a torque test or been in a store which has the equipment. And I wouldn't bet that everything in a large rental fleet is rigourously release tested every season.

But you have to make your own risk decisions on what you are comfortable with. In mine I factor in the risk that the shop might still get it wrong and the ability to sue them isn't that valuable to me given all the other variables in play to prove their negligence caused my injury.
 

François Pugh

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I used to test them every year....by falling and adjusting up or down if needed.
I haven't done that the last few years.

What I would do, if I wanted to test the release torque and the alternative was $60 a shot, is build a form and use a torque wrench. However, I'm more interested in adjusting up or down from the recommended chart DIN number that was arrived at using fuzzy logic on whether I'm a 3 or a 3+.

Before anyone cries, "Think of the children!" That's no more dangerous than doing your own electrical work on your house and auto mechanics.

But that's just me; I like to live dangerously.
 

EricG

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Here is the link to the binding release calibrator. This + some training and you will no longer need the shop in town to test your bindings.

 

Tony S

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Right on Phil, they have costs to pay but for me, where my head goes, $240 is one less night in a hotel and one less day on the slopes. I totally hear everyone else saying, "try your whole season and maybe the next gone if you dont come out of your skis during a bad fall." I get that too which is why I came here...

Good site with rational and well thought out discussions... Thank you.
<threadDrift>
The reality you're running into here is that off the shelf retail pricing for almost anything ski related tends to be high because the market can support it, regardless of whether it seems "fair" to people like us making the vain attempt to compare prices for analogous goods or services in the "everyday world." (Although even there ... I don't want to think about what an average visit to my car mechanic costs.)

I would go so far as to say that skiing - beyond the occasional weekend dabble - is not an affordable pursuit for middle class people like me without diving into one or both of the following approaches:
  • making skiing a primary household budget item at the expense of several others
  • putting a lot of time and effort into finding discounts (e.g., buying used gear in April), economies of scale (e.g., pass programs, sharing condos), and DIY options (e.g., tuning your own skis)
That very last point - DIY options - is where your original post comes in.
</threadDrift>

My personal habit around binding setting, which I would not try to "sell" to anyone privately, let alone on the open internet, is to have a new or new-to-me set of bindings torque tested before skiing on them, whatever that costs. From then on I don't bother to have it done again unless I think "something" may have changed. For example, I might do it if the bindings were exposed to grit or salt.
 

crgildart

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If you arrive at the destination day early you can take them to a shop there for more competitive rates. In Oklahoma not only is the cost expensive, but the quality of workmanship is all over the place. Odds are the person who owns the shop is not a "skier". It's likely a college kid from someplace closer to ski country there working part time between classes. . Turnover will depend on their class schedule and graduation. They may or may not be competent.

Full disclosure, I was born in Lawton and went to OU in Norman. My son's going there now. Unless we knew the shop and employees well I wouldn't leave my gear there. They may be excellent, but without knowing for sure I'm either doing it myself (I mostly know what I'm doing as a lifelong skier taught how to mount bindings by factory reps) or I'm taking them someplace closer to the mountains.
 

Bolder

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I'm not surprised at the cost, but I am a bit surprised that they didn't do you a mitzvah and knock a bit off the price given your past situation and likelihood that you will buy more from them in the future. But maybe the previous manager didn't leave an approved "guest list" for the replacement...

I look at things like this and plumbing not as you're paying for the service, but for the assumption of liability. Sure, I can turn off the gas and replace a valve but a fully bonded plumber doing the same thing will let me sleep well at night.

I'd either pay the 240 and tell the kids you're sleeping in the car for a night, or call a few shops at your next destination and see what they would charge, and see if it's really worth the effort...
 

fatbob

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I'd also guess that its far more likely that someone (including shop employees and particularly busy rental or demo techs) but especially self servicers would set up forward pressure wrongly than a bindings has significantly drifted from its marked DIN. Even then the latter can be risk mitigated by dialling down from the charts as per an older or less aggressive skier.
 
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caliksier

In the parking lot (formerly "At the base lodge")
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Speaking only for myself -no. And I suspect you ask the majority of skiers with their own skis they won't even have heard of a torque test or been in a store which has the equipment. And I wouldn't bet that everything in a large rental fleet is rigourously release tested every season.

But you have to make your own risk decisions on what you are comfortable with. In mine I factor in the risk that the shop might still get it wrong and the ability to sue them isn't that valuable to me given all the other variables in play to prove their negligence caused my injury.
Fatbob, to your point about risk and the "shop might get it wrong". I think about degradation in the last 2 years... Totally talking out of ignorance on this specific thing but What happened in the last 8 months that now makes it unsafe when I change the DIN from 1.5 to 2?

I used to test them every year....by falling and adjusting up or down if needed.
I haven't done that the last few years.

What I would do, if I wanted to test the release torque and the alternative was $60 a shot, is build a form and use a torque wrench. However, I'm more interested in adjusting up or down from the recommended chart DIN number that was arrived at using fuzzy logic on whether I'm a 3 or a 3+.

Before anyone cries, "Think of the children!" That's no more dangerous than doing your own electrical work on your house and auto mechanics.

