Hours: Mon - Fri 10-6, Sat 9-5, closed Sundays. Contact: 1‑306‑652‑0385

Nordic bindings | getting them straight

old wood skis

Remember this binding system?  It was probably top-of-the-line in its day, but hardly anyone alive now has actually skied on it.

Many of us DO remember cross country skiing on old three-pin bindings, though.  This 75mm system was developed in 1927 by Rottefella, which in Norwegian translates to "rat trap".  

three pin binding

The three-pin system was great if you had stiff, beefy backcountry boots.  But with the flexible sole needed for flat-country skiing the boot was too flimsy for the binding, and control suffered.  And how annoying was that hunk of snow that built up under the ball of the foot?  Thank goodness things progressed in the binding world since then.

 1970's cross country skiers

The above photo shows one of the first kinds of bindings that replaced the 75mm system.  On this Salomon Nordic System (SNS) there was a bar that extended out from the toe of the boot that hooked into the binding, and a ridge on the binding plate that fit into a groove on the boot.  A vast improvement, but things would get better yet. (And check out the knickers!  Yes, Eb's used to sell them.)

While Salomon was developing the SNS, Rottefella was improving the rat trap.  Their New Nordic Norm (NNN) system differed from Salomon's by having two ridges on the binding plate that fit into two grooves in the boot, whereas SNS had only one ridge.  This remains the same today and is the reason you cannot use Salomon boots on the NNN system (and vice versa).

SNS and NNN binding system

Today, there remain the two nordic systems (SNS and NNN) but there are a few variations in binding types.


  1. Profil - has a single metal bar under the toe of the boot
  2. Pilot - has two metal bars under the toe and forefoot of the boot
  3. X-Adventure - wider and stronger for backcountry skiing

If you have a Profil boot, it won't fit in a Pilot binding.  However Pilot boots may fit a Profil binding, as long as there is a wide enough groove in the binding plate where the second bar sits.

Pilot boot on a Profil binding

NNN came out with the Nordic Integrated System (NIS) which consists of a plate attached to the ski and the NNN binding which can slide onto it.  This allows skiers to adjust their bindings in the field.  You can mount any binding - even an SNS binding - onto a ski with an NIS plate.  NNN also has the Xcelerator binding which is 40% lighter than regular NNN bindings, and they make wider backcountry (BC) bindings as well.

 NIS plate on ski

 There you have it.  If you're still not sure about bindings and have some questions, we love talking about this stuff so give us a shout :)

Note: Bindings have changed in recent years and there are new products not mentioned in this post.  There is a new post with updated information here

cross country skiing

← Older Post Newer Post →


  • Hi Warren,
    Good question about whether you can simply rig a Prolink plate on an old SNS binding head. When Prolink came out we asked Salomon if this was possible and were told no. The screw pattern is the same (although some of the old SNS plates don’t have the middle screw as all the Prolink plates do). It does look as though you might be able to get a Prolink plate to work with an SNS binding head but there is a little difference in width just behind the bar, and the flexers are shaped very differently – you’d need to shave a lot off the flexer and might destroy it in doing so.
    Not sure if Salomon sells only plates – they used to. If you want us to look into that more please give us a call.
    - the Eb’s crew

    ebsadventure on
  • My question is about the difference between NNN and SNS. We’ve been skiing on SNS for years and recently switched to NNN. I took off the sns and mounted the NNN (Profil vs the Prolink) and the holes were identical. In fact, other than the sole plate, the bindings appear to be identical in construction. Could you just change out the sole plate instead of the whole binding? and would the new NNN boots fit in then?
    If true….does Salomon sell only the NNN plate?

    Warren Altneu on
  • Hi James,
    We hope you clicked on the link at the bottom of this blog post as it takes you to more updated information on the binding systems. Pilot is a discontinued binding system from Salomon. They made Pilot bindings with the hinge clip for the second bar but soon took that hinge clip out for many of their classic bindings as skiers found it was unnecessary.
    Everything sold today as “new” should be NNN compatible (Prolink is Salomon’s version of NNN). There is still Pilot being sold out there as new but buyers should be made aware it will soon be obsolete.
    -the Eb’s team

    ebsadventure on
  • I just bought my wife new XC skis and boots. Salomon Escape Plus Pilot boots ( with the 2 cross bars) I thought the bindings would be the same as my bindings. Both are Salomon Flex 100 but the older ones have a sliding clip that attaches to the 2nd cross bar. The newer Flex 100 does not have the clip, just a crescent shaped groove near where the 2nd cross bar meets the binding. . I love the bindings with the 2nd clip as it provides much more control. Has Salomon dropped the older style binding with the sliding clip for the 2nd cross bar? I looked on the Salomon website and don’t see the binding that I have on my skis. I want to check before complaining to the store.

    james Kyle on
  • Hi Olaf,
    You can check for replacement bails at your local ski shop. Most likely you’re looking at buying a new set of bindings however. They are still made and sold and should be available through any reputable cross country ski shop.
    -the Eb’s team

    ebsadventure on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published