WildSnow Reader’s Rides — Frank Konsella Dynafit FT-12 & BD Verdicts


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

For years I resisted Dynafit bindings for backcountry skiing, not due to the bindings themselves, but due to what I felt was a lack of Dynafit-compatible AT boots that would offer the downhill performance I was looking for. Last year I began skiing on the Dynafit Zzeus boots, one of many new boots aimed at downhill performance rather than featherweight uphill performance. As an added bonus, these were the first pair of AT boots I had owned with Dynafit fittings, so I knew I would finally be giving the Dynafit system a go.

Dynafits on the back porch, ready to stand on and dream about winter.

Dynafits on the back porch, ready to stand on and dream about winter backcountry skiing.

I believe that any good review needs to first be framed by some information about the reviewer. I’m 5’7”, 130lbs, former racer and IFSA Big Mountain competitor, and lover of skis well over 100mm underfoot. In other words, I’m a small skier but I do love to go fast and catch air, and the uphill performance of a binding is far less important to me than the downhill characteristics. I have been skiing Fritschi bindings for nearly ten years.

Dynafit FT12

Dynafit FT12, with quiver teaser.

I mounted my FT12’s on my older Black Diamond Verdicts, my smallest ski and one that I only ski in the spring as I find they only ski well on backcountry corn. Clicking in the first time wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it might be — not as natural as clicking into an alpine binding or Fritschis, but fairly easy nonetheless. It took all of five seconds of skinning for the vaunted touring characteristics of the Dynafit binding system to become readily apparent. The light weight is obvious, but the ergonomics of the pivot point and the lack of raising a bar and heelpiece with every step is just as noticeable. It felt as though someone had given me a younger, stronger set of lungs and legs.

As our tour headed into steeper backcountry skiing terrain, I had my first chance to rotate the heel into a climbing position. Awkward was the first word that came to mind, as I struggled to get the heel to rotate (From what I hear, having brakes on Dynafits makes this rotation considerably harder). In fact, I bent the last couple of inches on both poles on that first tour, something I’ve heard other people experience when using carbon poles with composite tips. Even at the end of the spring after many miles of touring I found the heelpiece rotation to be far less ergonomic than the Fritschi heelpiece.

Dynafit FT 12

My complete rig, Ft-12 and ZZeus boot.

Another gripe I had with the Dynafit heelpiece is that the highest setting is quite a bit lower than the Fritschi high setting, making the steepest skintracks harder than they would have been with my trusty Fritschis. Because I like steep skintracks for backcountry skiing, I may just have to modify the “volcano” on the Dynafits this fall to make them climb the way I would like them to.

The first thing I noticed when clicking into downhill mode is how incredibly solid the Dynafit binding felt. There was no play whatsoever — in fact I would say that my Salomon 916’s have far more play than the FT12’s. That lack of play stands in sharp contrast to Fritschi bindings, which have a well-deserved reputation of sloppiness. Combined with the fact that Dynafits are close to the top surface of the ski (versus being up high with the connecting bar of the Fritschi), the downhill performance was far superior to that of the Fritschi.

My first tour with Dynafits ended up having a mandatory 10 footer with a sidehill landing on frozen spring snow, complete with exposure. Looking down at those tiny pins holding my boots, I wondered if they stood a chance at holding me in as I took off from the lip — but they performed perfectly. From that time on, I’ve had full confidence in the Dynafits, and have yet to come out of them.

The end of that first tour featured a rolling valley where the ability of Fritschis to quickly go from ski to tour mode really shined through, as my friends put a long distance between us as I tried to stay in one mode or the other. While this was overall a minor annoyance for me, it remains Dynafit’s Achilles heel for many Fritschi fans.

In conclusion, I’ve been impressed with Dynafit bindings. Even so, unlike many Dynafit users who instantly eschew any other type of AT binding, I can still see many features of my Fritschis that I still prefer over Dynafits. Taken as a whole, I believe the Dynafit to be the superior binding — but just barely. This is why I will be eagerly awaiting more innovation from Dynafit and other “tech” binding players in the market, as I believe there is room for improvement, especially in the heelpiece.

Shop for the Dynafit FT-12 here.

(Guest blogger Frank Konsella is the 4th person to ski all 54 Colorado 14,000 foot peaks. He’s a skilled ski mountaineer who home bases in Crested Butte, Colorado. Frank blogs here.)

