Different Types Of Cross Country Ski Bindings

Different Types Of Cross Country Ski Bindings

Cross-country skiing differs from downhill or alpine skiing as it involves skiing across snow-covered terrain using a gliding motion rather than catching a ski lift and using gravity to slide down a mountain. There are two types of cross-country skiing – classic skiing and skate skiing.

Cross Country Ski

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Cross-country skiing requires specialist equipment, including narrow skis and poles designed especially for the sport. But cross-country skiers need to somehow attach their skis to their feet. To do this, they need to choose between different types of cross-country ski bindings and boots.

In this article, we will highlight the different types of cross-country ski bindings and their pros and cons. By the end of this blog, you will know the differences and what to look for when buying your cross-country ski bindings.

Cross Country Ski Bindings

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What Are Cross-Country Ski Bindings?

What Are Cross-Country Ski Bindings?

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Cross-country ski bindings work by attaching your boots to the skis and allowing you to transfer your power from your legs into your skis. There are different types of cross-country ski bindings, but they all work in a similar way.

In general cross country ski bindings attach to your skis via a mounting plate or a rail system. They also use some kind of mechanism that connects the sole of the boot to the binding.

Unlike traditional downhill or Alpine ski bindings, the skier’s heel is free to move up and down. This allows the skier to use a gliding motion as they push off with one ski and slide forward on the other.

These binding systems can also be adjusted to accommodate your skiing style, preferences, and abilities. It is essential that you choose the correct type of bindings to maximize your performance and minimize your risk of injury.

The Different Types Of Cross-Country Ski Bindings

The Different Types Of Cross-Country Ski Bindings

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There are eight different types of cross-country ski bindings. Some are pretty old now and less prevalent due to outdated technology.

On the other hand, there are more modern options developed by big ski brands that offer excellent lateral support and control and are used by recreational skiers and racers of all kinds.

Let’s take a look at the different types of cross-country ski bindings available to you:

1. NNN (New Nordic Norm) Bindings

NNN (New Nordic Norm) Bindings

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New Nordic Norm cross-country ski bindings are designed to work with NNN boots and are commonly used for recreational skiing. This system uses boots with a single bar at the toe and two channels that line up with the binding.

The great thing about these cross-country ski bindings is that they are easy to get in and out of, which makes them a good choice for beginner and intermediate cross-country skiers.

NNN bindings are also lightweight, which is beneficial when you’re skiing long distances, especially when racing. On top of this, these bindings provide you with good control, so you have enhanced maneuverability and easy turn initiation.

The downside of NNN bindings is that you can only use them with NNN-compatible boots. So, if you want to use other boots, you’ll need another setup with compatible equipment. Also, advanced cross-country skiers may find that NNN boots lack support.

2. SNS (Salomon Nordic System) bindings

This type of cross-country ski binding is designed to work with SNS boots. You can choose between Profil and Pilot versions. The Profil SNS boots have a single bar at the toe, while the Pilots have a bar at the toe and another on the ball of the foot.

Therefore, you need to be aware that the Profil and Pilot SNS boots cannot be used with the same type of bindings.

Cross-country skiers like SNS bindings for a few reasons.

First, SNS cross-country bindings provide stability and control, which can be important for skiers wanting to improve their technique or tackle more challenging terrain.

The Pilot and Profil binding systems provide an incredibly secure connection with your skis. The advantage of this is that your feet don’t move around inside the boots, which improves your energy transfer and performance.

Salomon is a prolific brand in the winter sports industry. Therefore, they offer a wide range of SNS-compatible boots. This means you can choose the best ones for you based on their features and your preferences.

However, it is worth noting that SNS cross-country ski bindings are more challenging to use, as they can be tricky to get in and out off.

This shouldn’t be too much of an issue for experienced cross-country skiers. Still, novices may want to choose a more beginner-friendly option, such as NNN bindings.

3. Prolink Bindings

Prolink Bindings

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Prolink cross-country ski bindings are a little more versatile than some types of cross-country ski bindings, as they can be used with NNN and Prolink boots. This gives you more flexibility when it is time to choose your cross-country skiing equipment. It is also helpful if you already have boots of either type.

These bindings are also pretty lightweight. This makes them suitable for cross-country skiers who want to reduce the weight of their equipment to improve their endurance or overall speed.

Prolink cross-country ski bindings are also easy to use. Therefore, beginner skiers benefit from speedy entry and exit from their bindings.

Another reason Prolink bindings are popular with beginner cross-country skiers is that they provide good control over your skis. But more advanced skiers can benefit from this, too, as they can exploit the enhanced maneuverability these bindings offer.

4. 75mm Bindings

75mm cross country bindings are the most distinctive of all the different types. This is down to the 75mm wide protrusion on the boot’s toe, known as the “duckbill.” The duckbill has three holes on the bottom that line up with the binding pins.

