A beginner in cross-country skiing faces a lot of questions. He has to choose skis, wear, but one of the hardest questions is one about the bindings. It causes a lot of misunderstandings as there are two major cross-country ski bindings systems. SNS and NNN are the major letters you will see and need to understand what they mean before you will choose the right bindings and boots. Here is our quick guide to the different Cross-Country Ski Bindings systems and the difference between SNS and NNN.
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SNS and NNN (meaning and difference)
In the beginning, it is good to know what the abbreviations mean. SNS means Salomon Nordic System.
NNN means New Nordic Norm. Now, when you know it you can forget it, as usually everywhere just the three magic letters SNS and NNN are used.
Both systems are not compatible. So if you have NNN ski boots, you can use them just with NNN bindings. If you have SNS ski boots, it will work just with SNS cross-country ski bindings.
Both systems use the metal rod at the toe of shoes which connects the ski boot with ski bindings (via clip-in mechanism). O.k., so what makes the difference between SNS and NNN? The ridges on the rest of the bindings. Matching ridges on the ski boots and bindings gives skier grip and control. They are different. NNN system has two parts and two ridges. SNS system has one basic ridge. Look at the pictures below and you will understand.
NNN CROSS-COUNTRY SKI BINDINGS
NNN ski boots have two channels that line up with corresponding ridges on the NNN bindings.
View available NNN ski bindings and boots at Amazon here.
SNS CROSS-COUNTRY SKI BINDINGS
SNS ski boots have one channel that corresponds with one ridge on SNS bindings.
View available SNS ski bindings and boots at Amazon here.
Which cross-country ski bindings system is better?
Good question but there is no answer to it. Basically, both systems are equally good. I tried both and I did not notice any clear advantage or disadvantage of one or other systems. Both systems are used by amateurs, recreational skiers, and professionals too. The choice is up to you. Just keep in mind, that ski boots and bindings have to be the same system. Either SNS or NNN. So if you already have ski boots, check what system they support.
From my personal observation, the NNN system is used a bit more than SNS. Though, currently, the new Turnamic binding system is taking the lead.
Salomon SNS Profil Auto Universe XC Ski Bindings
Fischer Bcx Auto Nnn Cross Country Ski Bindings
Rossignol Control Step in XC Ski Bindings
Other derivations of Cross Country Ski Bindings
Development and innovations are alive also in cross-country skiing. Therefore we have also some derivations of basic SNS and NNN systems.
3-PIN (or NN) bindings are the oldest system of bindings, where the boot is attached to skis via three pins that are placed in the holes on the bottom of the boot, and a metal clamp is used for fixing the ski boot. This system is still used in some of Whitewood’s cross-country skis.
SNS PILOT – the boot is connected to the ski via two metal rods.
NNN NIS – NIS means a Nordic integrated system, which was developed by Rottefella, Madshus, and Rossignol. NIS is the plate integrated into the ski. Then you can add NNN bindings just via the click-on system without any drilling into the ski.
TURNAMIC BINDINGS – Turnamic is a new binding system developed by Fischer and Rossignol is used at all new cross country skis of these brands.
View available Turnamic ski bindings and boots at Amazon here.
Boots and Bindings Compatibility Quick Check Table
|NNN BC||NNN BC|
|SNS PROFIL||SNS PROFIL|
|SNS PILOT||SNS PILOT|
What to buy first? Cross Country Ski Bindings or Boots?
It really does not matter. But you have to keep in mind, that Ski Boots and Ski Bindings have to be compatible. People usually start with boots. When they find comfortable ski boots they like, then they buy also appropriate bindings. Another usual approach is in buying cross-country ski packages, which comprise everything you need. Skis, Boots, Bindings (already installed), and Poles.
Salomon Escape 5 Cross Country Ski Package
Rossignol Evo XC 60 Tour Cross Country Ski Package
Whitewoods 75mm 3Pin Cross Country Ski Package
Salomon Escape 5 Grip No-Wax cross country ski
Rossignol EVO 60 Skis
Whitewoods Cross Tour Skis