Telemark Tech Norm – Another one?

There’s a move afoot to develop a new “norm” for telemark boots, a Telemark Tech Norm (TTN), to account for the presence of tech inserts in NTN boots.  Whether such a norm will be approved and adopted remains to be seen.

Pierre Mouyade, Meidjo’s inventor and proponent of a new Telemark Tech Norm.

According to Pierre Mouyade, the man pushing the new norm and Meidjo’s inventor, Scarpa and 22Designs have verified it.  By “verified” Pierre means approved. Boot and binding makers agree with nailing down dimensions for a telemark norm relative to the inserts. Those are absent from the current NTN specification, which reflected the parameters of the Freeride/TX interface, nothing more. 

When I asked Ben Rockis, owner of Pine Needle Mountaineering in Durango about the possibility of a new telemark norm his first response was an exasperated, “Another one?”

Twelve years down the road it’s easy to see how the moment tech inserts were added to the first NTN boot, Scarpa’s TX, the need for another norm took root.  But do we really need a third telemark norm to acknowledge the presence of tech in the telemark domain?

Tele Tech was for locking heels

The original reason for inserts in the first NTN boot, Scarpa’s orange TX (one dozen years ago), was to offer a boot that could switch between a low-tech AT binding for locked heel turns, or Rottefella’s Freeride NTN binding for freeheel turns; same boot, dual purpose.  Nobody at Scarpa considered using tech inserts in a telemark boot with a telemark binding.  Not seriously. Besides, it didn’t exist at the time.

To add an ironic twist to the story, Scarpa eliminated the heel inserts in 2016 so their NTN boots can no longer be used with an AT tech binding.  Blame lawyers for that decision.  As of today, only Crispi offers boots that let you switch hit, and the Meidjo is the only binding that can.

Tech is for Tele Turns too

A prototype Telemark Tech System binding driven with a TX-Pro.

Once inserts were embedded in the boots, the cogs of creativity started turning. It only took a few years before Mark Lengel went rogue and paired a Dynafit toe with a classic cable binding to create the first telemark tech binding.  Due to the inherent adjustability of the real heel connection Lengel’s Telemark Tech System didn’t demand a new norm.  When Pierre Mouyade invented Meidjo, a hybrid TeleTech binding with the NTN second heel connection point the need for a norm was born. 

Tele Tech needs standards

Meidjo needs your vote for a new norm.

When issues arose last winter (2019) with a few Crispi boots not cooperating with Meidjo and Lynx something had to change.  It appeared the boots were, literally, coming up short at the duckbutt (NTN’s second heel).  Crispi’s Italian headquarters were stone cold silent to queries. Not atypical in my experience. The Fey Bros., Crispi’s US distributor, grudgingly admitted that there might be a problem with a few of their small soled NTN boots. How widespread the problem was/is remains unknown, but it made a stir on Facebook and other shadowy places on the web and it most definitely had the owners of the short boots in a huff about their new tele rig not working as expected; and rightfully so.  Could it be Crispi inserts are not in the same place they are for Scarpa boots relative to the second heel? 

Telemark Pin Spec Needed?

Which raises another point. Is there a spec for the pins? I’ve seen the ice cutting grooves worn when they were located on the rear upper quadrant of a pin.  Do there need to be specs on the manufacture of pins for telemark bindings? Pierre’s TTN proposal only deals with the boot sole. As to whether the pins should be different from pins in AT bindings, he said, “No, if you make the pins correctly, with the proper hardness, the location of the grooves shouldn’t matter and it shouldn’t wear the inserts excessively either. The tolerances are tight, and there is some special processing to get the right hardness but it is achievable.” In other words, the pins in the bindings don’t need a norm, but manufacturers might want to bone up on Dynafit’s process. 


As you can see, there are some things to be learned and some things begging for cooperation and agreement, like defining dimensions for boots to work with this emerging telemark interface.

22D’s 2-pin tele tech binding. Another vote for TTN.

Are you intrigued? Do you want a better system, or are you content with tele as it is? Your comments below could influence the direction telemark heads in the next year.

