How Many Holes can you Drill in a Ski?

Post by blogger | September 7, 2006      

We got this email yesterday. Steve, sure, we re-mount skis all the time. Our comments below yours…

Lou- Sure have enjoyed your blog for the past year or so, in fact, it’s the only blog I make a point of reading nearly every day. You motivated me to take up randonee skiing humping up & down A-basin every weekend while my wife was learning how to snowboard at an enthusiastic 54; get up to Jackson for closing week, (yes I was there in the award tent scamming free beer after the race thinking, “man with this kind of swag, I’m definitely entering next year”), and regret tossing that lime green pair of 175cm TUA skis with the old Ramer bindings I bought new back in ’85 or so. Which leads me to the point of this email. I picked up a pair of Havocs at the end of the season that were mounted with tele bindings. I love the ski but want to take off the tele bindings and put on a pair of Dynafits. Have you done this type of retrofit before? My guess is lots & lots. I have some basic questions like what should I fill the old holes with and what if the new layout partially overlaps the old holes? Fill then drill? I thought this might be a good subject for a blog, what with the current ski sales frenzy, other folks might be in the same situation. Any advice would be appreciated and thanks. Saw new snow high up in the Mosquito range this weekend. It won’t be long now!!Still as crazy about skiing as 30 years ago– Steve

Steve, thanks for throwing away those lime green Tuas with Ramers — I found them in the dumpster and they’re now for sale on Ebay as valuable antiques (grin).

As for re-drilling skis, there is a traditional view in ski culture that drilling extra binding holes devalues a ski and weakens it to the point where one should be cautious about using it hard. This might still be true for large aggressive skiers using non-release telemark bindings or DIN 12 AT binders set to max. Otherwise, drill away.

Thanks to the needs of telemarkers, most of today’s backcountry skis have an incredibly beefy reinforcement in the binding mount area. More, nearly all modern skis are super strong, exceptions being purpose built race skis and that sort of thing. I’ve skied for years on planks Swiss-cheesed with up to four sets of binding holes and never broken a ski under the foot or had a binding rip out in normal use. (Bear in mind I’m not an aggressive skier, don’t fall that much, use release bindings set to release (not telemark bindings), and mount bindings using the methods detailed below.)

So, how to do the deed? Lay out your new binding holes on your backcountry skis; mark with Sharpie dots if your paper template makes it hard to see how close to the old holes you’re getting. If the new bores don’t overlap the old holes, re-mark with your centerpunch and drill away. If you overlap by only a few millimeters, simply move your binding location accordingly, usually rearward for recreational and backcountry skiing. A small change in binding location is totally within spec for ski performance, and as long as the edges of your new holes are a few millimeters from the old, you’ll be fine drilling and using the new ones. (You’ll still want to fill the old holes, but 5-minute hardware store epoxy will suffice.)

If your new holes must overlap the old, then you need to do some careful fill work. I usually fill the old holes with something like JB Qwik Weld or epoxy steel, and poke some steel wool in the hole as well. It’s important to fill the holes completely with some sort of hard filler, do so by poking the epoxy and wool in with a small probe such as a tiny drill bit. I use the 5 minute types of epoxy for this, as the quick hardening stuff makes the work go smoother, and I believe has less chance of softening any of the resins in the ski since it doesn’t sit there for hours curing in contact with the ski internals. It may be necessary to mix several small batches of epoxy, as it cures quickly.

After the epoxy hardens in the holes (give it a few hours at room temperature), I smooth it off with a sanding disk in a grinder (while watching my fingers). Whatever works for smoothing is fine, just avoid anything but cosmetic damage. If the holes don’t overlap but are super close to your new ones, still fill with epoxy steel and steel wool, otherwise fill the holes with regular 5-minute epoxy, or even use the plastic plugs available from ski shops.

