[This article was reprinted with permission from Mark Waechter's January 2006 Nordic Ultratune Update Newsletter (click on the link to view the full newsletter. You may also be interested in the the original article I published when the NIS system was first announced. The article includes video of the binding in action. - Mike Muha]
The NIS binding system was one of the “hot new things” for the ’05-06 winter.
I’ve been using the NIS bindings on both skate and classic skis this season, and here are a few comments after 50 days on snow.
The NIS bindings allow you to adjust the location fore and aft, with a total movement range of 2 cm. This range seems pretty small, but it is very noticeable! Adjustment increments are 5mm. The adjustment is made with a little metal tool that is provided with the bindings, and which is about the size of a car key. The tool fits on your key-ring, and easily identifies you as a Nordic Uber-geek. My only gripe with the tool is that they missed an opportunity to incorporate other essential tools – notably absent is a bottle opener!
On skate skis, in soft conditions, moving the binding back one click from “normal” will provide a bit extra tip float. In hard-pack and icy conditions, moving the bindings forward a little from “normal” provides a little bit extra tip pressure and edge control in front. Taking advantage of this adjustability makes a single pair of skate skis feel like 3 pairs!
The NIS binding, shown with the little chrome adjustment tool.
With the classic skis, I’m finding that I’m not fiddling with the NIS adjustment at all – except when the skis were brand new. With new skis, I tweaked the binding fore/aft a little bit to find the spot that made the kick feel best for me. Again, the adjustments are small, but are surprisingly noticeable. On my classic skis it took about 10 minutes to find the “sweet spot” and the bindings have stayed in the same spot ever since. But without the adjustment… …will your skis be “great” or just “okay”?
As a side note, the amount of change that can be felt by adjusting the bindings just a little bit makes me wonder how many people have “mediocre” skis that could be winners if the binding position was tweaked a bit. But not many of us are willing to remove a screwed-down binding, drill another 5 holes in the ski, and re-mount the binding, just to see if things might be a little bit better.
Rossignol NIS-C2 Classic Ski Ensemble
Speaking for myself, I can’t imagine owning another pair of skis that don’t have this adjustability.
As of now, Rossignol and Madshus are offering the NIS plate on their skis. With the spring trade shows coming up in the next few weeks, maybe we’ll hear if any of the other brands will be offering it.
The other question that begs asking is whether there will be an adjustable Salomon binding made to fit the NIS plate, or if there will be an adapter plate made so that existing Salomon (or older NNN) bindings can be adjustable.
Note: Locally, the Cross Country Ski Shop in Grayling sells Rossignol NIS skis and bindings.