Friday, February 19, 2021

Nordic skiing: Salomon SNS boot and binding compatibility - Profil vs Pilot

I usually share my blog posts to Pinboard, and from there some creaky old services create tweets and an archive on Not this post though. This post is purely for the search engines. Here I will reveal knowledge lost to humanity. As far as Google can tell, it's not available anywhere but here.

I have been through 3-4 kinds of cross-country ski binding -- 3 pin, something with a post that went straight up (Salomon?) and then bindings I thought of as SNS (in fact they are all SNS Profil, the first version of SNS). I have SNS Profil bindings on 3 "classic" skis all between 25 and 38 years old. All work quite well and, given the limited present and worse future of Nordic skiing I've no reason to replace them. (I'd buy skate ski gear if Minnesota winter were not dying, but I invested in a Kona Wo fat bike instead.)

Which brings me to the point of this post. The bindings work, but after 40 years or so the boots have disintegrated. I needed to either replace the bindings on 3 skis (does anyone even do that on such old gear?) or find SNS boots. Problem is Salomon stopped making SNS boots sometime in the past decade. They are an obsolete proprietary system that was replaced by NNN (and probably more modern proprietary variants too). I might be able to find used boots, but that's a long slow process. Happily, in this one area, Google still works. I found a new pair of Salomon R/Pilot Combi (Combi because they are supposed to work for classic and skating) boots from Boulder Nordic Sport and had them shipped to my home in Minnesota. Despite being marked as US size 10 they were EU 44 -- really US 10.5. Even then they are bit on the generous side, but they fit me well enough. I think Solomon made biggish boots.

They also fit my bindings. They came with a tiny manual that actually describes what ancient discontinued Salomon boot fits which binding types. This is information that can be found nowhere else  -- but even this obscure manual is misleading. So here is an enhanced version:

SNS PROFIL boots with 1 bar at toe -> SNS PROFIL bindings

SNS PILOT boots (1 bar at toe, 1 under ball of foot) -> SNS PROFIL bindings and SNS PILOT bindings (in other words, all SNS)

PROLINK boots -> PROLINK or NNN bindings

NNN boots -> PROLINK or NNN bindings

The Salomon's site for my R/Pilot Combi boots says they have 1 rail, but in fact they have two rails. Which fits their name. They do seem to fit my old Profil bindings, just as this old web page says (emphases mine):

... Some of the boots that use the Salomon SNS Profil binding include Salomon, Atomic and Hartjes... 

... 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...

In short, if you have SNS bindings, the "Pilot" boots should fit them.

PS. More on these old obsolete gear from the "binding confusion" page:

There are two main versions of the SNS Series, the Profil and the Profil Pilot ...  the black, extra hinge attachment plate in the middle of the Pilot binding.

... 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 and automatic 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.... 

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