Drilling overlapping holes is the tricky part. If the ski doesn’t have a metal layer, start the drilling with a small bit, then step up through successively larger bits to your final size. The idea is to prevent the edge of the existing hole from forcing the bit to the side and only drilling the epoxy out of the old hole.

Dealing with a metal layer is tougher. If your drilling starts in the metal, stepping the bit sizes will usually work. If you start in the epoxy fill, do the step-up routine till your bit encounters the metal edge. Then, instead of going to the next size bit, pull the drill most of the way out then hold the spinning bit against the metal edge so it eats sideways a small amount in the direction the hole needs to grow, thus “egging out” the hole. We’re talking a millimeter or less of this, so no big deal. If you’re a craftsman and have a rotary grinder, you can “egg” out the holes using a small rotary cutting bit, which works much better. Take care not to “egg” too far.

Finish the hole with the correct size bit. Don’t fret if one or two of your holes end up slightly off layout, as rando bindings have a small amount of tolerance for this (place screws in on-layout holes first, then place others.)

If you mess up and end up drilling the epoxy out of an old hole, just re-fill and try again with a little side pressure while drilling. Tap the holes if you’ve got a ski mounting tap, place all binding screws with regular 5 minute epoxy (not the steel variety), don’t over torque, and you’re good to go backcountry skiing!

(Note about taping holes and bit sizes: Ski shops use special drill bits for drilling skis, usually 4.1 mm for skis with metal layers, and 3.9 mm for skis without metal. If you mount a lot of backcountry skis, it’s a good idea to buy some special drill bits from an outfit such as Slidewright, along with such bits, buy a threading tool (tap) to thread the holes. In my experience, it can be okay to use a slightly larger 5/32 inch drill bit for the final size hole, without a tap. But when you don’t use a tap you run the risk of the binding screw augering the JBWeld out of the hole and reversing all your hard work. If you do choose to not use a tap, especially with non-metal skis, use plenty of pressure as twist the screws in so they start to thread right away, don’t over-tighten and strip the holes, and indeed use epoxy in the holes when you place the screws (to remove epoxied screws, lightly heat with soldering iron before twisting out.)


64 Responses to “How Many Holes can you Drill in a Ski?”

  1. Robin September 7th, 2006 11:01 pm

    Hey – this is great info. I’ve asked myself (without looking for the answer) this same question because the bindings on my (used) teles have been re-drilled once, and I’d like to get a pair of women-specific bindings (because my feet are small).

    Thanks for the info! Have a great day… Ski season is on its way!

  2. Piotr September 8th, 2006 1:04 am


    My personal belief is that it’s a good idea to fill the old holes even you are not going to drill next to them. This way you can
    ‘seal’ them and prevent any moisture from getting in the core of the ski and freezing there, which could do some harm.

    As for the bit sizes, I use standard 4mm bit and it works fine.
    Sometimes manufacturers tell you which bit to use -Hagan has nice labels on their skis with ski dimensions which also has the preferred drill size on it, which can be as small as 3.5mm for some light (and soft) skis.

    Also, when you speak of non-metal skis drilling, I think it should be ‘hole edge’, not ‘ski edge’ (‘The idea is to…’), unless I am missing something.


  3. Lou September 8th, 2006 5:06 am

    Thanks Piotr, I clarified the writing.

  4. Dane December 3rd, 2006 6:50 am


    Im buying a pair of Salomon 1080 Foils (2006) and i have been looking everywhere forf some info on drilling, i want to drill some freestyle bindings on them but should i drill them in the center? i do all freestyle and nothing else, but i have been told if they are centered i t will be impossible to carve and do anything else besides freestyle. I don’t want that. So what should i do??

  5. Lou December 3rd, 2006 11:35 am

    Hi Dane, I know nothing about that. Perhaps someone else here can chime in.

  6. Will January 23rd, 2007 10:20 am

    Hi Lou,
    Would you forsee any issues with redrilling a pair of Dynafit Carbon FR 10.0 skis? I would be filling the old holes left from a pair of Dynafit bindings and drilling for a new pair of Naxo’s.

