How to Shorten the Silvretta Pure Backcountry Skiing Binding

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Shorten the Silvretta Pure
Silvretta Pure is an excellent binding for average to smaller size, less aggressive skiers. Thus, it’s frequently looked at for folks with smaller feet. The size small Pure goes down to a fairly tiny boot, and the Pure Kidz model goes small as well. But what if you need a shorter binding and have a longer version of the Pure that’s already in your possession? They’re easy to shorten. Here’s how.

1. Figure out how much you’ll shorten. Adjust binding length to middle of length range, then place your shorty boot in the binding with the boot toe inserted in the toe wings. Measure the distance from boot heel to binding heel unit, and that’s how much you’ll cut. (When doing this, measure back from the boot heel to the point where the heel touches the binding when being inserted.)

2. Look at the front end of the binding and memorize how recessed the ends of the rails are, so you can replicate later (not critical, just get it close).

3. Carefully drive out the roll pins holding the rails. The roll pins are re-usable if you’re careful. If you mess one up, roll pins are available at hardware stores, but it might be hard to match exact size. Best tool for this would be exact size punch that won’t end up inside the hollow pin. We don’t have that size punch so we began with a small punch on the edge of the pin, and once it started moving we used the butt end of the largest drill bit possible. (Whack the bit with a brass hammer or something equally forgiving, as hitting a drill bit with a hardened steel hammer can be a disaster.)

Shorten the Silvretta Pure
Punching out the roll pin.

4. Cut the rails. If you happen to have a Pure with aluminum rails, just mark with care and whack them off with a hacksaw. In the case of carbon fiber you’ll need more. Mark with care, then using your hacksaw cut a shallow cut all the way around the rail — before you cut all the way through. Then finish your cut. The idea here is to prevent a “run,” meaning a strand of carbon fiber ends up getting pulled back from the cut as you finish it.

4. Drill the rails — step one. Using the chunks you cut from the rails as a sample, pick a drill bit that’s as close to the hole size as possible, but no larger. In other words, the bit should be easy to push into the existing holes. Insert the rails back in the binding toe unit to the point where they have the proper inset from the front (see step two).

Set the heel and toe down on a flat surface as if mounted on a ski, so the hole locations will be perfectly aligned. Using the existing holes in the toe units as a guide, lightly drill on the rails to mark them. DO ONLY THE TOP FIRST. Remove rails from toe unit, swap drill bits to a smaller (sharp) size, and drill a pilot hole using the mark your larger drill just made. ONLY DRILL HALF WAY. Swap back to your larger bit, and drill out the pilot hole, again only half way through the rail.

If the bit you are using is slightly small compared to the original holes, lightly ream the hole by slightly angling the drill and moving it in a circular motion for a split second. The idea here is to make a hole that you can re-insert the roll pin in under a small amount of compression, but a hole that’s not too big.

Shorten the Silvretta Pure
Marking drill position, remove rails from binding toe unit to finish drilling.

5. Drill the rails — step two. Now you’ve got a hole on one side of the rails that the roll pin will press-fit in. Insert the rails in the binding toe yet again, and line up the holes you drilled with those in the binding. Insert a roll pin to index the rail position; insert it very lightly so it’s easy to remove in a moment. Flip the binding over, repeat step 4 (remember to remove the rails from the binding while drilling, otherwise you run the risk of accidentally enlarging the holes in the binding), then run your bit all the way through the rail. The idea is you now have a hole that’s perfectly aligned with the existing holes in the binding.

If you do mess up, know that you could easily shorten the bindings a bit more and re-drill the holes. The main thing is to remove the rails when doing any drilling other than marking, so you don’t run the risk of enlarging the roll pin holes in the binding toe unit. Also, note that the holes in the rails and in the binding toe unit must be nearly equal in diameter, otherwise the roll pin will not engage both parts equally and you’ll get wear from movement in that area as the binding is used. Epoxy helps with this issue.

6. Put ‘em back together. Mix up some 1-hour epoxy and smear a small amount inside the sockets where you’ll be inserting the rails. Insert the rails, smear a small amount of epoxy in the roll pin holes, then tap in the roll pins. The idea here is the epoxy makes up for small variations from factory spec. (To reverse, heat up the binding with a heat gun to soften the epoxy.) If the roll pins are shorter than the full distance of the hole, finish by tapping with a punch so they’re inset equally on both ends.

7. Mount using our WildSnow instructions and template, which are not dependent on length of binding.

That’s it, now you’ve got shorty bindings!

