View Full Version : Will hard shell bindings help eliminate ankle injuries?

05-01-2010, 05:44 PM
Looking for some advice:
I regularly ski a course and unfortunately some falls have weakened my ankles to the point that on any "tail blowout" type fall around a ball, I jam at least one ankle and it ends my skiing for at least a week.
I run a Monza with an animal front binding and an approach rear and the injury generally occurs if I get ejected from the binding.
So, a lot of people have suggested that hard shells will prevent the ejection injury and reduce the ankle instability that results, what are your thoughts?
Who makes the best hard shells?

Thanks in advance.

05-01-2010, 05:49 PM
I'd love to know more about this subject as well.

05-01-2010, 05:55 PM
I'm sorry, but I don't understand what the issue is. You are "jamming" an ankle by ejecting from the ski? I'm not following.

05-01-2010, 06:41 PM
There's a lot out there in the skiing community about this very topic. In fact, I'd suggest researching on some other sites that is frequented by guys who have tried lots of different setups. proskicoach.com and ballofspray.com both "resident experts" and some are in fact pro skiiers. Whether it be fogmans, reflex, fluid motions, HO exo's, or goode powershells, they all have there pro's and cons. Personally, I had a very similiar season last year which resulted in me going the hardshell route. I was on the double HO Approach and took a couple of out the front falls that re-injured an old college injury. I'm now on the fogman diablo and love the feel. After my first release fall and no injury, I'm more confident and thus more aggressive.
My advise, your health is the most important part of your skiing. If a couple hundred bucks keeps you turning all season long it's money well spent. Look towards your local pro-shop to demo a set up or two if possible.
Good luck and send me a PM if you need some more specific insight.

05-02-2010, 08:37 AM
I'm sorry, but I don't understand what the issue is. You are "jamming" an ankle by ejecting from the ski? I'm not following.

The jamming occurs when the ski skips out while rounding a bouy. The ankle compresses as the tip of the ski is caught in the water and the tail is blowing out. If the ski remains on both feet, and does not catch the water while going down all is fine, however, more times than not, while "skidding out" the ski is parallel to the water with both feet still in the bindings and eventually catches the surface causing it to force flex the ankles and ripping at least one from the binding.
The issue comes typically when I am running late and carry way to much speed into the ball, try to make a quick edge change to make-up the ground I lost and it results in a blow-out. Obviously there are form and issues to overcome but keeping the ankles healthy in the meantime would be nice!

Thanks again for th advice and I will check-out the sites that were suggested.

east tx skier
05-02-2010, 09:27 AM
I ran double approach bindings for all of 3 months, had two out the fronts, both of which put a lot of strain on my ankles. With skiing longevity as a goal, I sold the approach boots and moved to Wileys. I have not had any further issues with sore ankles after a fall (knock wood).

Plenty are on hard shells and plenty are still riding soft boots. I have read of injuries with both. No boot is immune. However, my experience with the approach boots was not something I wanted to test further, even though they were quite responsive.

05-02-2010, 12:47 PM
Nothing is 100% safe but lots of hardshell options are getting safer. Radar boots were a big hit last year and a lot of people really like them. Obrien and HO both are coming out with similar systems now.

I have tweaked my ankles in similar fashion and using Animals, Approach, or Wiley's wouldn't matter you could still mess up your ankle in that sort of fall. A hardshell would only help if it is a system like HO's where the bindings release from the ski; the Radar boots might not help with this fall because you just slide out the front like a rubber boot releases.

Another option is avoiding this type of fall all together. How often do you fall like this? If your equipment isn't set up properly it could lead to issues.

Anyway, I agree that you could search some water ski forums for some more discussion on the matter. It is still a bit of a wash as to what is the best in prevailing opinion. A lot of people swear by Wiley's, others think that properly set up hardshells are the way to go. A few even think that never releasing from the ski is the best.

05-02-2010, 03:50 PM
The setup on the ski is pretty good and the falls boil down to operator error and lack of patience. The falls tend to occur when I am running late and I pull too long to the ball, causing me to make a quick edge change in order to get the next bouy and try to get back in the game. The true answer is to slow down the turn and release from the pull sooner without losing outbound direction.

When I had this problem a couple of years ago I was weighing the Fluid Motion Quatrro vs. the Fogman Diablo and I really liked the FM's so I am somewhat leaning toward them if I bite the bullet and buy. Anyone on either of these now and if so what do you think?

05-08-2010, 07:44 PM
I am going to run the Fogman's this season, but being from Bozeman, MT the season hasn't started yet. I know a ton of folks who swear up and down by the Radar Strada & RS-1 boots. The O'brien Prodigy seems to be very similar in design and go for $130-$155 per boot. If I weren't on the Diablos, I'd probably be on the Stradas or the Prodigy.

JP :)

05-09-2010, 02:00 AM
Very interesting thread to me as I ride a Monza as well (Double Animals) and have broken an ankle the way you describe at the ball with too much speed and loosing it in the turn. 3 years ago broke lft., 2 years ago bad sprain on rt. I went skiing last week with guys skiing the new Goode w/ shells and was surprised to see the "velcro plate". I can't afford a new ski this season, but I will be watching, demo-ing and educating myself this year toward less injury and better equipt. for 2011.