  7. Lou January 23rd, 2007 11:00 am

    Shouldn’t be a problem, fill old holes with epoxy.

  8. Ted February 23rd, 2007 9:17 pm

    Hi Lou
    I am glad that I found your site. I just had a pair of Naxo’s mounted and the shop mounted the toes off center. So happy to hear that I can shift the toes over just a faction. I will not be going back to Coast Mountain Sports (Alberta) again.

    Thanks, Ted

  9. Eric March 7th, 2007 10:14 pm

    I would like to mount a pair of Dynafit bindings on a pair of tele skis. I was wondering if there was any diiference in the construction of the ski that would prevent the tele boards from being able to handle the heel piece. Is there any concern about mounting AT bindings on tele skis in general?

  10. Lou March 8th, 2007 8:29 am

    Hi Eric, no general concern and tele skis usually have a massive binding mounting plate that sometimes extends under the heel area. If you’re not skiing with heel at DIN 10 I wouldn’t be concerned, but always mount with epoxy and take care not to strip screw holes. One advantage of release bindings is they usually release before they pull out of the ski… ‘best, Lou

  11. Brian December 13th, 2008 2:12 pm


    Im thinking about drilling my Rossignol bandits , so they could be tied to a shovel as an emergency sled if need be, Probably never get used in anger, but hey since since the shovel is designed for sled construction I might as well. I have a pillar drill etc for accurate drilling etc, but are there any issues with sealing the insides of the holes to stop wwater getting between the layers then freezing & causing de-lamination? All the best, Brian

  12. Lou December 13th, 2008 4:20 pm
  13. Milos January 16th, 2009 2:45 pm

    couldn’t find this info elsewhere on your site…
    any advice on using the same set of holes twice? Do you recommend fatter screws or epoxy?

  14. Lou January 17th, 2009 8:50 am

    Twice shouldn’t be a problem unless previous screws were over tightened. Use a bit of epoxy.

  15. brad July 1st, 2009 5:06 pm

    Awesome information. I’m mounting my sons freestyle skis. Any info on proper placement. Most of what I hear is to center them.

  16. kody December 22nd, 2009 4:58 pm

    I am currently in the market for som pow skis and I found some I want but they have three mounts already. Is the 4th too much? I’m a heavy agressive skier.

    Thank Kody

  17. Lou December 22nd, 2009 5:11 pm

    Kody, probably.

  18. Mike D December 24th, 2009 1:05 am

    I have a set of Solomon skis that I got from a friend. It looks like they have been mounted three to four times. I was considering mounting my bindings on them. I heard rumors that mounting more than three times is dangerous. I’m not a crazy aggresive skier. Should I be concerned about drilling into them one more time? If so what should I take into consideration? Thanks for you assistance and help.

  19. Lou December 24th, 2009 7:32 am

    Milos, just use epoxy and don’t over tighten. Mike D, sounds like that might be enough holes!

  20. Mike D December 24th, 2009 10:31 am

    Would it be wise to reuse holes that are already there? Merry Christmas.

  21. Thomas December 26th, 2009 7:25 pm

    My old Rossi Scratch can take another round with drilling.

    Using the as an early/late session ski.

    Rear binding. 16 holes no problem……..!

    Shifted bindings, drilled wrong, loose binding, bu this time its working.



