How To Dynafit — WildSnow Video

Bookmark and Share
This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Update: YouTube keeps cutting the audio on our vids even though we’re using a BMI license and very short music snips. They’re pretty strict, apparently more so when a vid gets a lot of views, as these have. So I uploaded a new version of part 1 that’ll hopefully keep its sound track. We shall see. If you link to these videos, please know they may be deleted for a re-upload, so link to our YouTube channel instead, via http://www.youtube.com/user/skiwildsnow

Original post from a few months ago:
Okay, I know it’s rough, but with all the questions we get about how to use Dynafits I thought it time we put together some sort of basic how-to video. We’ll probably do a remake of this, but it’ll do for now. Both parts work together, had to break apart because of You Tube 10 minute limit for video length. Use of Dynafit bindings has exploded in North America over the past 24 months. As a result we get an unbelievable amount of email asking basic questions about using the diminutive grabbers. Now we can refer some of those folks to these vids along with all our other Dynafit binding stuff, which is easy to find using our search function as well as our Binding Reviews and Technique categories (see category list in right sidebar).

Also see how to adjust Dynafit release settings, and our index of stand-alone Dynafit articles.

Comments

54 Responses to “How To Dynafit — WildSnow Video”

  1. Ian December 19th, 2008 9:07 am

    Thanks for the videos. I use Naxo’s NX21′s and find myself constantly whacking the heal lift with my poles to adjust the elevated position. The Dynafits look like a heck of a lot less effort. The guide on a recent tour I embarked on (in -30 temps… brrr) was using Dynafits and made them look easy. Also, the Naxo’s have the alpine lock on the back, which I have found can be tricky to access. These videos make me want to get Dynafits! ;)

  2. Lou December 19th, 2008 9:18 am

    Ian, yeah, all bindings seem to have their quirks. Dynafit might have gotten the reputation of being a bit more fiddly than it really is, just because it operates differently from “frame” bindings. Biggest problem people seem to have is ice buildup as addressed in my vids — I still forget this once in a while and end up paying the price. Need to watch my own videos more I guess (grin).

  3. AK Jack December 19th, 2008 10:47 am

    Good videos, Lou. Recent convert to Dynafit, and they work great. Like most things, it takes a little practice to get it dialed in.

  4. Randonnee December 19th, 2008 11:01 am

    Good information and demonstration Lou. Perhaps a suggestion for us attention-deficit boomers raised on TV is to distill the demonstrations to shorter segments. I watched Fox News while I ran the videos, and I did enjoy the video. Leave the pow turn segments in…instant gratification stuff…

  5. Lou December 19th, 2008 11:27 am

    Rando, thanks for your take,we’ll probably do a short version. I know what we did is about 10 times longer than what’s recommended for You Tube. On the other hand, I figured it to be more of a resource than entertainment, do didn’t hesitate to really get a bunch of stuff in there and even repeat things. Today’s powder vid is more of the typical You Tube format and we did keep it short (grin).

  6. Tucker December 19th, 2008 12:32 pm

    Good video, very helpful. Thanks for taking the time to put these together.

  7. Tony December 19th, 2008 1:22 pm

    Lou, great videos, I learned a few things. One thing you missed was AT Apostle’s Van Halen method of getting from ski mode to tour mode without removing your skis. Its proven useful to me on more than a few occaisons.

  8. Lou December 19th, 2008 1:54 pm

    Tony, thanks, but this is the basic version and we missed that on purpose. Also, that method doesn’t work well if at all with brakes installed, so it’ll be easier to explain in the advanced video as it’ll take some verbiage to do so. For those curious, here is a link to the famed vid

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqBaHPcgtAM

  9. ScottN December 19th, 2008 3:11 pm

    Thanks for the vids Lou. Liked the various ways you demonstrated to get into the bindings. Tried the heel to toe method this morning and works great. Why didn’t I think of that before? Leave it to Wildsnow.com……

  10. Lee Lau December 19th, 2008 11:18 pm

    Nice presentation.

