What are NNN Bindings?

Mary McMahon

New Nordic Norm (NNN) bindings are a type of ski binding. Ski bindings are used to connect skiers with their skis and are designed with a locking mechanism to prevent separation. They have been in use since skiing was developed and have evolved a long way from strips of animal hide and bark.

Traditional alpine ski bindings lock the boot onto the ski.
Traditional alpine ski bindings lock the boot onto the ski.

There are a wide variety of ski bindings on the market, depending on what type of skis are involved and their intended use. NNN bindings are easy to use and standardized across much of the ski market. For cross country skiing, this type of binding is an excellent choice.

NNN bindings are good choices for cross-contry skiing.
NNN bindings are good choices for cross-contry skiing.

NNN bindings use a short metal rod in the toe of the boot that connects with a corresponding clip-in binding on the ski. In addition to the toe binding, they also include a series of matching ridges on the boots and ski for greater grip and control. Several skiing disciplines take advantage of these bindings because they are easy to use and provide great flexibility for the skier. They include a safety release so that if a skier falls, he or she will not become entangled with the skis.

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This type of binding allows freedom of movement for the heel, which is a crucial part of cross country and telemark skiing. The skier can lift his or her heel entirely out of the binding but still be firmly connected at the toe. When solid lateral traction is needed, the skier can place his or her heel flat on the ski and connect with the ridged features of the binding.

A number of manufacturers make NNN bindings, and some brands are known for their solid construction, durability, and ease of use. Other, similar binding systems are also available; the Salomon Nordic System (SNS) bindings are also constructed with a binding rod and ridges. The layout of this system is slightly different, however, so the boots and ski bindings designed for one type are not compatible with the other.

Because some manufacturers make slightly different versions of NNN bindings, skiers should always check for compatibility when purchasing new equipment. Some manufacturers are cross compatible with each other, while others make slightly different designs that will not work properly together. Skiers who are uncertain about binding compatibility should consult the staff at a ski shop or the manufacturer directly.

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