Cross-Country Ski Bindings – SNS and NNN system difference

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 system 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. SNS system has one basic ridge. NNN system has two parts and two ridges. Look at the pictures below and you will understand.

SNS CROSS-COUNTRY SKI BINDINGS

SNS ski boots have one channel that corresponds with one ridge on SNS bindings.

 

NNN CROSS-COUNTRY SKI BINDINGS

NNN ski boots have two channels that line up with corresponding ridges on the NNN bindings.

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.



Salomon SNS Profil Auto Universe XC Ski Bindings

Fischer Bcx Auto Nnn Cross Country Ski Bindings

Rossignol Control Step in XC Ski Bindings

Brands:
SALOMON
ATOMIC

Brands:
ROTEFFELLA
FISCHER

Brands:
ROSSIGNOL
FISCHER

BUY SNS BINDINGS ON AMAZON

BUY NNN BINDINGS ON AMAZON

BUY NNN BINDINGS ON AMAZON

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 (NN)

Whitewoods XC Ski Package with 3-PIN bindings sold on Amazon

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. Check more about the features and advantages of Turnamic Bindings in our article here.

Boots and Bindings Compatibility Quick Check Table

BootsCompatible Bindings
75 mm3-PIN
NNNNNN
NIS
PROLINK
TURNAMIC
NNN BCNNN BC
SNS PROFILSNS PROFIL
SNS PILOTSNS 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 of everything you need. Skis, Boots, Bindings (already installed), and Poles.


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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
Salomon Escape Prolink Boot (Mens) or Salomon Vitane Prolink Boot (Womens)
Salomon ProLink Automatic Bindings (installed)
Swix ST102 Trail Poles

Rossignol EVO 60 Skis
Turnamic Bindings
Salomon Escape Prolink Boot (Mens) or Salomon Vitane Prolink Boot (Womens)
Swix ST102 Trail pole

Whitewoods Cross Tour Skis
75mm/3-Pin Touring Bindings; Pre-mounted on the skis
Whitewoods 301 75mm/3-Pin Cross Country Ski Boots
Cross Trail Nordic Ski Poles

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Posted in Best Skis, Blog, Cross-Country Skis, Reviews, Ski & Snowboard Boots.

Ski Pro Guru

Simon is the leading editor of SkiProGuru.com for almost 3 years. He started skiing in his teens and now he switches from Alpine to Cross-Country Skiing regularly. He tried also snowboard for a few years, but then returned to conventional skiing :) In his free time he follows soccer, tennis and reads a lot of contemporary proses and novels.

14 Comments

  1. “NIS is the wooden part integrated into the ski.”

    I have never seen an NIS mounting plate of wood. It is normally made of plastic. On roller skis it is sometimes cut out of the metal shaft of the roller ski.

    There are today two more binding systems in addition to NNN and SNS, and these are Prolink, introduced by Atomic and Salomon in 2016, and Turnamic, introduced by Fischer and Rossignol in 2017, both are, however, compatible with NNN.

  2. Oh, what to do in 2021?! Many years ago perhaps 16 year ago I bought a pair of Atomic Vasa Classic 196 cm in length for a woman who is 166,7 cm long. On those skis I have Salomans SNS (Saloman Nordic System) Profil bindings. Well my classical ski boots wore out (split) at the heel. I am a strong and experienced skier who actually prefers the freestyle (skate) motion over the classical. I always was able to do freestyle on my Atomic Vasa Classic skis. That is probably the main reason the boots wore out. I am now considering after 16 years buying a combi boot. But the problem that comes up now is which combi boot would be suitable for my Salomans SNS (Saloman Nordic System) Profil bindings in 2021? What is the difference between buying a combi boot and a skate boot? Would the combi boot function well with my Atomic Vasa Classic? Or would I be better off buying a skate ski and skate ski boots if I prefer to do freestyle?

    • I think you should buy skate skis with NNN compatible bindings, poles of the appropriate length for skate skiing (90 % of your body height), and a pair of NNN compatible combi boots. The SNS bindings on your Atomic Vasa Classic should be replaced with NNN compatible bindings that fit the screw holes in the ski; that can be a Prolink, Turnamic or NIS binding, the two latter with mounting plates for the SNS screw hole pattern.

  3. i found a pair of pre-1989 adidas SL5 skis. they have 3 pins. i have no idea what kind of boots/bindings would be needed, any ideas? thanks in advance

    • Hey,
      try 3-Pin boots:

      “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.”

  4. I have a pair of 30 year old Madsus skis that I have started using again after 20 years of them being stored in the rafters of my garage (been spending winters in Arizona until Covid hit).
    Just wondering if it is possible to use skins on them (I’m guessing that the answer is “no’, but I thought I’d ask). Also, they have the 3 pin bindings ….can they be replaced with NNN bindings?

  5. Greetings Guru! I have Cross country skis with SNS bindings and I have wanted to go backpacking/winter camping in Minnesota’s Boundry water area. I am wondering if affixing a binding plate to my snowshoes would be easier to use especially for going uphill. Any thoughts as to the best compatibility or should I just use the tye on binding that is on my snowshoes now? Any advantage to the NNN binding for what I am doing as I have contemplated upgrading to a warmer boot. Thank you! Take care and stay well!

  6. I just bought a pair of Salomon cross country ski boots e4 that are for the sns bindings. Would these boots be compatible with Solomon’s profile bindings? Thank you for your help!

    • I think that Salomon produce boots compatible with its bindings but can not find e4 boots so can not check for sure.

  7. I have a pair of old wooden skis. Are there shops in New Jersey that will service them and tar the bottoms. Can you still get wax for wood skis

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