Archive for the ‘Outside’ Category

How hard can it be? I can do that… Mounting a ski binding the easy way

March 30, 2007


The other day my girlfriend bought a new pair of touring skis, to replace the old, borrowed ones that just didn’t quite survive last winter’s week long trip through Lappland:

When winter was approaching a few months ago, and we dug those skis out of the closet, I thought that “hey, there are few things a serious amount of epoxy and proper tools can’t fix”! Turned out to be really tricky to apply just the right pressure on that delaminated tip, no matter how much epoxy was used. It looked really good for a while, then the tip inevitably came apart again. Bummer.

So when there was a 20% sale at the great outdoor store “Playground” here in Stockholm, a pair of really nice Fischer BCX 109 tour found a new owner. Half an hour and some haggling later, we also had a pair of classic telemark style cable bindings. All that remained was then the assembling of it all..

Last winter I went through the same process with my own skis, so I took those experiences and applied them once again. So far my skis have both worked very nicely and not fallen apart, so I think this is pretty safe to do yourself.

First, the tools you need are really quite few:

  • A drill/driver (cordless or not doesn’t matter), with bits suitable for the screws that comes with the binding. My DeWalt cordless drill/driver has been fantastic during the past 6-7 years. It’s starting to sound a bit strange and smell of toasted dirt, but it’s still pretty much doing its job.
  • Some good glue. I use ordinary water based wood-glue, after talking to several experienced people working in ski rental places up in northern Sweden. A lot of people use epoxy when mounting alpine, randonnee and Telemark bindings, and yes – epoxy is really strong, but also a bit messy to work with and smells like poison (probably not good for you!). But if ordinary glue intended for wood works for those rental skis that are totally abused all season, it works for me..
  • A drill suitable for drilling in wood, and with a diameter a bit smaller than the binding screws. I used a 2.5 mm drill.

A matter of religion: where on the ski should the binding be mounted?

When I did my own skis a year ago I spoke to lots of people, checked forums on the web etc to find out if there was any common suggestion about where on the ski the binding should be mounted. Lot’s of opinions about this, but the most common (and logical) one seems to be that the ball of the foot should be above the center of gravity (I call it the “balance point” or “balance line”, lacking a better word for it) of the ski. The reason of using the ball of the foot as a reference is that this is the point where almost all of the pressure from your body weight will be transferred to the ski.

How to mount the binding

Here is how to do it:

Balancing the ski isa bit tricky, but possible The balancing point of the ski found

The dashed line indicates balancing point

  1. Start by finding the balancing point and mark it. In the big picture it is marked as a dashed line. I used the back of a chair to do this.
  2. Place the ski on the floor (use some old newspapers or a carpet so you don’t scratch the floor with the steel edges of the skis!).
  3. Put the boot in the binding, and try to visualize where on the binding the ball of the foot is. If you find this hard you can try to put the boot on, then fasten it in the binding, and finally “feel” where the ball of the foot is, and make couple small marks on each side of the binding, to mark this. Do remember that many (most?) bindings are asymmetrical, and require the left boot in the left binding etc. The “L” on the picture above just tells this is the left ski.
  4. Remove the boot and place the binding on the ski. Those small marks you made on the binding in step 3 should be lined up parallel to the balancing point/line of the ski. This is where people have different opinions – I recommend placing the marks on the binding (i.e. the ball of your foot) ca 2-3 cm behind the balancing line. In my experience this gives a good balance to the ski.
  5. Mark the screw holes of the binding on the ski, look at the small circles on the big picture above and you will understand.
  6. Drill holes for the binding. It is a good idea to place a piece of tape on the drill, to avoid drilling too deep into the ski. The small picture below to the left shows how to determine where on the drill to put the tape.
  7. Drill the holes, fill them with plenty of glue, and fasten the binding tightly. I have a torque control on my cordless driver, very convenient but not necessary. Just pull the screw as hard as you can, more or less. No, you shouldn’t force the screw in so that you break the ski, other than that you really want a firm fit.
  8. Finish off by mounting the heel support pad. The position of it is not in any way critical, and the same techniques as describes above are used.

Voila! Here is the final result, ready for next week’s back country trip!

Edit: A five-day trip later (in some seriously hard weather) the verdict is that the skis worked great and the bindings are still there.