NNNBC-Magnum

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lilcliffy

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NNNBC-Magnum

Postby lilcliffy » Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:41 pm

I suppose that I should perhaps consider not giving my review of the NNNBC binding. Having done a little leisurely reading- it appears that NNNBC versus 3 pin-75mm NN can spark much heated debate.

There is no question that the 75mm binding is more versatile- ranging from classic xcountry to big mountain telemark. To date- I have continued to use 3pin 75mm telemark bindings for xcountry-telemark skiing in more mountainous terrain.

Regardless of what people claim NNNBC can or cannot do; I offer this: NNNBC is a well designed off-trail, backcountry-xcountry binding. For many of us- that spend most of our time on gentle to moderate terrain- NNNBC is all we need.

The NNNBC binding is perfect for what it is designed to do: stable, light, off-trail backcountry-xcountry skiing.

The SNS X-ADV bindings are very good as well. Though narrower than the NNNBC- the SNS X-ADV has a longer ridge on the base plate (there is also a debate over which of these deigns offers the best downhill control). The biggest issue I have with the SNS X-ADV is the severe lack of boot options. I have yet to find an SNS X-ADV boot that fit me properly.

There are essentially 3 types of NNNBC bindings:
NNNBC-auto: not designed for deep snow- will ice up in deep snow conditions.
NNNBC-manual: the same dimensions as the “auto”, but with a manual lever to open and close the binding.
NNNBC-magnum: Heavy-duty version of the manual- wider base plate; heavier binding lever.
Check out the Rottefella website for more specs: http://www.rottefella.com/en/Products/? ... tsUnder=58
I have been skiing on NNNBC bindings for more than 10 years (exclusively 3pin 75mm before). I have tried all three types. IME, the NNNBC-magnum offers the best backcountry performance.

This review is primarily about the NNNBC-magnum binding. On an everyday basis; I am currently using this binding mounted on Madshus Eon (205cm), and Annum (195cm) skis; with Alpina Alaska boots.

When I say "xcountry" I specifically mean classic kick (stride) and glide skiing. From my experience; the NNNBC-Magnum is the best off-trail kick and glide binding available- stable and efficient. It is perhaps the best simply because it also widely available- with a huge selection of boots to match it.

Performance. From my experience the NNNBC system is much more efficient at classic kick (stride) and glide than a 75mm binding. The fundamental concept/technique to efficient classic xcountry skiing is the "diagonal stride". Efficient classic xcountry skiing is about striding (i.e. lunging) - it is not really a "kick" that produces your forward momentum and gliding. The "kick" is really the product of pushing downwards in order to generate enough grip to lunge/stride, and glide, forwards on the alternate ski. Unlike 75mm bindings- the system bindings (e.g. NNN, SNS) pivot perfectly like a hinge at the toe; allowing complete extension of your foot as you stride and glide. Once you have experienced this freedom of movement through the stride and glide- it is hard to go back to 75mm! One of the potential limitations of NNNBC is the lack of a heel lift option for steep climbing with skins. The free hinge pivot at the toe of the NNNBC binding is ideally suited to climbing.

Durability. Despite much anxiety about the potential mechanical failings of NNNBC- I have yet to have any significant breakdowns with NNNBC bindings. That being said- there are obviously plastic parts involved which must eventually deteriorate.

Now the controversial part: telemark technique with a system (NNN, SNS) binding…

Claiming that the NNNBC binding can or cannot be used as a telemark binding is more than a matter of opinion- I have learned that it is also a matter of technique.

I am afraid that I have to say that I have become impressed with the telemark that I can do on a NNNBC binding.

A little background. I learned to make a telemark turn on 3PC bindings with rigid plastic Nordic boots. Due to the strength of the binding/boot (and some of my past alpine skiing); the telemark technique I developed was to steer my way into a telemark. In my experience, steering a ski into a telemark cannot be effectively and consistently done with the system bindings (except perhaps on firm, consolidated snow) - the bindings and the boots are rarely rigid enough.

When I first began attempting the telemark on NNNBC bindings (with relatively soft composite boots), I was dismayed, discovering that I could only pull it off in a few conditions. Even worse- I could not effectively steer my fat powder xcountry skis at all on NNNBC!

I tend to be a tenacious and somewhat stubborn person. I decided that it could be done- I just needed to work at it.

I eventually had a bit of a revelation when re-reading Steve Barnett’s legendary Cross-Country Downhill (1978). Here is the passage that unlocked something for me:
The most common failure of aspiring telemarkers is to try starting the turn by reluctantly sliding one ski forward and then attempting to force it, weighted, into the turning position…What you want to do is move the front ski, unweighted (sometimes even lifted off the snow), into position and then weight the ski aggressively...

Barnett’s descriptions of telemark technique with light xcountry gear are fundamentally based on using an angled xcountry diagonal stride to initiate the telemark. In Barnett’s words, “Initiate the turn by stepping forward with one ski and placing it so that it crosses in front of the other ski…” This technique unlocked the telemark for me on a light NNNBC setup. In my opinion, this is a xcountry striding technique, rather than an alpine steering technique.