This type of cross-country ski binding offers excellent compatibility, as there are many boots with the 75mm duckbill design.

This design also provides good durability and reliability, so you don’t need to worry about becoming disconnected from your skis, even when skiing challenging terrain. This is important, as these bindings are often used for backcountry skiing.

Many cross-country skiers like 75mm cross-country ski bindings for their added stability and control. This is attractive for skiers who want to push themselves and beginners getting to grips with cross-country skiing.

On the other hand, 75mm bindings can only be used with 75mm boots, so make sure you have compatible boots before you buy your bindings. Some cross-country skiers prefer to use equipment that is as lightweight as possible, But 75mm bindings and boots are relatively heavy compared to other types.

5. NIS (Nordic Integrated System) Bindings

NIS (Nordic Integrated System) Bindings

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NIS cross-country ski bindings are designed to attach directly to your skis. The idea behind this design is that you can fine-tune the binding position to alter the ski’s performance characteristics, helping you to customize your setup to your personal preferences.

This type of cross country ski binding is also lightweight. Therefore, they are a good choice for those wanting to become faster skiers or ski longer distances.

You’ll like how easy NIS bindings are to install and adjust. Their design allows you to make minute changes quickly and easily.

Additionally, cross-country skiers choose NIS bindings for the amount of control they provide. You will quickly benefit from how maneuverable they make your cross country skiing setup, so turning is pretty easy compared to other types of bindings.

You can only use NIS binding with particular boots, so make sure your equipment is compatible before you buy. These bindings can be more expensive than other types, which may be a barrier if you want to take up cross-country skiing on a budget.

6. BC (Backcountry) bindings

BC cross-country ski bindings are used by skiers who like to stray into the backcountry away from the groomed tracks. This type of cross-country skiing requires different gear and skills than skiing on groomed trails, as the terrain can be unpredictable and challenging.

In backcountry cross-country skiing, skiers typically use wider, more durable skis with metal edges. These characteristics give them better control and stability on rough terrain.

With this in mind, BC bindings have to be incredibly durable due to the nature of the conditions they are used in. They also need to be supportive, so skiers can make their way through rugged terrain with stability and confidence.

In addition to this, BC bindings provide superior control, as cross-country skiing in the backcountry requires the skier to make precise movements in unpredictable circumstances.

Due to the extra durability of BC bindings, you have to expect them to be heavier than other types. This comes from the more robust design and components needed for reliability and control.

Unfortunately, this also means that BC bindings come at a higher price than other types. So this may be a problem if you want to explore off the beaten track on a budget.

You also need to be aware that you cannot use BC bindings with any cross country ski boots. These bindings are only compatible with BC boots. Therefore, you need to ensure that your boots and bindings fit together when buying a backcountry cross-country ski setup.

7. Three Pin Bindings

Three Pin Bindings

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Three-pin bindings are not very common these days. These are an older and more traditional style binding that use stiff boots initially designed for backcountry skiing racing or for use on cross-country ski tracks.

Older models were criticized as the bindings allowed lots of snow to accumulate under the heels of the boots. However, more modern versions don’t have this problem, making them more attractive to cross-country skiers than their older counterparts. Three-pin bindings are often cheaper than other kinds, and you often find second-hand ones for sale.

One of the downsides of these bindings, if you choose them, is that you will find that they are tricky to get in and out of. Therefore they are not the best choice for beginner cross-country skiers.

8. Turnamic Bindings

Turnamic Bindings

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Turnamic cross-country ski bindings were developed by Rossignol and Fischer in 2016. Therefore, you will find them on all the new cross-country skis from these two brands.

There are quite a few advantages of using Turnamic bindings, including attaching them to your skis without the need for tools. You can also adjust the position forward and backward on your skis to suit your skiing style or the terrain you encounter on any given day.

How To Choose Between The NNN Types Of Cross-Country Ski Bindings?

How To Choose Between The NNN Types Of Cross-Country Ski Bindings

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OK, so now you know the different types of cross-country ski bindings and their pros and cons. So, how do you know which ones to choose for your cross-country skiing setup?

What Kind Of Cross-Country Skiing Do You Want To Do?

What Kind Of Cross-Country Skiing Do You Want To Do?

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There are two main styles of cross-country skiing, one is classic, and the other is skate. The classic cross-country skiing technique involves a diagonal stride motion to propel yourself forwards. It is typically done on groomed trails or tracks but can also be done in backcountry terrain.

In classic cross-country skiing, skiers use skis that are longer and thinner than downhill skis, with a narrow profile that allows them to glide more easily on the snow. The skis have a patterned base that provides grip on the snow, allowing skiers to push off with one foot while gliding on the other.

The diagonal stride technique involves planting one ski and pushing off with the opposite pole, then repeating with the other ski and pole. The motion is similar to walking or running and requires arm and leg coordination.

