Thinking about new boots, 75mm vs NTN, from my perspective.

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Telecat
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Thinking about new boots, 75mm vs NTN, from my perspective.

Post by Telecat » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:21 pm

So when i started tele skiing I did so on a tight budget with old gear found on craigslist for cheap. There was no where around the catskills to demo and I just wanted to try it out.

For $100 I got some old scarpa T2s (the blue/silver ones, 15+ years old?) And some skinny skis with targa bindings that I ripped off and put on more modern downhill skis.

Since then I have 2 pairs of modern (c. 2010) skis with hammerhead bindings. I LOVE this boot and binding combo. Even though I've never tried anything else, I cant say I need or want anything more. In 3 years ive become an advance tele skier (double diamonds, no cliffs or anything too fancy). these boots and bindings have never had too little power or control for what I try to do.

I leave my T2s in walk mode, but keep the straps snug. And use hammerheads set to the 4th tightest pin, so pretty active. I love this. I love that just cruising, on less steep and slower sections I can be pretty upright. But when carving I can get low and really FLEEEX my l boots and tap into the power of the hammerheads. Idk I love the feel, i have tons of power.




I guess what I'm getting at is that, thse boots are getting old, they probably wont have another full season in them. They are battered, and never really fit right. They are a mondo 29.5 and I'm around 30.5/31. I got them to fit by putting my 30.5 liners from another set of boots in there, over all a snug set of boots, but I always like my shoes to fit snug anyway.

So for my next set of boots I'd like them to be professionally fitted ideally. I'm just not sure if its wise to buy brand new duckbills for hundreds of dollars... tl

I definitely cant afford a whole new ntn set up. boots and 2 new sets of bindings for my skis is too much money. And I've never even tried NTN. Whenever I've tried demoing they never have my size boots.

I guess I'm confused why there is so much effort to replace duckbills when in my experience they're so much fun to ski. I definitely appreciate the releasing and step in features NTN offers. But again I can't afford it, and I'm worried it would take some of the soul out of tele skiing if it's too rigid of a set up.

Should i just keep trying to find used 75mm boots, Instead of investing in new ones that will be too obsolete in a few years?

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Re: Thinking about new boots, 75mm vs NTN, from my perspective.

Post by Hindfoot » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:54 pm

Your dilemma was mine for several years. But mine was exacerbated by the persistently crappy fit of my old Garmont VooDoo 75mm boots, which I had spent countless hours of my own time on and lots of money to also have pro fitted, but these boots were just too roomy and always painful. Even bought some used T-1s, which seemed to fit my skinny feet better yet were just too narrow in the toes for me to use, even though I heat refitted the liner toes several times.

Meanwhile I'd been reading some good stuff about how NTN puts your connection to the ski right under the ball of your foot, where you bear your weight and center your balance whenever you're on your feet. This is a far better spot from which to steer and control your skis. More solid lateral connection and in the best spot. Much better than that duck bill extension of semi-flexible boot sole way out in front of your foot's balance point. Even the prehistoric [tele] skis, that climate warming has melted out of Norwegian glaciers, connected to the foot by a stiff strap over the ball of the foot, and with a stiff heel strap from that for lateral control.

So, since am in my mid 70s figured I did not want to waste any more Winters trying to get those ill fitting boots to work and not hurt my feet, so got some TX Comps from Scarpa NA, with their good no cost return policy, to check the fit. They did seem to fit far better than the VooDoos and pretty well even before heat fitting, though were not so narrow as the T-1s, so figured I could do some custom work on the liners if needed and bought the Comps. Found a 20% off price at Backcountry on the Outlaw-X, mounted them in the Axl holes on my old Liberty Helix 105s and was fully committed and hoping I'd not made a mistake.

