How to Mount Cross Country Ski Bindings – Salomon Skate SNS
Generally I’d leave the job of mounting cross country ski bindings to the pros, but there are situations when it is nice to break out the tools and take some risks. Maybe your local shop is closed, is non-existent, or in my case doesn’t deal cross country skate skis. Mounting your own cross country ski bindings is also a nice money-saving skill if your family picks up used ski gear and shuffles bindings around frequently. The following guide I am sure will make the most hardened ski techs weep (especially the video), but this has worked for me and if you measure often and pay attention to what you are doing, you’ve got a good chance of skiing soon. That said, proceeding with these “how to mount cross country ski bindings” instructions is completely at your own risk.
I’ll be mounting Salomon SNS Equipe Skate bindings on Salomon Equipe 8 Skate skis for this tutorial. The principles are generally the same for other types of bindings (NNN, NNN BC) as well as “classic” set-ups.
How to Mount Cross Country Ski Bindings – A Photo Turtorial
1. Find the center balance point of your skis. I took a piece of plastic (skateboard truck spacer) and taped a pencil on the top for extra precision. I usually see ski wax scrapers being used, or a screw driver clamped to the side of a work bench.
2. Find the approximate balance point and then wrap masking tape around the top and sides of the ski. Balance the ski on the pencil at the exact balance point (this takes a few minutes to get perfect). Using a marker make a V pointing at the pencil on both sides of the ski. You want the pencil or whatever you are using to be exactly perpendicular to the ski or else bad things are gonna happen.
3. Get a square and draw the center balance line all the way around the tape.
4. Do this for both skis. They should match pretty closely. If not, split the difference, but be sure that the distance from the tip of your ski to the marked line is the same distance on both skis. Otherwise when you are standing in the parking lot with your boots side by side it will bug that one ski is 1/8 inch further forward. I know this from personal experience… professional mount job too. Maybe that is why I do this myself now.
5. Put a long strip of masking tape on top of the ski in the binding mounting area.
6. Mark the dead center near the back of your tap and do the same at the front of your tape.
7. Use a ruler to mark the center line from the two marks you just made. Check this line one million times to make sure it is in the center.
8. Set your binding (shouldn’t matter which one, unless you bought something weird and asymmetrical) on top of the tape and line up the groove where the pin (metal bar) on your boot clamps into the binding. I am no ski tech, but I think this is called the binding’s pin line. See the hole in the picture lined up with the arrow? That is what you are after. SNS bindings and boots have two pins. You are only interested in the front one. You’ll read that some SNS skate skiers will mount the binding 1 cm back from the ski’s balance point. I called REI and the ski tech said they mount all cross country ski bindings right on the ski’s balance point as shown (classic, skate, all brands, all binding systems). If you want to deviate from this you are probably more advanced than what you’ll find in this tutorial.
9. While the binding is still sitting on top of the ski, mark through the screw holes in the binding with a marker onto the tape. Hold the binding perfectly lined up with the pin line as discussed above, and also feel all the way down the sides of the binding and the ski with your fingers. It should feel perfectly lined up. This is easy to feel with narrow skis because the bindings are about the same width as the skis. If your mounting wide backcountry skis rely on your center line you drew.
10. Prep an appropriately sized drill bit with tape. Expose enough bit for the length of the threaded part of the screw. No more.
11. Holding the drill perfectly straight, drill each hole to the tape on the bit.
12. Remove all of the tape. Note: For those with a keen eye and experience with SNS bindings, I missed one hole in this picture and had to go back and do it after.
13. Put a dab of wood glue or epoxy in each hole. Don’t do too much, you may take these off some day. I’ve heard that touching a soldering iron to the screw to heat it up is a good removal technique.
14. Place the binding on top of the ski and screw in the screws. Make them tight but don’t He-Man them too much and strip out the holes.
Check out this video of me doing the same process with the other ski from this set. Don’t be scared to give it a try. If you question any of the advice in this be sure to get some other opinions. I am not an expert ski tech.
Questions and related tips are welcome in the comments below.
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