Jonathan goes “Dynafit” Shopping


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

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.

Plum backcountry skiing ski mountaineering racing binding.

Plum backcountry skiing ski mountaineering racing binding is one of many alternative lightweight tech bindings.

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.)

Dynafit's race binding is always an excellent option -- despite the plethora of competition.

At 320 grams, Dynafit's race binding is always an excellent option -- despite the plethora of competition.

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.

 Company  Model  Weight (pair)    Price    Notes
     g  oz  Euro  U.S.  
 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
 Haereo  Go  240  8.6  469  $666  
  Kreuzspitze  Scrab Race  290  10.2  440  $624  
 Merelli  R8 Evolution  210  7.4  550  $780  three-hole heel mounting pattern
 PHK  Fly  260  9.2  ???  $???  
 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
 Trab  TR Race  282  9.9    $599  
 Reality Check:
 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.)

Comments

167 Responses to “Jonathan goes “Dynafit” Shopping”

  1. Steven December 16th, 2009 12:39 pm

    Very interesting comparison chart. I find calculating the price to weight ratio entertaining. I can’t think of too many pieces of gear that have a higher price to weight ratio then dynafits.

  2. Jonathan Shefftz December 16th, 2009 1:03 pm

    I just found a price for the Merelli R8 Concept — at 550 Euro full retail, it is one of the most expensive bindings, and it is the very lightest, so it tops the charts at $110 per ounce.

  3. JBest December 16th, 2009 2:07 pm

    I’m curious if anyone has any experience using any of these types of bindings for anything other than races. I am thinking long traverse type situations where weight is a premium. Obviously the lack of DIN and various heel heights are a big compromise. The lightest I’ve found for a traverse set-up is the Dynafit Classic. Just wondering if anyone has pushed the weight savings any further in the backcountry.

  4. Wick December 16th, 2009 3:59 pm

    JBest – Never used them (Low Techs) on anything longer than a 16hr tour over to Aspen & back to CB….but we beat them up nearly daily in our training & rando racing over the last 3 years (often torqued in ways they may not have been designed for) and they’ve never given myself or 3 other teammates anything less than what is expected….

  5. Jonathan Shefftz December 16th, 2009 4:01 pm

    Wick, did you put the Dynafit race binding through a torque tester and estimate the effective release setting?

  6. andrew C December 16th, 2009 4:18 pm

    Goodness. Some of those price points are pretty high…how does the G3 onyx compare? I assume it is heavier than most of these offerings, yes?

  7. Jonathan Shefftz December 16th, 2009 4:27 pm

    G3 Onyx is about a pound heavier (per pair) than the Dynafit Vertical ST (at the bottom of the chart) and about the same price.
    BTW, although Onyx vs Vertical ST could be debated at great length (and indeed it has been), one quantitative difference often overlooked is that unlike the 5-10 Vertical ST range, the Onyx is effectively 6-10 (i.e., 5-10 vertical, but 6-12 lateral, which means the binding can be used by someone only with a release setting between 5 and 10, except for someone who run a higher setting laterally than vertically).

  8. Lou December 16th, 2009 5:14 pm

    Good point about Onyx DIN there Jonathan. I like the Onyx and think it really honors what the Dynafit inventor Fritz Barthel came up with. But the weight is not something I need, so I trust they’re coming out with a model that’ll compete with Dynafit on the basis of weight.

  9. Greg December 16th, 2009 8:52 pm

    All of these, with the exception of the of the one plum model, are race bindings. I wish there were more touring oriented options. One would think that the race market would be smaller than the touring market and this would promote a broader selection. I suppose the day will come. I just have to be patient.

  10. Lou December 16th, 2009 9:21 pm

    Greg, a ton of people in EU tour on this stuff. It’s very popular, especially in social groups where racing and super fitness are practiced. I’ve tried touring on some lightweight rigs and really don’t like the lack of ski brakes, but it seems a lot of people don’t care one way or the other about brakes. Most of those folks are such good skiers they rarely fall and hardly ever release from a ski. Lot’s of them ski with the toes locked. It’s actually gotten pretty crazy. Reminds me of telemarking at its peak in North America, e.g., all sorts of innovation, and who cares about safety release or ski brakes? Yeah, safety lateral release is over rated.

    BTW, remember that with a locked “tech” type binding you can still release vertically at the heel, so perhaps that mitigates some of the risk of skiing with the toe locked.

  11. Wick December 16th, 2009 9:32 pm

    J – No machine testing, just the “school of hard skiing” ….would be interesting to see data. Anyone can ski Pow!

  12. Greg December 16th, 2009 10:45 pm

    Thanks Lou. Maybe when my boat finally comes in I’ll look into some of these options. I don’t mind not having brakes, but I do like the high heel setting which all the race models lack, since I ski in the wasatch. (Insert exaggerated comment about skin track pitch here)

  13. Lou December 16th, 2009 10:49 pm

    If it wasn’t for the Wasatch, nylon skins never would have been invented.

  14. Mark W December 17th, 2009 12:13 am

    Wow, that’s a binding comparison list like super high performance cars. You get what you pay for, but pay dearly you will!

  15. Euro Rob December 17th, 2009 4:15 am

    Apart from what Lou said about the race-style touring that’s increasingly common over here in Yurp (good skiers, lightweight gear and humans) it probably also makes a difference that virtually everyone with race bindings is on 150-164cm skis. They don’t get tangled as easily as longer ones when falling, so the risk of injuries is lower. Also people don’t go hucking cliffs with those sticks.