Comments

38 Responses to “WildSnow Reader’s Rides — Frank Konsella Dynafit FT-12 & BD Verdicts”

  1. Marco September 14th, 2009 11:14 am

    I’m curious on your approach to locking out the toes while skiing aggressive lines on big skis. After skiing various Dynafit models for years with no pre-release issues, I started having my first Dynafit release problems at the toe with my FT12s running bigger skis just last year.

    For instance do you always lock, never lock, or only lock the toes in a no fall zone?

    Thanks for the review,
    Marco

  2. ellen September 14th, 2009 2:57 pm

    I’m not a fan of steep skin tracks, but I do agree that dynafit heel lifts need to be a little higher, especially if you are following someone with a higher lift. Or maybe they could just standardize the heights of all heel lifts…

    I too have busted pole tips trying to raise or lower my heel lifts, I do have brakes on all my skis. If you use Life-Link Poles, it helps to have the Ice Tip instead of the flexi tip (I think that’s the name, its the replaceable tip). If you do have the flexi-tip, I have learned a technique for moving those lifts up and down, but its never simple. I’ve even bent the Dyanfit Pole tips as well.

    But despite all of the above, I love dyanfits bindings and will never use anything else. They are light, stiff and offer a great stride….

  3. SB September 14th, 2009 3:50 pm

    I agree with most of Frank’s assesment.

    Lots to like about the Fritschi bindings except the weight. But weight is a big deal, especially since my skis and boots keep getting heavier while I just get older, and that is why I switched. I dropped 2.5 lbs with the binding and added 2 back with heavier skis, wider skins, and bigger boots. By the time the ski collects some snow on top, I probably just broke even, but the downhill is vastly improved. You get used to putting up with the funky ergonomics of the Dynafit bindings. Entry/exit is more difficult, switching from tour to ski is harder, and dinking with the volcanoe is a pain.

    I’ve broken the tip off of a BD CF probe pole. Luckily the lower section isn’t too expensive to replace. I’d love it if Dynafit brakes worked better and if they had the riser flexibility and ease of adjustment of the Fritschi freerides.

  4. Nick September 14th, 2009 7:38 pm

    I switched over to dynafits last year as well. I didnt do much touring before so i won’t compare to other AT bindings but i will tell you give it time. Your first tour and my first tour sound similar in you love and hate the dynafit (i have the vertical ST without brakes) but after getting out and using (and a bit of toying around at home) such things as going from ski/tour mode without releasing the toe became a reality. Also just getting in and out has become easier/quicker. Even turning the heel piece with my BD flicklock pole has become quite simple. Just took some time and practice. For the first few tours i would recommend older poles if your going to be twisting the heel with poles.

    There are times where i wish for one more higher setting for climbing but overall it just took time for me and i have been able to do everything that you listed you liked with the fritschis. Dont get me wrong, every AT has something unique to offer but the dynafit is probably the only one with a real learning curve for you to get the full benifit of the binding.

    Just keep using them for tours and you will love them and rarely think about switching to something else!

  5. Mark September 14th, 2009 7:54 pm

    Fritschis are more user friendly, but not as rigid. Dynafits tour incredibly. I like them both but honestly only use Dynafits now. I have even hucked them in the terrain park and run lines of moguls with no unwanted release.

  6. Bar Barrique September 14th, 2009 8:58 pm

    Once you have have embraced the Gospel of “Light”; it makes sense to find lighter skis, and, skins (mohair). I have toured the heavy stuff, but as I have always enjoyed the touring up part, I am happier with the lighter gear.

    Bar

  7. Matt Kinney September 14th, 2009 11:12 pm

    One way for a dirt bag telemarker to get new ski poles is to let a newbie dynafitter use their ski poles for the switchroo of the dynafit . Snapped a carbon tip twice trying to help. Some twist/spin fine, others are very stubborn. I put a few folks in Valdez on this binding last season. ???? Help me cause I have to pay for shipping the poles..

  8. Lee September 15th, 2009 5:55 am

    Take the breaks off – then the rotation is a piece of cake (as it should be in fact) – it’s a relevation! But you need to up the DIN setting by 1, as the break contributes to the resistance of the release, or change the springs to the “non-break” spring. I think there are articles about it here on the site.

    I’ve never found the breaks to be that reliable (nor on fritschis) and have built my own leashes, again based on articles here on wildsnow.

  9. Mark W September 15th, 2009 6:53 am

    Take Lee’s advice and ditch the brakes. Everything will go much smoother without them. I almost never use them.

