Ski binding

Alpine touring ski boot, binding, and ski crampon

A ski binding is a device that connects a ski boot to the ski. Generally, it holds the boot firmly to allow the skier to maneuver the ski. However, if certain force limits are exceeded, it releases the boot to minimize skier injury, such as in the case of a fall or impact. There are different types of bindings for different types of skiing.


Alpine ski bindings: for backcountry skiing, alpine touring and for toolfree length adjustment (from top to bottom)
Snow brake in open position

Modern alpine skiing bindings fix the boot at the toe and heel.

In some bindings, to reduce injury the boot can release in case of a fall. The boot is released by the binding if a certain amount of torque is applied, usually created by the weight of a falling skier. The torque required is adjustable, according to the weight, foot size, and skiing style.[1] A snow brake prevents the ski from moving while it is not attached to a boot.

Also known as randonee, an alpine touring binding allows the heel to be clipped down to the ski when skiing downhill, but allows it to be released when climbing.[2]

Alpine touring

An alpine touring binding allows the skier to have the heel of the ski boot free and the toe of the ski boot in the binding when using Nordic skiing techniques for ski touring, and to have both the heel and the toe of the ski boot in the binding when using alpine skiing techniques to descend the mountain. Most touring bindings are designed for ski boots falling under one of two ISO specifications:

The two setups are mutually incompatible: in the former, the boot lacks sockets to engage ISO 9523 compatible bindings, while the later boot toe and heel-piece dimensions are incompatible with ISO 5355 bindings.


Cable binding

Main article: Cable binding

The cable binding was widely used through the middle of the 20th century. It has the toe section of the boot anchored, and an adjustable cable around the heel secures the boot. While binding designs vary, before 2007 almost all dedicated Telemark models had been designed to fit boots with 75mm Nordic Norm "duckbill" toes.

Rottefella (NN, Nordic Norm)

Rottefella 75 mm Nordic Norm (NN)

The Rottefella binding was developed in 1927 by Bror With. The name means "rat trap" in Norwegian. It is also known as the 75 mm, Nordic Norm, or 3-pin. After victories at the 1928 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, the binding remained the standard for cross-country skiing for the next 60 years. They are no longer as popular as they were but are still for sale. The binding has three small pins that stick up from the binding. The toe of the boot has three holes into which the pins are inserted. The boot is then clamped down by a bail. The binding is asymmetrical, having left and right foot orientations.

NNN (New Nordic Norm) & NIS (Nordic Integrated System)

The NNN binding has two ridges extending backwards from the toe latch, matching corresponding channels in the boot.

Rottefella's NNN (New Nordic Norm) has a bar in the toe of the boot hooked into a corresponding latch in the binding. There have been several versions of NNN, and the first NNN version is not compatible with current designs. A stronger BC (Back Country) version also exists.

NIS (Nordic Integrated System), introduced in 2005 by Rossignol, Madshus, Rottefella, and Alpina,[3] is fully compatible with NNN boots and bindings, but is a different way of attaching the bindings to the ski.[4] It features an integrated binding plate on the top of the ski to which the bindings attach, allowing adjustment in the field. NIS skis allow installation of non-NIS bindings. In 2007, Fischer abandoned SNS and entirely switched to NIS.

SNS (Salomon Nordic System)

The SNS Profil binding has one large, central ridge, extending backwards from the toe latch, and one metal bar on the boot.
The SNS Pilot binding has same central ridge as the SNS Profil, but has two bars on the boot for better stabilization.

SNS (Salomon Nordic System) looks very similar to NNN, except it has one large ridge and the bar is narrower. Three variants exist:

Pilot boots can be used with a Profil binding but Profil boots cannot be used with Pilot bindings. SNS is marketed by Amer Sports under their Salomon and Atomic brands.

The predecessor was simply called Salomon Nordic System (SNS):

NTN (New Telemark Norm)

In 2007, Rottefella introduced the New Telemark Norm binding. The system's objective is to provide a freeheel telemark ski binding featuring lateral release, increased lateral rigidity, tunable performance, and free-pivot touring functionality. The boots are unlike other tele boots in that they do not have a 75 mm square toe and require a lip underneath the arch of the boot for the binding to attach. Scarpa sells a version of the boot which is compatible with NTN Tele and Dynafit bindings. Rottefella currently (2015) offers two models of the binding, the Freeride for the lift assisted skier and the Freedom for the tourer. Both models feature a free pivot and one boot standard, NTN. Different spring cartridges can be used to match the binding to the skier's weight and skiing style.[5]


Old ski binding

In the early days of skiing, the binding was similar to those used on snowshoes: a leather strap fastened over the toe of the boot.[6]


Back: Salomon 447 bindings, typical of a 1980s beginner design. This binding features a Nevada-style pivoting toe, a step-in-step-out heel, and an integrated ski brake. Designs have changed little since this era, compare the 2011 design in front.
A typical Rottefella cross-country binding. The ski boot has small holes that fit over the pins seen on the bottom of the plate, keeping the boot from sliding rearward. The metal bar clamps the toe down onto the pins, and can be released by pressing down on the plastic clip with a ski pole.
A late model Huitfeldt-style binding. The toe clip runs through the core of the ski to bend up on either side. This model uses a metal heel strap with a lever buckle instead of an all-leather design.

Media related to Ski bindings at Wikimedia Commons


  1. "DIN Setting Calculator". Retrieved 20 Dec 2013.
  2. "ki Bindings - Components and Functions". ABC of skiing. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  3. Mike Muha, "Nordic Integrated System ", Nordic Ski Racer, 26 January 2005
  4. "Cross-Country Ski Gear: How to Choose". REI. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  5. "New Telemark Norm (NTN)". Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  6. Lert, Wolfgang (March 2002). "A Binding Revolution". Skiing Heritage Journal: 26.
  7. Lert, Wolfgang (March 2002). "A Binding Revolution". Skiing Heritage Journal: 25–26. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  8. Lund, Morten (September 2007). "Norway: How It All Started". Skiing Heritage Journal: 8–13. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  9. Lert, pg. 25
  10. 1 2 Lert, pg. 26
  11. John Allen, "Mathias Zdarsky: The Father of Alpine Skiing", Ski Heritage, March 2008, pg. 12
  12. 1 2 "About Us", Rottefella
  13. Huntsford, Roland. Two Planks and a Passion.
  14. Masia, Seth. "Release! History of Safety Bindings". Skiing History magazine.
  15. Masia, pg. 27
  16. Masia, pg. 30
  17. 1 2 Masia, pg. 29
  18. Seth Masia, "The Better Mousetrap", Ski Heritage, March 2003, pg 39-41
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