  16. Lou December 17th, 2009 7:58 am

    What Rob said. Very important.

  17. Eric Steig December 17th, 2009 9:58 am

    Lou,

    How do these various race heels work for switching between downhill and tour mode? Does the little lever on the top pull the pins backwards, out of the boot?
    If so, that seems brilliant and indeed an improvement over standard Dynafits.

    Thanks!

  18. Jonathan Shefftz December 17th, 2009 11:08 pm

    “How do these various race heels work for switching between downhill and tour mode?”
    – Like Dynafit bindings, to go from skin>ski, you rotate something and then step down. To go from ski>skin, you press the toe lever, reapply skins, then step back in.

    “[...] 150-164cm skis [...] don’t get tangled as easily as longer ones when falling, so the risk of injuries is lower.”
    – Lower risk, but still significant. Vermont Ski Safety Research has found very high injury rates on even very short skiboards that lack releasable bindings. A brief summary is available here: http://tinyurl.com/y9l9wkm
    – Now granted, these race bindings do have some sort of release values, and having short light skis is safer than long heavy skis, but the risk is still there.

    “One would think that the race market would be smaller than the touring market and this would promote a broader selection.”
    Yes, that does seem exactly backwards! I suspect that the explanation is:
    – Dynafit was late in coming out with its own race heel, so that set the innovators into motion.
    – Designing a heel unit that lacks adjustable vertical release, adjustable lateral release, and adjustable fore/aft length is probably relatively easy compared to a regular touring binding.

  19. Euro Rob December 18th, 2009 3:30 am

    Interesting link, Jonathan.

    Anyway I’m not denying the risk of locking the binding, just sharing observations. In my opinion lateral release is more important than vertical even. With high head-on forces — when you needed vertical release — those race skis would often just break, whereas lateral forces put your ACL in danger.

    On a more personal note, a friend of mine popped out both his ACLs when getting caught in an avalanche last year — toes locked. When moving from snowboard to skis I just learned it that way, but at that point I got myself brakes and stopped locking on the down with my freeride setup.

    With my race-ish morning laps gear I’m still locking down, guilty as pledged. Seems to be fairly low-risk when just playing safe on the groomers at dawn. Still unclear how to stay safe in a race descend though, torn ACL is not something I need.

  20. Lou December 18th, 2009 8:06 am

    Another reason, and some say the main reason, Dynafit didn’t come out with a race heel for so long was that as a mainstream manufacturer they had to figure out how to get around the TUV ski binding certifications. Last I heard, they got around that by, first, actually having side release in the heel but at a fixed value, and second, selling the heel separate from the toe, or at least doing that on the books, or something like that.

    Perhaps the TUV requirements got amended. I’ll find out more when I’m over there in a few weeks.

    At least some of the race binding sellers are just going outlaw and doing business despite DIN/TUV.

    For at least a season, perhaps more, Dynafit sold (or at least made and distrubuted) a race heel but didn’t put it in their catalog as they made very limited copies and didn’t want to rock the DIN/TUV boat.

    To get around TUV, for a long time the Dynafit clone race bindings were sold out of the trunks of cars at races. They didn’t go mainstream till recently.

    Also pretty funny to see that photo on the Merelli website with the red “patented” lettering over the binding. What a crock, the only reason they can make and sell that binding is because a bunch of Dynafit patents have expired. Pretty insulting to the Dynafit binding inventor, if you ask me.

    For info on DIN and TUV see our backcountry glossary:
    http://www.wildsnow.com/more/backcountry-glossary/

  21. Jonathan Shefftz December 18th, 2009 10:20 am

    This is getting far adrift my original blog, but for all those who ski with the toe lever in tour mode, were you really preleasing with the lateral release setting at 10? And how much do you weigh?

    For me, I weigh 145 lb (AT bsl are 296mm & 301mm, alpine downhill plugs are 305) and my release settings (lateral/vertical) are:
    - 6.5/7 Dynafit
    - 6.5/8 Diamir and non-race alpine downhill setups
    - 7/9 SL race
    - 7/10 GS race
    - 9/12 SG race
    - 10/13 DH race (bindings *start* at 10!)
    – I have over 1.2 million vertical on my various Dynafit setups, plus the equivalent of several days of lift-served vertical too. I have released twice from Dynafits:
    - Ski (and boot, still have the bark mark on the boot tongue) got caught under a small horizontal log just barely hidden under the snow.
    - Ski tip hooked on a small shrubby branch (just like hooking a tip in a SL race course).
    Both times the binding released so quickly and cleanly that (combined with my not noticing the log/branch) at first I didn’t even realize what had happened. (“Hey, what was that sound? And why am I on only one ski?”)
    – I have never preleased in Dynafits, but I don’t get any air.
    – I have put the toe lever in tour mode (which affects only the lateral release, not vertical) only several times when I felt that I wanted my skis to stay on no matter what (because of what was below me). If I had that option (of increasing the release settings on the spot) on any other binding in those situations, I would have used it on them too.

  22. Randonnee December 18th, 2009 11:40 am

    Good discussion, Jonathan, and yes I come out at a setting of 9 in the blink of an eye even while standing still. I leave it at 9 since it seems operational for my skiing and less is better for safety in my view. I prefer to ski smoothly and have the margin of safety.