Next time

A look at the pros and cons of TTN; the hopes and the risks.


© 2019

17 thoughts on “Telemark Tech Norm – Another one?

  1. The meidjo and lynx are the closest I’ve ever felt to the old duckbill with an NTN boot and could lead to a bit of a resurgence for tele. They fix the one, huge downfall of the 75mm which is touring capability. In this age of lighter, stronger and more versatile AT setups the TTN breathes new life into the sport we all love.

  2. Yes please please unite in a TTN norm. The lack of it is the sole reason I’m still duckbilling. I’d be happy to commit if I knew my investment would be worthwhile long term.

  3. To those purists preaching 75mm: Are you rocking leathers and 3 pins without cables? No? Sounds like you’ve embraced some major advancements in technology which have all had the same goal: better control and energy transfer to the ski. TTS is still freeheel skiing and the technique is fundamentally the same; i.e.. all of Paul Parker’s tips apply. The first time I stepped in a TTS set up I couldn’t believe the edge control. With 75mm you get used to a bit of slop and yeah it still feels amazing. But OMG TTS (only rig I’ve tried) feels pretty much like a SB but with really efficient energy transfer to the edge (so all the fun without the slop), not to mention I’ve released twice – in falls (with speed radical toe unlocked). My point is that TTS does what 75 mm is trying to do…just better. If you’re stoked on your 75 mm rig then sweet – but this seems like a weird article for you to be reading/chiming in on. To the author I cast my vote for standardization of this system – “TTN” makes sense as, yes it’s the future of telemark…for sure…let’s push this so someone will finally make some lighter boots with better ROM.

  4. I vote with bibble j. bole. I’m sticking with my duck bills. Let’s remember where it is we came from instead of trying to be just another acronym.

  5. Scarpa already has already inadvertently created the Tech norm with the TXPro, and all of the new TT binding systems have been successfully designed and executed around this norm. Formalizing and standardizing what already exists should be the goal; the few companies that have poured all of the time and resources into innovation and moving our sport forward should be the ones who get to define the standards. No to creating any new norm that forces the obsolescence of existing NTN gear!

  6. C. Dostie leads another charge to nowhere! The problem with Telemark will always be constant athletic deficiency and inability to accept inferior technology.

    1. Ha ha. Touche! Actually, I’m just reporting, not leading, but I do lean that way and do endorse the direction for sure. Your point on the sufficiency of 75mm is spot on. I’ll keep my 2-pins just the same.

  7. I thinks it’s a good idea and a standard should be created. It will help with pre release problems and also I have broken tech inserts in my boots, most likely because they are inserts used for AT boots and bindings.

  8. I am fine with standardization, but don’t change drastically so that my current TX pro will not work with new tech tele bindings. Standardize so that across the board whichever boot I buy works with Meijdo, Lynx, etc. But I am not interested in buying a binding that will not work with my current TX Pro. (yes they could be lighter, yes they could have more ROM for the walk mode, yes I know new things may be coming) but for the time being I am happy with the TX Pro.

  9. I only ski TRS with Scapra F3s. They your as well as Brock Skimo’s uber new AT skis and I don’t look like a total gaper on the way down thanks to the buttery smooth knee drops I get to make. Best of both worlds I tell you.

  10. Im all for standardizing the specs for boots to work with A TTN norm. Ive been on NTN for patrol work and resort for years and have gone to TTS for touring. This is the future so it should be a no-brainer for all the stakeholders to sit down and agree on dimensional standards for the boots… which should reflect what is already being built. Winter OR is coming up, so why don’t all u guys get a start on it then? Then, moving forward, compatibility will be assured with new boots and binders.

  11. Yes we need a spec – this is the future of telemark skiing. I’m in the process of liquidating my duck-bill boot/binding inventory, a decision made after only a relative handful of days on Lynx in the backcountry, preceded by a couple of seasons of lift-served on Outlaw X.

  12. TTN should be the new standard. It has a better potential for releasability, tours better, and provides excellent edge control.

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