Dynafit New and Improved – Part 4 – Packs Crampons and More

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Backcountry Skiing

Press illuminati arrive at the Kreuzeck Hut, greeted in euro polite style by Dynafit staff.

It’s now been a while since I was in Garmisch, Germany at the annual Dynafit press event where they show all the new goodies. But that’s no reason I can’t keep blogging about all the cool stuff I saw. Big news is of course their race line and their new super stiff Titan boot (both covered in previous blogs as linked below), but they also have quite a few interesting new items in their accessories, packs, and clothing — as well as a new women’s boot. Highlights:

One item of good news is Dynafit will have three widths of ski crampons available (82;92;102). We’re of course huge fans of B&D’s versatile crampon offerings, but no reason Dynafit can’t be a bit more accommodating of different ski widths. Now they are, so good.

To keep you freeride boys and girls happy, ski brakes will also be available in wider widths.

Backcountry Skiing

Gaia, new Dynafit woman's beef boot.

For you aggro ladies out there, if you’re shopping for ski boots know that Dynafit will offer a women’s freeride shoe that’s built with excellent design parameters taken from the Zzeus. Thus, the new woman’s Gaia boot has the same sole swap system as well as commodious rearward cuff movement, and is molded from polyurethane plastic instead of Pebax. Said to be more specifically designed for a woman’s foot — any gal who wants an aggressive boot should check these out.

Speaking of the fairer sex (is it PC to say that?), Dynafit really is making an effort to provide product that’s designed and engineered for women. Savvy female buyers will always take that kind of thing with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, we truly recommend that women look at any of Dynafit’s female specific offerings with serious anticipation of something that actually works and isn’t just hype.

Other Dynafit boot news: Mainly, know that most of their 3-buckle and lighter weight boots will NOT be imported (other than the Dy.N.A race boot, and the Zzero3, a lower cut three-buckle version of the Green Machine). This reflects current trends in the North American backcountry skiing market — skiers want boots they perceive as beefier; looking down at your foot and seeing four buckles seems to provide that mental picture.

Look for the pendulum to swing the other way eventually, as lighter weight gear is incredibly popular in Europe. But who knows how long the swing will take (even with many of us pushing from behind). Thus, if you want something like the TLT 4 you’d better start shopping or you’ll have to get them from Europe. Hint, look for deeply disounted TLT boots at Sierra Trading Post once ski season is over.

In climbing skins, the company says they’ve “completely reworked their climbing skins” by adding a membrane to prevent water absorption, as well as more waterproofing. We’re certainly planning on testing this new construction since skin icing continues to be a problem for us. Stay tuned. Oh, and the Dynafit tip/tail attachment system really is quite nice if you’ve got the slot in your ski tip to accommodate it. If you care to retrofit, the system parts will be available to the consumer as the “Speedskin Fix.” I’m starting to become a fan of this type of fix (after seeing all those World Cup racers using it), so good to see Dynafit making it available for retrofit to any fur.

Backcountry Skiing

Dynafit RC 20 race backpack makes an excellent lightweight touring sack. The huge Dynafit logo suits some folk's taste, for others it's a bit over the top. Solution, just brag about that six figure cash sponsorship you get for wearing the colors.

Anyone in need of a pack should look Dynafit’s three offerings. RC20 continues as a popular item in the superlight zipper-access arena, though the huge logos may be off-putting. Manaslu 32, though a bit heavy, has more touring specific features than any pack I’ve seen (to be fair, you can’t have extra features without associated mass, so the added weight does have a purpose beyond other brands that seem to add mass just to look good in the store display).

Trademark feature of the Manaslu is a “barrel” compartment you can reach from the side without removing the pack. While designed to hold boot crampons, you could also stuff a smaller rope in here, or your puffy, or your skins. (RC 20 has a similar feature, though smaller.)

Backcountry skiing gear

Dynafit Race Pro wearable backpack is definitely outside the box in terms of design.

The most interesting pack from Dynafit is their new Race Pro. You wear this thing like a shirt, or as they say, “a packable piece of clothing.” While ostensibly purposed to ski mountaineering racing, I could see using the Race Pro for fitness uphilling as well as light/fast spring peak ascents. At 270 grams it’ll still carry a shovel, extra layer, water bottle, and diagonal skis. A 270 gram backpack? I can live with that!

It is worth mentioning Dynafit’s clothing. We highly recommend any or Dynafit’s swanky attire for anyone with an athletic build (their stuff fits TIGHTLY), but we are particularly partial to their layering garments. Many of their pieces will not be imported this coming season but continue to be available from European retailers. What will be brought over the pond: race suit, a variety of cotton logo T-shirts, and some of their hats (we especially like the look of the hand knit Stripe Beanie). If you’re looking for Dynafit clothing, try browsing to bentgate.com.

In summary, let me honestly say that the Dynafit equipment brand continues true to performance ski touring. If you don’t slog, but prefer to move through the mountains swiftly and elegantly, you could outfit yourself almost entirely with Dynafit gear and be perfectly happy.