    Not to criticize the Dynafit binding, I watch it work very smoothly as I easily twist my toe out of the front pins, it is just a matter of my bulk and strength. While skinning uphill I can easily walk out of a fully locked FT12 or a Fritsche if I do not pay attention to how I walk. My Comfort and Speed bindings are more susceptible to downward pressure- I lock them on firm snow or piste for downhill, and can release them if unlocked while standing on the carpet in the binding and pushing down with the ball of my foot. My FT12 does not appear to release similarly from downward pressure, and I ski it with the toe unlocked. Yesterday while ski cutting/ testing while ascending I walked with the toe unlocked and stayed in reasonably well, coming out only one time.

    Perhaps of interest, Dynafit is the only binding ever that I have not broken while skiing (turning- not hucking). I broke Fritsches, when I worked on skis FT I broke several brands brand of alpine binding. I weigh 225 @ 6′ 1 ” and stay at that weight in spite of going uphill on bike, skis, walk, or run 3 to 4 days per week every week. If something works for me, it is strong.

  23. Michael Silitch January 23rd, 2010 3:22 pm

    I would love some clarification on DIN TUV for just the normal Dynafit bindings (with DIN settings). i have heard that even these bindings are not officially DIN certified because the boot has to act as part of the binding and you can’t get constant values. This only sort of makes sense to me. Is it a crock? And how are these normal Dynafit bidings any different from their current race binding except that the DIN values are not adjustable ( I would like to know what that heel is “set” to and what the normal or race toe–both same DIN I assume– is set to as well, in tour mode and locked and inbetween) Dynafit must be able to test these settings. I would also like to see a comparison to the toe pieces from companies that only have the locked “tour’ mode, like ATK Race (Haereo appears to be like the dynafit with a tour and a lock mode), etc. Lou is this something you can test? Or can you ask Dynafit?

    Best, mIchael

  24. Jonathan Shefftz January 23rd, 2010 4:00 pm

    I bought one of these over the summer:
    http://tinyurl.com/yznadhc
    http://tinyurl.com/ydsrd39
    (Considerably less than full price of course.)
    My Dynafit setups have tested spot-on.
    (I just used the same protocol and range values from alpine downhill binding technical manuals.)
    I’d be curious to know how the fixed-release-value race bindings test.

  25. Lou January 23rd, 2010 9:03 pm

    Jonathan, according to an inside source, the lateral release value of a locked Dynafit binding varies quite a bit due to things such as the actual flex of the ski topskin, as well as slight differences in binding dimensions due to manufacturing tolerances. As an average, I’ve heard the figure “18″ being bandied about.

    Michael, I’ve heard that the lateral on most race bindings that release is around 7. This assuming of course that the toe is not locked.

  26. Jonathan Shefftz January 24th, 2010 7:31 am

    I was referring to Dynafit bindings with the toe unit lever in ski mode.
    With the heel in ski mode and the toe unit lever in tour mode, that’s a whole ‘nother story…

  27. Randonnee January 24th, 2010 9:50 pm

    Interesting about the locked Dynafit toe DIN, Lou said, ” I’ve heard the figure “18? being bandied about.” Today I was touring powder so I tried the fully-locked toe release. With clean pin holes and after walking for 10 minutes to be sure all was seated properly, I tried and was able to twist out of my FT17 fully locked toe, wearing Zzero3C boots. The release was smooth as one would expect from a ski binding. I cannot say if it is DIN 18 or exactly what, but it works. Good stuff, Dynafit!

  28. Jonathan Shefftz January 25th, 2010 8:33 am

    Randonee, was this with the heel unit in ski or tour mode?

  29. Michael Silitch January 25th, 2010 8:50 am

    An interesting source for comparing lightweight ski mo race gear is the manufacturer pool for the ISMF on their website ismf-ski.org

  30. Bill January 25th, 2010 10:06 am

    Of note.
    I purchased a Low Tech. When the binding came in the lateral release was about a DIN of 4. I thought it was a defect and sent it to Salewa to check out. Turns out the binding is intended to be used with the toe locked at all times to get a sufficient DIN. May work unlocked as a binding for very light people. Thinking of adapting it for my wife.

  31. Jonathan Shefftz February 21st, 2010 8:43 am

    Race binding chart updated for Haereo Go binding (new website) and 2010-11 Dynafit models (as previewed by Lou).

  32. Lou February 21st, 2010 9:09 am

    Jonathan, thanks for keeping that updated, I know a lot of people who really appreciate it.

  33. Michael Silitch February 21st, 2010 1:58 pm

    the Merelli bindings have been having problems with excesssive pin wear, but there fixing it.

  34. Jonathan Shefftz October 21st, 2010 8:10 pm

    Updated all the entries, plus added new entry for Kreuzspitze. (Just don’t ask me to pronounce it!)

  35. John October 22nd, 2010 10:55 am

    Has anyone used a touring version of the alternates to the Dynafits. I use FT-12s set to 10, and sometimes click the toe up one. In the event of a release either of these settings are comfortable. I set my Alpine bindings to 12-14. I did not find any relative release info on say the Plum touring bindings release settings.

    It appears that none of the options offer brakes, a leash is OK.

  36. Henri October 22nd, 2010 12:33 pm

    Is no one making an ultralight brake? Seems like a neglected part of the weight weenie chain, for those that are obsessed with weight, but also like to have a brake.

