NTN On-snow Test
Report-- Day 1
A HammerHead On Steroids
Rottefella's Øyvind Aanes,
Big Tim, & BCA's Steve Christie at Alta, Wednesday
January 26, 2007, Alta,
Day 1 NTN
test is in the
bag and there is no need to mince words or to beat around the
bush: Rottefella's NTN (New Telemark Norm) binding delivers unprecedented
control to the rear ski in the telemark turn. A very active binding,
the NTN does this by helping the driver pressure
the forebody of
the trailing ski at the very beginning of the telemark turn.
In fact, the rear ski hooks up into a carve so early that at
first the feeling is a little disconcerting, for us it took a
couple of runs to get used to the sensation, but when we did
it quickly became clear that the telemark performance envelope
has been seriously stretched with the NTN.
It isn't so much that the
NTN binding and boot hold the ball of the foot to the ski, it's
that the activity level of the binding applies pressure to the
tip of the rear ski as the heel is raised, and right from the
get go. It's always been pretty easy to hook up the tip of the
lead ski in the tele turn, the challenge has always been to get
the rear ski into an early carve. A carving ski is a stable ski.
On the lead ski it's as
simple as closing your stance and pressuring the cuff with your
shin. On the rear ski, cuff pressure doesn't work: with a freeheel
the heel just raises up further as the skier leans into the boot.
Like other active tele bindings, the hyperactive NTN changes
all this: as the rear ski heel begins to raise up, the binding
harnesses the power of the collapsing boot bellows and transfers
some of it to the forebody of the ski, engaging the ski tip early
and drawing the ski hard into a carved turn.
We have seen this before
with active bindings, but never to the extent of what goes on
with the NTN, where the rear ski tip is pressured and drawn into
a carve so immediately and with so much precision. It takes a
couple of runs to get used to the sensation: at first it was
easy for us to over-steer the rear ski. We quickly figured out
that with the NTN we didn't really need to steer the rear ski
much at all because it was hooking up so early.
Freeheel parallel turns
were fun, and power-wise the feeling was far more like an alpine
setup than either of us had ever experienced in a tele rig.
almost step-in function performed well. It was very easy to get
in and out of the binding with minimal effort, and with no bending
over. Walking around in Scarpa's duckbill-less Terminator X NTN
boots seemed to be easier, with a more natural stride, though
BT and I both thought it felt more like walking around in a softer
alpine boot than a tele boot. Perhaps this is due to the fact
that there is no duckbill to lever the bellows.
In touring mode the Rottefella
NTN binding frees up the boot to pivot naturally at the toe,
and it provides enough range of motion to execute a nice kick
turn, as well as to save a lot of energy on the climb.
We tested the NTN with
the two stiffest sets of spring cartridges, 3 and 4 (on a scale
of 1 to 4, with four being the stiffest). As mentioned earlier,
the NTN setup we skied was very, very active. On the advice of
Rottefella's NTN Project Manager Øyvind
Aanes, we will ski test NTN bindings with #1 and #2 spring cartridges
tomorrow. We are told that these softer springs reduce the activity
level of the NTN binding significantly for those who prefer such
a feel. We shall see, and when we do we will try to provide some
comparisons to the activity level of some current 75mm bindings.
Day One Conclusion:
The NTN bindings we tested Wednesday were
comparable in overall activity level to a HammerHead with the
pivots in the #4 or 5 holes, but with earlier engagement of the
binding, so early in fact that it is almost impossible to skid
the rear ski in the tele turn, even briefly.
Prediction: If Rottefella's NTN fails to
catch on it certainly won't be because the system doesn't deliver
outstanding edge control and performance unlike anything we have
skied to date. We are talking rock-your-world performance here
We feel that we have only begun to explore
and harness the capabilities and power of these extraordinary
new tele boots and bindings, and we are looking forward to more
testing tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Our NTN Day Two Test Report is
Bruce Edgerly of BCA