Seeking Advice on NTN

This is the World Famous TelemarkTalk / TelemarkTips Forum, by far the most dynamic telemark and backcountry skiing discussion board on the world wide web. We have fun here, come on in and be a part of it.
User avatar
martin2007
XCD Enthusiast
XCD Enthusiast
Posts: 84
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:23 pm
Location: Ontario/Colorado

Re: Seeking Advice on NTN

Post by martin2007 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:52 pm

No, Al, I haven't started looking at boots. The good news is that I'm happy skiing on what I've already got. All my stuff is duckbilled from plastic Synergies to Excursions to T3's to leathers. Kind of like one system for versatility of switching boots and skis around. So I will definitely rent an NTN package before leaping into the void. Some themes seem to emerge in NTN talk: 1) ease of entry with step-ins, to which I can't help asking why bother ever going to a gym if we're so far gone that we can't reach down to activate our bindings and attach our leashes? 2) possible annoyance from intrusive brakes-bumping/catching when skinning uphill, 3) NTN requiring/encouraging a more upright stance, and I do wonder why that would be a consequence of the system. I ski my Vices "new tele" style. Confession: I stole that term from a New England skier I met 4 years ago in my tele-beginnings at a tele-fest in Bromley, Vermont, and have only now gotten around to brashly tossing it out there. It does sound kind of silly, doesn't it? Translations: "New Tele": "Don't exaggerate, boys! It's all about the dignity!" vs. "Old Tele": "Get low! Your knees aren't black and blue enough! And why aren't you wearing those gigantic orange Voile knee-pads I gave you at Christmas!?" I'm not often stretching my stance out into old-school knee-bashing, i.e. making two unremarkable skis into one long 300+cm. powder-shredder, though I confess that it's this last image of tele that first fired my imagination 3 decades ago. Unfortunately, circumstances were such that I postponed learning the trade until 4 years ago 3.5) I already find that that my Vices accommodate P-turns as well as I ever want them to, 4) I'm hearing that one shouldn't count on NTN's releasability, but hey! wasn't that one of the original rationales when they were first developed? and 5) the price of new Outlaw X's and boots is also a tad extravagant for this fella... That said, I'm not yet ruling them out!

User avatar
Rodbelan
XCD Pinhead
XCD Pinhead
Posts: 337
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:53 am
Ski style: Very stylish
Favorite Skis: All of them; old, new...
Favorite boots: T2X & T4 for off piste; BD Axis for groomers; Merrell for XCD

Re: Seeking Advice on NTN

Post by Rodbelan » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:16 am

That thing about «down» and «up» stance isn't quite (always) right to me; if you are carving (really), you will need to go down because of the angulation... your trailing knee has to be closer to the snow. You just can't get away with it... Voilà. Just a little precision...

User avatar
dnt_upton
XCD Pinhead
XCD Pinhead
Posts: 129
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:00 pm
Location: Drink Moxie

Re: Seeking Advice on NTN

Post by dnt_upton » Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:37 pm

martin2007 wrote:1) ease of entry with step-ins, to which I can't help asking why bother ever going to a gym if we're so far gone that we can't reach down to activate our bindings and attach our leashes? 2) possible annoyance from intrusive brakes-bumping/catching when skinning uphill, 3) NTN requiring/encouraging a more upright stance, and I do wonder why that would be a consequence of the system. I ski my Vices "new tele" style. Confession: I stole that term from a New England skier I met 4 years ago in my tele-beginnings at a tele-fest in Bromley, Vermont, and have only now gotten around to brashly tossing it out there. It does sound kind of silly, doesn't it? Translations: "New Tele": "Don't exaggerate, boys! It's all about the dignity!" vs. "Old Tele": "Get low! Your knees aren't black and blue enough! And why aren't you wearing those gigantic orange Voile knee-pads I gave you at Christmas!?" I'm not often stretching my stance out into old-school knee-bashing, i.e. making two unremarkable skis into one long 300+cm. powder-shredder, though I confess that it's this last image of tele that first fired my imagination 3 decades ago. Unfortunately, circumstances were such that I postponed learning the trade until 4 years ago 3.5) I already find that that my Vices accommodate P-turns as well as I ever want them to, 4) I'm hearing that one shouldn't count on NTN's releasability, but hey! wasn't that one of the original rationales when they were first developed? and 5) the price of new Outlaw X's and boots is also a tad extravagant for this fella... That said, I'm not yet ruling them out!
(1) I generally agree, though the step in is quicker. I still use leashes.
(2) Don't use brakes. Not necessary and, if they catch, you'll never want to use them anyway.
(3) Outlaw X requires no change in stance. I can't speak about the others. Some ski high, some low.
(4) They can release better than a 75mm binding, but they are not a "releasable" binding.
(5) Price is always an issue.

