WildSnow Reader’s Rides — Big Al’s Manaslus

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Big Al and his son Will visited the WildSnow shop a few days ago for our special treatment. We mounted a set of Dynafit ST bindings on a sweet pair of Manaslus. Al’s also going for it with a brand spanking new pair of ZZeus boots. That’s like buying a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and immediately upgrading the engine and tires. Result? A phenomenal setup for backcountry skiing powder.

Al and Will with dads planks.

Al and Will with dad's planks.

The mount had some interesting aspects. We used the Manaslu binding screw inserts. Even though Al has shorter feet, I put him in the rearward position since this is a Colorado pow and crud rig. Idea is that being a bit back on the ski will make them ride smooth and powerful. At the same time, I tried to set it up so we can swap the toe units to the forward position without removing the heel units. Not a big deal, just a time saver if Al wants the ski to be a bit more responsive, or at some point just wants to try a different foot position.

Some of you will probably wonder at the length of those planks as compared to Al’s height. He’s a stocky guy and the Manaslu looks longer than it skis. So Al’s chosen length combined with the Manaslu’s long tip and tail make them appear like a longer than normal choice. He probably could have gone one step shorter, but definitely would not get as much of the float effect you seek with this sort of rig. Only real downsides of the longer length choice are a bit more weight and slightly more difficulty making kick turns. On the down, they’ll be more than fun — probably a revelation.

We also did a de-tune on the Manasalu tips and tails, which come from the factory somewhat sharp. The ZZeus shoes looked good, but as seems to frequently be the case the sole block screws were loose. Everyone, remember to check those sole block screws on any boot with swapable soles.

Another thing we do during these projects is throw the skis down on the floor and school the Dynafit newbie on how to get in and out of the bindings and how to rotate the heel units for different climbing heights. Al took to that well, but as is frequently the case, finding his best style of heel unit rotation took some experimentation.

Nice rig Al. We’re looking forward to skiing with you and Will!

Shop for Dynafit here.

Comments

7 Responses to “WildSnow Reader’s Rides — Big Al’s Manaslus”

  1. jerimy November 2nd, 2009 12:10 pm

    Do you use any glue or epoxy on the screws when using the insert?

  2. Mark W November 2nd, 2009 12:58 pm

    Fantastic rig for sure. Drool…

  3. Lou November 2nd, 2009 2:14 pm

    Jerimy, I use a bit of 5 minute epoxy or Gorilla glue just to seal them, and on general principle. Main thing is to not over-torque. The second generation of these is stronger than the first, but I’m still pretty careful. I might add that when I use the sealant, I really to use a tiny amount, I just put a little bit on each hole and poke a tiny amount in with a skinny-sharp object. My theory is that too much sealant in the hole could grab when backing the screw out later, and possibly cause a spinner. Of course, I always heat up screws before backing out, but still… Some folks don’t bother with the sealant. In my experience, this causes corroded screws that eventually loosen. Be careful with using wood glue. If it works for you from past experience great, but in heavy use I’ve seen it go to nothing due to moisture.

  4. SteveG November 2nd, 2009 6:57 pm

    What did they change on Gen 2? As far as I know, they were just more careful about how the inserts were bonded into the ski, so you could torque a bit more without getting a “spinner,” which is way worse than just stripping one.

  5. SteveG November 2nd, 2009 10:33 pm

    Did both on one ski. Gen 1 that I got lightly used. Stripped the front hole on the toe first. Being leery I ran in another screw in a different hole on the same toe to get a feel for the natural resistance and when I went to back it out got the “spinner”. By cutting away the plastic film around the hole I was able to easily pull out the offending inserts. I consulted with Salewa ( no tech ideas but the generous offer of a discounted single ski), a composite engineer/ski builder who explained the epoxy/foam conundrum and made Jonathan gasp/scream when I suggested drilling in through the bottom for a tele insert.

    I decided to go with ski fixes that had worked many times for me in the past by drilling a 3/8 hole and used Titebond III to glue in a hardwood plug. Drill, tap and screw with glue. If I had to do a fix again (and I suspect I will someday on another hole) I would glue the dowel with a construction adhesive designed for foam, drill a slightly undersized hole and not tap it to maximize plug expansion. Or maybe a 5/16 plastic insert from Tognar if it fits the stock hole. We’ll see how it goes when the snow flies here in a month.

  6. DanG November 3rd, 2009 2:28 pm

    Yet another glue idea. I used Freesole shoe glue to fix a boot, and find it convenient for all sorts of other fixes around the house. Waterproof, but still slightly rubbery/squishy when dry. Any thoughts on that glue as a hole sealer or screw sealer?

  7. SteveG November 3rd, 2009 6:35 pm

    Well, I’m no chemist but I did sleep at a… Actually, I’ve been researching this way too much (no snow and two “new to me” Boot/Ski AT rigs has my pants on fire). Glue bonds by a combination of forces that happen on the atomic level. The key ingredient is to have a glue that flows easily to penetrate all the microscopic spaces between the two objects being glued to give the best bond. Also, any movement between to surfaces will degrade the bond. So while the Freesole glue would give a water tight seal, the fact that it’s flexible would not stop any wiggle in the joint that could lead to the screw loosening an a failure if not retightened. On a clean mount with no thread stripping, I’m convinced you could use almost any adhesive that was waterproof and rely on the combination of the mechanical and atomic forces to keep things tight. With my fix, the weak link is the plug/ski surface. Success depends on a combination of the atomic level bonds and the expansion of the plug when I put the screw in. My two cents.

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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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