How to Put Skis On? (EASY Beginners Guide)

by Simon Naylor | Updated: October 27th, 2022 |  Skiing Articles

If you're new to skiing, you might be wondering how the skis attach to your feet. It's a straightforward question and once you know the method I'll outline in this article - it becomes easy to do.

You put skis on by standing into your boots, the toe first followed by the heel - this securely clamps them to the bottom of your ski boot. 


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Read on for a detailed walkthrough, of how to put skis on after a fall or while stuck on a steep slope!

How to put your skis on.

Before putting your skis on make sure you are on a flat part of the mountain. If you're on a slant, place your skis parallel to the mountain so that they are facing to the side of the slope (rather than downhill) otherwise it will be impossible to put your skis on without falling over.

You don't want one of your skis to start sliding away from you whilst you're clipped into the other ski. If you're on steep ground, scroll down & read: how to put skis on a steep slope.

Step 1 - Clear the snow.

Snow will stop your boot from clamping securely into the bindings and can cause it to dislodge. Begin by scraping any snow off the soles of your boots by using your poles as a pick or by banging your boots against your bindings to shake them off. Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, I shake it off, I shake it off / Taylor Swift. 

If there is any snow in your bindings hit your skis on the ground while holding them vertically or clear it using your ski pole.

Step 2 - Toes First.

Some ski models: Check that the metal component at the back of the bindings is angled downward and pointing towards your ski.

Make sure the lever on the back of the binding is down. If the lever is up, push it down before putting your boot in the ski.  Arch your foot so that your toe is facing towards the front of the ski boot bindings.

Then place the front of your ski boot (toe part of the boot) into the front of the ski binding area. There is a slot for your boot to stick into.

Step 3 - Step in.

Then press firmly down with your heel to lock your ski boot firmly into the skis bindings. As you press down with the heel you should feel and hear a click as the boot move into place. The ski boot release tab & ski brake will then swing up, confirming that you're locked into your bindings.

Make sure you are in your skis.

Ski boot

It's possible to clip on your skis but for them not to be attached properly, so take the time to make sure the boot is firmly in the ski, otherwise, it could come off on a lift or while you skiing down and cause you to fall.

If you don't press down firmly enough you can sometimes become half locked where you are attached but only minimally. The ski will dislodge and you'll fall onto the snow. So always double-check your skis are on properly.

You can lift up your leg and give your ski a shake or look down closely at your bindings to see that the ski boot is sat vertically flat across the ski.

Common Mistakes / Don't do this

  • Skis boots are not aligned as you place them into the bindings, causing a half to attach.
  • Putting the downhill ski on last. Always put the downhill ski on first, so that you have more support.
  • Not clearing the snow or ice build-up which cause the mechanism to jam or block your boot.
  • Not going toe first, so your boot doesn't fully attach.
  • Not resetting the ski brake. If the brake is up and the release is up, you'll need to make sure the release is in the down position before putting your boot in.

How to put your skis on a steep slope or after a fall

Every skier will face a time when they fall on a steeper slope and are faced with the difficult challenge of finding their skis and then putting them back on, whilst stuck on a steep section.

Remember to move to the side of the piste or to a spot with clear visibility from oncoming traffic, so an approaching skier doesn't hit you head-on. 

1. Build a platform. Kick out the snow or use your hands to dig a small flat platform to place your skis on.

2. Put on your bottom downhill ski first. It's easier to build a solid foundation with your lower ski and then be able to put on the second ski.

3. Use your poles to keep balance while pressing firmly into your skis and locking them into your bindings.

If you have a friend nearby, ask them to ski close and use their shoulders as support to help you clip back into your skis. Make sure your ski boots are firmly in your bindings before skiing off.

Further Reading: How To Get Up After a Ski Fall

Know your release value

touring ski boots

All skis bindings have a mechanism that allows you to set how easily your skis will be released from the bindings. This is commonly known as the DIN value and can be calculated based on your boot size,  age, weight, and level of skiing. Calculate your DIN at the bottom of this article.

This is to protect you in case of a fall. Skis that don't detach easily in a fall can cause more injuries. The skis while attached can put extreme pressure on your legs or hit you while you tumble.

For most skis, you'll need a special tool to set the release value. A ski rental shop will be able to set this for you based on your weight & level of experience.

How to take your skis off

You can take your skis off using your ski poles. Place one pole into the tab on the bottom of the bindings (behind your ski boot). The release tab is the part that sticks out the most and it will have a small groove where you can place your ski pole.

Find the area and then push down hard with your ski pole to trigger the release of the ski boot binding. Once the first boot is released you can use your pole of the second ski or stand on the remaining ski with your now free leg. The weight of your ski boot on the binding will release the ski for you.

Final thoughts

Putting on skis for the first time is tricky at first, but if you remember to clear the snow, go toe first and click in firmly you'll be just fine. If your skis are coming off often (from small tumbles etc) then your skis may be

Bonus: How to put your ski boots on

The biggest problem beginners skiers make is not putting their ski boots on correctly. Il-footing ski boots can lead to sore feet and bad skiing.

I wrote this article the other day: How Tight Should Your Ski Boots Be? (One buckle is more important than all the rest). It walks you through the entire process and explains how and why having a perfectly fitted ski boot is essential for your skiing success.

Calculate  your DIN

Use this DIN calculator to get your DIN value for your skis.

Important Notice: This calculator is intended only to guide you toward your DIN range. There is a range of factors that affect binding adjustment and the settings must be precise, so use this information to help select an appropriate model of binding.

It's not recommended for new skiers to try to set the DIN yourself. Go to your nearest ski rental shop and they can set the DIN for you for a small fee or for free as part of your ski rental.