Q & A Monday–NNN BC Boot/Binding System vs. 75mm 3-Pin BC System

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Q:  Hello, I’m looking to get a new ski setup and am looking for some advice. I’m looking for a ski that will let me do some downhill skiing but still do longer tours too. I will likely be some of the time on groomed or snowmobile trails but some of the time exploring deep powder as well. Would you recommend NNN BC bindings or 3-Pin? What differences am I likely to notice with each? What ski would you recommend that will best satisfy this mix? 

A: As far as the boot/binding systems, 75mm 3-pin Backcountry boots and bindings deliver the best downhill control and are a must if you want to make telemark turns, but they are much heavier duty than NNN BC boots/bindings and can be overkill when touring on groomed trails. You can safely control your skis in technical sections using the snowplow technique or even parallel turns if you’re super skilled with NNN BC boots/bindings and when you’re back to kicking and gliding, you have a much more appropriate set up. But in steeps and deeps, it can be a struggle to control the skis. 75mm BC systems, especially with a cable and/or a plastic shell boot can really drive a ski through powder whereas with NNN BC systems, where you are only connected to the binding at the very front of the boot, you’re more hanging on. Bottom line is you need to decide between a set up more for touring comfort or one for more with downhill control.

For better touring efficiency with sturdy enough boots to safely control the skis in technical sections, I’d steer you towards something like this package: Out the Back Door Explore Package #1
For the ability to drive the skis through powder in steeper terrain and have fun doing it, but heavier and more sluggish on packed snow trails, go with this: Backcountry Touring Package #3
Hope that helps!
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