Meindl Nordic 3-Pin Backcountry Leather Ski Boots

Reviews

Telemarking is not dead and neither are these boots.

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $200 in about 1986

Summary

Telemarking is not dead and neither are these boots. Incredible value for money, these boots have lasted me over 30 years. Not much of my gear has done as well as these boots. But after 30 years I am ready for an upgrade.

Pros

  • Quality
  • Robustness
  • Comfort
  • Longevity

Cons

  • No longer made
  • Need treatment
  • Pin holes slightly elongated
  • Minor cracking

I bought these beautiful Meindl duckbill 3-pin or 75mm boots in the 1980s. They cost a lot of money back then. Pulled them out again this year for a short cross-country / back-country adventure and they still impressed. I never dreamed that they would last 30 (+) years, but they have.


20160801_183933.jpg

Meindl have been making hiking boots since 1683, well over 300 years. I am surprised that they don't make these anymore or a modern equivalent. Since the 1990s much of the world has gone plastic, but nothing really beats the comfort of a leather boot. I read a website tonight that said that the "zealous faction of skiing tele still breathes and its pulse has never waned". But they will not last forever so I am starting to look around. And I am a bit scared to do an expedition in them.

Skiing in Australia

This has been a bumper year for skiing in Australia. Many are getting out old skis they have not used in a while.

The real question is what do I do next? I now have two pairs of XC skiis. My Meindl boots and 75mm bindings have served me well for a long time. These two are the survivors, quite a few others have failed:

20160801_200452.jpg

(1) For back-country touring, a pair of Haga Telemark skis. They are probably 30 years old as well. Metal edges with an Edsbyn 3-pin classic 75mm binding. Despite the metal edges, they are pretty lightweight (60-54-57). They weigh half of my Völkl resort skis (2.9kg with bindings). 

(2) For carving telemarks at resorts I recently acquired a much heavier pair of "Völkl Vertigo G11" parabolic downhill skiis with Targa G3 cable telemark bindings. They do weigh a ton (4.8kg with bindings). Hence the need for a cable binding. I would not want to ski any distance with them. The famous Kiandra to Kosciuszko tour which is Australia's classic long-distance ski tour is totally out of the question. Australia is a hot place and you often have to walk a long way (10-20km) to complete the tour. There is rarely snow on Happy Jacks plain. 

My Meindl boots fit both skis. This is the dilemma I am now facing after 30 years.

Future Options

There are a gazillion options for XC ski boots and bindings. The NNN and SNS are principally for skate skiis, both are too light for back-country. 

Plan A - Go lighter. A step down is the lighter weight NNN-BC style binding. The cons are that I lose a bit of that telemark feel and edge control. Harder on hills, but better on undulating terrain. And that means buying new skis and bindings to match. The Alpina Alaska NNN-BC is the most expensive boot in this class. But unobtainable in Australia. The equivalent Fischer and Rossignol boots are not quite as solid but still very good. NNN-BC is not quite the same as 3-pin or 75mm. The NNN system is lighter duty and more comfortable for touring, but I am nervous about going lighter. 

Plan B - Stick with the classic 75mm style leather boot and current bindings. The best is the Alpina Alaska in a 75mm binding. This is definitely an upgrade. It is a well made leather nordic boot with a 75mm binding. The reviews are fantastic. But they are impossible to obtain in Australia. Fischer and Rossignol boots are sold locally but 75mm is getting rare. Most manufacturers seem to sell the same boots with both NNN-BC and duckbill options.

Plan C - Go heavy and plastic. I have considered upgrading to the Ti system (which I believe has been around since about 1992) or the even newer plastic NTN system with the duck-butt (circa 2006), I will need a couple of new bindings, boots, etc. And I am told that plastic boots are not good for any distance but I have never tried it. The Scarpa T4s sound like the best option, the others are too stiff.

I have never heard of anyone doing Kiandra to Kosciuszko especially the Happy Jacks plain in plastic boots. 

Not sure what I am going to do. Next year's dilemma. 

Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for the review, Andrew! I love to see reviews of older gear. It sounds like Plan B is a strong replacement contender, if you can get the boots to you. Good luck deciding! How has this winter been in Australia?


3 years ago
Andrew Stanner

Hi Alicia, great skiing this year. Best for years. I should have thought this through a while ago because if I mail order from the USA the boots will arrive in time for next years season :-)


3 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

That's great. Let's hope it's good up here during our winter. Now you have time to plan your ski gear choices for next winter!


3 years ago
phil young

You could try looking on the web for Swedish army boots as I think these are a similar boot to yours.You can at the moment in the UK buy new old stock.Try Ebay.Best of luck.


3 years ago
Waldy

Andrew, I had to make a change when my Kastinger 75mm boots finally died. I tried on several of the remaining 75mm boots, and the Fischer BCX675 was my best choice. Light but with lots of control, and, so far, quite warm.


3 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Waldy, if you're so inclined, it would be great if you shared a review of your Fischer boots sometime: https://www.trailspace.com/gear/fischer/bcx-675/


3 years ago
phil young

Alico British Army ski/march boots look nearly the same and are available new on Ebay at £20.00.


3 years ago
Andrew Stanner

I tried on the Fischer BCX675 (at #RhythmSnowSports in Cooma of all places) but they didn't feel right. You have to drive a long way to try on boots in oz :-)


3 years ago
Andrew Stanner

Update - I forked out the money (mail order from the US) for a pair of Alpina Alaska NNN-BC boots. Hope they fit.


2 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Good luck with the new boots, Andrew. Please let us know how they work out for you with your oncoming winter.


2 years ago

Where to Buy

sponsored links
Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support Trailspace's independent gear reviews.
Discontinued

The Nordic 3-Pin Backcountry Leather Ski Boots has been discontinued.

No price on record.

The Meindl Nordic 3-Pin Backcountry Leather Ski Boots is not available from the stores we monitor.

Recently on Trailspace

Falcon Guides The Complete Book of Sea Kayaking Review

Helly Hansen Odin Huginn Pant Review