Comments

52 Responses to “How to Shorten the Silvretta Pure Backcountry Skiing Binding”

  1. Josh Hartung December 12th, 2007 3:21 pm

    Hey Lou…

    nice tutorial on how to do this job right! Just wanted to mention that another good way to prevent a “run” when cutting carbon fiber is to wrap the place where you want to cut with masking tape (pref. 3M blue) and cut through it like you do when cutting a rope.

    Happy Holidays!

    Josh

  2. Lou December 12th, 2007 4:47 pm

    Thanks Josh, good tip!

  3. RobinB December 12th, 2007 10:08 pm

    A similar procedure is rumoured to work with the NAXO bindings as well

  4. Dave Waag December 13th, 2007 9:58 am

    Lou – thanks for the how to. I’ll let you know how it goes.
    Cheers
    Dave

  5. Vince Lambert December 22nd, 2007 1:19 pm

    Awesome instructions! Could not find a ski center to mount the pures, and I needed to shorten them also. Came out perfect with a set of ’06 bindings!!!! Thanks so much.

  6. Lewis December 31st, 2007 11:35 am

    Anyone have any experience with the Silvretta Kidz? They don’t even show them on Garmont’s site. Are they still available? Will they work w/ my daughter’s 234mm soled size 19.5 alpine boots? Anyone know how to create a waxless pattern in the bases of some beater junior alpine skis?
    Thx,
    =L=

  7. Dave Waag January 5th, 2008 11:37 am

    Lou – it worked great. Thanks for the beta
    Cheers
    Dave

  8. Lou January 5th, 2008 11:45 am

    Thanks for checking in Dave, glad it worked!

  9. Gray February 6th, 2008 10:11 pm

    Lou,

    Is it possible to do this mod with Fritschi Bindings?

    Thanks.

  10. Lou February 6th, 2008 10:19 pm

    Gray, it would be complex but could be done.

  11. roger March 13th, 2008 10:53 pm

    hey lou, know anyone who would do the shortening…I am a hack with tools.

  12. Lou March 14th, 2008 7:08 am

    Roger, I don’t know of anyone offhand.

  13. Roland September 26th, 2009 4:19 pm

    Works great. Thanks a bunch
    I used a 1/8″ Dasco Pro Pin Punch to remove the pins. It fits perfect and removes the pins cleanly.
    7/64″ Split Point Titanium drill bit to prep the pin holes and a 1/8″ to finish.

  14. Ian Hunt December 21st, 2009 1:29 pm

    Anyone have a manual for Silvretta X-Mtn bindings that they could scan and email to me?
    There were no instructions in the box when I bought them a month or so ago and I need to check DINs etc. since the first time I used them the boots were sliding back in up hill mode and almost popping out of the binding?

  15. Bob Lockard December 23rd, 2009 9:54 am

    Lou, I have been searching for a ski brake to fit an older pair of Silvretta 500 AT bindings. Do you have any available? Can you recomend where to go in the valley? I have been to SC and Gear X, no luck.

    Thanks!

    Bob

  16. Lou December 23rd, 2009 10:31 am

    Bob, none here and I don’t know where you’d get them… sorry. Lou

  17. Ralph Tavino January 18th, 2010 2:56 pm

    How practical/possible is it to slow down an off-the-shelf pair of waxless cross country skis with kick wax (on the glide portion of the base)?

  18. Gray February 4th, 2010 7:09 pm

    Lou,

    I understand it would be difficult to shorten Fritschi bindings. What would it entail, and how difficult would it be.

    Thanks

    Gray

  19. Jonathan Shefftz February 5th, 2010 8:45 am

    Here’s how to do it:
    http://tinyurl.com/yetvlva

  20. Lou February 5th, 2010 8:55 am

    Good mod. I never got inspired with the Fritschi because as the guy says, the easy shortening method he does can only shorten it a bit due to the slot milled into the tube. Same problem with the front.

    I got into shortening the Pures because they work best for lighter/smaller people anyway, so they’re the perfect binding for kids, tiny women, tiny guys, mice, folks like that (grin).

  21. telemike May 18th, 2011 4:33 pm

    Thanks for the help Lou & others! I just shortened some Pure Kidz to fit my almost-5 year old son’s tiny boots (Mondo 18.5 – BSL 227mm). Easy to deal with, and they look like they’ll work great.

  22. Lou May 18th, 2011 5:29 pm

    Sweet!