  22. Rick Boebel December 27th, 2009 5:02 am

    My setup (I live in New Zealand and ski around Wanaka but travel to Canada, Revelstoke area for 2 weeks a year) has been Spirit 4s on feet with 174cm K2 Coomba with Marker Dukes. I had decided this is a bit heavy and after reading wildsnow thought I’d try Dynafits.
    So I bought a used pair of 174cm K2 Mt Bakers with Dynafit Comforts with binding brakes that looked relativily unused at the end of my NZ season. At least I think they are Comforts, they have about 2.5cm of adjustment and look just like the ones in the wildsnow binding brake install post. The Spirit 4s fit this set up very well, boot midpoint within 2mm of ski mark.
    I love the Coomba’s as I use them for everything as snow in NZ is highly varible and was thinking of transfering the Comforts to them. Alternate would be just to switch to skiing the MtBakers or buy new pair of Coombacks and put Comforts on them. Or perhaps suck my wallet dry and buy new skis and new Dynafit FT12’s and sell the old setups. I’m 59 (started skiing in late 1960s when I went to Colorado College) and may as well spend money before my kids do. 8^)
    I’d appreciate any comments, advice.

  23. Brandon January 7th, 2011 9:39 am

    Hey Lou, great site you got here, I have a question regarding this post on how close can holes be next to each other. I have a pair of Trab Duo Sint Aero skis that I purchased second hand, which were previously mounted with dyanfit speed heel pieces. I am putting Plum race heels on them and due to a very close boot size to the previous owner the front two holes will be close to touching previous holes. Since these will be for racing and have a non DIN heel do I need to worry about pulling these bindings out and/or weakening the ski, or can I just fill with steel wool and epoxy and no big deal? Also do you always recommend using epoxy? Will this render the screws useless if I were to put these bindings on other skis down the road? Thanks ahead of time if you happen to respond to these questions.

  24. Lou January 7th, 2011 9:49 am

    Brandon, I’d say it’s a question of how aggressively you ski and your size. If you’re of average size and don’t ski crazy, I’d say go for it but do a really good job filling the old holes first. In those situations I use JBweld and a bit of steel wool to fill the old holes, as I figure I want them as strong as possible. Epoxy and glass fibers do pretty much the same thing. After you’ve done a good job filling the old holes, then drill the new ones and use epoxy for the mount. Don’t worry about using epoxy, just briefly heat screws with soldering iron before removal.

  25. Peter Rothermel January 7th, 2011 9:31 pm

    Regarding drill bits:

    Machine bits are V shaped and can wander when the V point hits on the edge of two different densities of materials.

    Twist wood bits in this size diameter, often have a centre point and cutting spurs on the outside diameter of the bit. The centre spur fixes the start point and the cutting spurs make for a clean downward cut without bit wander.

    Wouldn’t these wood bits make for a cleaner, straighter hole?


  26. Jim Burns January 19th, 2011 10:53 pm

    Hello, I want to remount FS4 bindings on my daughters Fischer RXJ skis. She has gone up to sizes and am end of adjustment. If I remount bindings do I need to remount front and rear bindings or can I move one or the other forward or backward? Thanks for any help you could be Jim

  27. David Perez January 28th, 2011 3:59 pm

    I have a couple of questions:

    I have a pair of Atomic TM:Xs (the blue ones) that I want to mount with a pair of Dynafits. The skis already have a number (14) of holes in the toe area from moving the previous bindings (Hammerheads) around to play with different mount locations. I can mount the Dynafits pretty close to “center” with about 7mm center to center between the new and old holes. Should I be worried about so many holes in the skis or the proximity of the new holes to the old? I have been told that 1cm is the minimum distance that should be kept between holes, but I know you propound otherwise in your original response. I am ~155lbs and I ski aggressively but, I would say, lightly. I haven’t broken a ski since I was in high school and snapped a Rossi 4S right behind the binding heel. I have never torn a binding out of a ski, tele or alpine.

    Also, I have a pair of Volkl Gotamas that I remounted, from HH to Dynafit, keeping 1cm center to center between holes. This put me 2cm forward of “center” on the ski. In your original response you recommend moving backward for recreational and backcountry skiing. It feels like I am a bit farther forward on the skis than I would like. Do you think it is worth another remount to get back closer to “center”?

    By “center” I mean boot lined up with the boot sole center mark on the skis.

    Any advice is very appreciated.