  37. Lou October 22nd, 2010 12:37 pm

    Henri, I agree… it’s weird to me that so many people ski without brakes OR safety straps. I guess it works if you don’t fall much and lock your binding release out, but…

  38. koen October 22nd, 2010 3:37 pm

    you might also have a look at http://pistehors.com/news/forums/viewthread/660/ it seems superb except that it is rather expensive

  39. Tay October 23rd, 2010 3:06 am

    Lou,
    Last season I skiing in the French Alps with a pair of Dynafits and took a fall. I landed on the pin of the toe piece with my elbow. Tore the elbow open and punched a hole through the bone. Managed to get off the moutain but had to get my elbow operated on and the piece of bone removed. So regardless of the release of race tech bindings, there can be other safety issues with all dynafit style bindings. Would happily e-mail you a picture of the x-rays showing the nice round hole the toe pin left in my bone if you like. I googled this and found no other reference to this type of injury.

  40. Lou October 23rd, 2010 6:53 am

    Tay, wow! You almost made reality out of this joke, only in your arm instead of your foot!

    http://www.wildsnow.com/611/georg-sojer-finally-a-way-to-make-dynafit-bindings-weigh-less/

  41. Jonathan Shefftz October 23rd, 2010 8:04 pm

    “I googled this and found no other reference to this type of injury.”
    – Must have been some interesting search terms!
    - Seriously though, plenty of alpine downhill and telemark bindings have plenty of parts that could be impaled in a skier’s body during a tumble. Ditto for any ski crampons, boot crampons, ice axe, shovel blade, etc. lashed to the outside of a pack. And far more important than that (or any protruding binding part) are those four segments of up two 2m-long sharpened steel, which brings up. . .
    “Is no one making an ultralight brake? Seems like a neglected part of the weight weenie chain, for those that are obsessed with weight, but also like to have a brake.”
    - Good point, but the problem is that almost everyone concerned about brake weight just ditches the brakes. The other problem is that a brake pretty much has to have lots of long metal pieces. But who knows, maybe some small tinkerer will design an after-market part… (Paging Bill Bollinger?)

    So I was going to respond to the ATK RT request that as a more touring-oriented binding it really doesn’t belong in the chart, but since I already had the Plum touring model, I’ve now included it. Dynafit also used to make some stripped-down versions of the Speed & Vertical that still had adjustable release, but all of them seem to have been discontinued for this year, even in Europe.
    The “problem” is that if the goal is to retain adjustable release, then how you can do better than the TLT IV/Tech/Speed/Classic? This past spring & summer my setup was DyNA boots (with all their fancy cutting-edge carbon fiber), Trab Duo Sint Aero skis, and Speed/Classic/whatever bindings that despite being new stock were indistinguishable (except in color) from the late 1990s TLT IV. (The only other gear I had anywhere near that old was a BD Traverse pole with the larger diameter that readily accepts the Grivel Condor self-arrest grip. Plus some old purple Ascension skins.)
    The RT looks interesting with its totally different heel design and with some sort of toe adjustment. TGR had an interesting thread with all sorts of speculation, but ultimately we were all just speculating (myself included).
    The Plum design has screws holding together the heel unit vertically oriented sandwich that are flush with the top plate, which is a definite plus. But who knows what other minuses and/or pluses it has. (By contrast there is something very reassuring about a binding whose design hasn’t needed to change in well over a decade!)

    Back to race bindings, I just noticed that some don’t seem to have even optional ski crampon holders. (Many thanks for Mountain Outfitters in Breck for calling me with some additional info – must be a great shop for all sorts of gear info if they know even stuff that obscure!) I suppose this isn’t a problem for racing (since the latest ISMF rules as of June 19 http://tinyurl.com/242a8cj don’t even mention ski crampons / harscheisen unless I’m missing something), but definitely a problem if a race setup is to be used for occasional ski mountaineering.

  42. Halsted October 24th, 2010 9:28 pm

    JS,

    Where where you at ISSW?

    HM

  43. Jonathan Shefftz October 25th, 2010 7:22 am

    During the week of ISSW I was engaged in some combination of working, skiing two feet of fresh (Vermont October freak snowstorm), and trying to persuade our infant daughter to feed on something other than Mom’s milk.

  44. Tom October 25th, 2010 9:59 am

    I have some Trab TR Race bindings on order. Those PLUM bindings are so sexy though…

  45. Jonathan Shefftz October 25th, 2010 10:18 am

    I removed the entry for the old Plum touring-oriented model and will soon have a separate blog on the new Plum “Guide” models (weight almost identical to Dynafit Speed but release values about the same as Vertical FT12).

  46. Alex R October 25th, 2010 11:06 am

    A bit off topic, but does anyone have any info of where can I purchase a Dynafit mounting jig (for non-commercial use only)?
    I know I can use the paper one and procedures on the website here, but I have always like the peice-of-mind and efficiency a mechanical one provide. I have searched online, but no retailers list the jig for sale.