  23. Adam December 1st, 2011 12:20 am

    Lou,

    I’m in the same boat as Ian Hunt above, I bought a pair for skis second hand with these bindings, and am looking for a procedure to adjust the sole length and DIN settings. Do you have a copy of the manual, or can you provide the nutshell version?

    Thanks!

  24. Lou December 1st, 2011 6:37 am

    Adam,

    Adjust toe jaw height first, with same technique as used with Fritschi or Marker.

    Adjusting DIN should be obvious. Lateral release is the front screw on the heel-jaw unit (the “slide” that moves along the dual rails of the frame-plate, and holds your boot heel down). Lateral release indicator is on the underside of the “slide.”

    Vertical release is the top screw on the “slide.”

    Sole length adjustment is accomplished by rotating the screw at the rear of the binding frame/plate, which moves the heel-jaw unit (the “slide”) along the two rails. Adjust length so your boot heel drops in without jamming, but can still step down and cause the jaw to close on the boot heel.

    After doing above, forward pressure (exact adjustment for sole length) is the only tricky part.

    According to the manual, “the forward pressure is correct when the forward pressure indicator aligns with the rear wall of the slide.”

    Look at the rear wall of the “slide” and you’ll see a small metal collar sleeve that the length adjustment screw passes through. This is the “forward pressure indicator.” Rotate the length adjustment screw till the “forward pressure indicator” is flush with the rear wall of the slide. Recheck that your boot exits and enters the heel unit without binding.

    After forward pressure is adjusted, recheck lateral release value by looking at indicator with boot in binding. Adjust if necessary.

    Remember that DIN/ISO standard allows a variation of indicated release value of plus or minus 15% !!! That means one full line up or down from what’s indicated on the binding by the numbers. In other words, take care with how high you initially set the release value (true for any binding).

    Know that the Pure lateral release is accomplished by the “slide” moving back as the toe of the boot rotates against the fixed and immobile toe jaws. I’ve never been impressed by this system, as the slightest additional friction in the toe area will dramatically increase the lateral release value, as will any slight change in the forward pressure (due to change in adjustment, ice on boot, whatever). Keep your boots clean, and perhaps spray the toe jaw with some silicon once in a while.

    Get after it. If you fool around the above should be very obvious.

    Lou

  25. Simon January 17th, 2013 3:08 pm

    RE: An alternative method to shortening the Silvretta, without drilling and sawing.

    Hi Lou, hi folks out there,

    thanks for your suggestions on how to shorten the Silvretta Pure Kidz. I spent quite some time wondering how to get touring skis for my son.
    I was all set up to do it, when my 8-year old asked me what I was going to do. When I had explained the binding, he suggested to use the long screw in the back, which is used for adjusting to boot length, to adjust it to his boot length. I said: “Well, I can’t adjust it to your boot, because the screw is too short.” And he jumped on it saying: “Well then use a longer screw.” Bingo.

    What you need to do:

    1. dismount the screw which is used for adjusting the boot length. This is an M5x75 mm screw. It’s held in place with an M5 nut. Additionally, there is a washer and a little sleeve that serves as a bearing. Make sure you keep those.

    2. Get a longer screw, for example M5x100 mm, same or similar head shape. I recommend to stick with a standard zinc plated screw. Using stainless steel will get you into trouble because of the galvanic corrosion caused on the other parts, especially the sleeve like bearing. Finding this screw is probably the most difficult part. Go to a good hardware store or a large distributor.

    3. Install your new screw in the same way as the old one was installed. Use Loctite to fasten the nut to the screw.

    4. That’s it. Now you have shifted the length range from the standard 265 -305 mm to the new range of 240 – 280 mm, simply by the 25 mm that you have added to the screw. The nice thing is that you can go back by switching to the original screw.

    Pros: no drilling or sawing, no permanent change to the binding
    Cons: The binding stays as long as it is, which is quite long for short skis.

    The Silvretta binding seems quite loose in lateral direction, and it looks like this will never retain the boot properly. When skiing however, it really doesn’t seem to move much. Works better than you would expect. Still, I understand that Silvretta is out of business…

    Thanks again for your great description. First ski tour was a great success. Tiemo loved it. Can’t wait for more powder.

    Cheers,

    Simon

  26. David October 12th, 2013 7:27 pm

    Simon…. Once you shortened it how did you get the toe and heel to fit the junior boot

  27. jorge October 30th, 2013 2:03 am

    Hello all,

    I’m having the most difficult time finding Silvretta Pure Kidz bindings. I have tried a bunch of web sites and forums to no avail.