  28. Lou January 28th, 2011 4:56 pm

    I’d say 14 holes is getting a bit much, but if you can get the other holes away from the old ones and don’t abuse your skis, I’ll bet you’d be fine. I’d fill the old holes with epoxy. As for the mount location, to me it’s always worth changing location if it’ll improve the skiing. After all, it’s just a ski, and you’ve worked hard for the vertical and 5 minutes of turns…

  29. Greg Louie January 28th, 2011 5:22 pm

    Dynafits? Seriously? This David Perez?

  30. David Perez January 28th, 2011 5:32 pm

    Yep, that’s me, and those are the skis in question. I am making the switch. I can hardly believe it myself, but my knees are thanking me already.

  31. Lou January 28th, 2011 5:51 pm

    Jeez, I almost feel bad (grin).

  32. TR February 5th, 2011 1:03 pm

    I am looking to buy a pair of Volkl Gotamas from a buddy and current bindings are set for a 9/9.5 boot. I am a 11.5/12 boot. Its a Marker 14.0 binding. Downhill style.

    Will I have to re-mount bindings?

    If so, they have been mounted 2 x’s already…

    Is a 3rd time mount okay ?

    I’m an aggressive skier, but the waist of the ski is 105 if that helps.

  33. Brian Yoder November 11th, 2011 7:03 pm

    Lou- I just picked up a pair of rossignal s7’s (2011).

    They have been drilled twice for alpine bindings.. I want to mount a pair of 22 design Hammerheads- and I use Scarpa T1 boots…

    I weigh about 195 lbs… and am a telemark skier… although I don’t know if I would consider myself aggressive or not… Like to ski backcountry shots…. up to 45 degrees… although I’m not a real fast skier….

    Got a good deal on these skis.. am I setting myself up for a broken ski / miserable day?



  34. David January 24th, 2012 1:07 pm

    I have tried to fill the holes in my old Atomic TM:Xs with epoxy, but I keep getting air bubbles in the epoxy. I have read that this can happen with foam core skis. Does anybody have any advice for how to prevent this from happening?

    Also, the holes for my new bindings are going to have to overlap the existing holes. I know that Lou’s original post suggests that this is okay to do, but I have to ask, is it really okay? And would I be better off using something like a Quiver Killer insert to create, in effect, a larger screw with more surface area?


  35. Philip Maynard January 24th, 2012 2:04 pm

    I put three-pins on my Epochs and ended up overlapping holes. I use plastic boots and get air and crash hard on that setup. No issues so far, and I’m placing way more force on those three screws than any AT binding.

    I filled the holes with JB Weld and matchsticks.

  36. Toby January 24th, 2012 2:10 pm

    Fill the holes with epoxy, and then carefully heat them up with heat gun. Epoxy viscosity is getting lower and the air bubbles are coming out – epoxy is going in. You need to repeat this twice or more. Then apply an aluminum tape above the holes and turn skis upside down over night.

  37. Lou January 24th, 2012 2:17 pm

    Toby, yeah, also, go to feed store and buy small vet syringes with big bore needle, fill with warm 1-hour epoxy, slowly inject in each hole starting from the bottom and moving needle up to top, then apply slight heat as well… If overlapping holes, use something like JBweld with a bit of steel wool, as you need something super dense and strong…

    Regarding overlap, with most skis moving binding forward or back a few millimeters will make virtually no difference in how they ski, so that’s frequently the solution….

  38. aviator January 24th, 2012 8:18 pm

    Heating the epoxy when it’s curing is a really bad idea.
    The temperature the epoxy is meant to cure at is the only temperature you should have, anything else is gonna mess with the epoxy strength.

    The air bubbles is the least of your worries.
    Using epoxy ONLY is WEAK, think window glass kinda weak…
    I cracks really easily…

    What you want is glass fiber.