    Thanks,
    A

  47. Lou October 25th, 2010 11:18 am

    Alex, I’m pretty sure you can simply buy one from Salewa NA in Boulder. Lou

  48. skian October 27th, 2010 10:31 pm

    Alex, glad to see you have enough Dynafits to buy a gig for your mounting parties! I would be glad to help you out. Dynafit only sells Dynafit product to Dynafit authorized dealers. I would be happy to assist you in finding a dealer in your area. Dynafit does not stock a plethora of these but if you are a garage guy like I and Lou, I will try arrange to assist you if you would PM Lou with your area I can give you a list of dealers that can help get your process going. It is purely up to them though. Don”t yell at me for sticker shock as these are precision tools. I would suggest have an authorized dealer do the drilling you do the mounting or if need be…. for an easier solution just by Dynafit skis and no drills needed! win win Buy more beer!
    Get outside have some fun and enjoy the backcountry!
    Thigh deep at Alta!! Game on! What ya got!

  49. Jared November 1st, 2010 11:43 am

    These mini-dynafits have made a lot more possible for me. I have put in some longish traverses on them (22 hr push, hitting 14 11k+ peaks in the Wasatch; 38 hr push, 59 miles, traversing Uinta Range). I also use them a lot in everyday touring. I’ve skied and raced them pretty hard. And they work well (for me) — never broken or pop out.

    In order to make them work in everyday touring situations in the Wasatch, I made a lightweight heel lifter that gives me a “high” position. Also, I only use them on race skis and always ski them with the toes locked. And I weigh about 140-145.

    They come with a few compromises — no high heel lifter (which can be added), no fore/aft adjustability, price. For me, I don’t feel like I’m compromising durability. And like I said, the weight savings make lots more possible and makes skiing STs (dare I say it?) more of a chore.

  50. Jonathan Shefftz November 1st, 2010 11:59 am

    “Longish” is quite the understatement for your SLC Samurai blogspot TRs!
    So do all of your race binding partners also always ski the bindings with the toe levers in tour/locked position? Although losing significant weight over even the Dynafit Speed is very tempting, also losing the lateral release function isn’t so tempting. (Granted I’ve had only one lateral release in over 1.5 million vertical on various Dynafit bindings, but I’m glad to remain ignorant of whether the hooked piece of shrubbery or my lower leg would have emerged victorious that one time.)

  51. Jared November 1st, 2010 12:17 pm

    Most everyone I know usually locks their toes. And if not, then it is usually unintentional.

    I’ve watched a couple skis rocket out of the universe and that scares me (being stranded on a steep hill) more than a blown knee.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am scared of a blown knee too, but historically, I’ve done ok, and I have a hunch that if the impact/force is strong enough I’ll come out of a locked binding. Of course, I don’t have much of a basis for that hunch. . . .

  52. Jonathan Shefftz November 1st, 2010 12:41 pm

    Yes, agreed, both prelease and lack of release can have very bad consequences. Personally I’ve never had any problems with prelease from Dynafits (well, except for once when it was my fault, and would have occurred on anything but my alpine race gear, including locked Dynafits since it was a heel release), so I don’t have any need to risk lack of release.
    If you have the time though, I would be interested to know how the race bindings feel just grasping them by hand and rotating them around the heel pedestal, comparing the resistance to the regular Dynafit bindings in your prodigious quiver:
    http://tinyurl.com/36ejwfc

  53. Alex R November 1st, 2010 11:44 pm

    @Skian,
    Thanks for the offer, and if there is actually a way for you to help me get my hands on a jig I would appreciate it. I am farily certain I am no where near here that can help me out since I am currently living in Oklahoma.

    Thanks,
    Alex

  54. Skian November 2nd, 2010 12:02 am

    Were there’s a will there’s a way. Lou has my digits. PM him and get my number and give me a call. Or send me a personal message to my FB page! Redline sportsgroup. Remember it’s Movember break out the stash and surprise your lady!

  55. Jared November 2nd, 2010 9:51 am

    Jonathan:

    In response to your question, I would say “harder.” But it’s not something that can be relied on since there are so many other factors.

    1. the heel piece is much smaller, and since there is less to grasp, it feels harder;

    2. depends on how the heelpiece is mounted. the pins on the low tech pieces are much longer than Speed pins, or even the STs. I deliberately mount mine a bit “deep.” On other bindings like ATK, the pins are short.

    3. the ends of the pins on the low tech heel pieces aren’t polished or rounded off, making twisting out a bit harder, and “catchier”

    4. I have a pair of boots without Dynafit tech fittings on the heels (Pierre Gignoux), and that makes twisting out harder

  56. Jonathan Shefftz November 2nd, 2010 10:04 am

    Interesting info, thanks.
    So for the PG boots, the pics and video I’ve seen of the heel fitting make the configuration look similar to a Dynafit or close-imitation Tech heel interface, but seems like it’s kind of just screwed into the back of the heel, rather than being more tightly integrated into the heel lug and flush with the plastic? Is that correct, and is that why the twist-out seems tighter?

  57. Tom Gadsden November 3rd, 2010 2:39 pm

    Hello Lou
    Not quite sure where to post this, but anyhow…
    Do you know whether there are any common tech boot lengths, please – i.e. Distance from Dynafit heel fitting to toe fitting? I’ve a pair of zzeroes, but looking at buying some Factors or Titans for a burlier setup (on marker 10s). Would be useful if new boots would fit my current setup of vertical ft’s, but this I assume means the tech fittings need to be the same distance apart – unlikely?

  58. Lou November 3rd, 2010 2:48 pm

    Hi Tom, no standards for that though they are sometimes quite similar. Just learn how to quickly adjust your bindings and you’ll be fine.