But that's just me; I like to live dangerously.

To your Point Francois, if I wanted to get really serious, I could build a form and I do have a very nice torque wrench thanks to my last timing belt savings of $1250... I can test it before I change and test it after. Do I know what I am doing... not yet, but I don't see what 8 months did to my skis. I don't think the industry is trying to go the "3000 mile oil change" "new mattress every 8 years" route here, I think this could just be me being nervous out of ignorance on this issue, which is why I came here


<threadDrift>
The reality you're running into here is that off the shelf retail pricing for almost anything ski related tends to be high because the market can support it, regardless of whether it seems "fair" to people like us making the vain attempt to compare prices for analogous goods or services in the "everyday world." (Although even there ... I don't want to think about what an average visit to my car mechanic costs.)

I would go so far as to say that skiing - beyond the occasional weekend dabble - is not an affordable pursuit for middle class people like me without diving into one or both of the following approaches:
  • making skiing a primary household budget item at the expense of several others
  • putting a lot of time and effort into finding discounts (e.g., buying used gear in April), economies of scale (e.g., pass programs, sharing condos), and DIY options (e.g., tuning your own skis)
That very last point - DIY options - is where your original post comes in.
</threadDrift>
My personal habit around binding setting, which I would not try to "sell" to anyone privately, let alone on the open internet, is to have a new or new-to-me set of bindings torque tested before skiing on them, whatever that costs. From then on I don't bother to have it done again unless I think "something" may have changed. For example, I might do it if the bindings were exposed to grit or salt.

To your point Tony, not really Thread Drift what you brought up, by the way. This is how i, probably like you, have to do this. I buy most of my gear off ebay/in late summer, amazing deals. Have an excel spreadsheet tracking the cost I am saving by not renting, and I am selling the "now too small" gear on marketplace and ebay, its nuts right, but with one income, this sport is not affordable. Bought a rental property to pay for the airb&b stays.

So yeah, this, for me is about, Technical Cost and Schedule. Is it technically necessary to do this every year at $240 a year, can I get the cost down and fit it in my schedule otherwise?

Your last point, buy it, set it, forget it... True, that is my personal pair, I could go there, or maybe every 3 years have the shop do the test, that brings my cost down to $20 per year.



Thanks Eric, $6000 for that thing, man, proves earlier points about why the shop charges so much.

If you arrive at the destination day early you can take them to a shop there for more competitive rates. In Oklahoma not only is the cost expensive, but the quality of workmanship is all over the place. Odds are the person who owns the shop is not a "skier". It's likely a college kid from someplace closer to ski country there working part time between classes. . Turnover will depend on their class schedule and graduation. They may or may not be competent.

Full disclosure, I was born in Lawton and went to OU in Norman. My son's going there now. Unless we knew the shop and employees well I wouldn't leave my gear there. They may be excellent, but without knowing for sure I'm either doing it myself (I mostly know what I'm doing as a lifelong skier taught how to mount bindings by factory reps) or I'm taking them someplace closer to the mountains.

Great comment Crgildart, I am pretty sure I can do this myself as well... BTW...really cool you are from Oklahoma (BTW, our team is all at USC now with Lincoln Riley) and I can tell you "get it" I think you can figure out what chain it is I am working with, and I will tell you, the manager I worked with before and some of his techs were really good skiers... I loved that guy, and I even worked some of the people at corporate to help him, I actually put in some major plugs for this manager because he was so professional and i told the company they better do something for him because he would not stay long.... I was right.


I'm not surprised at the cost, but I am a bit surprised that they didn't do you a mitzvah and knock a bit off the price given your past situation and likelihood that you will buy more from them in the future. But maybe the previous manager didn't leave an approved "guest list" for the replacement...

I look at things like this and plumbing not as you're paying for the service, but for the assumption of liability. Sure, I can turn off the gas and replace a valve but a fully bonded plumber doing the same thing will let me sleep well at night.

I'd either pay the 240 and tell the kids you're sleeping in the car for a night, or call a few shops at your next destination and see what they would charge, and see if it's really worth the effort...
I am too on the "guest list"... I get the gas comment, and I have thought that too, but I used to teach at a VoTech and a lot of the industry used to tell me... "Yeah, 80% of the issues we see in the industry the home owner can fix with a little bit of troubleshooting...
 
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cantunamunch

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Fatbob, to your point about risk and the "shop might get it wrong". I think about degradation in the last 2 years... Totally talking out of ignorance on this specific thing but What happened in the last 8 months that now makes it unsafe when I change the DIN from 1.5 to 2?

Leaving aside any conceivable-but-unproven issues from springs remaining in tension over time, there is a separate issue.

To wit: those springs were never actually tested to release in a range corresponding to 2.

Some from the same production line were, presumably, but those weren't.

The one thing that testing mounted bindings does is ground truth the window indicator.

Does a '2' level of compression actually correspond to X Nm torque?

I mean no one would just take the word of a torque wrench maker that a specific torque wrench hash mark was correct unless it was calibrated - and yet people do it with bindings all the time.
 

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