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Cross country skis and bindings

My wife and I have been cross country skiing for several years.  Our skis are Rossignol Advantage with SNS Profil bindings.  I  ordered new boots after the old ones wore out.

My mistake was to think there were only two types of cross country ski bindings: 75 mm and SNS Profil.  So I picked out some boots with the bar on the toe and figured I was good to go.

When our boots arrived I discovered my wife's ski boots are NNN, Turnamic and mine are NNN, BC.  Our boots aren't compatible with our skis or with each other's boots!  After trying to educate myself on the internet I have several questions:

  1. Is it possible to purchase SNS Profil ski boots?  Have they become obsolete?
  2. I ordered NNN, BC bindings from REI.  However, the binding are slightly wider than the skis.  Is this desirable?  Do the NNN, BC bindings require wider skis?
  3. Are all the cross country skis at REI skate skis?  Skate skis appear to be more of a workout than the classic skis we're used to.  Do skate skis also work with the classic style?
  4. What's the best way out of this pickle?  New skis with bindings?  Hope to find some SNS Profile boots that will fit on ebay? 

This is more complicated than I imagined!

Thanks for your help.

Glen Flint

10 Replies

I XC Ski in Mountainous terrain. One thing to ask yourself is what type of skiing do you want to do? Piste/Groomed, or off-piste/ungroomed? If you get one ski/boot/binding/system to do both, you will short change yourself. Ski tracks are 70 mm wide, but a 68-70 mm wide ski will rub the side of new tracks. You can get a 65 mm wide skis with metal edges, and still ski the groomed areas. Taking this ski onto the ungroomed areas will be okay in some conditions, but not most of the time. In the ungroomed, most people short change themselves by not getting a wide enough ski. Metal edges help in harder snow conditions. Wider skis help to not only break trail, but give you more control in the downhill. You can still cover a lot of miles in wider skis, and have the control to climb and descend. If you want the freedom to ski variable terrain in variable condition, you should have at least a 78 mm tip. Better yet are skis that are at least 88 mm wide in the tip. There are also different stoutness of boots to match the width of skis. REI unfortunately does not sell much of the beefeir back country XC boots and skis any more. But they are out there. If touring is your game, then stick with a double camber  wide metal edge, like the Fischer. Fischer does an excellent job of explaining there portfolio of off groomed ski line here, just to give you an example:

It is much more enjoyable if you can afford it to have a set-up for groomed and for ungroomed. Some of us have multiple set-ups for ungroomed, meaning there are different boot/ski combinations depending on the terrain and snow conditions. We run in to skiers all of the time in the Pacific Northwest, and most of them have equipment that is too lite and thin for the terrain they are skiing. Back 35+ years ago, there were not that many options. Now there are. And no one has mentioned that there are still the 75 mm boot/binding combinations that you can get.

For example, You can ski a 68-99 mm wide ski with a boot like the Crispi Artic, or Fischer BCX6. You can get a beefier boot like the Crispi Svartisen, and still ski the 68-99 wide skis, but also ski the 110-125 mm ski. The 110-125 mm ski still come with a nowax base and you can even attach skins on the new. They provide much better ascending and descending ability in harder and deeper conditions. You can even add a plastic boot like a Scarpa T4 of T2, and even go to a cable binding.

Hope this helps