    Another tip. If you have a heavy pack and you want to save some effort or if you just don’t want to bend down to ratchet the touring latch of the Dynafits up you can use your pole to up the touring latch. The handle of a BD or Komperdell pole is perfect for this – simply reverse the pole and hold the pole by its bottom portion and use the pole handle accordingly.

  11. Peter December 19th, 2008 11:28 pm

    Good job on the video Lou. I got my bindings last season and had a lot of fun working my way through the learning curve.

  12. GeorgeT December 19th, 2008 11:57 pm

    Amen and thanks for the excellent videos,
    Now I can have my wife watch your videos and spare myself the “Let me show you honey… ” routine. I can also refer my wife to your videos if she has problems. Lou gets the credit, but I am sure I will still get the constructive comments. On behalf of all us lucky AT husbands, thank you.

  13. Lou December 20th, 2008 7:34 am

    Good tip Lee, along those same lines a Whippet ski pole grip makes an excellent binding latcher, though if sharp or burred it’ll damage the plastic a bit, as will stepping on it with a ski to unlatch (as I show in the vid) if the ski edge happens to scrape it.

  14. tonyt December 20th, 2008 9:04 am

    Hi Lou, good work on the video. I have two comments. The first is that once you have engaged the toe pins it is easy to tell if there is ice in the boot sockets or under the binding by a gentle side to side wiggle of your foot. If the boot feels solid all is OK but if there is any movement its time to try again. I didn’t know about moving your foot for and aft to clear the ice from the boot sockets so I’ll do that until the binding is feeling solid side to side. This works in both uphill and downhill mode before you engage the heel pins. The other is just a procedure I use since I have brakes. Before taking off the skin I engage the brake so that if I inadvertently set if down it stays put and I don’t disengage the brake until the skin is on for the same reason. I’ve watched a number of skiers lose a ski either without brakes or while changing over and it can really turn a good day of skiing to bad. Thanks again, Tony

  15. Zeaphod Beeblebrox December 20th, 2008 10:31 am

    Any tricks you can show us on how to get from latched heel downhill mode to free heel uphill mode with ski brakes?

  16. Michael December 20th, 2008 12:24 pm

    Lou,

    You video could’nt come at a better time. I Just got a pair of Baker SL with Vertical ST … tried them on last week-end, and I’m very excited about it! I was expecting to be a real pain at first, especially with my two friends being on Fristchi … but I was’nt that bad, as I practiced at home for an hour the day before! But your video really gave me a lot tips that will be VERY helpfull dealing with them on my next outing tomorow … they are so light and efficient in tour mode, that I’m willing to take time getting familiar with them! THANKS a lot for taking the time to do this video … I’ve been sending this link to my buddies, spreading the gospel of Dynafit LOL !!!! …

  17. Lee Lau December 20th, 2008 10:59 pm

    @zeaphod – which should be zaphod

    latch the touring lever up.

    Reach down with hand.

    Twist heel piece from downhill to tour mode with hand while, at the same time, twisting the heel of the boot to the side.

    Don’t do this with the pole in the heel piece – I think it’s highly probably you’ll break the pole if you do that

    You’ll then be in tour mode

    For some reason I doubt this is particularly good for the binding so I don’t do this very often.

  18. John W December 21st, 2008 11:46 am

    Lou
    This is more of an adjustment question. With my combo of MegaRides & Kilowatts, if I adjust the 6mm heel space properly there is contact (boot heel to binder heel) when walking in deep snow w/ no heel lift. You can duplicate this on a bench by putting a 2×4 block under tip and tail and pushing the boot to the bench. This got worse when I moved the bindings to the Kilowatts from some K2s. It is obviously not a huge deal but bothersome on a long flat slog and clearly not good for the heel top plate. It seems a bit of a design flaw because there is no clear reason (to me) that you need such close clearance in ‘no rise’ walk mode.
    Any thoughts?