    Have anybody’s kids already outgrown theirs. Would anybody be willing to sell me a pair? My son and I would be most grateful.

    Cheers,
    Jorge.

  28. David November 2nd, 2013 5:02 pm

    Jorge

    Check snowinn.com. I bought them there this summer… I think I paid $125… I finally got them mounted at “The Mountaineer”, Keene NY. Good luck

  29. Jorge November 4th, 2013 8:08 pm

    @David.

    Thanks, I tried a while back and they are out of stock. The good news is that I found a pair of Silvretta Pure Performance in California the very day it began snowing in town. I guess it is a good omen, and cannot wait to get my hands on them to shorten them.

    Cheers.

  30. David November 5th, 2013 7:51 am

    Not familiar with the pure performance…. Double check the lowest din settings…. I think The pure kids highest din is 4…. Also having just gotten them mounted on a pair of Line Superhero’s 133cm… Watch the screw length… The binding is def longer than the mounting area on that ski… I would imagine that that would probably hold true for many kids skis…. The tech that mounted the bindings for me pointed this out

  31. Lou Dawson November 5th, 2013 8:24 am

    When using binding with kids, yes, turn “DIN” setting to lowest and also back off the forward pressure as much as possible (at least that’s what I recall), which will make the boot come out laterally (side release at the toe) much easier. Experiment on the bench, and don’t expect this modified binding to be any sort of statement in release safety. It’s more for occasional use by kids for fun, climb up and ski down once….

    Lou

  32. Shawn November 5th, 2013 9:05 am

    It should be noted that the silveretta pure kidz is just a small pure with weaker springs, and it is explicitly not recommended for kids’ ski boots. The toe and heel heights cannot be lowered enough to get a good fit on my boy’s ski boots (size 20), and he pops out of his while skinning all the time.

    I shortened a pair of naxo’s for my other child, and these work much better, though they are heavier. The mod was easy and similar to that above.

    All that said, our best results with our kids (5 and 10 years old) is to put skins on nordic skis for the climb and change into alpine gear for the descent. The hassle of carrying their gear and changing over in the field is much less than listening to them complain about uncomfortable or poorly performing gear.

  33. Jorge November 5th, 2013 8:16 pm

    Hi all,

    Thank you for all the comments. The Silvretta Pure Performance is DIN 3-10, and comes with hollow carbon tubes (as opposed to DIN 4-12 and solid tubes for the Freeride).

    The claimed weight in the original instructions is a paltry 640g per binding (22.5 oz , with mounting screws but no brakes) for the medium size.

    For now my son is using a pair of modified Alpine Trekkers (550g, 19.5 oz per adapter), but I intend to shorten the Silvrettas to accept a minimum 224mm BSL (MONDO 18.0) to a maximum 265mm BSL (MONDO 22) which is when ski boots switch from Junior norm to Adult norm. This will make the bindings even lighter and with a smaller footprint. I’ll figure out what to do with the toe and heel heights when I cross that bridge, maybe shims?

    Cheers,
    Jorge.

  34. David November 6th, 2013 4:41 am

    Jorge

    That sounds great!!!! There is about 3mm of gap in the toe height on my kids bindings. I’m tempted to get a pair of replacement AT sole pads and drill and cut them to fit my kids boots… I think this will fill in the gap at the toe…. Sounds like you’re on your way to a great setup…. It’s really unfortunate that there isn’t a turn key option for kids… I almost gave up and went tele

  35. Lou Dawson November 6th, 2013 6:13 am

    David, if the kid has boots they only use for touring, you can just install some of those plastic pieces the boot fitters use to build up sole height when they grind/cant the bottom of alpine boots. not sure where to get those, contact at bootfitters.com.

    For occasional use, since the AFD on the Pure slides to the side, just build up some layers of Gorilla Tape on it and be done with it.

    Lou

  36. David November 6th, 2013 7:01 am

    Lou

    Love the gorilla tape idea… I think I’m sold

  37. Lou Dawson November 6th, 2013 7:25 am

    Report back.

  38. David November 6th, 2013 9:26 am

    Absolutely…. Just as soon as Mother Nature cooperates

  39. Shawn November 6th, 2013 12:02 pm

    Jorge,

    An alternative to shortening the pures by cutting is to replace the rear adjustment screw with a longer screw or threaded post. This is what I did, and it works fine.