Intro
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Shop for Dynafit gear here.

Comments

19 Responses to “Dynafit New and Improved – Part 4 – Packs Crampons and More”

  1. ScottP February 26th, 2009 12:00 pm

    That lack of lightweight boots in America is distressing. I was already annoyed when Scarpa added a 4th buckle to the Spirit and discontinued the 3-buckle version. With the right buckle design (see Scarpa Spirit 3), you really don’t need 2 buckles down there.

    I guess Dynafit is fighting the same mentality in their bindings, though. I know too many people who opted for Duke’s because they wanted “extra beef”. What do people need all of this extra perceived beef for? People have skied some extremely burly lines on lightweight gear. Maybe if people need all this heavy equipment to ski something, they should either not ski it or improve their skills so they can do it on a different setup? Lighter weight doesn’t seem to hold back the Europeans from charging down crazy lines.

  2. Lou February 26th, 2009 12:22 pm

    Scott, I’ve thought quite a bit about this since back in my days as an extreme skier, when I did it all on the lightest gear possible since I almost always had to climb what I skied.

    I think what’s driving this is a couple of things. First and most importantly, people want “one-rig” setups for multiple hard skiing resort days. A bigger boot does help days like that go better, as does a more durable binding. Second, quite a few folks really are not that accomplished with their skiing and feel like they need big boots and skis to help them ski better (a legit scenario in many cases, as not everyone has the time to quickly improve their skiing). Third, some folks simply ski a style that requires a big boot and ski (really fast, big air, etc.).

    My theory is a lot of people in the above categories have entered the backcountry gear market and are driving it in the U.S., but they are not the majority. It’s just that the more core touring crowd is all geared up and has been so for years, so their buying habits don’t result in huge surges.

    Also, all gear is usually available one way or another. It doesn’t have to be imported to be obtainable.

    I do agree that the fourth buckle is not necessary to make a beefy boot, but it’s become a badge, sort of like 35 inch tires on a 4×4. Biggest problem with the dang things is they catch on rocks, and on snowmobiles. I nearly always remove them.

  3. Bryan Wickenhasuer February 26th, 2009 1:18 pm

    Amen Scott! When we race in these bindings we torque the hell out of them (probably in ways they weren’t ment to be torqued in…) and we have never broke a binding!…we’re not hucking ourselves, but it is ski mountaineering!

  4. Randonnee February 26th, 2009 5:30 pm

    I’m glad that I have my Zzero3C and TLT4 boots! Today I skied on my Manaslu and Zzero3C with a little powder on top of warmed, windblown snow, and some occasional supporting crust, and a few nice pow lines. I have skied 3 days on the Manaslu with the Zzero4C and today using the Zzero3C. It seems in 3 touring runs today that my Zzero3C is all that I need for the Manaslu. The Manaslu is so easy turning but has enough stability. And that is one incredibly light setup!

    Even though it is light, and even with the slick Speedskin, I notice the resistance when skinning on something as wide as the Manaslu. I remain fond of touring on my lighter stuff for the ease of travel on non-powder days, but still get nice turns on the lighter boots and narrower skis..

  5. Phil February 26th, 2009 8:07 pm

    Lou,

    In the realm of 4 buckles…as I wait to get delivery of my Radium boots..you had mentioned that you were evaluating these boots…did I miss your write up?

    Love to hear you take on them…thanks..Phil::

    [Mine are going on Manaslu/TLT Vert combo...]

  6. Jack February 26th, 2009 8:58 pm

    Has anyone solved the sweaty foot problem? As weather is warming, Intuition liners in my Scarpas are becoming downright uncomfortable after a few laps. D-fit’s web page does a pretty good job of describing their boot liners – haven’t otherwise found much on boot liners, especially breathability of boot liners.

  7. databot February 26th, 2009 10:05 pm

    Lou -
    Off topic question, except that it’s about dynafit binding position – can a small difference in boot sole length & binding position make a big difference in how a ski skis?. I have been skiing 185 kilowatts, dynafit comforts & garmont megarides (28.5) for 3 seasons. Loved the setup, but for foot issues I switched to dynafit zero4c’s (28) a few weeks ago. Something feels off skiing the kilowatts – like I can’t get forward in the boots, like I have to pull the tips of the skis up all the time. I’m wondering if the zzeros are somehow centered differently on the skis, though the shells don’t appear to be that different in size. The zzeros have a 316mm sole, the garmonts a 320 (not measured; marked on shells.) Regardless of the actual lengths, that’s about the apparent difference holding them sole-to-sole. Thoughts? Can the small shell size difference mean that the new boot is too far forward and the whole binding toe needs moved back? Thanks.

  8. Fernando Pereira February 27th, 2009 12:38 am

    @databot: The Zzero 4s have two forward lean settings (grumble). To get into the most forward setting, I need to flex forward as far as possible before pushing down the cuff lock, and then straigthen the ankle until the lock clicks. I’ve sometimes skied on the straighter setting by accident, and I felt something like you described. The worst is skiing with the two cuffs on different settings. I should investigate how to mod the boots to get rid of the straighter setting.