The main reason to get Outlaw or any binding other than the one you have is that you like how it skis more, either because of the binding or because of the boots or both. IMHO, NTN boots are more comfortable and easier to hike/walk in than 75mm boots. Outlaw X skis as well to better than any binding I've ever tried. Others may disagree of course and that's fine -- no one should care if you use Outlaw, Hammherhead, or 3-pins. There's no prize for homogenizing our sport.

User avatar
lowangle al
XCD KNIGHT
XCD KNIGHT
Posts: 1136
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:36 pm

Re: Seeking Advice on NTN

Post by lowangle al » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:55 am

martin2007 wrote:No, Al, I haven't started looking at boots. The good news is that I'm happy skiing on what I've already got. All my stuff is duckbilled from plastic Synergies to Excursions to T3's to leathers. Kind of like one system for versatility of switching boots and skis around. So I will definitely rent an NTN package before leaping into the void. Some themes seem to emerge in NTN talk: 1) ease of entry with step-ins, to which I can't help asking why bother ever going to a gym if we're so far gone that we can't reach down to activate our bindings and attach our leashes? 2) possible annoyance from intrusive brakes-bumping/catching when skinning uphill, 3) NTN requiring/encouraging a more upright stance, and I do wonder why that would be a consequence of the system. I ski my Vices "new tele" style. Confession: I stole that term from a New England skier I met 4 years ago in my tele-beginnings at a tele-fest in Bromley, Vermont, and have only now gotten around to brashly tossing it out there. It does sound kind of silly, doesn't it? Translations: "New Tele": "Don't exaggerate, boys! It's all about the dignity!" vs. "Old Tele": "Get low! Your knees aren't black and blue enough! And why aren't you wearing those gigantic orange Voile knee-pads I gave you at Christmas!?" I'm not often stretching my stance out into old-school knee-bashing, i.e. making two unremarkable skis into one long 300+cm. powder-shredder, though I confess that it's this last image of tele that first fired my imagination 3 decades ago. Unfortunately, circumstances were such that I postponed learning the trade until 4 years ago 3.5) I already find that that my Vices accommodate P-turns as well as I ever want them to, 4) I'm hearing that one shouldn't count on NTN's releasability, but hey! wasn't that one of the original rationales when they were first developed? and 5) the price of new Outlaw X's and boots is also a tad extravagant for this fella... That said, I'm not yet ruling them out!
I feel about the same as you Martin,curious about NTN, but happy with what I'm currently using. I don't think there are any options to rent or demo NTN in Ak. but a local hill back in Pa. has demos, and uphill skiing. It's funny that Telemark is bigger down there than up here.

The step-in feature with brakes would be nice. I don't know why, but I can ski a mile uphill with no problem, but bend over to adjust my boot or binding and I'm out of breath. Maybe my pants are too tight.

I don't know if you have a wide scaled BC ski in your quiver, if you don't that's where I'd put my money.

User avatar
Harris
XCD Pinhead
XCD Pinhead
Posts: 324
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:08 pm

Re: Seeking Advice on NTN

Post by Harris » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:28 pm

So this is what I'd say about all that...

I made the conversion to NTN via TX Pros with Rott Freerides on BD Havoks from circa 1995 Garmont Garas mated with Targa G3 bindings mounted on a variety of alpine race skis and 75mm stick Kazamas. I had a really hard time at first with NTN. My binding choice for an intro was that god awful first gen Rott and second gen Scarpa TX pros. The first week on them I tore my ACL in half, as well as fractured my tibia. Horribly profound injury. The NTN are a different animal, especially if used to sloppy 75mm norm duckbills. After surgery and a long recovery I ditched the Rotts and tried the gamut of NTN bindings, including the first gen Miojos, which I liked but yanked out of a ski in only a couple days (the are by design a great skiing binding but structurally flawed (if you ski aggressively IMO)). I eventually landed with the Outlaw mounted on K2 Pinnicle 95s (a good left Coast ski). It skied fine, but with a fear of NTN still on the brain from my ACL obliteration, I could never ski it (NTN) like I could 75 norm. And so I reverted back, skied my old Garas in both Vice and Axl bindings, eventually upgrading to Scott Synergy's. That was last year.