This NTN setup is quite different feeling from the duckbill gear and with amazingly better ski control than all my previous duckbill gear. Right away it feels like the amount of control and foot steering possible is so worth all the extra bother and expense. It did take some getting used to, and it seems that I somehow ski them a bit differently. Hard to say just how differently as both boots and bindings are considerably different than my 75mm setup. Other than 3-pins, then Voile CRBs, have for years only skied 22D bindings; Hammerheads, always on setting 5, Axl, also on stiffest setting, but with these Outlaw-x, for some reason I like them best at the softest setting, or close to it. After about a dozen days on these the springs may be softening up a bit and the new boots are also, so preferred settings may change.
Last edited by Hindfoot on Fri Jun 05, 2020 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Thinking about new boots, 75mm vs NTN, from my perspective.

Post by Andy M » Wed Jun 03, 2020 7:00 pm

Telecat, given your situation, I would continue to look for 75mm boots, whether new (and on sale) or used.

I ski both 75mm and NTN, and I actually still prefer 75mm for downhill (with a binding like the Hammerhead/Axl), for all the reasons that you mention. However, even though you seem to be satisfied with the performance of those old T2s, I recommend you look for a used pair of T1s of recent vintage, if you primarily ski at the area. I use a T1 boot for area skiing, and I love them -- they will give you a big performance boost beyond the silver/blue T2s (which I also have used). If you want to stay with a lighter boot, and/or you will also do some backcountry, you should look for some used T2 Eco boots, which will also be more powerful than those old T2s. (Note: I actually find the T1 to have a better (i.e., smoother) bellows flex than the T2 Eco, which seems unnecessarily stiff.)

I do think that 75mm will be around for a while yet, although I have to admit I am considering buying a back-up pair of T1s just in case.

Also, FYI, for used boot buying: Scarpa shells break such that 29.5/30 is one shell size, and 30.5/31.0 is another shell size.

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Re: Thinking about new boots, 75mm vs NTN, from my perspective.

Post by Nick BC » Thu Jun 04, 2020 12:14 am

Since you are a competent downhill tele skier, I would say look for a pair of second hand NTN boots. If you can find a pair of Scarpa TX’s in your size jump on them. They have three buckles and tour like a dream, if you loosen the top buckle. The TX Pro is stiffer In the cuff with four buckles. I have both and, pretty much only ski the TX’s as they suit my style so much better. The TX Pros feel like “boat anchors”.

The great thing about NTN is the directional control. Either through the underfoot claw (Outlaw X, Rottefella Freedom and Freeride) or the “holy grail” Meidjo and Lynx. The addition of the tech toe is a game changer, as the toe is locked in and it almost feels like cheating. (I started tele in 1980 so I flailed). Plus, with the tech toes you can try all the tele tech options. The advantage of them is you don’t have the occasional snow build up problems of the Meidjo and L

Plus, if you go tele tech you can maybe re use your HH heelpiece for the back end.

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Re: Thinking about new boots, 75mm vs NTN, from my perspective.

Post by Johnny » Thu Jun 04, 2020 9:30 am

Hindfoot wrote:
Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:54 pm
NTN puts your connection to the ski right under the ball of your foot, where you bear your weight and center your balance whenever you're on your feet. This is a far better spot from which to steer and control your skis. More solid connection and in the best spot. Much better than that duck bill extension of semi-flexible boot sole way out in front of your foot's balance point.

^^^^ This argument alone should be more than enough for anyone to throw away all those retarded 75mm boots...
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."

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Re: Thinking about new boots, 75mm vs NTN, from my perspective.

Post by turnfarmer » Thu Jun 04, 2020 11:22 am

If you want to continue with 75mm, there are tons of bargain boots on ebay and likely craigslist depending on your location.
I recommend buying a cheap 75mm boot now and using the savings to start a fund for NTN.

Unless your fit issues are a big deal. If Scarpas are too narrow for you the older Garmont boots ran much wider.

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Re: Thinking about new boots, 75mm vs NTN, from my perspective.

