My question, are the Knee Bindings really worth it? I have seen the YouTube vids, the anonymous testimonials on weird ski forums, and the same forums where people blast the product as a gimmick. I personally witnessed a backseat, low speed, leg caught underneath failed release for my partner and I know a lateral heel release would've saved someone in her position.. I know the Look Pivot is advertised as functioning similarly, but REI doesn't carry this..
Some Background on me if you care 🙂
2017 my REI store in NJ sold me a Peak Pass, 3 days with rentals and lessons, for the Peak pass mountain collective now part of Vail/Epic as of 2018. This started an obsession for me. I'm someone with a history of knee injuries, 2 surgeries on same leg, one being reconstructed ACL. Fast Forward to 2020, I'm blessed to call Lake Tahoe my local Ski home, sadly my partner tore her ACL this season on our first run on our first day, and that ended our 2020/21 season fast!
With Covid and moving, sadly I still haven't had a full competent ski season I'm proud of.. learning, then changing regions while learning has made it tough to get outfitted correctly. With my history of knee injury and my partner still recovering from hers this season, I don't ski scared but I ski aware and mindful of what can happen (the 2 times I got out in Spring). I'm just looking for a reliable solution where I know I can't eliminate all risk, but I can be educated and take steps to mitigate as much as possible for my confidence.
It's cheaper to put a little pebble under each heel - makes one keep their weight forward.
Best is proper technique. Don't attach some gimmick to my skis that allows me to continue poor behavior.
Gotta be "In Charge" when on skis. Shins on the tongues of your boots is the same as "Two Hands on the Wheel". The second you back off, the mountain takes control, tosses you like salad across the hill.
Left knee torn open, right knee operated on, rt mcl torn, 15 years free climbing poles on hooks, arthrits both knees, I feel your pain, literally. I am not in the market for Knee bindings. Seems like a lot of hype with a promise to "reduce" knee injuries.
Set your bindings correctly. There are times to be honest about weight, fitness and skill level. Skiing, bungee jumping, and hang gliding come to mind. East coast groomers are not west coast powder. The fact that you said you are not properly outfitted isnt a red flag, but it does put out a yellow. Not properly outfitted for what? Did you buy a bunch of stuff and go skiing? Did you rent? IMHO, buy boots if nothing else. Rental boots suck. Understand that they are NOT like shoes and need to be snug. Once you have decent boots, then you can play with what ski works for you. If you are a normal sized human, then you have a lot of good choices.
Exercise with skiing in mind all year long. You wont be doing the Micaela Shifferen workout, but do stairs, ankles, and core.
I wear 2 knee braces. Just the Muller ones you can get at the drug store. They give a little support, but keep your knees warmer if you are working with arthritis that helps.
I haven't ever seen them in use or know anyone who has used them and I know many, many skiers. I echo what Solace and Greg say about boots and technique and will add that a proper binding with a functional release test for your skill level should prevent the worst of it. If my knee(s) are a little sore before a day out, I will wear a flexible brace over that knee. I have also had knee injuries when skiing at lower speed because I happen to snag a buried branch between the trees in just the wrong spot, but the bindings always released and only left it sore instead of torn.
That all being said, I don't think you have any issues using the knee binding as opposed to any other binding unless they happen to release when you don't want them to (think hard carving a steep). I don't know if this is an issue, but that is one thing I would want to test out.