    Glass fiber weave/twill wet in epoxy is VERY STRONG , this method is easily 10-20 times stronger or more than any combination of epoxy, jb weld, steel wool, matches, tiny strands of glass fiber mixed in the epoxy, any crazy recipe you ever heard…

    What you want to do is:

    -cut tiny pieces of glass fiber twill

    -wet the pieces through completely, but use as much fiber as possible and as little epoxy as possible
    you really want more than 50% fiber weight, 70-80% fiber weight is MUCH stronger, this means you need wipe off ALL excess epoxy from the little pieces, you want them as dry as possible.
    more fiber more strength
    more epoxy A LOT LESS strength

    -then you jam as much epoxy wetted glass fiber you can into the holes

    -let it cure at the recommended temperature, wait an extra day, and then drill new holes

  39. aviator January 24th, 2012 8:19 pm

    oh and before you start
    make sure the holes you are filling is 100% clean and dry
    extremely important!

  40. Toby January 25th, 2012 1:22 am

    Heating epoxy is not always (never) bad idea. Professional Epoxy I use, has a table of different curing temps (I think it was up to 150*C) Higher temp means more strength and better bonding, plus faster curing of course. Disadvantage (for screw holes on the skis) is that it will get harder and can crack more easilly. But I never saw any cracks on my epoxy filled screw holes. So follow manufactures instructions, but I’m sure that some medium temps (50*C or so ) to get the epoxy more fluidy is not harmful. It removes bubbles very well and let the epoxy to penetrate properly. Just do not never ever use fast curing cheap epoxies

    PS. I did a quite spectacular motorbike engine water pump repair with commercially available two component ‘chemical metal’. Water pump was cracked to the hundreds of pieces of magnesium. I glued them together with that ‘glue’ and let is cure in the oven. (according to instructions) after 10 years, this pump is still tight and working. Moral of the strory is that those modern 2-part bonding glues are really good. Just pick the right one.

  41. aviator January 25th, 2012 9:06 am

    using epoxy without fiber is like using concrete without rebar
    concrete only without reinforcement will crack, it wont last

  42. aviator January 25th, 2012 9:27 am

    always follow the exact instructions regarding the very product you are using.
    some professional epoxy is meant to be cured at high temps, and when doing that, the temp is meant to be controlled very exactly, and so is everything else, the fiber ratio, the vacuum bagging, etc etc

    but the fast epoxy people will pick up at the hardware store is not meant to be cured at high temps though, and when heating a tiny amount of fast epoxy with a heat gun several times you have no control

    getting the epoxy more fluid by increasing the temp some 10-20 degrees or so while applying it is fine, use a water bath and a thermometer

  43. Ben August 16th, 2012 1:04 pm

    I purchased a pair of skis with mounted with Salomon z10 bindings (318 bsl) but want to replace them with a pair of small marker barons (306 bsl). I want to mount the marker barons 2cm back from the previous salomons. Will this work? Thanks

  44. Lou Dawson August 17th, 2012 7:01 am

    Ben, I don’t see why that would be a problem. If you get some new holes overlapping old, you can just shift things a few millimeters. We don’t have that particular binding combo here, so I can’t give you the definitive answer. Lou

  45. Red September 10th, 2012 1:39 pm

    Thinking of buying some Rossi S7W 178 that have already been mounted twice once with Salomon Z12ti and then with Marker Tour. I plan on mounting them wth BD 01….any thoughts on this set-up? I will not purchase them if it is not going to work.

    Thank you

  46. Lou Dawson September 10th, 2012 2:37 pm

    Red, for a tele mount that doesn’t sound good. Lou

  47. Red September 10th, 2012 6:02 pm

    Thanks for the heads up Lou!

