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Author Topic: ?Binding choice?  (Read 4065 times)

Offline Rob

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?Binding choice?
« on: December 11, 2008, 09:06:41 pm »
I currently have SNS but the kids are growing and need new boots. Their feet are big for 9 and 10 year olds. Size 8 and 9. So as their feet approach me and my wife's sizes I see the opportunity to upgrade our boots and give them our old stuff.

I want to go skiing on the lake, do some back country skiing and off course I still like to go on the trails.

I like the SNS so far except the snow and ice that gets clogged in the toes. Are there any advantages to the NNN? Do the Berwin bindings give the same support and control you get with the NNN and SNS.

Let's hear your experiences and opinions please. 
Colder is better

Offline lost_patrol

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Re: ?Binding choice?
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2008, 01:21:30 am »
I like Salomon Profil, but maybe that's just because it's what I've used ever since my old three pin Nordic Norm boots wore out.  I couldn't get decent quality replacements and had to change bindings just to get boots that were fit to put on my feet.

Whatever you get, if your kids are growing, get the same binding type for the whole family.  That way you won't have to replace everything at once.  As one child grows, the skis (it's not just the boots that matter) which have become too short and soft can be passed on to a younger and smaller one.

Even without growing children, it's nice to be able to switch skis to meet changing conditions without changing everything. 

Compatibility rules.  My daughter and I now use the same binding type, my wife does not.  Not a good situation if, for example, trails get icy.  If my daughter is out with me, I can put her on my steel-edged touring skis for more control.  If it's my wife, I can't.  So she falls a lot, and does not have a nice time.
"Give me winter, give me dogs.  You can keep the rest."  - Knud Rasmussen
"Ride like you stole something." - Lance Armstrong

Offline Fels

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Re: ?Binding choice?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2008, 01:46:44 am »
I have used Berwin's on a 10 day trip in the Boundary Waters of MN.  I was wearing pack boots and found the Berwins worked surprisingly well.

I was leading a school group and we did have problems with many of the Berwin's breaking.  I seem to hear again and again that once they reach a certain age they break fairly easily.

Berwins would never be my first choice for most skiing, with the exception of winter camping trips or certain backcoutntry situations where I was concerned about keeping my feet warm.

For a while Karhu was making an all metal binding that functions much the same as a Berwin.  It looked bomber.

Offline Trailpatrol

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Re: ?Binding choice?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2008, 10:25:09 am »
I have used Berwin's on a 10 day trip in the Boundary Waters of MN.  I was wearing pack boots and found the Berwins worked surprisingly well...For a while Karhu was making an all metal binding that functions much the same as a Berwin.  It looked bomber.

It's not. I had a pair of Karhu Meta Sweeper skis with their "universal" binding on them. 1.) Your feet need to be less than a size 10 (US), and the binding straps are still a stretch. When I did finally get them on my mukluks, they cut off circulation to my toes.  I have size 12 (47)feet and could not get to straps on with pac boots, very difficult with mukluks. 2.) They have a forward leaning heel-piece (like downhill ski boots) that is not very conducive to striding, and becomes painful when used for very long. 3.) The adjustable foot-plate on one of my skis never would stay in place with weight off it. (When you have the ski on, your weight holds the lock bar down.) Take your skis off, and the heel fell off the binding. As I said, it only seemed to affect one of my skis, so it could have been a quirk.

I could only use them a couple of times, but my wife, who is primarily into snowshoeing, decided to give them a try and after one jaunt around the back yard, took them off and said, "Get rid of them", for all of the reasons listed above.

As for Berwin bindings, there are three models, all basically the same except for the material used to make them. The original tan model, introduced by Sherpa (the old snowshoe company) in the late 1980s, was pretty bombproof, and I still see some in active use from time to time, even now. These are the ones that Wil Steger and company used with Steger mukluks on their polar trip. A friend of mine still has my original Bushwackers with the original Berwin/Sherpa bindings on them and still uses them every winter with around his farm/retreat center, with no reported problems.

The second model was black, made for Akers after they took over the product when Sherpa went out of business. These are the ones that people seemed to have the most problems with, including myself. Both of mine broke at the same point, right behind the foot plate, where the binding rises up when striding. Akers was very good about replacement, and replaced them with the new model.

The newer, blue-grey Berwin binding is manufactured by Akers, and as polar explorer Paul Schurke told me, "The new ones are bombproof; Almost indestructable." Paul owns Wintergreen Dogsled Adventures in Ely, MN, and they have been using Berwins on their commerical and expeditionary trips for years. So has the Scouting Okpik Winter Adventure Center, also in Ely, with very good results.  (Many of their older skis still have original tan Berwins on them.) I doubt anyone can challenge a binding like Boy Scouts can! I have had mine about 4 years. I use them all of the time, much more than my 75mm 3-pin Karhu skis, (as recently as this past Saturday) and have never had a problem with this pair.

Well, it is -9F in Isanti today...time to go polar and break out the Empire stuff.

Stay safe,

« Last Edit: December 15, 2008, 10:31:31 am by Trailpatrol »
"My country isn't a country, it is winter" - Gilles Vigneault

Offline Umiujaq

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Re: ?Binding choice?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2008, 04:13:14 pm »
I don't think there is a big difference in performance between NNN and SNS bindings. So maybe the best thing is to start with the boot. Find the boot that is the most comfrotable to your feet and then go with whatever binding these boots are made for.
Also, you can look if you want normal (NNN, SNS) binding or backcountry (NNN-BC, X-adventure) bindings. For what you describe (lake, backcountry and trail) a BC binding with a light BC ski can be a good combination.

From the different model I tried, I would say that the Rossignol (NNN-BC) are a bit more stiff and fit better on a narrow foot.

Getting the same binding for the whole family as mentioned by Lost_patrol is also an excellent idea.

And I agree that Berwin would not fit your needs.