  10. harpo September 15th, 2009 4:53 pm

    ditto on the brakes

  11. Frank Konsella September 15th, 2009 7:44 pm

    Lee and others-

    I am well aware that taking the brakes off allows the heelpiece to rotate easier. I don’t really understand the point of having bindings with non-functioning brakes, however- it would be as pointless as having a binding with just a toepice so your heels flopped around all over the place :tongue:

    Brakes are quite functional on alpine and Fritchi bindings, and I’d really prefer to keep that functionality on all my set-ups. Losing a ski would be quite a bummer especially if a set of brakes could have prevented it. Adding a cable attachment to replace the brakes doesn’t seem like a great idea either. I’ll be keeping the brakes and dealing with the difficult rotation, annoying as it may be…

  12. Lou September 15th, 2009 9:17 pm

    Frank, I’ll bet if you’d rotated the Dynafits as many times as you’ve flipped a Fritschi, you’d be pretty smooth… you might want to get out with some folks who really have the bindings wired, and see how they do it…

    Agree that running without brakes is frequently absurd. The things were invented for a reason.

  13. SB September 15th, 2009 10:37 pm

    If you practice enough, you can become quite proficient at walking up the stairs on your hands.

    There are some things Dynafits don’t do as well as other bindings and you either put up with them for the sake of the things it does well or not. No amount of practice will change that.

  14. Matt Kinney September 15th, 2009 10:44 pm

    Seems to me it should be a screw adjustment not a “ditch the break thing”. I intro’d 4 non-telemarkers to the binding last 2 seasons and 1 pair was wicked to switch with poles. Brakes, leash or a trust fund are nice to have with $600 skiis.

    I have never actually used the binding to ski, but was not really happy watching the fiddle factor by BC newbies who already knew how to ski. If I had to do it over ,I would have got them Fritchis, …. we could have got more skinning and skiing from the get-go with hassle-free, learn-quick fritchis, versus spending the first dozen days dialing in the dynafits.

    Lou, I assume you are saying that time and frequent use are the only things that will eventually loosen them up? I’ll be skiing with these locals again this season and would like to advise them properly. I did refer them to your web site and they like your stuff on dynafits 4 sure. Meanwhile, I’ll stick with the floppy heel. :biggrin:

  15. Frank Konsella September 15th, 2009 11:23 pm

    Lou, I was often going out last spring with dynafit users showing me the tricks of the trade. Many of them had the same difficulties with the ergonomics of the heel as I did- until they did what others have suggested and removed the brakes. I did some big tours with them last spring- I’ve got the hang of them after a couple hundred miles. SB was right on the money saying “There are some things Dynafits don’t do as well as other bindings and you either put up with them for the sake of the things it does well or not. No amount of practice will change that.”

  16. simon September 16th, 2009 12:54 am

    The angle produced by the heel raiser on the dynafits depends on your boot size, on the fritchis it depends on the binding size, so some may find get a steeper angle on the dynafits, ie if you are at the bottom limit of a fritchi binding size, particularly for the larger bindings.

  17. Lou September 16th, 2009 6:56 am

    I’d agree that flipping the Fritschi heel riser is easier to learn, but I’ve been out with the best, even the inventor of Dynafit, and can strongly testify that once you’ve got this wired, rotating the Dynafit heel unit is trivial. Yes, Dynafit has a fiddle factor, but changing the heel lift position is usually NOT part of the fiddle factor! It sounds to me like people are simply not doing this correctly, perhaps even folks with some time on the bindings have gotten habits that don’t work as well as doing it the best way. Again, I say this because I’ve witnessed it in person.

    While I cover this in my videos and many other places, here are the main points:

    - The Dynafit binding is symmetrical, so use either your right or left pole to rotate both bindings, for most people, the right pole works best at that’s what the holes in the heel post are oriented for.

    - Don’t jam the pole tip down into the binding post, be delicate.

    - Grease or wax the top of the brake retractor plate (the part that the plastic heel unit rides on when you’re rotating it).

    - If you make a mistake and you rotate to the alpine mode position, don’t try to force/rotate the heel unit back to touring positions.

    - Experiment at home. If done correctly a delicate touch and quick flip of the pole is all it takes.

    - If you’re flexible and athletic and don’t have too big a backpack, there is no law against simply reaching down and rotating by hand. Rando racers do this a lot, and it works well on steep terrain when you shove one ski ahead and it’s already up high and fairly easy to reach.

    - It’s possible that if ice is packed into the binding, it could jam things up and make the heel unit difficult to rotate. Once you’re good at changing modes, you can feel if this is the case then take measures to clean the ice out.