When it comes to classic cross-country skiing, skiers commonly use NNN bindings. This is due to the fact that the boots have a wide platform, which gives you the stability and control that we mentioned earlier.

The skate style of cross-country skiing sees skiers using shorter and wider than classic skis, with a cambered base that provides spring-like resistance for a more efficient push-off. The skis also have a smooth base without the patterned grip found on classic skis.

The skating motion involves pushing off with one ski while gliding on the other, then alternating with the opposite ski. The motion is similar to ice skating or rollerblading and requires solid and coordinated movements of the legs and arms.

If you are interested in skate cross-country skiing, you may find the Salomon Nordic system a great choice. This is because the boot and binding combination provide lots of lateral support, which is ideal for the skating motion.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t use NNN bindings for skate cross-country skiing. The NNN Xcelerator binding is often used as it provides excellent power transfer and stability while you skate along.

What Kind Of Cross-Country Ski Boots Do You Have?

What Kind Of Cross-Country Ski Boots Do You Have?

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You may already have a pair of cross-country ski boots. In this case, the easiest and cheapest option is to buy bindings that are already compatible with your boots. If you are unsure which type of cross-country ski boots you have, you can tell by looking at the soles.

If you have a pair of NNN boots, you will see two thin, shallow grooves running along the sole. However, if you have a pair of SNS boots, you will notice two bars that attach the boots to the bindings. Three-pin binding compatible boots have three holes at the toes which the pins snap into.

Here is a rundown of the boot and binding compatibility:

If you have 75 mm boots, you can use these with three-pin and NNN bindings. However, NNN boots are compatible with NNN, NIS, and Prolink bindings.

It’s worth noting that if you have NNN BC boots, they will only work with NNN BC bindings. This is the same story with SNS bindings, as they will only work with SNS boots.

What Do You Have On The Top Of Your Skis?

What Do You Have On The Top Of Your Skis?

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Cross-country skis can come in several ways. First, they could be completely bare with nothing on the top, or they could be fitted with NIS plates, IFP plates, or have a Prolink shift.

If your skis have nothing on them and they are perfectly flat, you have free reign to fit them with any kind of binding you desire. However, if your skis are equipped with plates, you can benefit from the adjustability they give you, allowing you to fine-tune your binding position to suit the conditions.

For example, plates allow you to move the bindings forward, giving you more traction on the snow. But on the other hand, you can move the bindings toward the back of the skis if you prefer more glide.

What Do You Have On The Top Of Your Skis?

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If your skis are fitted with NIS plates, you can only fit NIS bindings to them. NIS bindings are NNN bindings that slide onto the plate, giving you an element of adjustability. You can identify an NIS plate by the notches and the fact that it doesn’t have numbers printed on it.

IFP stands for integrated fixation plate, and these plates can only be used with NNN Turnamic cross-country ski bindings. These bindings slide onto the plate and are adjustable like the NIS system.

IFP plates have a numbered adjustment mechanism but no notches, which helps you to differentiate them from NIS plates. It is worth noting that NIS plates and IFP plates are not interchangeable, and you can’t use Turnamic bindings on NIS plates.

You may come across cross-country skis with Prolink shift plates fitted to them. These are Salomon and Atomic’s version of the Turnamic IFP system. These plates are only compatible with Salomon and Atomic Prolink bindings and are not interchangeable with other types.

One of the good things about Prolink bindings is that a good range of boots is available, as they are compatible with the NNN system.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

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As you can see, there are several different types of cross-country ski bindings to choose from. If you are just getting into the sport, you would be better off buying skis at work. Best for the type of cross-country skiing you are interested in.

Skate skis are generally shorter and have a higher flex rating than classic skis. Classic skis are longer, which gives you more grip on the snow and has more glide when you stride forward.

If your new cross-country skis have binding plates fitted to them, it is essential that you pick bindings that work with the plates. This also means you need cross-country ski boots that are compatible with the bindings.

The best thing to do when you’re getting into a new sport, such as cross-country skiing, is to visit a specialty store. You can get expert advice on the right equipment for you, and you will get a good feel for how all the equipment works together and how it feels on your feet.

The other good thing about visiting a ski store is that they may have demo equipment or rentals. This will give you a chance to try out various setups, giving you the opportunity to find the best one for you.

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Different Types Of Cross Country Ski Bindings

Author: Peter SalisburyPete is the Owner of KayakHelp.com. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he grew up kayaking, fishing, sailing, and partaking in outdoor adventures around the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him skiing in the mountains, reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.

Welcome! I’m so glad you are here :-) I’m Pete. I am the owner of KayakHelp.com. I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, I grew up kayaking, fishing, sailing, and partaking in outdoor adventures around the Great Lakes. When I am not out on the water, you can find me skiing in the mountains, reading my favorite books, and spending time with my family.

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