Advancements in ski, binding, and boot technologies have allowed the development of a wide range of styles and approaches to the telemark turn. The NNNBC binding can be used to make a telemark turn- but rarely with the same technique that can be used with heavier/stronger bindings and boots.

Barnett offers some advice: “The best preparation for a good telemark technique is a good diagonal stride. The diagonal stride’s decisive but relaxed motion, strong forward drive, positive weight shift, balance needed for smoothness, and continuous rhythm all directly apply to telemark skiing. A stride has to become a telemark when needed or vice versa.

So I offer this at least; whether you wish to use the NNBC as a light telemark binding or not- spending a significant amount of time xcountry striding on a NNNBC setup may add more balance and variability to your telemark technique in general. I know that it has to mine! :D
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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MikeK

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Re: NNNBC-Magnum

Postby MikeK » Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:10 pm

Some very good points in general lilcliffy.

One thing I want to reinforce is the 'lunge' vs 'kick'... yes, kick and glide is a misnomer. You really realize that when you are in deep snow breaking trail - the only way to actually get some glide is to commit and throw all your weight to that front ski - your momentum breaks the snow, and if the ski has enough float, you actually get some glide. If not you are just shuffling along... bleh.

I guess I had known this about xc skiing because I've done it since I was in grade school, but I've become a lot better recently, really committing to my balance and that gliding ski. It's also teaching my wife that I realized these things and focused on doing them better myself.

Those comments from XCD were absolutely CRUCIAL to me for bettering myself at skiing on Nordic gear, and I've voiced it on this board before. I don't have a heavy tele background and what works for Alpine skiing DOES NOT work for Nordic. There might be some slight, slight similarities in parallel turning and stems, but even those require so much more balance and commitment on Nordic gear.

Anyway when I read that passage you mentioned about the angled diagonal stride it all clicked. I went from not having a clue how telemark worked to being able to make turns in a matter of days. Days later I could link them. I'm still not great, but just realizing that difference and relating it to a Nordic stride made all the difference in my world. Keep in mind I was also trying to learn this on a double cambered ski that SB really likes - so it's no doubt his technique works for that. With the more shapely skis I find I need less angle in the stride and just roll the ski more... much like a modern carving ski - let them do the work.

Based on my new Alaska and how I think the regular manual performs (it feels much tighter than the autos I've tried) I'm actually considering using a NNN-BC Magnum on my next set of skis, be it an E109 or Eon. I was planning on using pins, but I'm so impressed with the tip control I have with the Alaska NNN and these bindings I think I would be happier than with a 3 pin setup.

Thanks again for you comments. They have been very instrumental in sorting out my ski mania!

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CIMA

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Re: NNNBC-Magnum

Postby CIMA » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:04 am

That's very informative review, lilcliffy.

Though I'm a user of SNS, it seems that there is not big difference in performance between NNN and SNS from my observations of a couple of my friends who're using NNN. Yes, the availability of boots for SNS is my concern that has been lingering on mind since I purchased Salomon boots for the first time.

lilcliffy wrote:I eventually had a bit of a revelation when re-reading Steve Barnett’s legendary Cross-Country Downhill (1978). Here is the passage that unlocked something for me:
The most common failure of aspiring telemarkers is to try starting the turn by reluctantly sliding one ski forward and then attempting to force it, weighted, into the turning position…What you want to do is move the front ski, unweighted (sometimes even lifted off the snow), into position and then weight the ski aggressively...

Barnett’s descriptions of telemark technique with light xcountry gear are fundamentally based on using an angled xcountry diagonal stride to initiate the telemark. In Barnett’s words, “Initiate the turn by stepping forward with one ski and placing it so that it crosses in front of the other ski…” This technique unlocked the telemark for me on a light NNNBC setup. In my opinion, this is a xcountry striding technique, rather than an alpine steering technique.


I'm totally with SB's comment.
But I'd like to add another point to make XCD turns more efficient.
It seems that SB didn't mention backward ski much.
In my case, I stride front ski diagonally on mild slope with slow speed but do so almost straight on steep slope with hight speed. Simultaneously I angulate and dorsiflex backward foot. Here is the example:

[video]http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2h86kt_xcd-rossignol-bc70_sport[/video]
The flowing river never stops and yet the water never stays the same.

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lilcliffy

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Re: NNNBC-Magnum

Postby lilcliffy » Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:14 pm

Another excellent video clip CIMA- and beautiful technique. You can really see the use of your rear leg on that snow surface and terrain.

I agree with you- Barnett doesn't have a lot to say about the rear telemark ski in his book- except to say that the weight and pressure on the rear leg depends on both snow conditions and terrain. SB does clearly emphasize the importance, once the turn is initiated, of bringing the rear leg/ski into the combined carved telemark.