    - Back to the fiddle factor: It’s true that if you MESS UP while rotating Dynafit, it does create more fiddle factor than if you mess up with the Fritschi. In other words, you can jam your pole tip in the Dynafit, then struggle to get it out. Or you can accidentally rotate into alpine mode. Or you can loose your balance and fall over while you’re trying to learn in the field what probably should have been practiced at home. And so on…

    I can also honestly say that after years of Dynafit use, I actually find the Fritschi heel lifter a bit more difficult to operate when I’m not used to it and haven’t been in Fritschis for a while. But then, I can also walk up stairs on my hands. :cheerful:

  18. Dan September 16th, 2009 10:17 am

    I had lots of trouble getting used to the Dynafit bindingswhen I started using them in the late 90s, but all is well now. Probably, I have used them for so long that I don’t really notice the short-comings anymore. I have also noticed that the brakes are not super reliable. However, I frequently find myself in places where having the brakes is an immense help in stepping INTO the bindings. Also, in case you haven’t noticed, the tips of some ski poles do not readily fit into the volcanoes (maybe that is just for the older units). I am on the Dynafit setup about 60 days per year. The only ski pole tip I have broken trying to rotate the heel resulted when I fell over whilst doing so. Depending on the angle of the slope, etc., sometimes it is easier and faster to just rotate the heel with my hand (One needs to be alert to opportunities for conserving energy, assuming one bends well enough). This aspect becomes more important as one ages (I am in my 60s) and doesn’t just apply to fiddling with bindings.

  19. Thomas B September 16th, 2009 12:33 pm

    It quickly becomes second nature to click in to dynafit bindings.
    In thousands of days of skiing Dynafits I have never used a brake, why? If you are skiing powder and eat it hard your ski will stop in the pow. If you are skiing bullet proof, steep, crazy exposure just lock the toe so you have a non releasable binding. ( of course if you are skiing bullet proof gnar gnar you shouldn’t be doing crap that could lead to even needing a brake….)
    I wore out 2 pairs of Fritschis before switching to Dynafits, Dynafits are superior in all aspects….but they may require a little time on them first. It is very easy and quick to switch from downhill to tour and back again, learn the technique first though.

  20. Lou September 16th, 2009 1:28 pm

    Um, just to set the record straight, locking the Dynafit toe only “locks” the side release. You’ll still pop out vertically just as easy, only you’re more likely to remain attached at the toe than if you don’t have the binding locked. Also, once locked, the torsional/side release is something like DIN 15/20 and varies according to type of ski topskin and some binding dimension parameters. It’s not a “lock out” as if your foot is glued to the ski.

  21. Lee September 16th, 2009 2:10 pm

    “I don’t really understand the point of having bindings with non-functioning brakes, however – it would be as pointless as having a binding with just a toepice so your heels flopped around all over the place”

    …. Isn’t that called telemarking? A lot of people like it apparently.

  22. Lou September 16th, 2009 3:16 pm

    Fritschi bindings used to instantly go to tele mode, I don’t know why they got rid of that feature :angel:

  23. Frank Konsella September 17th, 2009 9:26 am

    Lee, the smiley face meant that I was just poking some fun at tele, a beautiful and graceful way of getting down a mountain that I often enjoy. Just some lighthearted fun, so sorry if I offended.

    Lou, I just watched your videos, and I didn’t really notice anything that you’re doing that I don’t also do. I’d even go so far to say that you look as awkward as I feel when rotating that heelpiece. Plus, you don’t go from low to medium to high in one pole position, which just strengthens my point that the Fritchi heel lift is more user-friendly.

    But enough of that. I did say in my review that the Dynafit binding is better, overall. If someone stole my entire quiver tonight, I would most likely switch all of my AT bindings to Dynafits when shopping with my insurance money. Still, there are aspects of the Fritchi which I find to be superior, and saying that “Dynafits are superior in all aspects”, as Thomas said above, simply isn’t true IMO. To truly believe that, you’d have to be “Blinded by the light”. Pun intended.

