Gear West: Wedges and Spacers

FasterSkierJanuary 26, 2012


Two years ago Salomon released the SNS wedge, since then we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the use of products similar to this one. Rottefella released their NNN spacer for this season, and last weekend at the Mayor’s Challenge SuperTour race in Minneapolis Minnesota all three athletes on the podium of the skate were using a wedged ski regardless of the binding system used. We asked the U.S. Ski Team’s Tad Elliot how often he uses a wedged ski – his response, “always.”

Matt Liebsch racing at Tour de Twin Cities.

Something that always seems constant with the NNN spacers is that they make skis feel quicker when climbing.  However, on firm packed snow they can increase the “squirreliness” of a ski. In other words, the ski can become a little bit harder to control. That being said, the Xcelerator system makes it super easy to try the NNN spacer – you could even test it out on a race day! The downside of using an SNS wedge is you are locked into your choice, unless you bring a screw driver and glue to the race.

A few things to take home:

  • A wedged ski always feels better to me in soft and medium track conditions.
  • A wedge always seems to perform very well in sloppy wet snow.
  • I played around with wedging and binding position, and it seems that the NNN wedge does not affect binding position.  If you know the “sweet” spot on a ski, that spot is best with and without a wedge.
  • Fischer, Rossignol, and Madshus have a wedge-like shape built into the ski. You can see this if you look at the sidewall of the ski. The location of where the heel sits is lower than balance point.  Salomon and Atomic are more neutral across the top-sheet which I believe, is why a wedge is very beneficial for most all conditions when considering Salomon and Atomic skis.
  • The NNN wedge is not “pink” it is fuchsia, and it looks quite good on a Fischer ski!

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