  48. bob November 21st, 2012 6:32 pm


    I used to throw up climbing walls with a few cans of PC-7 epoxy (same stuff they use to put down traffic reflectors and such) but for filling the holes on my new, used, Dynastar 1100’s . . . should I be using the other kind of epoxy––the clear stuff that comes with a syringe––or some sort of wood based epoxy (meanwhile back to reading the replies to your great “how to”

  49. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2012 6:42 pm

    Bob, if the holes are not too close together and not too many, regular old clear epoxy works fine….

  50. bob November 21st, 2012 11:39 pm


    Thanks for the reply. I really love what you’ve got going on here.

  51. Revenire November 22nd, 2012 5:39 am


    After 6 years, I’m replacing my terrible Naxo NX22. Worst ski-related purchase ever! I’ll buy new skis with dynafits :)

    But for these old skis I will be mounting some alpine bindings, since the skis are of the “freerando” type and still usable. The mounting pattern of the new alpine bindings is 5-6 mm exactly behind the naxo ones in the toe piece. Is 5 mm enough space for mounting new bindings without issues? Usually people say that thing of “at least 1 cm” but I don’t really know.

    I was thinking of filling the old holes either with plastic plugs or with a combo of steel wool-epoxy.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

  52. Lou Dawson November 22nd, 2012 8:11 am

    Revenire, you should be ok, just fill the old holes with epoxy and a bit of steel wool and be sure to tap the new holes so you don’t get excessive force acting on the ski when you insert the new screws. Lou

  53. Rick December 8th, 2012 7:30 pm

    Hey folks,

    I think I know the answer based on what I’ve read here so far, but any comments you have would be appreciated. I’m looking at a pair of 2008/09 BD verdicts that have been mounted twice already with tele bindings (BD 01s and NTN). Provided I follow the advice with respect to filling and avoiding overlap, would it be a safe bet to mount fritschi AT bindings next? I’m 5’10”, 175 and an aspiring intermediate skier that won’t ever get super aggressive.


  54. Greg January 5th, 2013 10:21 am

    Thanks so much for the information! I don’t think this has been covered yet so I will ask — what if I am putting the exact same binding back on the exact same ski for the exact same skier and boot size?

    I stripped bindings off a pair of skis last year, skied the new pair of skis to their death, and now want to put the bindings right back on the skis I took them off of to begin with.

    Do I: (1) fill and drill in the same spots? (2) fill and try to slightly alter where the building lays on the ski? (3) simply screw back into the existing holes?


  55. Lou Dawson January 5th, 2013 10:57 am

    Greg, the screws do tend to cut a bit each time they’re inserted, meaning the second or third time in the same holes they’ll be fine but progressively less so, using some epoxy is important as is being super careful not to over tighten and strip the threads, which gets easier and easier to do. Another consideration is what type of ski construction, as some skis have a stronger and thicker mounting reinforcement plate. That’s easy to ‘feel’ when inserting the screws. Yet another consideration is how big you are and what RV value you run your bindings at. More of either = more concern about just how strong the screw to ski bond is. Lou

  56. Michael West February 27th, 2013 10:00 pm

    Hey Lou,
    I’m wondering what your thoughts are on a specific technique to fill holes. I saw someone the other day who would fill the holes partway with regular old 5 minute epoxy (not the steel variety), and then place a golf tee inside the hole. Once it hardened, the top of the tee would be cut off and then ground flat with a dremel tool. It seems to me that this would be much stronger than regular old plastic plugs, but i’m wondering how you think it would compare to your recommended steel epoxy/ steel wool?

  57. Lou Dawson February 28th, 2013 6:34 am

    Hi Michael, that would work, it essentially just fills the hole with wood. The advantage is is fills the hole without any voids. Doing it just with epoxy, it’s sometimes difficult to push epoxy into the hole without any air pockets. You can do it with match sticks as well, though the golf tee is harder wood (?). Either way, the top of the wood needs to be sealed from water damage after it’s smoothed off, that is unless it’s re-drilled for to be used again for mounting bindings.