  24. Lou September 17th, 2009 10:22 am

    Let’s just say I could have done a better job showing heel rotation in the vids. Perhaps a redo is in order! I’m actually kind of lazy with it some times, not as snappy as a rando racer type guy… In the vid I’m trying more for being methodical and clear, instead of being fluid…and I’m also not that comfortable in front of a camera…

    And in a broad sense, I do agree that the Fritschi riser is more user friendly. My only point is I think many people never fully figure out the Dynafit heel unit (which is probably proof that it’s not as user friendly?) :angel:

  25. Bar Barrique September 18th, 2009 10:21 pm

    As someone who was smacked in the head by a ski on a leash around 35 years ago, I was an early adopter of ski brakes. The Dynafit ski brakes may not stop a ski as quickly as a Fritchi brake on a groomed ski run; however, in the back country they are quite adequate in my opinion (I have seen skis with Alpine brakes roll down slopes). There may not be a perfect AT binding, but as a person who has used a few, I am content to use Dynafits while waiting.

    Bar

  26. ben September 18th, 2009 11:23 pm

    Soon there will be snow and this debate will be tempered by tired souls! In the mean time…..Don’t crank up the side “lateral” release on the Dynameats(4-5 din is good, if they come off it is because they should have…..you were not “on em”, grease the bushing anually with Phil Wood or similar waterproof grease, and finally….locking the toe does effectively increase the lateral release tension. You will find that the heel spins much easier at the lower din and because you know how to stay on yer guns it will not have any effect on your skiing except when the day comes you need to ditch those board in an avalanche and then you will be really glad that you can crank your way out easily! They are releasable for a reason save your soul and joints for another decade or 2 of skiing instead of cranking everything up, breaking your poles and your stride. Oh yeah, the brakes keep them in your car for the power tripping liftee who demands them. Unless you are resort skiing they are useless…almost any how.

  27. Lou September 19th, 2009 6:54 am

    Good point about safety release Ben… but other than some defective brakes sold a few years ago, the Dynafit brakes work fine and can be made to work just as good as alpine binding brakes by keeping them lubricated and checking their function at home (and fixing if they’re discovered to not be working). Even the non-defective ones do get stuck sometimes because of icing, as do some alpine brakes. Good to keep an eye out for that as well when preparing for a descent.

    In my opinion, having ski brakes instead of leashes is an important plus in terms of avalanche safety. More, having no brakes OR leashes is a good way to add a high element of danger to longish backcountry tours where ending up with one ski could cause an unplanned night out or even a rescue.

  28. Kent September 20th, 2009 11:48 am

    Frank – care to comment on how you like the ZZeus’?

  29. Frank Konsella September 21st, 2009 6:54 pm

    Kent-

    Hopefully you’ve already checked out the excellent zzeus reviews on wildsnow. I don’t have a ton to add other than to say that I really really like them. They tour well, they ski well for any boot, let alone an AT boot, and they have been holding up really well for me (even the rubber soles, which seems to be rare for AT boots). So long as they fit your foot, I think they’re at the top of the class for “beef boots”.

  30. Arne September 22nd, 2009 1:39 am

    I have recently switched from Fritschi to Dynafit, and I am mostly happy with the Dynafits. Yes, there is a learning curve for turning the heel unit, but it really is not that difficult. However, I have bad experienced with the brakes. One brake fell off on the uphill, this was hopefully due to bad mounting. Two times I experienced that the brakes were unable to stop my ski when it came off. Both times I was skiing pretty fast in loose snow. The brakes were unable to slow the loose ski down. The first time I was sure the ski was lost in the deep snow, but a friend managed to find it. It was more than 100 meters away from where I fell. The second time I could see the ski zipping down the hill in front of me, it seemed almost to accelerate instead of slowing down. Luckily the same friend was further down the hill and was able to catch up with the ski and stop it. The hill was really not that steep, I can’t believe the brakes were unable to stop the ski. Finally one brake was completely destroyed in another fall at fairly high speed. I have bought the B & D Ski Leashes (http://www.bndskigear.com/skileash.html) and will remove the brakes. In mye experience they are simply not good enough.

    (You probably have the impression that I fall a lot, but I don’t. These three falls probably constitute one third of my hard falls last season).

  31. Lee Lau September 22nd, 2009 4:41 pm

    Marco you wrote:

    “# Marco September 14th, 2009 11:14 am

    I’m curious on your approach to locking out the toes while skiing aggressive lines on big skis. After skiing various Dynafit models for years with no pre-release issues, I started having my first Dynafit release problems at the toe with my FT12s running bigger skis just last year.

    For instance do you always lock, never lock, or only lock the toes in a no fall zone?”

    I’m not Frank but have skied with him and respect his opinion and judgment. Like me he can sometimes be found in you fall you die ski situations. In those situations I lock out my toes. Otherwise I leave toes unlocked. I also use the brakes

    Frank I didn’t realize you were 130lbs! I thought I needed to eat more but wow…

  32. Bar Barrique September 22nd, 2009 8:49 pm

    I have found that new Dynafit bindings combined with new boots have needed a “break in” period, where I would get toe releases. I am a relative lightweight, but I have busted a lot of gear over the years.