  40. Jorge November 6th, 2013 7:36 pm

    Shawn,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I did read about just replacing the M5 screw for a longer one. My idea is to make the bindings small enough to preserve the flex of the ski as much as possible (good excuse to mod more stuff).

    I think they arrive tomorrow or the next day. I will know then how much I can shorten them, but I figure it will be somewhere between 50 and 100mm which should make some difference, I suppose, on 118cm boards.

    Will post again after inspection.

  41. David November 7th, 2013 10:16 am

    @jorge

    Would love to swap pics of your finished setup

    dgoff7779@gmail.com

  42. Shawn November 7th, 2013 1:52 pm

    Regarding kids’ AT gear, I just ordered a size 22.5 TLT5 from backcountry.com at 53% off MSRP. Still pricey, but justifiable, especially if you have more than one child that will use them. I think they have a few more in stock.

  43. Lou Dawson November 7th, 2013 3:11 pm

    Shawn, I could see that boot going through at least three kids as the feet grow. Very good call. Lou

  44. David November 7th, 2013 5:36 pm

    Shawn

    which dynafit bindings are u using for your kids with that boot? I am stuck with my current setup for the next year at least… but next year is a new year and I am open to suggestions.

    DG

  45. Shawn November 8th, 2013 11:56 am

    David,

    I will use a pair of old TLTs circa 2001 — still in good working condition. In most respects the original style is just as good as the current models, and they seem to last forever.

    My younger child will use the pure kidz binding (with tape on the AFD as Lou suggested above) and Full Tilt Booter Jr boots. These are really good kids boots that are reasonably comfortable for walking, and Evo.com still has some of these at a great price. I don’t recommend their adjustable length boots because they don’t walk as well and the liner is much lower quality.

  46. David November 13th, 2013 3:15 pm

    Tried the gorilla tape…. Couldn’t get it to stick… Got some medium density foam tape for insulating under and around doors… Put a piece on the toe piece and heel … It filled the 3 mm void nicely and the boot compresses it when locked into the bindings… Yet still releases as I would expect. I also cut a few extra pieces to keep in my small field repair kit just in case…. Still need Mother Nature to provide a test opportunity

  47. Lou Dawson November 13th, 2013 3:49 pm

    Gorilla tape, didn’t stick!? Wow… clean surface with denatured alcohol, then heat glue on Gorilla Tape with a hair drier or something, I bet it’ll stick then!

  48. telemike April 14th, 2014 3:07 pm

    yo!

    Looking for crampons for Silvretta Pure Kidz >85mm at least

  49. David April 14th, 2014 4:55 pm

    so after a year on my silvretta set up, i am willing to offer the following advice; my son skid them on piste and touring in the back country… he gutted out a 5 mile tour through 24″ of fresh untracked heavy snow….. setup included 133cm Line super hero twin tips, and silvretta pure kids, dalbello downhill boots

    1. the stock silvretta leashes are junk, modified them and included a black diamond leash… have yet to find a set of brakes.

    2. medium density foam insulation tape will fill the void on the AFD and rear portion on the bindings very nicely, preserving release on piste…. keep a few pieces on your kit, as frequent in and outs will tear up the tape

    3. shortening the binding with a longer M5 screw works great for boot fit….. sacrifices ski flex and in deep heavy snow, while touring the ski will flex and behave differently, and experienced a lot of premature releases…

    4. its my opinion based on my limited experience, that to use these bindings optimally, you need to spring for a rocketed sole boot at the very least, and consider shortening the rods to a degree that when your child outgrows the setup they will be big enough for a women’s binding….

    5. keep an eye on craiglist, albany NY in the fall…. my son may switch to tele, in that case i will be putting all of my hard work up for sale

    6. most importantly, have fun, make sure the kids are having fun; makes it sooooo much easier to get out. My son and I had long conversations on what makes a back country trip successful…. he finally understands that getting to the top, is not the most important thing!!!!

  50. Lou Dawson April 14th, 2014 6:03 pm

    David, sounds good, I guess the kid realized that rather than getting to the top, doing the soul turn is the most important thing (grin)?

  51. telemike April 15th, 2014 8:19 pm

    yeah – we are having good success with Owen (age 7) on a shortened Pure Kidz. I finally found a pair of brakes. You can have my custom leashes if you want.

    Anyone know if the 555crampon will fit the Kidz?

  52. Shawn April 16th, 2014 2:07 pm

    Better than ski crampons is a bungee connecting me to my six year old. It’s just enough tension to keep him from slipping back, and there seems to be a psychological effect that minimizes whining (his and mine).

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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