  59. Skian November 3rd, 2010 3:40 pm

    Hey Tom, good advice from Lou learn to adjust before you ski. Little mills make a lot of difference.
    Here I go with my rant. Let me grab my beer.
    So the distance from the heel to the binder is very important. If you own Verticle St, Ft you have 3cm of 3 shell sizes of adjustability. With the standard classic you have about 5mm. This is important to know because with the 4 point interface if the boot is not adjusted correctly the binding will not function properly.
    Freeride boots are long…ski running or speed touring boots are short. Everything else is in the middle. Most important thing is before your tour check your pin distance and get out and rip it up!
    Hope that helps

  60. Tom Gadsden November 3rd, 2010 4:05 pm

    Thanks both – that’s helpful – glad I held onto that little plastic gauge now!
    Anyone else hung up on this – this is useful from WildSnow:
    http://www.wildsnow.com/1542/dynafit-boot-size-length-range-adjustment/

  61. Lou November 3rd, 2010 4:19 pm
  62. roca November 4th, 2010 12:44 pm

    thanks all, just a couple of adds on:
    -ATK RT already has brakes, and they work too…
    very clever, front mounted:
    http://www.atkrace.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=58%3Aski-stopper&lang=it

    -another italian producer, yes I now , there is one new every week, but these have done two models, race and tourism (170gr.) .They are famous in snowboard bindings.
    http://www.phksnow.com/alpi.html

    NOW, WHEN WILL YOU GUYS SHOW US THE NEW GIGNOUX CARBON BINDING? (michael?)
    PLEASE…

  63. Jonathan Shefftz November 4th, 2010 2:00 pm

    That brake design does look very clever! (Although Look alpine bindings came up with it first — must be in the 1970s?)
    I also noticed that ATK now has a race binding with an integrated ski crampon mount — I’ve added that and the PHK race binding to the chart.

  64. Wick November 4th, 2010 2:11 pm

    Anyone know if these adjustment plates from ATK will work for Dynafit Low techs?? Thanks!

    http://www.atkrace.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=48:r01-piastra-di-regolazione&lang=en

  65. Jared November 4th, 2010 2:39 pm

    Hey Wick. I looked into those for my Low Techs (’08) and concluded that they wouldn’t work — ATK uses a tighter hole pattern.

  66. Jen November 7th, 2010 9:53 am

    This is a bit off the racing topic, but the only place I could find to ask:

    I’m skiing the Dynafit Vertical ST “Reality check” binding on a pair of K2 She’s Back skis and the ZZERO boot as my one-quiver setup. Made some first turns of the year on my “rock skis” with NAXO bindings and quickly realized that once you go Dynafit you never go back. I “ain’t racin’ or nothin’ “, but I love how they pivot and go up steep track (I ski the Wasatch).

    In hopes of a better powder year I am thinking about a pair of fatter skis, and I really don’t want to ski anything but Dynafit bindings ever again. I’m 5 ‘ 2″ and under 120, so I “get away” with things that bigger people don’t. So here (finally) is the question:

    Is there a functional reason not to mount a binding like the Vertical on a bit heavier ski (say an 8-9 lb pair of mid fats or fats)? Do they have release problems or are they unable to “drive” a heavier ski? I’m not worried boot-wise since I skied in the era of rear-entry boots that may as well have been made of rubber.

  67. Skian November 7th, 2010 10:50 am

    Luv ladies that call it straight!
    Jen, 13 years ago when I drove around this country begging people to buy this binding I got to my guide bros by setting up their girlfriends on Dynafit!! Revelation ” my girls kicking my but” loved it. Now we have places like Jackson pushing the envelope on this stuff. I worked for K2 on the K2 tele AT project for 13 years until we shut it down and K2 put together the Backside collection. I still chuckle when I talk to Mike and call him the director of the backside!
    As for pushing the limits. I have these binders mounted to every kind of stick heavy metal to wicked light. At 5’2″ you sound a little over weight??? Just kidding. Remember light is right but weight is great… Ah but wait! We have this thing called technology. Weight is not king but tech is. At your size I can’t see you putting this binder on anything over the top. Unless your on a wicked 191 two sheets of metal board turning at Mach schnell. And if you are I’m at Alta on Dec 11th and want to make some turns with you! Get a little more specific on your match up and we can go from there. Miss matching product on skis is like riding a cross bike on a downhill course… It could be fun but it could be painful.
    Now.
    Ciao Ian

    Get outside have some fun and enjoy the backcountry!

  68. Jonathan Shefftz November 7th, 2010 10:53 am

    At TGR, if you asked whether mounting up Dynafits on an eight-pound ski was okay, they’d ask why you were choosing such a lightweight ski. (Well, just kidding — although not by much…seriously though, skis much bigger than that are being mounted by Dynafits and being skied by guys literally twice your weight.)

  69. Jen November 7th, 2010 11:28 am

    I’ll admit to cycling making me a weight weenie! Ian, if Dec 11 is a weekend day you can almost bet I’ll be at Alta unless I’m outside of Alta somewhere in the Little or Big Cottonwood backcountry. But that early in the year, probably Alta.

    We missed the Dynafit Demo last year because our boots wouldn’t work, but this year they will, so we’ll be trying some skis out. I do, however, LOVE the She’s Back/Vertical setup and my husband has the same setup (Backups because he wouldn’t want a girlie ski).

    Thanks to both of you – and yes, 9 pounds is heavy when you’re used to 6!