This year, due to the 35+ years of skiing only tele, old, tired and damaged knees et al, I decided to do the unthinkable, I bought and mostly have skied alpine this year. It has been like a whole new sport again. Much fun relearning, but I still love tele, and routinely make the switch up, even sometimes during the same outing. And going from alpine to the Synergy's/Vice or Axl's now feels really dicy. After being back on alpine, in great boots and great, slalom-esq carving skis, I became used to the greatly restrictive yet supportive alpine set up again. So I mounted up the old Outlaws on a pair of used Atomic Vantage X 80 CTI's, dusted off the old TX pros and... Now I love them. I don't fear the NTN at all anymore. Much more solid setup than my Synergy/Vice setup. Would I ski it anything but excellent condition frontside or side country? Nope. For that I'm on the alpines; way more fun/way more less exerting, which equals more fun for me. But on NTN, well there you have it.

It is all a matter of feel.

User avatar
lowangle al
XCD KNIGHT
XCD KNIGHT
Posts: 1136
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:36 pm

Re: Seeking Advice on NTN

Post by lowangle al » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:23 am

Too bad about that accident Harris, glad to hear you're up and running. It was that hard to get used to NTN, how much of it was due to the boot do you think?

User avatar
martin2007
XCD Enthusiast
XCD Enthusiast
Posts: 84
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:23 pm
Location: Ontario/Colorado

Re: Seeking Advice on NTN

Post by martin2007 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:33 am

Thanks to all so far for your insights. Harris, your "badass" tone of 30+ years of tele experience kindled some of the doubt that lingers in my gut at this stage. I'm conscious of how easily and quickly this 4-year-old late-arrival tele-adventure could be interrupted or ended. You've got 30+ years of tele on me, so I definitely appreciate your perspective. You're continuing to ski, alpine and tele, after a serious injury. You're outdoors in the snow and on the mountain, skiing, even though your legs and knees are, as you say, getting old. I can't say with any confidence that an injury such as yours wouldn't push me to close the door and develop some other interest or talent I might still have left in me. One of the advantages I've had in coming relatively late in life to tele and to some other outdoor sports is that I haven't yet had to endure witnessing my decline in one of the new endeavours. When it's new, you can only improve! Example of the opposite: after a lifetime of playing squash I stopped 10 years ago due to what I perceived as serious long-term risk to my knees and joints. But part of the reason for stopping was, for sure, that I wasn't happy with myself performing at a lower level. It pissed me off. Not necessarily the healthiest reason for leaving a sport, but it's the one I took, and it's probably the decision I'd take again given similar circumstances. Kudos to you for loving skiing enough that you'll do what's necessary to adapt and to keep skiing on the mountain.

For a few days I had my eye on a pair of slightly used Vices at my favourite consignment store in Winter Park. Yesterday the store employee offered me them for $50 as they weren't attracting any attention. I couldn't resist, so they'll quite possibly find their way onto my next pair of skis.

On Monday I wrap up here in W.P. and head out for Utah with a 2-dayer in Steamboat to break up the drive. I'm excited to be heading west. First time ever to Utah, and I'm going to be skiing 10 days or more there on my Ikon pass. We've had amazing powder this season in CO., and with luck, I might yet get to demo some NTN on a powder day at one of the Utah resorts.

User avatar
Ttime
XCD Enthusiast
XCD Enthusiast
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:37 am

Re: Seeking Advice on NTN

Post by Ttime » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:19 pm

I was in this same situation as Martin2007 two years ago, but decided to just plunge in and switch to NTN. I went from 22D Axl & DB Push to Outlaw & TX Pro. One comment said that TX Pro was too stiff, but I found them to be much softer than my DB Push. Although if you came from 3-buckle to 4-buckle set up, it would probably feel stiffer. First day on the new NTN set up, I thought I could just jump on them without any problem. Boy, was I wrong! As with Harris commented, NTN is a different animal. The balance point and pivot point are very different from 75mm. It felt like first day on tele. Took me about 6-7 days to really feel like I could make decent turns. I stayed off the steeps for quite a while until I gained more confidence. Anyway, it was a bit frustrating. I actually switched back to 75 mm set up for a week or two, and almost did away with NTN altogether. I just didn't want to relearn something I was already good at on the old 75mm. But in the end, I decided to really give NTN more time.

