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 misunderstanding 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 Cross-Country Ski Bindings system and the difference between SNS and NNN.
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SNS and NNN (meaning and difference)
At 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. Look at the pictures below and you will understand.
SNS CROSS-COUNTRY SKI BINDINGS
NNN CROSS-COUNTRY SKI 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 system. 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
Rottefella NNN Touring Manual XC 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.
SNS PILOT – the boot is connected to 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 click-on system without any drilling into the ski.
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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.
Salomon Escape 5 Grip Cross Country Ski Package
Alpina Control 60 Cross Country Ski Package
Salomon Escape 5 Grip No-Wax Skis
Alpina Control 60 No-Wax skis