This my experience as well. Once my rear leg has followed my angled front leg into the carved turn- the distribution of weight applied to my rear leg varies depending on conditions. In general, once I am in the carved turn, my weight distribution between the two skis is relatively even. I shift my weight back to the forward ski when I am ready to release from the turn, and then stride forward into the next.

I have always been very impressed with the SNS-adv binding. And I really wanted the X-ADV8 boot to fit me!

Back when I first starting considering system bindings for backcountry touring (more than 10 years ago...) I was convinced that the longer ridge plate of the SNS-adv would offer better downhill control than the NNNBC. The longer ridge plate might offer more heel power than NNNBC...But the NNNBC toe bar/vice and base plate are wider...I do not have a sense of which design is better...but they are both obviously different, but perhaps equally good light backcountry Nordic bindings.
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lilcliffy

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Re: NNNBC-Magnum

Postby lilcliffy » Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:53 pm

MikeK wrote:and what works for Alpine skiing DOES NOT work for Nordic. There might be some slight, slight similarities in parallel turning and stems, but even those require so much more balance and commitment on Nordic gear.


Couldn't agree with you more MikeK- but I do think that the introduction of heavier and stronger telemark equipment has allowed a much more alpinish-steered initiation of the telemark. If the boot/binding is rigid/strong enough you can effectively steer your way into a telemark. I used to do this...it is the primary reason why I quickly went to plastic Nordic touring boots when I first began telemark skiing in BC. For example, with a T4 and 3PC binding, I can effectively steer my way into a telemark on a 195cm Karhu Guide; even in difficult snow. With a lighter, softer boot and less rigid binding; I cannot even dream of doing this effectively. However- once I realized that I could use an angled stride to initiate the turn- I can do this with even my Alaskas/NNNBC bindings on 195cm Annums (if I am in pow). (when I am on hard/dense snow, with NNNBC, my experience is that I must telemark on relatively skinny skis) Now that I have unlocked this- I will never go back- it has changed my telemark technique forever- even on heavier equipment. 8-)

Part of my problem was watching current telemark videos (much of them show the skier parallel steering/carving into the telemark)- and taking some telemark lessons at a ski hill...On heavy-duty big mountain tele equipment you can initiate a telemark using alpine carving technique. Heck- you can even make alpine parallel turns on heavy tele gear!

To date- learning to telemark on NNNBC has revolutionized my technique and my skills. Whether I am on ultralight NNNBC gear, 3PC, or ever end up on heavy big mountain again- I will never go back to my "steering-initiation" telemark technique.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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CIMA

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Re: NNNBC-Magnum

Postby CIMA » Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:12 pm

I'd like to give some visual examples of telemark skiing.

1) Typical style of telemark on heavier gear

Image

2) SB's way of telemark on light-and-skinny gear

Image

3) My take on telemark on light-and-skinny gear

Image

Divider which moves forward progressively as it pivots alternatively with its legs.

Image
The flowing river never stops and yet the water never stays the same.

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lilcliffy

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Re: NNNBC-Magnum

Postby lilcliffy » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:14 am

Hi Cima,

Cool- where in the world did you get those robo-tele videos?
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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CIMA

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Re: NNNBC-Magnum

Postby CIMA » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:22 am

The animation files are the products of the study of Dr. Shiro Shimizu at Biwako Seikei Sport Colleage in Japan in 2012.
He wrote a few papers on telemark skiing in Japanese.
I took the URLs from his web site which seems to have been left unmaintained for a couple of years.
The flowing river never stops and yet the water never stays the same.

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bgregoire

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Re: NNNBC-Magnum

Postby bgregoire » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:55 pm

CIMA wrote:
Divider which moves forward progressively as it pivots alternatively with its legs.

Image


Cool CIMA, please explain your take on the tele turn in more depth, I must admit I can't figure out your technique from the videos you have posted here. Thanks!
I live for the Telemark arc....The feeeeeeel.....I ski miles to get to a place where there is guaranteed snow to do the deal....TM

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CIMA

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Re: NNNBC-Magnum

Postby CIMA » Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:48 am

As the skis get lighter and the boots get softer, we get more freedom of our bodies. So telemark skiing on NNN/SNS is not just the matters of weight balance, body height, pressures onto the balls or pole planting which many telemark gurus are emphasizing. Though there are a lot of parameters to care of for XCD on NNN/SNS, nowadays I pay attention more to the followings:

  • pressures applied to the soles of feet
  • dorsal flexion of the ankle
  • hip joints
  • abdominal pressure
Those major parameters relate one another concurrently while we're skiing.

Picture is worth than a thousand words.
My skiing style may be close to the one appearing on the following Telehiro's vid:
[video]http://youtu.be/SC3MV4xN78w[/video]

In terms of skiing technique, I have a sense of affinity also the following vid:
[video]http://youtu.be/UEnkN939ZLw[/video]
The flowing river never stops and yet the water never stays the same.


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