    I’m still doing this stuff quite a bit. One problem I’ve found with epoxy is that unless it’s mixed correctly and allowed to really harden, it works fine for filling holes but is less than ideal if it needs to be re-drilled and inserted with another screw as softer epoxy may not be strong enough.

    In terms of “stronger,” are you concerned about the strength of the skis from breaking, or strength for re-inserting screws? Most skis these days are super strong.


  58. Erik Erikson April 24th, 2013 12:25 pm

    I hope someone can answer that following questions for me:
    – How often can you screw bindingscrews in the same allready existing holes? For some reason I had to take the screws out from my tlt vertical backpiece. Than screwed them in again, but forgot the glew. screwed them out and in again with glue. Do I have to worry?
    – In one of my k2 waybacks a shop had to screw new holes for a binding. the old ones were filled by just hammering in plastic pegs (no epoxy). Is this sealed enough?

  59. Lou Dawson April 24th, 2013 12:37 pm

    Erik, you can use the same holes quite a few times but they do deteriorate a bit each time. If you use epoxy each time, and heat the screws when removing, you can do it dozens of times. Key it to not over-tighten but to still tighten enough. Requires a “feel” for appropriate tightness.

    As for the plastic plugs, they seal the holes just fine, but are not liked here at WildSnow HQ because when drilled out the remaining plastic in the hole may not bond to epoxy. We usually fill our holes with epoxy or urethane glue if there is a chance we’ll be drilling them out again. For temporary sealing, I just put duct tape over them. Once in a while we use the plugs.


  60. Erik Erikson April 24th, 2013 12:45 pm

    Thank you for your advice and the very quick answer. Not the first time you or some poster here helped me out.. great!!

  61. Drew September 27th, 2014 9:38 am

    Hi Lou, Not sure if I’m over thinking this or not, but on my skis (moment exit world, no metal top sheet) it says to use 3.9mm x 9mm holes. My problem – I can’t find 3.9mm drill bits on any of the sources I would expect (Tognar, slidewright, svst). Everyone does a 3.5 and a 4.1. Am I looking in the wrong places or does it really matter? What would you suggest? Thanks a lot.

  62. Lou Dawson 2 September 27th, 2014 7:36 pm

    Drew, sorry, for some unknown reason you comment got spam moderated. Am trying to fine tune that.

    And yes, just use 3.5 with a few turns of the tap, with epoxy and care with torque, you’ll be fine.Or use the 4.1 without the tap and be careful tightening. I suspect they spec 3.9 to prevent too much stress on the topskin, or perhaps it’s a typo.


  63. Anthony O January 6th, 2015 8:11 pm


    i picked up a pair of ski trab stevio xl lights 185cm (125, 90, 112). The bases have been skied once and are essentially mint. They are mounted with some dynafit st-10s. I am a noob skier and never intend on skiing aggressively. I’m 6’1 180. I didnt realize why they were so cheap until i saw all the holes, there are 6 holes (3 per side) to the rear of the binding. The owner said they were on the 4th mount. Besides the holes, they appear to be fine, they appeared to be plugged with wood and some sort of epoxy. Should I be safe? Seems like people have done alot more. I just want to ask someone who I know knows their stuff. Thanks for the blog and your time!

  64. Lou Dawson 2 January 7th, 2015 1:15 am

    Anthony, if the extra holes are spaced apart and filled I wouldn’t worry about them. What I’d be concerned about is hidden holes under the bindings, and how strong the screws are on the “4th mount.” I’d definitely remove the bindings and re-install so you can check the torque and behavior of each screw. Due to how wood screws tend to cut new threads each time they go in, you might also need to build up the inside of the screw holes before your final mount. Epoxy would be mandatory when you insert the screws, but don’t depend on it to make up for semi-stripped holes. At your size and weight, with a pack, I’d definitely think care is in order here. Lou

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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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Backcountry skiing is a dangerous sport. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions or templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow its owners and contributors of any liability for use of said items for backcountry skiing or any other use.

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