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Arc'teryx Whiteline
How to Choose Telemark Bindings

A telemark binding uses a cable-and-cartridge or tray connection system that lets you lift your heel and fully bend at the knee when you turn. This style of skiing offers a distinct advantage when backcountry skiing, although some people prefer to telemark at the resorts, too. Factors to consider when buying a telemark binding include: boot compatibility (75mm telemark or NTN), whether you’re skiing in the backcountry or at the resort, and how aggressively you ski.

75mm Telemark
75mm telemark bindings can be divided into three categories. You can find simple, inexpensive 3-pin bindings, bindings with cartridges on the cables to adjust the tension, or highly adjustable ‘hammerhead’ bindings with springs underfoot. ‘Telemark’ bindings are compatible with any 75mm tele boot, but not NTN-compatible boots.
NTN
NTN (New Telemark Norm) bindings are similar to alpine bindings in that they offer step-in convenience and a quick-release mechanism (but they are not DIN-certified). They also offer greater lateral rigidity, a plus for more aggressive skiers. These bindings are compatible with NTN boots only.
Inbounds or Backcountry
Both NTN and 75mm bindings may offer the ability to adjust the binding for easier walking or skinning. This feature isn’t a necessity for inbounds skiing, but if you spend at least half of your time touring, it’s a helpful addition.
Tension
This refers to the stiffness of the spring or cartridge in a 75mm tele binding. Heavier or more aggressive skiers will want a stiffer spring underfoot or larger cable cartridge for greater lateral support. Both of these mechanisms can be fine-tuned, with cable cartridges offering the advantage of being the easiest to adjust.

    How to Choose Telemark Bindings

    Open the Lines of Communication Between Your Boot and Ski
    How to Choose Telemark Bindings

    Just as with alpine skiing (fixed heel), a telemark binding is the means by which your boot connects to your ski. Unlike an alpine binding, a telemark binding uses a cable-and-cartridge or tray connection system that frees you to lift your heel so you can bend fully forward at the knee when you turn. This style of binding offers a distinct advantage when skinning uphill in the backcountry, and some skiers prefer to telemark at the resorts, too. How hard you ski will determine the stiffness of the cable or cartridge you need in your tele binding (swappable), and whether you want a NTN or 75mm binding. NTN or New Tele Norm utilizes a step-in tray system instead of the typical around-the-heel cable system of a 75mm or duckbill binding.

    Compatibility:

    A tele binding comes in two flavors: NTN or 75mm. Most 75mm bindings won’t accept NTN boots, and potentially vice-versa. Make sure the binding you choose is compatible with the boot you want or already have.

    Inbounds or Backcountry:

    Inbounds telemarking doesn't require a binding that releases or one that offers a walk mode. Alternatively, if you spend at least half of your time touring in the backcountry, consider a binding with both of these features.

    Tension:

    This refers to the tension or stiffnes of the cable or cartridge in a 75mm tele binding. The softer the tension in the cable or cartridge, the less aggressively you can safely ski. Conversely, the greater the rigidity along the sides of your boots, the more forceful you can be when going downhill.