    Bar

  33. Marco September 23rd, 2009 9:09 am

    Thanks Lee and Bar!

    The toe releases just caught me by surprise last year as I had so many years in on various Dynafit binding models without an issue, and they happened on moderate terrain inbounds. The only changes last year was that I was using a stouter alpine ski (178cm, 122-80-108) with new FT-12s.

    So with so many people moving toward running dynafits with big skis/boots, I was just curious if I was experiencing something unusual, or perhaps most people are simply locking their toes on aggressive terrain. I’d always locked my toes in a no fall zone, but otherwise had got away with skiing backcountry and more aggressive inbounds terrain with the toes in ski mode.

    I do weigh in at 190lbs however, so perhaps that’s contributing as well…

  34. Randonnee September 23rd, 2009 11:20 am

    Marco, I have the strength and mass to release Dynafit toes when standing on skis in boots and bindings on the carpet, simply by pushing down with the ball of my foot. I am a 220 lb+ former logger, so I am probably larger than intended for the binding. On hard snow or piste when I just make a simple turn on my FR 10 ski the unlocked toes will release, so I lock them. Of interest, I have never released the toe of my FT 12 accidentally on my Manaslu- it is set at DIN 9. Even with all of that I ski Dynafit bindings 80+ days per year, including on lift pistes when skiing with my family about 10 days per season (we prefer randonnee touring). I get out the Fritsches on lift skis only a couple of times per season for some higher-speed cruising in-area.

    I own the Comfort and Speed Dynafit bindings, and the FT12. The FT 12 binding is the only one that I will ski unlocked in soft snow, and I have no problems- I like the FT12, the brakes are fine as well on the FT12. Definitely locked on firm or hard snow, but I rarely ski firm or hard snow on the Manaslu. Even when locked, I can easily twist out of Dynafit bindings, and I must use care with vertical release even with the toe locked. As Lou has pointed out, locking the toe does not increase the DIN of vertical release. I unhappily discovered this last season when getting up and out of breakable free-water ice crust over mush in the Cascades, and I left the ski behind with a little step-hop. I do ski steep slopes, even do the occasional pedal turn, confidently with toes locked and with the understanding of what will release my Dynafit. bindings-”smooth”. A qualifier that I like to mention is that when skinning I can actually walk out of Fritsches easily if I am not thinking about walking ‘straight,’ so it is not ‘just’ Dynafits. Admittedly with my age and mileage, my goal is to be smooth and graceful, even at speed, I do not huck or bash as perhaps someone younger, as my goal is to preserve my health and function for a couple of more decades…

  35. Matt Lucas September 30th, 2009 1:46 pm

    I think part of the sloppy feeling in Fritschis comes from them not being set up right in the toes. A normal shop will use an index card between where the balls of the feet and the binding to test how tight it should be. Upon testing, I think that the toes should be much tighter than that (almost to the point ripping a normal sheet of paper if you clamp it in under the boot and try to pull it out) – and i still release when I have to. I am a very loyal FFR+ skier, but will try dynafits this year and see room for both in the quiver right now.

  36. Lou September 30th, 2009 3:36 pm

    Matt, you are correct. Somewhere in the vast confines of WildSnow.com I recommend the paper method. The credit card method is a fail-safe, it makes sure there is enough space to accommodate some dirt on the sole or something like that.

    Thing is, a lot of guys just crank their Fritschi toes down till there is no play. That’s a good way to rip out a knee or break a leg.

    All bindings have play. Stick a race-ready alpine binding on the bench with a boot in it and check it out.

  37. CookieMonster September 30th, 2009 9:54 pm

    I ski with Dynafit and Fritschi bindings and rarely use the heel lifters – for a very long uphill pitch I might use the first setting. Too much attention is paid to gear and very little to track setting and form and stance whilst skinning.

    The gear doesn’t do the skiing and it’s certainly not to blame for the fiddling. Usually I find that people rush rush rush uphill – what’s the hurry? – and not to sound pretentious – but where’s the zen in that?

    All gear has irritating aspects when you’re in a hurry, when you’re hunched over your skis, and when you’re in a rush.

  38. Lou October 1st, 2009 7:35 am

    Good points there CookieMonster, take time to stop and munch a cookie, eh? :angel:

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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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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.

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