  19. Lou December 21st, 2008 11:57 am

    John, I’ve had that happen, usually with softer skis that bend more and thus bring toe and heel closer together. It is indeed annoying and can damage the binding. Try two things. First, when you use the 6mm feeler gauge fit so it’s loose rather than tight. Second, on the bench observe what location on the boot is actually touching the binding. Sometimes you can bevel off a bit of sole material and it helps. Also make sure the screw on the heel fitting is sunk in all the way. Don’t know what else to tell you, except find some snow that has enough pitch to use at least your lower heel lifter (grin)!

    What model binding? And you are using the feeler gauge to adjust the rear clearance, correct?

  20. John W December 21st, 2008 3:22 pm

    Lou
    Binding model is ‘Comfort’ – 3 years old. Yes on the feeler gauge. I don’t have any 4mm binders. The problem actually got worse on the Kilowatts which are stiffer, my assumption is that the more even flex causes the middle of the ski to flex more.
    Do you agree that the binding could be designed to allow more clearance?
    Sometimes my tele pals make me break in the flats.
    Thanks
    John

  21. Lou December 21st, 2008 6:55 pm

    John, sure, anything can be improved and in particular I’d love to see a few more millimeters of clearance. It was great when they went from 4 to 6. I’m sure as with any machine that adding clearance would not be as simple as it looks on the surface. For example, those pins are just strong enough, if the boot rested farther out on the pins then there would be more leverage and they might need to be made larger in diameter, which of course would orphan all previous boots with Dynafit fittings. And so on.

    As for fixing your problem, since you’re doing everything correctly I don’t know what else to tell you. Blogsters? Ideas?

  22. John W December 21st, 2008 7:54 pm

    OK- I’ve been at the bench w/ a new (to me) (ski swap) pair of 27.5 Megarides and they have the best clearance in ‘low walk’ of any of my Dynafit compatible boots. Seems like the clearance in ‘low walk’ could be increased without messing with the pins or any of the other heel positions.
    Nuf said. Anyway it’s snowing.
    Thanks Lou, you are indeed the Dynafit open source coordinator.

  23. Cameron December 22nd, 2008 7:55 pm

    Thanks a lot for putting this up Lou! I have just started with Dynafits and used lots of your little tips today. It made the transitions a lot faster. Thanks!

  24. Zeaphod December 22nd, 2008 8:29 pm

    Found that the Van Halen method of freeing the heel works fine freeing the heel and locking the brakes if the toes piece is locked in touring mode. Now how do you lock the toe piece without bending over?

  25. Lou December 22nd, 2008 9:18 pm

    Z, there is an internal part that may wear out if you’re forcing the heel to rotate and at the same time compress/retract the brake. The trick is to rotate the heel quickly, while the brake is still retracted by the boot heel pressing down on it somewhat. I’m not convinced it’s a viable technique that can be done hundreds of times, but it’s nice to do once in a while when really needed.

  26. Lee Lau December 22nd, 2008 9:52 pm

    zeaphod – what do you mean “how do you lock the toe piece without bending over?”. You mean in touring mode? Did you see earlier comment re using the pole to do this?

  27. Justin December 24th, 2008 8:26 pm

    Yeah, I would also not recommend doing the Van Halen technique with brakes. The mechanism of the dynafit heel is attractive for its simplicity but I don’ t think that the heel post is really designed to take rotational and side loading.

    I am only tempted to use this method when skinning and for some reason I accidentally over-rotate into downhill mode. Now the brakes are released. You are stuck in deep snow on an incline looking like an idiot and trying to bite back the expletives. Meanwhile your tele and Fritschi buddies are giving you cr**. Happens pretty rarely and I usually have to be brain dead from fatigue.

  28. Jim January 3rd, 2009 1:17 pm

    What adjustments can be made to keep the toe from releasing in ski mode during skiing? Or is this just the result of fat skis and poor skiing?

  29. Lou January 3rd, 2009 2:32 pm

    To put it in a nutshell:
    - No ice in boot toe sockets or under binding toe unit.
    - DIN settings per chart if you’re a normal skier.
    - Space between boot heel and binding per specifications.
    - Ski technique that’s normal.
    - Width of skis has nothing to do with it.