  70. Skian November 7th, 2010 11:43 am

    Jen, little secret for you. When I was at K2 our engineer “terrible Dragon” brought a few new wood patios to our test at hood.
    I was on the focus for a new skinny ski for real mountaineering. We tested the cores and I was ecstatic “Mike this core rocks!” that year we had brought on a new project… The womens project with real women designing skis for women! They liked it too and the womens bio-flex core began and I was on the cold. I love skiing like a girl…. Well on a core designed for finesse anyway and not brute force!
    Tell your hubby to rock that stash and ski like a girl. Because a girl with finesse is better to watch than a boy with brute!
    Ciao Ian
    “get outside have some fun and enjoy the backcountry!”

  71. Jen November 7th, 2010 12:51 pm

    I agree (as to the ski like a girl). I spent my cycling career skeptical of “Women’s Specific” models because most companies thought they could take a mid-range men’s bike, paint it pink, give it an “empowering” name and sucker us into buying. I never rode one until I started product testing one for Specialized that was out of sight.

    I have always felt the ski industry was well ahead of the bike industry in this regard – always testing materials and configurations that were adjusted to make the most out of a skier who statistically has a lower center of gravity and different hip-structure/q-factor. I still think more research could lead to some fun questions of asymmetrical sidecuts and alternative binding placements, but that’s the cyclist talking. They don’t call me the “princess and the pea” for nothing.

    I would be out skiing, but the snow is pretty rotten and it’s a long season….

    Jen

  72. Skian November 7th, 2010 4:28 pm

    Jen, I to spent my life in the bike industry. I got to work with Fausto Pinnarello, Merckx and my favorite artisan Dario Pegoretti! Who really adressed small women before anybody else! I know the crew working on Specialized and watched those boys grow up CX racing. Light is right but weight is great! I currently ski a six pound setup. Skis boots bindings and skins. That’s per leg. One word phenomenal! Come check it out at Alta. I have done alot of research on power to weight ratio which IMO is everything. Maybe I see if Lou wants to post my findings on the blog.
    See you at Alta or in the BC
    Skian

  73. Jonathan Shefftz November 7th, 2010 4:30 pm

    Jen, also, depending on your typical release setting, the new Plum Guide (see separate blog post) might be especially of interest to you, since the release range is 3-7 (which in general might be better if you’re just barely hugging the bottom of the 5-10 Dynafit scale). The Escape Route shop will be a dealer this season.

  74. Skian November 7th, 2010 6:42 pm

    Low tech light… Best bang for the buck. Puts everything else to shame!

    No debate

  75. Jen November 7th, 2010 8:00 pm

    I’ll keep all of that in mind when I decide to look for some fatter rides this winter… Ian – it sounds like we probably have some ‘Cross friends in common as that is a small world. We practically live at Alta, so we’ll be there on the 11th, perhaps toting a coveted Utah beverage.

  76. Michael Silitch November 8th, 2010 4:18 am

    Jared and Jonathan might have been mentioning that it is more diffiicult to get out of the heel of a Pierre Giginoux boot. Between my wife and I, we have owned 5 pairs (as of this winter) of Pierre Gingoux’s. The “dynafit” style heel insert is not just bolted on; it’s bolted and ‘rivetted”–a little sleeve like a rivet. .They are very solid and I have never seen one come loose like what happens with screwed on real Dynafit heels. Let me know if you have one that has come loose.

    However, the PG heel pieces are more roughly made and have sharper edges which keeps them from releasing more smoothly (when you are talking them off to put skins on, for example). What I do to compeletely solve this problem (which is a time waste when racing) is to file the edges smoother with a cone shaped and a cylinder shaped dremel tool mini grinder bit.

    This works fantastically and completely makes them easier to get out of. Warning, once I did it a little too much and then had some play in the binding boot interface. You can get new heel pieces from PG though if you need to.

    Yes, I did say we had or will soon have had five pairs. I sold my xp 500′s and Nina’s are for sale (size 24,5). She also have a pair of Ski trab world cups with dyanfit race bindings from two years ago for sale.

    I have had the opportunity to visit PG’s workshop and wrote and article about that on Wild Snow, with photos and with news that PG is working on a new totally different binding. Let me know that helps or if I didn’t quite understand the problem. Best, michael

  77. scree November 9th, 2010 10:32 am

    2 questions;
    1. does the Dynafit Low Tech Lite have 3 heel climbing options? In other words, doe the plastic cover thingy flip up so it can be used as a climbing post?

    2. If I’m not using any ski crampons, is there any reason to use the plastic plate that sits underneath the Dynafit toe piece? Or can I just mount without it? I realize I might have to grind the screws (hope not…) and that the ramp angle will change slightly.

    Thanks!

  78. Jonathan Shefftz November 9th, 2010 10:37 am

    1. According to Jared, it does not — he devised his own add-on to accomplish that when he wanted a higher heel elevator for his amazing WURLOS tour last season. (He was using what was the full-on race binding for the time, but the new Low Tech Lite has the same heel unit.)

    2. You need to retain the plastic shim in order for the toe lever to work while skinning. You could cut off the extra plastic for the crampon slot, but well, yeah, how many grams is that? And I suppose you could forego the plastic shim and devise your own bump/hump to engage the butt end of the toe lever (and also grind down the screws by the thickness of the foregone plastic shim), but that’s sacrificing a lot of reliability for trivial weight savings.

