My Season on Dynafit FT12s – A Binding Reflection

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Dave reflects on a season on Dynafit FT12s

A binding reflection

Ski season starts with desperate attempts. A skin up Highlands before the lifts start spinning and sketching down bullet-proof, ungroomed, man-made snow that is casually quoted as “I scored first tracks today.” Conditions like these marked day number one on the FT12s – the perfect time to experience the subtleties of my first lightweight binding. Out of shape as usual, my hip flexors quivered in fear in anticipation of the day’s punishment. But as I crested the final roll after 1,900 vertical feet of skinning, my legs felt great and my hip flexors where happy! One pound of weight savings per foot is a good thing.

Skip to winter: Friday the 13th. Unlucky day, epic storm cycle. Marble Peak has seen 24″ of windless snowfall. Deep, bottomless, the type of day if you lose a ski, you pick it up in June. DIN on 10, dive the tips too deep, for a moment there is nothing but white. Over the bars and onto my skis, still connected, commence making turns. Ski retention test #1 passed. Test 2 is a roller over a willow bush. Take off, landing, all good. An epic run ends in sunshine and smiles at the Quarry Road, and as I go to step out of my bindings I see the toe locking lever is still in touring mode. DIN 20? Either way they worked.

Dynafit FT12 Heel Retention Test #1.

Now it’s March, working at the resort, no snow, big bumps. AT boots are best to work in, so I’m skiing a bump line on the FT12s. They work just like every pair of good bindings I’ve ever used. Any more questions?

The snow still isn’t falling, but the snowpack is bomber. With a chance at free lodging in Breckenridge, fourteener Quandary Peak is an easy call. The incoming storm and a bit of pea soup keeps us from skiing a more aggressive line off the top, so testing is limited to skiing the ridge back down. The pitch is mellow, but the snow is challenging, about as variable as you can get. Wind crusts, rocks, ice and soft stuff all covered by an additional 2-6 inches that has blown in over the last hour. With lots of weird edging and funky turns, I’m glad to have a super stable and low platform to ski on. 100 yards from the car I ski onto the snow covered road to discover there’s gravel in them thar hills. Skis stop with no release. Ouch, might need to adjust that vertical release setting.

Enjoy 2 fewer pounds on my back while hiking through a rock section on Quandary Peak.

Two fewer pounds on my back hiking through a rock section on Quandary Peak was a welcome upgrade from my previous bindings. Here Jess looks back in jealousy as I merrily skip up the mountain with such a light load!

Every day in between was filled with climbs of all sizes, a variety of snow conditions and never a complaint about the bindings. Between the weight and the lowered stack height I was sold.

» Get all the details in Lou’s full dissection of the FT12s

(Guest blogger profile: Dave Downing and his wife Jessica live in Carbondale, Colorado, where Dave is a freelance designer and owner of Ovid Nine Graphics Lab. Dave continues to advance his ski career with the occasional guest blog at WildSnow.com.)

Comments

13 Responses to “My Season on Dynafit FT12s – A Binding Reflection”

  1. paul burton April 10th, 2009 9:18 am

    that video was hilarious. great review.
    One of the best pics of the Quandary ridge I have seen. Gives a great feel for the conditions.

  2. Tom April 10th, 2009 11:16 am

    What about the jumps? Not in the park, but freeride jumps, up to 5 meters? Have you tried some? I have bought pair of LINE Prophet 100 and I’m thinking what binding put on them (FT12 / Marker Duke)… Thanks

  3. dave downing April 10th, 2009 12:31 pm

    Tom, I’ve still not test the bindings on larger jumps or drops yet. Head-hight at most so far. Regarding a larger drop in the 15-25 foot range on the FT12′s? I would hesitate b/c of the binding at this point. In my opinion, any drop under 30 feet, if landed in good form (e.g. – not back seated, and staying on your feet) in good snow, can be stomped with any halfway decent binder. I’ll keep you posted if I have a chance at any “larger” testing facilities :)

  4. El Jefe April 10th, 2009 3:12 pm

    agro pole planting in the video…….. gotta love that!!!!!!!

  5. dave downing April 10th, 2009 3:24 pm

    The backstory on the “Heel Retention test” video and subsequent “agro pole planting” (i love that you noticed that El Jefe)….

    The snow deep enough that each turn caused enough deceleration to pitch me head first. Every turn in the video before the fall was just trying to survive. FInally I just figured it would be easier to flip than stay upright :) Notice the first turn of the clip, I slowed down so much more than anticipated that my head almost hit my knees!

  6. Jess Downing April 10th, 2009 4:01 pm

    Hey, that’s me in the Quandary picture, not you!!! :)

  7. Simon Isbister April 10th, 2009 9:23 pm

    Dave, regarding your comments on drops in the 15-25 ft range… did you mean to say that you would or would not hesitate because of the bindings? The rest of your comments seem to indicate that you didn’t think it would be a problem, but you said you would hesitate. Was that a typo, or have I misunderstood your other comments?

    -s-

  8. dave downing April 10th, 2009 11:49 pm

    Good catch Simon. I would NOT hesitate b/c of the binding, only due to fear :)

  9. Off Airport Parking April 12th, 2009 6:20 am

    WOW, what an awesome picture. I didn’t realize that 2 lbs can make such a significant difference. I will show this to my nephew who loves to ski. It would also be great to save two pounds off all the luggage we have to haul while helping travelers with airport parking.

  10. Hojo April 16th, 2009 4:06 pm

    I’ve made the comitment and bought the boots. Now I get to decide between these models:

    Dynafit TLT Comfort Alpine Touring Binding
    Dynafit TLT Vertical ST Alpine Touring Binding
    Dynafit TLT Speed Classic Alpine Touring Binding

    From your FAQs, it seems the Vertical is based on the Comfort and that the comfort may be more “forgiving.” These three models are up on BackCountry.com and I’d like to get one of them now as the price seems good. As far as my skiing is concerned, I’m a very experienced Alpine skier looking to start going up/down/across the mountains.

    I’m making the shift to backcountry after having gone to Whistler and Chamonix. After Chamonix I realized there was so much more that I could be doing, and now I’m going to start working towards true backcountry touring.

  11. Lou April 16th, 2009 4:25 pm

    Hojo, pretty simple choice, just get the Vertical ST as it has a bit more ramp angle and overall slightly better performance than Speed Classic, and is more current than Comfort. Not really much difference between Comfort and ST, but Classic is quite a bit different.

  12. doug April 18th, 2009 5:58 am

    hey, Dave, is that you doing summersaults in the video? that’s kool!

  13. Samo April 21st, 2009 3:11 am

    Hi!
    As I see, Dave you ski bd Method on ft12. How are the boots skied in combination with dynafit bindings? Because this dynafit system in BD boots is a new design by BD. Thank you for answer.
    Samo

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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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