Compatibility of bindings for cross country and roller skis
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When buying equipment for cross country skis (also named nordic skiing) and roller skis, you have to ensure that the bindings and the footwear you choose are compatible. Since you use a lot of the same equipment for both cross country skiing and roller skiing and since the manufacturers are the same, this guide is valid for both categories.
Different standards - NNN, SNS and Prolink
Two manufacturers of bindings and boot outsoles are defining the standards like measures, specific mechanics and unique solutions. It is Rottefella (Norway) and Salomon (Established in France).
The Rottefella system is called the NNN which stands for New Nordic Norm. This system is found both on the ski boot outsole and the binding. This means that Rottefella manufactures the bindings but does not produce the whole boot. They only license the boot technology to other producers of boots. Manufacturers of cross country equipment that uses the Rottefella outsole system in their production of boots are Rossignol, Madshus, Alpina, Alfa, Yoko, Fischer and Peltonen.
Some of these manufacturers print their own name on the binding and that way the Rottefella NNN binding, for instance, will have the name Fischer NNN binding. Read more about the Rottefella NIS technology in the section “What is Rottefella NIS?” which you can find further down in this article.
Salomon is known for the SNS boot and binding system which stands for Salomon Nordic System. Furthermore, they designed a new binding system that is called Prolink.
The SNS system is made in two versions; one for classic skiing and one for skate skiing. The difference is that the bindings for skate skiing have an extra connection point between the binding and the boot that provides optimized torsional rigidity when kicking sideways during a skate skiing session. This extra connection point is a spring-loaded arm that is connected to a pin in the boot under the foot - besides from the front pin that connects to the front connection point. This means that SNS skate bindings have two connection points and the SNS skate boots have two pins that allow for this double connection.
Opposite to the SNS skate binding and boot system is the classic binding and boot system that only has one pin in the boot in the front that connects to one point in the front of the binding. Moreover, the SNS classic binding has no spring-loaded arm as an additional connection point.
In 2016 Salomon introduced another binding and boot system named the Prolink. This system is unique in the way that it is mounted like the SNS binding systems but it is compatible with NNN boots only. This means that boots with NNN outsole from Alpina, Fischer, Rossignol, Madshus, Alfa and Peltonen will fit the Prolink binding.
Please note that the Salomon SNS and Salomon Prolink products cannot be combined. Meaning that Salomon SNS boots are not compatible with the Salomon Prolink bindings and Salomon Prolink boots cannot be paired with Salomon SNS bindings.
Bindings for combi boots
Bindings for combi boots follow the above-mentioned standards and technologies. If it is a Salomon SNS combi boot, it will have two pins and thus fit SNS skate bindings. It will also fit the SNS classic bindings that do not have a spring-loaded arm but instead a slid in the place where the metal pin is under the foot.
What is the difference between NNN and SNS?
Even though SNS and NNN binding and boot systems at first sight might look the same, they are different. If you, for instance, try to make an SNS boot fit into a NNN binding, you will experience that the width at the connection point will not fit - they have different measures. Rottefella NNN is wider than the Salomon SNS.
What is Rottefella NIS?
Rottefella has further developed the way you attach the Rottefella NNN binding to the ski. This system is adjustable so you can move the binding a bit towards the front of the ski (providing more grip - good for hilly skiing) or a bit backward (providing more glide - good for smooth skiing). NIS (Nordic Integrated System) is the name of the plate you drill and/or glue onto the ski. This NIS plate might have been preinstalled from the factory or you might mount this yourself. When this plate is on the ski it allows you to click in the NNN binding by sliding it on the right place with the NIS key. Now you can adjust it to the preferred position. The Rottefella NIS plate cannot be used for Salomon SNS bindings or Salomon Prolink bindings.
Compatible equipment for Nordic Backcountry skiing outside tracks
Besides the above mentioned both Rottefella and Salomon make bindings for cross country /Nordic skiing outside tracks - Backcountry skiing. Rottefella has named their binding Rottefella BC (Backcountry) and Salomon has named theirs Salomon BC.
These bindings are made stronger and more powerful so they will fit the more harsh conditions outside the tracks.
These two binding systems are for special backcountry boots, meaning that BC bindings will not fit normal NNN, SNS or Prolink. The pin in the boots and the connection point on the bindings are much wider. This equipment is not very useful for roller skiing.