  30. Mike January 11th, 2009 1:08 pm

    Thanks for all the great Dynafit info on your website. Here’s a couple of tips I’ve learned from experience that I haven’t seen on your website:

    1. If you’re leaving your skis outside overnight on a multi-day or hut trip, push the toe piece into the closed position. This prevents snow and ice from building up in the toe piece recess.

    2. A couple of times I’ve seen people have one of their skis go shooting down a mountain because they let go of it while taking their skins off and they hadn’t yet rotated the heel piece to deploy the ski brake. So I always make it a rule to deploy the ski brake before removing the skin. At the bottom of a run, I always put the skin on before I retract the brake. (The brake also helps to align the skin onto the ski, especially if it’s windy.) That way there’s always either a skin or a brake to keep the ski from running away. The same thing applies if you’re removing your skis to reach a summit on foot – either keep the skins on or deploy the ski brakes.

  31. Lou January 11th, 2009 1:56 pm

    Nice tips Mike, thanks!

  32. Steven Legault January 14th, 2009 9:57 pm

    Great video Lou. One question is do you have any tips for making it easier to spin the dynafit heal piece? With an aluminum pole it is a breeze, but with fairly fragile carbon fiber poles I find it a little difficult, especially with new dynafits that aren’t quite worked in yet.

  33. Lou January 15th, 2009 6:31 am

    Steven, what model binding? There are at least three different heel lift configurations and each one has different issue.

  34. GeorgeT January 17th, 2009 8:11 pm

    Lou: Please advise on moving Right Binding (Dynafit Comforts) to highest climbing position from medium climb. My wife doesn’t want seem to get it and I use TLT Speed Classic, so I just bend over and turn it. The left ski is easy, but moving from medium to high position requires a lot of monkey motion with ski pole. Do you push right leg back or is there an something easier? What is the trick?
    Thanks, George

  35. peter b January 21st, 2009 3:44 pm

    Lou: I tried the trick where you pull up on both tour levers with your ski pole on my TLT’s. I over rotated one lever and it took about a half an hour to get it out of tour mode for the descent. I had to pull upward with my leatherman to get tension off the lever before rotating it forward. All efforts to push it forward had been futile and promised to break the lever. Our guide had comforts and thought this mishap would be impossible with her bindings. I won’t be trying that trick again. Now I’m wondering where to get replacement tour lever for my presumably weakened one.

  36. Lou January 21st, 2009 9:17 pm

    Peter, sorry to hear that. Key is to not get overly agro when you pull up, whether you use a ski pole or not. I’ll try to work that fact into the video somehow.

  37. Lou January 21st, 2009 9:19 pm

    George, I just reach back there with my ski pole and turn it as shown in vid, don’t know what else to say except experiment as each person does it a bit differently based on their body, height, flexibility, etc… practice at home on the carpet.

  38. John January 31st, 2009 10:53 am

    Can you describe the preferred method for getting into dynafit bindings on a high angle slope, eg 45-50º, such as one might encounter on the Couloir des Cosmiques? It would be nice to cover both soft and hard snow conditions. The de-icing of the pin holes seems much tricker under these conditions, especially if you have down ice climbed to the skis-on point rather than rapping in.

  39. Lou February 1st, 2009 10:53 am

    First, I’d carry something in my pocket to de-ice the pin holes. After that, it’s a matter of getting the ski stablized, sometimes by chopping out a small platform. It’s indeed tougher than a step-in such as Fritschi.

  40. Dave C. February 14th, 2009 3:01 pm

    The sound is disabled on the part 2 video. A notice on YouTube reads, “This video contains an audio track that has not been authorized by WMG. The audio has been disabled.”

    I’ll resist the urge to editorialize about such actions!

  41. paul burton February 14th, 2009 3:25 pm

    apparently youtube disabled the sound on video number two because of some unauthorized music

  42. Lou February 14th, 2009 4:00 pm

    Hmmm, we’ll take care of that, we’ve got permission for all music but I guess YouTube has a system I need to get up to speed on…

  43. Lou February 17th, 2009 9:34 am

    I’ve submitted a dispute with YouTube, as we are using a BMI license for our music and it is legal. Pretty disconcerting how YouTube just finds music and shuts down your video audio without even contacting the account owner. You’d think they could issue a warning and give you a chance to respond. But I guess that’s their way. I’ll be more careful in the future, though I don’t know exactly how to go about communicating to YouTube that we have BMI.

