Riser Plates on Skiboards - Better for Ski Release Bindings?

By Doc Roberts, PhD.

There’s been some discussion on the internet around the topic of using riser plates (composite or metal) that then can be mounted with ski release bindings on top. The theory is that a riser plate offers better performance using a 4 hole mount. This then brings up two questions - (1) are they safer and (2) do they offer the best performance?

Of course, with skiboarding (as with any snow sport) the most important issue to address is safety. Release bindings definitely provide the most safety, and with skiboards, makes them one of the safest snow riding tools on the slopes.  What is the best way to mount skiboards with release bindings? Do release bindings work as they should mounted on riser plates vs. being mounted directly to the skiboards? Regarding this question, I spoke with the legal and technical departments of the ski binding manufacturers, including Rossignol, Salomon, Head/Tyrolia and Atomic. The overwhelming consensus was that mounting ski release bindings on riser plates, especially with 4 hole mounts, would be unpredictable and therefore possibly create a situation where they don’t release as they should, or prerelease, which can also be a problem. Further, all liability guarantees by these manufacturers would be voided if ski release bindings are mounted on top of a riser plate.

One more point about safety is that if release bindings are mounted on riser plates and the use of a leash is required, rather than traditional ski brakes, this poses an additional risk. As you probably know already, all ski resorts require brakes with release bindings or leashes with non-release bindings. As release bindings are intended to release to prevent injury, they also come off your feet and away from you, in most cases. This is a good thing and the brakes stop your skiboards from flying down the mountain. Leashes attached to release bindings on riser plates however pose the likely chance that once released from the binding, that skiboard is still attached to your leg and can come back to hit you. No way of telling when something with a sharp edge is attached to your leg, whether it could cause additional harm.

The other primary question regarding riser plates is performance. 

It’s often assumed that 4 hole binding mounted risers provide better carving and thus enhanced performance. Simply not true! In fact, there is still a flat spot under the riser plate where it comes into contact with the skiboards. A riser plate also puts you up higher, (like riding in high heels). These do not really provide enhanced performance or control . Riser plates were considered an improvement at one point in the history of skiboards but this simply is no longer true. In contrast, technology has come a long way with ski release bindings, now allowing for a full and complete flex of skiboards without any flat spots. Not only are they safer mounted directly to the skiboards, but also deliver higher performance - due to maximum carving along the full edge of the skiboards. Overall, release bindings mounted directly to skiboards (according to binding manufacturer guidelines) are much safer, provide higher performance (thus more fun) and also offer the added bonus of convenience, as you get to just step in and go rather than having to bend over and get everything set up.

When it comes to binding choices, it’s of course subject to personal preferences regarding riding style. With the proper information, it’s easier to make an informed decision. When it comes to using ski release bindings, we do not mount them to riser plates, but instead mount them directly on the skiboards (per manufacturer guidelines). We did once carry riser plates many years ago, but found them to be cumbersome and a liability as well, so we no longer carry them.

While we offer ski release bindings, we also offer 4 hole mount non-release bindings like Bomber Bindings as well as our Technine Custom snowboard bindings. While these don’t provide the overall safety or convenience of ski release bindings, there are many skiboarders who prefer these for various reasons. These provide great performance as well. But if you prefer ski release bindings, direct mount is the way to go.

As always, if you ever have questions, you can email us at: info@skiboards.com or call our toll free number (U.S. & Canada) at 800-784-0540. International is: +970-884-2947