Power tools and skis are a good way to ruin things fast. Consider taking your skis into a decent shop. While the shop may or may not do a good job, they will probably be willing to pay for their mistakes if they make any. ;^)


Before you can mount your bindings, you must first determine the fore and aft position of the bindings on the ski. For a description of how I determine this, please see my essay on determining the proper binding position . The end result of this should be a mark on the ski top indicating your desired location for the center pin. This line is called the pin line.

Once the pin line has been marked with a pen (I use a Sharpie), the next trick is to get the pins mounted straight. I do the following:

  1. Mark a second line 1" (or 25mm) forward of the pin line. This marks the line on for the forward mounting screw.
  2. Measure the top deck of the forward mounting line and mark the center. Double check this mark several times. This marks the exact location of the forward mounting screw.
  3. Press an awl into the top deck to create a small pilot hole. Once an accurate pilot hole is started, give the awl a sharp tap with a hammer to set the pilot hole (divot, really).
  4. I use a 5/32" drill bit to drill the hole. Before drilling, I wrap a wad of electrical tape around the bit to create a stopper. This keeps the hole to a depth of about 3/8". Hold the drill straight and use a light hand, especially if the ski has a metal layer in it.
  5. Screw in the forward mounting screw to be snug but not tight. You want to be able to twist the binding for the next step.
  6. Place the boot in the binding and ensure that the pin holes are properly seated on the pins. Line up the boot so that it is straight on the ski by twisting the binding and using the forward screw as the axis. Verify the alignment of the boot by checking that the boot heel is located over the center of the ski.
  7. Carefully remove the boot from the binding using care to make sure that the binding doesn't move. (It sometimes takes me a couple of tries.) Once the boot is removed, carefully mark the center point of the rear binding holes with a pen. I generally repeat the boot alignment steps at least one more time to verify the positions of the holes.
  8. Remove the binding by taking out the forward screw.
  9. Do a sanity check of the marks for the rear holes. They should be 1" (or 25 mm) apart from each other and the line connecting them should be 2 1/2" aft of the forward screw hole.
  10. Once you are comfortable with the alignment, drill the 2 rear holes as described above.
  11. Fill the holes with glue. I use Shoe Goo or Carpenters Goo. Some folks use Elmer's Carpenters Glue or epoxy. I think the critical thing is to create a watertight seal. And, I find epoxy problematic when/if I ever need to move or remount the bindings. Others swear by it.

    Here is the opinion of noted ski mountaineer Andrew MacLean on the subject, as quoted on the rec.skiing.backcountry FAQ web site

    From Andrew MacLean:
    If the holes are tight (new), I like to use something like Sealcoat or ShoeGoo. If they are a little suspect, I'll use white glue (Elmers). If they are stripped, blown out or just generally suspect, I'll use an epoxy. For honeycomb skis, I drill, fill the cells with slow curing epoxy, screw the bindings on and flip them over.
  12. Screw in the screws. Use a #3 Phillips, or better a #3 Posidrive tip. You want the screws to be as tight as possible without stripping out the holes. This is a good place to ruin things, so be careful.

Dave's Backcountry Skiing Page

Copyright 2004 by David Mann