  44. Lou February 18th, 2009 8:53 am

    We let YouTube know we’re using BMI for music rights, and the audio is working again.

  45. Tom February 26th, 2009 11:38 pm

    Thank you for posting the videos. I just purchased these bindings and to have tips ahead of time on how to use them will make my first use that much more enjoyable.

  46. mat March 19th, 2009 2:10 pm

    Cheers Lou! very quick and clean, easy to understand and useful.. :) Keep on going!

    Mat

  47. Mike R April 14th, 2009 6:31 am

    hi lou, thanks for the video. i recently converted to dynafits (TLT vertical ST) and have been out on them a dozen or so times – very pleased so far. when i demo-ed the bindings and when i had my skis mounted, the guys at the shop i went to said that i should pull the toe level up 2 clicks when skiing. i noticed that you said on your video to only pull the toe lever up while skiing when you don’t want to release. have i been skiing in no-released mode this whole time?

    thanks for all the uselful information on your site!

    mike

  48. Lou April 14th, 2009 6:45 am

    Gad, typical shop employees. MAKE IT STOP! Yeah, pulling the toe lever up is a touring lock. It locks out lateral release to a very high DIN, over 20. It can be used as a lateral release lockout for extreme skiing, but is should not be used for normal skiing if you want your bindings to have a safety release. Of course, if you enjoy helping your orthopedic surgeon save for his next Cessna, you can leave it locked all the time…who am I to judge?

    Mike, see our how-to vid, and perhaps suggest it to the folks at the ski shop!

    http://www.wildsnow.com/1587/video-how-use-dynafit-bindings/

  49. Steve July 27th, 2009 2:13 pm

    Lou, thanks for fixing the vid!

  50. Lou July 27th, 2009 2:56 pm

    Steve, you’re welcome!

  51. Lou February 2nd, 2010 9:48 am

    Just thought I’d mention that the part where I show how to rotate the heel unit for heel lift selection isn’t quite right. Most often, the best method is to always use your right hand ski pole.

  52. KevinD February 2nd, 2010 10:28 am

    Lou,

    Do you have a video (or can you make one) on how to do the transition from ski mode to tour mode trick? I’ve watched Andrew’s, but he does it so fast it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on.

  53. Lou February 2nd, 2010 11:09 am

    Kevin, it’s really so simple no one seems to be very motivated to do another vid. But I might put one together… Following is how it’s done:

    1. You can’t be using ski brakes.
    2. Lock toe latch.
    3. Either pull boot and ski up off the snow towards your butt, or pull up on your boot heel as the ski is resting on the snow.
    4. Rotate binding heel unit until your boot heel pops up and out.

    Applying a certain amount of upward force on the boot or downward force on the ski is the key. You can rotate the binding by just using your ski pole tip as usual, or with the ski up near your butt, it sometimes works well to insert your pole grip between boot heel and binding heel lift, and rotate the heel by moving the pole grip.

  54. Bondcop February 4th, 2010 11:09 am

    Wow was this helpful. I am a new AT skier on FT12/manaslu set up baffled by pre-release. Now i am sure it was ice bldup in the sockets and know the remedy. Baffled no longer.

    thx lou

Got something to say? Please do so.





Anti-Spam Quiz:


If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.
:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
  
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after we approve it. Once you've had one comment published, your comments will be pre-approved and appear immediately if you're using the same computer and not blocking browser cookies. NOTE however that ALL comments with one or more links in the text will be held for moderation no matter what, again for spam prevention.
Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

All material on this website online magazine is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked.. Permission required for reproduction, electronic or otherwise. This includes publication and display on other websites by whatever means. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

Backcountry skiing is a dangerous sport. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions or templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow its owners and contributors of any liability for use of said items for backcountry skiing or any other use.

Switch to our mobile site