Skis, Boots & Binding Compatibility

Gear 101

by Cross Country Nova Scotia, Staff, July 25, 2021 (Reference)

Choosing well-fitted cross-country ski equipment ensures skiers of all abilities enjoy the sport even more. Consulting knowledgeable cross-country ski experts at your local ski shop is the key to finding your optimal gear match. Buying used equipment? Research beforehand to prevent acquiring equipment that is obsolete due to age or boots that are not compatible with bindings. Bindings also need to be compatible with skis. Note – a list of Nova Scotia retailers who sell skis can be found at the end of this article.

Binding and Boot Types

There are five main types of nordic boot soles – all have corresponding bindings. The three main groupings of nordic boot soles are: 75mm/3 pin, NNN, and SNS (photo below left to right).

Source: Outdoor Gear Exchange

75MM (3-pin)

75mm, or 3-pin, boots are the most obviously distinctive family of nordic ski boots. They have a 75mm wide ‘duck bill’ at the front of the boot, with three holes on the bottom of the bill that line up with the pins on their appropriate binding.

NNN

NNN boots, or New Nordic Norm boots, come in both BC (backcountry) and non-BC styles. NNN boots have a single bar at the toe and two channels that line up with corresponding ridges on the binding. NNN BC boots have the same configuration, but with a thicker bar and wider, deeper channels. NNN boots and NNN BC boots are not compatible with the same bindings.

SNS

Salomon Nordic System boots come in two different options: Profil and Pilot (the backcountry variant of SNS, X-ADV, was retired in 2015). All SNS boots have a bar at the toe and a single channel along the sole of the boot. SNS Profil boots have one bar, while SNS Pilot boots have two—one at the toe and one at the ball of the foot. SNS Profil and SNS Pilot boots are not compatible with the same bindings.

What’s On Top of Your Nordic Skis?

The top of your skis will have one of the four options: bare, NIS plates, IFP plates, or bindings.

Bare

If the top of the ski is flat and has nothing on it, you can put any type of binding on it.

NIS Plates

If your skis have plates that look like the one below, they have Nordic Integrated System, or NIS plates. NIS plates are only compatible with NIS bindings, which are NNN bindings that slide onto the plate, making them adjustable. You can differentiate NIS plates from IFP plates by the notches along the plate and the lack of a numbered adjustment mechanism. NIS plates and IFP plates are not interchangeable—NIS bindings cannot be mounted to IFP plates!

NIS plate – note the notches along the plate and the absence of numbers to differentiate them from IFP plates.

IFP Plates

IFP, Integrated Fixation Plate, are compatible with Turnamic NNN bindings only. Turnamic bindings slide onto this plate and are adjustable, just like the NIS system. If your ski plate has a numbered adjustment mechanism on it and no notches, it’s an IFP plate, and you’ll need a Turnamic binding.  NIS plates and IFP plates are not interchangeable.

IFP Plate – note the numbered adjustment mechanism.

Quick Reference

At-a-glance nordic ski boot and binding compatibility guide.

NNN BootsNNN Bindings, NIS Bindings, Turnamic Bindings, ProLink Bindings
NNN BC BootsNNN BC Bindings

Nova Scotia Experts + Retail Stores

Interested in connecting with ski gear experts in Nova Scotia? Please contact the shops below:

>Hub Cycle | Truro | Supporter | Designated Rossignol Nordic Race Centre for Atlantic Canada

>The Trail Shop | Halifax | Supporter

>Aerobics First | Halifax

>Escape Outdoors | Sydney

>Mountain Equipment Co-op | Halifax

Directory Trails, Equipment + Weather

Looking to buy second-hand? Check our directory of trails, equipment and weather, for a listing of forums. Remember, if you are purchasing by mail, use a secure method of payment transaction with buyer protection.

>Directory: Trails, Equipment & Weather

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