When I put my Dynafit Vertical ST (in their ever-so-slightly modified 2009-10 incarnation) on the digital scale, they weighed in at a whopping one pound and fifteen ounces (with screws, but no brakes).
It would have been easy to exclaim, “wow are these things ever heavy!” But of course these are still Dynafit backcountry skiing bindings, and to do what they do at their weight continues to amaze.
But in case most Dynafit bindings are too heavy for you, an ever-expanding (in terms of manufacturers, not weight) range of backcountry skiing options is available (at least in theory), as summarized in the comparison chart below. (Corrections and updates most certainly welcome for this evolving market segment, please comment with such, especially better links for the chart.)
Note that all weights (per pair) in the chart below are as stated on websites and such (as opposed to independent verification) and most likely exclude mounting screws. Euro prices are based on the latest xe.com exchange with two percent added for a credit card’s foreign currency transaction fee, and account for neither VAT refunds nor shipping. (Note that exceedingly careful mounting is required for models that lack any fore/aft heel unit adjustment. Dynafit has a full mechanical mounting jig for its binding, whereas some others have heel-only jigs (presumably relying upon the standard Dynafit jig for the toe).
Some of these models go immediately into tour mode upon entering the toe — in other words, the default mode is the equivalent of pulling up on the Dynafit toe lever. (And all of these models — except for one Plum — have fixed release values, for both lateral and vertical.) Oh, and some of these models might be more conceptual than reality.
With all that in mind, even if you are still interested in a stripped-down race model, you might ask, why not just buy Dynafit’s own version? Indeed.
|ATK Race||NX World Cup||250||8.8||448||$636||40mm adjustable heel track avail. at 50g/pair|
|ATK Race||NX World Cup R||256||9.0||???||$???||includes ski crampon attachment|
|Colibri||C.08 / C.09||260||9.2||???||$???|
|Crazy Idea||DNA Race||318||11.2||350||$497|
|Dynafit||Low Tech Race||320||11.3||discontinued|
|Dynafit||Low Tech Race Auto||234||8.3||$800||three-hole heel mounting pattern|
|Dynafit||Low Tech Lite||394||13.9||$430||Speed toe + ’10 Race heel|
|Merelli||R8 Evolution||210||7.4||550||$780||three-hole heel mounting pattern|
|Plum||Race 145||290||10.2||469||$666||offset heel posts avail. for 2,3,4mm adjustment|
|Plum||Race 135||270||9.5||504||$715||Ti “fork” on heel unit; for skiers < 70kg|
|Plum||Race 185||370||13.1||547||$776||w/ fore-aft heel unit adjustment track|
|Schia Meccanica||296||10.4||280||$397||adjustable heel track available|
|Dynafit||Vertical ST||880||31||$400||weight as measured by JShefftz w/ screws but no brakes|
Note that all weights are as stated on websites (not independently verified), and most likely exclude mounting screws.
1.419024 = Euro:U.S. exchange rate, based upon October 21 2010 value at Google combined with minimum 2% credit card foreign currency fee
Except for Dynafit and Trab, prices include VAT (which might be able to be netted out for shipments to North America) but do not include shipping.
(WildSnow guest blogger Jonathan Shefftz lives with his wife and daughter in Western Massachusetts, where he is a member of the Northfield Mountain and Thunderbolt / Mt Greylock ski patrols. Formerly an NCAA alpine race coach, he has broken free from his prior dependence on mechanized ascension to become far more enamored of self-propelled forms of skiing. He is an AIARE-qualified instructor, NSP avalanche instructor, and contributor to the American Avalanche Association’s The Avalanche Review. When he is not searching out elusive freshies in Southern New England or promoting the NE Rando Race Series, he works as a financial economics consultant.)