Nordic Ski Instructor

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Equipment: [ viewpoint | waxes | skis | bindings | footwear | poles | clothing | extras | novelties ]


The connection between the skier and his/her skis virtually dictates the performance limits of that individual. The bindings, and to a lesser extent, the footwear, must remain flexible to allow for movement of the foot in relation to the ski, That flexibility should exclude lateral (side-to-side) or torsional (twisting) movements of the foot in relation to the ski. Nothing else is more important, unless the skier wishes to travel in a straight line.

Because of the historical development of boot/binding combinations in the last 15 years (when manufacturers perceived set-track skiing to be the predominant activity of Nordic skiers), little attention has been paid to lateral movement of boots and bindings.

Now that XCD and skating have come under the spotlight, manufacturers have looked to ways of producing boot/binding combinations that reduce lateral movement to minute proportions. This has been a welcome change for skiing nations like Australia, whose general Nordic skiing populace spend little time in set tracks, and have suffered the consequences of sloppy boots and bindings.

Most boot/binding combinations are developed for racing, in whatever forms racing has been undertaken, as this is where most manufacturers see their market appeal and sales success. In an effort to increase their sales, development of these combinations have often resulted in constant changes of design. This does little for the recreational skier who cannot afford to buy a new set of bindings every time improvements occur. This breed of skier generally prefers to ski out of set tracks, and there have been major drawbacks in using such boot/binding combinations out-of-track.

The one binding system that has endured more than 10 years without significant change and is used largely out of tracks is the 75 mm Nordic Norm. The drawback of this system is its unsuitability for use in tracks, other than for wider, softer tracks. It is also heavy and cumbersome in comparison with more modern systems (NNN-BC for example). Upgraded and strengthened versions of the 75mm Nordic Norm are the exclusive domain of XCD skiers, with or without cables attached. They can be regarded as specialist equipment suited for a particular task (not at all suitable for track skiing, or lightweight touring), and are as specialised as some racing bindings (50 mm Nordic Norm, Norm 38, SNS, NNN, SDS, Start, TXC - to name but a few). Contrary to manufacturers' opinions, very few binding systems developed attempt to provide a system suitable for universal use, although some are coming close.

By being familiar with all binding systems and their limitations, the instructor is in a position to offer impartial advice, and is prepared for those misfortunate occurrences of binding jams, lost cables, broken toe-pieces, bail ejection, or crushed fingers. It is becoming increasingly difficult to stock a suitable repair kit, as each system requires different spare parts - old-fashioned wire and glue may well become the best alternative!

Equipment: [ viewpoint | waxes | skis | bindings | footwear | poles | clothing | extras | novelties ]

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