Just remember, no matter where you go, there you are.

Binding Confusion

[UPDATE] I moved my website and loss a good chunk of the photos I used as examples for the following story. It’s actually a good thing as I need to update this list. Apparently Salomon has added yet another binding. If you’re reading this, it’s only been days since I switched my website so learn what you can from the following and know I’ll update it by next Ski Swap Season!


When I first wrote thisarticle about five years ago, it was for those of you that were just getting back into this sport after several years of absence. Let’s say you blew that ten year’s worth of dust off your equipment and discovered your boots have died or you simply wanted new ones. Chances are you found your bindings were obsolete. AND you discovered that new binding’s ain’t $15 anymore.

Luckily, things have settled down in the binding world, so unless your equipment is over ten year’s old, you shouldn’t have too many problems.

In the worlds of racing, recreational skiing and touring there are two basic brands of bindings — the Rottefella NNN series and the Salomon SNS Profile series (not to be confused with the plain old SNS series which are no longer made). For telemark skiing, most of the new bindings look suspiciously like downhill cable bindings from the 1940′s and are offshoots of the old 75mm three-pin bindings.

But let’s concentrate on the Rottefella and Salomon bindings. While they look similar, they’re not compatible. This is important when you are at a ski swap trying on boots and aren’t sure which bindings they will fit, especially when you want to pick up a pair of bargain skis as well. In the photos below I have removed the logos from the boots to prove a point — at first glance it is impossible to tell which use NNN bindings and which use SNS Profil bindings.

“Guess the Binding” Game
[Sorry, all the photos were lost. I will attempt to recreate this in the future]

<li>Photo 6 uses the Rottefella NNN BC binding. </li>
<li>Photos 2, 3 and 4 use Salomon SNS Profil binding.</li>
<li> Photos 5, 7 and 8 use NNN II bindings.</li>
<li>Photo 9 uses the Salomon SNS Pilot skate binding. </li>
<li>The only trick photo was #1 which uses a Salomon BC Binding.</li>

Most boots have either NNN or Profil printed on the soles. Some of the boots that use the Salomon SNS Profil binding include Salomon, Atomic and Hartjes. Fischer boots used to be SNS Profil, but switched to NNN back around 2007, so be careful if you’re buying Fischer boots at a ski swap!

Some of the boots that use the Rottefella NNN II binding include Alpina, Rossignol and Alfa.

Additionally, Salomon also makes SNS Pilot bindings, and while Pilot boots can be used with a normal Profil binding, normal Profil boots cannot be used with Pilot bindings. There’s an extra hinge thingie on the Pilot bindings that attaches to the center of the Pilot boots and there’s no attachment point on the Profil boots.

*Our thanks to Alpina, Salomon, Rottefella, Crispi and Fischer for allowing us to use pictures from their websites.

Rottefella NNN series
NNN R3 Skate binding
Any NNN II style boot will fit it.

NNN II bindings
 Comes in a variety of colors and styles for everyone from racers to tourers, but will fit any NNN II boot.

NNN BC. The most popular backcountry or light telemark binding. Fits ONLY NNN BC style boots.

Salomon SNS Series

There are two main versions of the SNS Series, the Profil and the Profil Pilot. The automatic version of the Profil is on the left and the Pilot is on the right. You can see the black, extra hinge attachment plate in the middle of the Pilot binding.

If you look below, you can see the bottoms of the two boot styles. There’s only one cross bar on the SNS Profile and two cross bars on the Pilot. The Pilot system was intended to help stabilize the boot for skaters but I like it better for classic style striding as well.

There is both a manual version of the SNS Profil. The difference between the two versions is you physically have to open the manual styles by lifting up on the toe piece of the binding and the automatics you can simply step in to attach and use your ski pole to push down the release button on the toe piece to step out of them.

These bindings come in a variety of colors and styles (I even have a pair of pink and green Profil bindings — I have no idea where I picked them up,)

Salomon also has the Propulse binding, which promises greater kick, but as far as I can tell, it accepts all SNS Profil boots.

Salomon also introduced the SNS® X-ADV Raid backcountry system, which looks like they’ll fit the older Salomon BC boots, but even I can’t tell for sure.

No wonder this is the most often visited page on my website.

The bottom line for Salomon seems to be this — one crossbar for Profil bindings and two crossbars for Pilot bindings. Don’t let the names of  Salomon boots throw you, just look for one or two crossbars.

Salomon SNS Profile Pilot Skate Bindings and Boot.
Note the second attachment point under the ball of the foot. This is what makes the Pilot system different from any other binding out there. Currently there are only two boots that fit it — the Salomon Pilot and the Hartjes Pilot, but more might follow by the time you read this.  Fischer used to make boots that fit the Profil system, but jumped to Rottefella, so be attentive at a ski swap for which version you buy. Just remember, the binding type is printed on the bottom of nearly all the boots.

The Salomon BC.

Designed for heavier backcountry touring. You don’t see this binding too often as most of the backcountry boots are using the Rottefella BC system. They replaced this with the SNS® X-ADV Raid system and the boots look solid. As one person put it, one step below a telemark binding and 5 steps above a nordic touring binding.

Note: The old SNS binding.
The old SNS binding (Salomon should have changed the name completely when they designed their bindings, but that’s old news) is no longer available, you can’t buy it and be careful about buying old boots that use it. The old boots have a bar (in the shape of a squared off “D”) which actually extends out PAST the nose of the boot. If you are in real need of either old SNS boots or bindings, the best place to check is bulletin boards at nordic shops, or ski swaps. Best advice? Wait for the next ski swap to come around and buy new boots and bindings (either the Rottefella or Salomon system).

Cable Bindings

The good thing about cable bindings is they are pretty much interchangeable between boots designed to fit them. The only exception is the top binding at left which is the standard 75mm three pin binding. The other bindings shown don’t have pins but have the same shape.There are a bunch of different tele bindings available, and since I am a skinny-ski track-weenie perhaps I can get one of our more gonzo club members to give us a future review on tele bindings.

Rottefella just released the NTN binding, which also has a release mechanism, yet hinged at the front. The boot/binding system runs well over $1,000, but Rottefella made it easy to switch the binding over to another ski with an additional mounting plate.