Cross country skis on the cheap. Find a set of downhill skis and poles at Goodwill / Free Cycle / Yard Sale. Mine were $5 at a yard sale. The 4 dog collars were ~$6 each. The metal water bowl for the heel cup was $5. The steel plate was $10 at Lowes. Cross country ski wax ~$25. The rest I had on the shelf. With a little more imagination and patience you may be able to substitute for some of the other stuff and cut the price down. There is a video of some Russians way up in the backwoods that do some pretty serious cross country skiing on skis that they make from logs and they tie their feet to them with rope. Cheap but it was time intensive. I opted for dog collars and water bowls. They also downhill with the same skis and gave some of the US skiers that were adventuring in the area a run for their money.
Step 1: Remove the Downhill Bindings
Remove the downhill bindings. Save the screws.
Step 2: Make the Xcountry Binding
The Xcountry binding is made from a piece of steel plate from Lowes or Home Depot or Ace. You want it sturdy enough to not bend. This is a view of the top of the binding.
Step 3: Bottom of the Binding
This is a view of the bottom of the binding. The toe strap is seen on the right. All of the straps are dog collars from the local pet store.
Step 4: Toe Strap Attachment
View of the toe strap attached to the hinged plate.
Step 5: Heel Cup
View of the heel cup. The cup is a water/feeding bowl from the local pet store.
Step 6: Attach the Binding
Attach the binding to the skis using a door hinge. Use the screws from
the downhill bindings. You may have to drill a hole or two. You want 3 screws. I tried 2 and they weren't enough to hold.
Step 7: Heel Lock
For those downhill stretches where you may have to lock the heel down. This is done with a window latch. This is just one that was in the drawer. These are referred to as Randonee bindings.
Step 8: Attached
View of the ski attached to the foot.
Step 9: Heel Locked
View of the ski attached to the foot and the heel locked for downhill stretches.
Step 10: Ski Wax
You will want to pick up some Xcountry ski wax from the local outdoor store. There are 3 different waxes in this package. One is for almost slush. The next is for good snow and the third is for when it's really cold and the snow squeaks. Look on Youtube for instructions on waxing skis. Lots of tutorials on how to Xcrosscountry ski as well. You may want to visit the one on stopping several times before taking the skis out for a test run.