Post by Andinista » Sun Jun 07, 2020 3:47 pm

I think there are good choices on both standards in terms of performance. There are perhaps not si much overlaps between them in terms of activity, which is probably why the perception is that NTN offers better performance. But in my experience Axls and Meidjo offer a good range of adjustability for my preference, which is not on the super active end. What I learned when I upgraded from 7tms is that those were way too loose and the change to Axls was very significant. They may be adjusted tight but the big difference is that after a certain angle they felt loose (I didn’t know by then). Other more active bindings probably gradually increase tension, which offer better control on harder conditions or at speed. That was a big deal for me, but both Axl and Meidjo solved it. So bottom line: I had crappy bindings, this may be the reality for lots of 75 mm skiers.
But not so long after I changed the 7tms for (cheap second hand) Axls, it was time to renew the boots (or I was irresponsible enough to spend a lot of money for my hobie) and I went to Meidjos because of the lower weight and interest in trying NTN. I do have the alpine heel and now I can use more standard boot crampons and even alpine skis. Not a big deal but cool anyway. Still have the Axl on a pair of skis and the old boots. Later on I got a pair of cheap Rottefella NTNs to put on the piste skis, that otherwise would not see the light with the 7tms. The rottefella have the option of second ski mounting kit, which is nice too. Conclusion: 75mm will still work if you get a decent bonding. NTN is a bit more versatile and future proof. The trend towards light weight is one of the most relevant in my opinion. Activity and performance is important depending on what you compare to on 75 mm standard, but otherwise a bit overrated.

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Re: Thinking about new boots, 75mm vs NTN, from my perspective.

Post by phoenix » Mon Jun 15, 2020 10:31 pm

Yes.

I must say first that I have never skied any NTN, so no first hand feedback on that. I handled a pair when they were first out; my immediate impression was " jeez, these are heavy and clunky". I can appreciate the lack of duckbill would be nice in some hiking or climbing scenarios. As far as whether 75's work just fine... absolutely. I can say that confidently. Don't know if you're skiing primarily lift serve or also BC/sidecountry stuff. They have worked just fine for me in all conditions and difficulties for decades, in VT, the Adirondacks, and the Wasatch.

Availability is abundant and cheap ( Craigslist and/or ebay if you want used). I do not see them becoming extinct in the foreseeable future.

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Re: Thinking about new boots, 75mm vs NTN, from my perspective.

Post by Nick BC » Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:41 pm

It's true, there are subtle differences in the feel of 75mm versus NTN. I mostly ski NTN toe pin boots with Meidjos and TTS bindings. The ski control, as already mentioned, is awesome. However, two years or so ago I had a revelation when I took a pair of waxless G3 Stinger XCD (78 mm u/f) with Spike LiteDogs up Whistler for a run, coupled with my old last generation T3"s. My mid 70 something year old arthritic knees didn't complain at all, and I effortlessly skied 4,000+ feet top to bottom. Maybe it could have been the narrow waist of the skis, as all my other skis are 85mm and up.

Bottom line, I think the fact that there are two boot/binding systems is probably a negative for a niche sport like ours. It waters down the market for gear developers, so you don't get the big advances like you have had in AT with one system.

Having said that, they both work well and, as long as you have a smile on your face when you're skiing, you're winning.

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Re: Thinking about new boots, 75mm vs NTN, from my perspective.

Post by Rock_Doc » Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:51 am

Nick BC wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:41 pm
as long as you have a smile on your face when you're skiing, you're winning.
agreed!

On topic, my Garmont Ener-Gs are getting long in the tooth. Probably need to be replaced in the next season or two and most likely jumping ship to NTN. Any recommendations for current NTN boots out on the market that are closest to Garmont Ener-Gs in fit and performance. Current set up is Liberty Helix with 22 Designs Vice and aforementioned Ener-Gs. Love this set up but seems like NTN is next step for this "gear plodder" (i.e., slow to change). Binding already decided - 22 Designs Outlaw (no debate)! Need good NTN boot rec, if your bored and want to share, would be appreciated.

Cheers,
JT

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