I'm glad that I stuck with it and now couldn't be happier with the switch. NTN is just more responsive and gives a very solid platform to work with. I can make P-turn almost as good as being on an alpine set up when I want to. I can get down as low as on my Axl. I know some people said it puts them in a more upright stance. I feel that it just a matter of adjusting the spring rate. I have mine at 1 or 2 at the most on the Outlaw. I had tried it on the higher settings as well and they were super stiff. I'm only 125 lbs. so I don't ski on anything setting above 3. One thing to note...When the bindings are new the springs are fairly stiff no matter how you adjust the tension, so it needs a bit of break in time. With that said, the boots as well need some break in time. So in the beginning everything about the whole new set up is stiff. I'm in my second year of NTN, and now my boots fee too soft that I wished I had gotten the TX Comp instead. I love carving and going fast and low, and NTN really excel in this department. I feel rock solid when digging deep into a turn. The old 75mm felt somewhat wobbly in this department. I have to say that I love the step in feature. I always had a hard time snapping the beaver tail on my left ski with the cable system, especially when you're in a precarious spot. I'm just not that flexible. There are places where I have to hike into the chute then put the skis on, and being able to step in when your on the steeps is a huge plus. The bindings did release once where I had a bad crash. Although, only one ski actually popped out. I don't use the breaks as I prefer to use cables instead. I love the security of having the skis attached to my boots. I just don't want to pop out of my skis in deep powder and spend hours sweating looking for them. I'd done it before on my alpine set up and it was not fun what so ever. It can ruin what could be an epic powder day.

Having said all that, I have to say that NTN is not for everyone. Personally, I love them. But if you want to switch, you need to understand that there may be a bit of learning period to get use to them. A few weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to get on the old 75mm as I still have them. And I had to laugh because I could really feel the difference now and they just felt so floppy in comparison to NTN.

User avatar
Harris
XCD Pinhead
XCD Pinhead
Posts: 324
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:08 pm

Re: Seeking Advice on NTN

Post by Harris » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:18 pm

lowangle al wrote:Too bad about that accident Harris, glad to hear you're up and running. It was that hard to get used to NTN, how much of it was due to the boot do you think?
I would say the injury had more to do with the difference between skiing years on the the 75mm norm and the newness of learning the NTN Freeride binding. What happened was... While turning tight but significant brushed arcs on a groomer I hit some blue ice and the downhill ski washed out at the turn finish (i.e. when in full telemark). Like I would typically do and had done a gazillion times on duckbills, I drove back hard onto the rear ski looking for bite and boy howdy did it find it. It literally locked the ski up as the downhill ski slid outward away. So basically I did the splits while in a telemark and the trailing ski only released its edge and rolled over when my knee exploded with a loud pop.I actually watched my femur pop over the top of my tibia when the ACL snapped in two. Pretty gross.

This scenario almost happened again a year later (after ACL replacement surgery). Scared the crap out of me, concerning the bindings. Not wanting to totally give up on the NTN concept led me to try the Meidjo and later the Outlaws. I never had the above scenario reoccur after ditching the Rottefella Freerides. I'm not knocking them, but I just don't ski them as well as the Meidjo or Outlaws, which is more closer to a duckbill flex than the Rotts. Rotts come on hard once they hit a certain flex point. Other NTN are more progressive. And the Rotts force heavy tippy toe, which I could never get used to. The Outlaws are however a very different binding than only duckbill/cable setup. But the Outlaw is IMO definitely less extreme to use than the Freerides.

User avatar
Harris
XCD Pinhead
XCD Pinhead
Posts: 324
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:08 pm

Re: Seeking Advice on NTN

Post by Harris » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:42 pm

martin2007 wrote:Thanks to all so far for your insights. Harris, your "badass" tone of 30+ years of tele experience kindled some of the doubt that lingers in my gut at this stage. I'm conscious of how easily and quickly this 4-year-old late-arrival tele-adventure could be interrupted or ended. You've got 30+ years of tele on me, so I definitely appreciate your perspective.
I have seen many older skiers skiing tele and loving it. I am, less so now for sure, a very aggressive skier. I think one of the benefits of duckbills is that they are extremely forgiving to wipe out on. The old leathers I first learned on in the early 80's even more so. In all my years, including many as a kid trying to replicate pro level alpine bump skiing speed down Steamboat zipper lines (my old stomping grounds), and that effort landed me more spectacular wipe-outs than I can count I should add, I never hurt a knee seriously enough for a hospital visit up until the ACL blowout 4 years ago. Wore out my patellas, but that's a different matter (I put a lot of that on using kneepads that pressed my patellas into the condial grooves, wearing hard on the cartilage (I no longer use kneepads and my knee caps hurt far less while skiing). Anyway. So, that said, I think tele gear, at least 75mm norm, is a pretty safe way to ski, especially if you are not going crazy on them.

Post Reply