It's getting complicated in the nordic binding world.
Not only are ski manufacturers customizing their skis with plates and pre-drilled holes specific to certain bindings, Salomon has entered the NNN arena and opened up more brand crossover opportunities. It's getting confusing determining which boots, bindings and skis will be compatible and which will not, plus whether the system you are using may be in danger of extinction.
Here we've attempted to make things a little more clear, starting with a brief history.
There used to be two major binding systems: New Nordic Norm (NNN) and Salomon Nordic System (SNS). NNN bindings had two narrow ridges. They were made by Rottefella and branded by Fischer, Alpina, Rossignol and Madshus. Salomon bindings had one wide ridge. The boots matched accordingly. You can read more about binding history here.
In 2005 the first plate system came out: the Nordic Integrated System (NIS). These NIS plates were affixed to the ski by the manufacturer and the binding was slid onto the plate rather than screwed directly into the ski. It is possible to mount a non NIS binding onto an NIS ski by screwing right through the plate, but if you have an NIS binding and a bare ski you need to buy the plate separately in order to mount the binding.
Salomon opened up their opportunities in 2016 with the release of their Prolink binding. Prolink is compatible with NNN. Salomon now makes many of their boot models with Pilot and Prolink soles, so you have a choice. This opened up mix-and-match opportunities between NNN and Salomon.
In fall 2017 Fischer and Rossignol released the new Turnamic binding system, which slides onto an Integrated Fixation Plate (IFP). Turnamic bindings are NNN compatible. Unlike an NIS plate however it is very difficult to screw a non-Turnamic binding onto the ski through the plate because of the way it is manufactured. Salomon is working on making an adaptor plate available that will allow you to mount a Salomon binding on an IFP plated ski.
Turnamic bindings are easy to get in and out of; simply twist the Turn Lock mechanism at the front. You can also simply step in (automatic binding style), then use your pole tip to turn the Turn Lock to get out. The biggest development with this new binding is its adjustability which is easier than NIS. When you want more grip, slide the binding forward a few notches. More glide, slide it back. All this is tool-free so you can do it anywhere out on the trails.
Salomon started pre-drilling their skis in 2016. This means only a Salomon binding will match the holes in the ski. Because they have bindings to fit both SNS and NNN soled boots this doesn't limit you for boot selection, it just means you need to buy a Salomon binding (Profil, Pilot or Prolink) if you don't want to drill extra holes into your new ski.
Naturally, the question arises: will Pilot be obsolete soon? Salomon says no, they will continue to manufacture Pilot boots and bindings. There are many who prefer the control of the two-pin Pilot system for skate skiing especially. Salomon still makes Profil boots and bindings even though this system is outdated; they have a history of supporting their customers so you won't find your Pilot equipment suddenly obsolete.
If you are unsure about what binding system to go with, or what your current equipment is compatible with, feel free to contact us at the store. We love questions about anything nordic skiing related :)