  9. Lou February 27th, 2009 6:50 am

    Phil, I’m working on it. So many boots, so little time. Behind the scene, I spend a ton of time just getting different boots working well enough to test, in terms of fitting, making sure bindings are mounted to accommodate them correctly, etc. Trying to get beyond the “ski on it for a day, write two paragraphs and give it editor’s choice award syndrome.”

  10. Lou February 27th, 2009 7:02 am

    Jack, it helps to punch some holes in the lower foot area of the liner using a grommet punch or something like that , but doing so of course may compromise the warmth. Interestingly, Dynafit back when they were a boot company made a touring boot called the “Tourlite” that had a Gortex lined breathable liner. Your feet still sweated, but their liner was a LOT more comfortable than using a closed cell foam liner during a spring dirt hike with 79 degree air temperature (I’ve actually had my feet start stinging and had to take my thermo liner boots off during such conditions).

    Of course the problem is your feet are in a non breathable shell as well, but getting some moisture to move from your foot to the area outside the liner is a start.

    Best would be getting some sort of anti-sweat treatment on your feet. Don’t they have some kind of electrical device that people use to stop excessive sweat? Would be great to treat the feet with that a few times every season.

  11. Lou February 27th, 2009 7:05 am

    Databot, 4 millimeters shouldn’t make a difference, unless you’re already at the limit of where you want to be on the ski. I doubt that’s the problem. Instead, you’re probably just not used to the ramp angle and cuff lean of the new boot as compared to the older. And as Fernando says, check what forward lean angle you’re using!

    SEE THIS POST!

    http://www.wildsnow.com/957/switch-hitting-gear-its-all-in-the-angle/

  12. Tony February 27th, 2009 9:29 am

    Jack, I use anti prisperant on my feet to help with sweaty feets. It helps.

    Lou, what widtths with the Dyna ski cramps come in? Also will they have spacers to attach to the tops so you can use them with higher heel elevator settings, like the B+D options?

  13. Lou February 27th, 2009 9:50 am

    I guess I have to work on my punctuation and clarity, good agendas for any writer! As I wrote above, (82;92;102). As for spacers, yes, the crampons have holes I presume are used to bolt on those little plastic circle spacers that Dynafit has provided with previous cramps. I’m waiting on a pair of the new cramps for testing, so I’ll report back on what in the package when they get here.

  14. Lou February 27th, 2009 10:52 am

    Made a mistake, Dynafit will also import their 3-buckle ZZero3 boot to the U.S., this is a lightweight lower cut version of the famed ZZero Green Machine.

  15. Randonnee February 27th, 2009 6:35 pm

    Hooray for the Zzero3! Today I toured nice powder on my Zzero3C and Manaslu. So light, it was easy to walk fast. On the downhill as long as I did not get in the back seat I had all of the power needed to turn that Manaslu in tight, medium, or long radius turns. I think that part of the back seat thing is that the Manaslu is relatively soft for my bulk and compared to my FR 10, so I have to ski in good form and stay balanced. Admittedly, skiing the Zzero3 requires more technique than when using the Zzero4, but the light weight and comfort for walking/ skinning is tremendous!

  16. Lou February 28th, 2009 6:42 am

    Randonnee, someone from Dynafit pointed out that they were still bringing that boot in and that I needed to amend this post. I’m glad they helped keep the blog accurate, and good the lighter boots will be available for “enlightened” skiers (grin)! I really liked my old TLT boots back in the day. Wore them out, and have always wanted to rig up another pair after seeing how so many folks in Europe utilize that type of gear. I’ll probably do it at some point. I still like my Scarpa F1s for a lightweight option, but they’ve never fit my foot that well and I never seem to have the time to take them to the next level of fitting, so would be good to have another lightweight option in the boot quiver!

  17. Randonnee February 28th, 2009 12:24 pm

    Yes, but I would not compare the Zzero3C in any way with the TLT3, TLT AT or TLT4. I have had all of those boots. The Zzero3C in my view is the direct descendant of the Aero 3-buckle but much lighter, and perhaps stiffer. The rear spoiler on the Aero that extended upward one inch really amplified the efficacy of that 3- buckle boot- that would be a great feature for the Zzero3. The TLT3 for me worked well only on such a short, noodle ski for my weight that it was not really useful. The TLT AT powered my Shuksan skis well. The Aero 3-buckle actually overpowered my Shuksans and was just enough in powder for my FR10.

    In my 8 years on Dynafit boots and bindings I feel that the quality and performance of the boots and skis has now improved so as to be completely unlike and much better than a few years ago.

  18. databot March 1st, 2009 10:17 am

    Lou & Fernando – Thanks for the thoughts. I’m going to play around with ramp angle and the forward lean. Lou, the post you referenced was a good start, but I’d love to see a more detailed post about measuring ramp angle for those of us non-racers who thought all boots were flat…

  19. Ryan February 17th, 2010 5:28 pm

    While this post is a bit old, has anyone had personal experience with the Manaslu 32 ski pack?

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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.

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