Johnny, Pierre, and the beast. Or the new Telemark Tech Norm (TTN) vs the future of XCD (NTN-BC)
Then the whole TTS thing started to get more serious. Nobody ever thought that tech toes would once be used for telemark. It had nothing to do with tele. But somehow the creativity of a few tele fanatics changed the scene. Telemark Tech systems (notice the "s" in systems) became the cool toys to own. I honestly couldn't care less, I stopped using cables a long time ago, whether it's NTN, NN or NNN-BC. So I never got into TTS. But TTS started me to dream about having tech inserts on leather boots. And this time, I was dead serious. Well, people made fun of me once again. I tried to find a way to modify my Alaskas and retrofit them with tech inserts. But back then, inserts were just impossible to find for a Canadian clown to purchase.
What is the point of all that Johnny? Well, back in the days, if you wanted to be cool, you just had to mention Glen Plake or Scot Schmidt in a conversation. If you were into music, you just had to mention The Dead Milkmen or Camper Van Beethoven to sound cool. Compuserve and Fidonet were very hip to mention on bulletin board systems. Things have changed, namedropping has become a trending thing to do, a boring way to spice up the art of conversation. Lately, words like "Elon Musk" or "Cryptocurrency" became trendy...(Yucky!) But if you are a telemark skier, the cool thing to do nowadays is to mention "Pierre Mouyade". The best ranked name to mention in a post about skiing. I am the most uncool guy you can possibly think of, and I absolutely hate name-dropping. But here I am, I have to drop the name "Pierre Mouyade" here...
So there is this guy, Pierre Mouyade, the mastermind behind the Meidjo binding (Hi Pierre! How are you?)... This guy, who is also a creative one percenter and who I respect A LOT, is apparently trying to change the game and create a third (or fourth) telly norm, the Telemark Tech Norm (TTN). He offers a very nice solution... to a problem that does not exist. Well, not yet, except for a small defective batch of Crispi boots. Ok, by looking at the table below, you can see that there is no standard for tech toes. So his idea is totally legitimate. The thing is, his idea would imply Rottefella to cannibalize their own NTN bindings, something that is obviously not going to happen after the millions $$$ that have been injected by the tele industry giant into this for the last 15 years. It would also mean that every boot manufacturers would have to start making new molds for yet another new system. I doubt this is not going to happen. But Pierre's idea is not bad at all: I think the idea is to push things around, no matter the direction. After all, he is the one responsible for the biggest changes in the telemark scene in the last 5 years. But really, do we really need a new norm, do we really need to change everything once again? Discussing the matter on a forum is useless, since everybody knows there are as many different opinions as there are so-called tele experts. (Especially in California...)
Yes, I must admit that having a standard for dynafit inserts placement is A MUST for telemark. Or else we will end up having a different boot model for each single binding out there. Saving weight and space is *always* a good idea, no matter the outcome. And yes indeed, something new and open source would be the best. In my opinion, this standard must be set from the Meidjo design itself, since it's the best and most advanced 2-pin telly binding, and obviously the future of the NTN branch of free-heel skiing...
On the other side, you have Rottefella, the beast. You might call it the beast, they are the ones who invented the rat-trap telemark bindings. They also created NNN-BC, and they are the ones who spent millions to bring NTN to the world. Well, the beast is trying to reinvent XCD with yet another norm on his side too. They are hiring engineers and designers to try to come up with something new, the Rottefella Back Country Binding System. Another norm coincidentally deeply "inspired" (copied) from the tech world. It's totally legitimate for Rotte to do so, since 22Designs and the M Equipment are currently stealing the 2-pin market. But while it's legit, I don't think it's the right way to go. Come on Rotte, the solution is so easy! You don't need to do any of this! (What, you think your opinion matters Johnny?!? How arrogant! You're a clown and everybody knows...) Hey, what if everything was already perfect and nobody knew, nobody could see?. What if the Meidjo binding was really the future? No, this has nothing to do with the fact that you can see a M Equipment banner on the site. But all of this got me thinking of my old ideas when people made fun of me. Why a new norm when we could have NTN-BC? It was inconceivable 10 years ago before the advent of 460g NTN bindings, but I think the perfect XCD binding already exists. And we're all too blind to see... (Except for Rottefella who probably tought about it, but refused to give in... Developping their own system to bypass The M instead...)
Seriously, stop laughing and think about it. Ok, it's a fact, the vast majority of XCD skiers are still using the 30yo Voile 3-pin cable binding and its 75mm norm, remnants of the 1920's. I have no problem with nostalgia or being stuck in the past. Not at all, I am a nostalgic myself. But let's just stop this nonsense for one second. I'm asking you, stop laughing and imagine your favorite pair of boots with NTN rubber soles and tech inserts. The Alaska NTN-BC or the Alfa Guard NTN-BC. The same, best XCD boots in the world, soft yet supportive, comfy and super light. Imagine them the way you love them the most, but this time with NTN rubber soles instead of duckbills. And now imagine the perfect binding that would do E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G:
- Super active springs for the best control ever (Or super soft if wanted)
- True step-in functionality
- Adjustable and independent release system for maximum safety
- Tech toes for the best ever lateral edge control
- Free pivot touring mode
- Integrated brakes for inbound skiing
Can you imagine this, one binding that does it all? PERFECT cross-country skiing, and PERFECT downhill control. Absolutely no compromise. The holy grail is already here, and it's called the Meidjo 2.1. And it does all of this. Yep, ALL of this, and LIGHTER THAN A PAIR OF VOILE 3P TRAVERSE!!! With NTN-BC soles and boots, who would be dumb enough to ski Voile's old 3pc when there is a lighter binding with ALL the holy grail characteristics???
Why bother with a fourth or fifth norm? The future of XCD is already here. No need for new norms, new molds or new bindings. All we need is Rottefella to start selling NTN rubber soles with inserts to boot makers. Please Rottefella, please. You would keep the monopoly, keep the patents and make more money without changing a thing... While growing and pushing the market and helping Pierre Mouyade and other manufacturers as well... The M Equipment would sell tons of Meidjos, and Rotte would sell tons of soles and probably create their own 2-pin NTN-compliant binding and keep the NTN norm alive for decades.
"Imagine a binding system for all backcountry activities, with no compromises. Imagine a boot with a sole so stable, you can ride downhill with confidence." Come on Rottefella! It's already here! It's called a Meidjo binding with NTN leather shoes... No need to spend millions on research! Just use your brain, and common sense! Really, the Meidjo is just the most brilliant piece of telemark gear ever. While it's true that it's the future of telemark, I believe this could also be the future of XCD. Please Rottefella, I know this is hard to take... Creative geniuses pushed your invention further than you did. But the telemark world needs NTN-BC soles... With standardized tech toes if you want, as long as it's backward compatible with NTN.
405g Voile 3-Pin Cable (No holy grail characteristics)
444g Rottefella NNN-BC
460g M Equipment Meidjo (ALL the holy grail characteristics)
500g Voile 3-Pin Cable Traverse
530g Rottefella Super Telemark with Cable
645g Voile 3-Pin Hardwire
726g Voile Switchback X2
And with a new XCD-optimized Meidjo, we could even make it a lot lighter than this, making it ridiculously lighter than the most primal cable binding. NTN-BC guys... I'm telling you... NTN-BC...
Together we stand, divided we fall... We fall... We fall... We fall...