  79. Jonathan November 17th, 2010 12:02 pm

    Just an FYI that I removed the ATK RT from this chart, since we now have a separate chart for Tech bindings with adjustable release settings.

  80. brian p. harder November 22nd, 2010 11:08 pm

    I have to say all this commentary about the safety of these bindings is a bit comical. It reminds me of people who drive giant SUVs because of the impending motor vehicle accident they’re bound to get in someday. I mean, you can live your life worrying about this stuff if you want. Clearly, some writers/commenters on this site do. Fair enough. It is most interesting that they speak of the horrible danger of skiing with the toes locked and yet have no experience of disasters due to the same.

    I do not deny the theoretical danger here but the numbers of skiers getting injured skiing this way just aren’t materializing. Like Jared, I know dozens of skiers who ski with their toes locked, logging hundreds of thousands of vertical feet each season without consequence. There are plenty of skiers on the “safest” of alpine binders blowing their knees daily at the resort. I suspect that the conditions most of us ski in the BC are somewhat protective of injury-producing circumstances. Most of us are pretty conservative skiers, as well.

    As a group we will continue to lock our toes, climb without a rope, travel to, eat and drink in the Third World, ski alone when we have to and drive small cars because it’s the right thing to do. Dangerous? Sure. Worth the risks? For us, yes, with eyes wide open.

  81. Skian November 22nd, 2010 11:46 pm

    Wow! Like it..don’t sugarcoat it tell us what you really think. All great points!

  82. Jonathan Shefftz December 15th, 2010 1:31 pm

    Rando racer & Escape Route employee Alex Wigley has posted a very comprehensive review of the Plum race models:
    http://tinyurl.com/2ctggam

  83. Jen December 15th, 2010 1:57 pm

    Just last week I was racing down the mountain at dusk trying to beat daylight in an area I know well. I had forgotten to unlock my toes and hit a compression. The heels did exactly as they were supposed to – releasing gently just in time. However, since the toes were locked, they did exactly as they were supposed to also…. It was a no harm, no foul situation and probably pretty funny if it had been seen. A mouthfull of powder and sore heels were my consequence. Thought I’d add some humor to the debate.

  84. Skian December 16th, 2010 10:15 pm

    Nice Work Jen! Keep it real
    I want to ski with you!

  85. Jonathan Shefftz December 20th, 2010 4:17 pm

    Two items of interest–
    - Spanish shop’s video for the new Dynafit race binding, which not knowing any Spanish is entirely unintelligible for me except when he puts the bindings (complete with screws) on a scale at the end for a per-pair extrapolated weight of only 8.9 ounces: http://tinyurl.com/2ayw37g
    - Rando race Alex Wigley’s blog post on the Plum race line-up: http://tinyurl.com/2ctggam

  86. aviator December 20th, 2010 8:50 pm

    @jonathan

    8O DANG, they beat my merelli r8 by 3 grams per binding, real world incl. 7 screws and heel riser. dynafit 125g, merelli 128g.

    :D oh well I guess that’s a tie til somebody weighs them on the same scale!

    his diction is actually very good/clear, what part do you want translated?
    I guess you caught the toe auto lock (atk race style)
    merelli is old skool, you lock manually

  87. Jonathan Shefftz December 20th, 2010 9:29 pm

    Aviator, sorry to hear that your bindings are now obsolete. But before cluttering up a landfill with them, plus consider recycling them by donating them to me, thanks!
    Seriously though, would be interested in a summary of any observations he has that go beyond just the material from the Dynafit website.

  88. aviator December 20th, 2010 10:00 pm

    @jonathan
    of course there’s just a lot of “…this is the best, lightest, easiest out there at the moment…”
    in various forms…
    he really doesn’t say anything that is not in the product description and video
    at dynafit.com, did you see that video? lots of details there about the toe screw and crampon mount for example.

    except for one thing, and I think he is wrong there, my school spanish tells me he says the binding is made of an magnesium-titanium-aluminium ALLOY.

    in the dynafit vid they are more specific, they call it an aluminium binding and mention titanium pins and so on.

  89. aviator December 20th, 2010 10:35 pm

    about my merelli r8:s,
    comparing to what Jared said about his dynafit race heels.

    I’d say my heels are LESS stiff than expected.
    I’ve heard 9 mentioned about all race heels.
    But I almost can’t rotate a tlt speed heel set at 9 unmounted with my hands.
    I’d say the merelli heel is more like a 5-7 something.
    It feels very different, not only because it’s much smaller but it also has a more distinct rotation, “springier”, more resistance first, than turns over much faster, the normal tlt speed is more even, resistance all the way.

    pins are same length as tlt speed, or maybe 0.5-1.0 mm shorter if anything.

    and I’d say the merelli heel and the dynafit race heel HAS a third heel elevation, it’s just that it is not very much higher, probably less than 10mm higher, and its with the lid flicked all the way back and the heel rotated 180, there is no flicked UP position.
    you can see the flicked back mode in the spanish video, right before he flicks it forward.

  90. Skian December 20th, 2010 11:33 pm

    Race heel is 9 vertically. As stated race binding. Racers ski locked out. I ski low tech llight locked out toe. This is not recommended. Still best ski mountaineering binding on the planet commercially built. I am not talking about small CNC shop jewelry.

  91. Skian December 20th, 2010 11:34 pm

    Race heel is 9 vertically. As stated race binding. Racers ski locked out. I ski low tech llight locked out toe. This is not recommended. Still best ski mountaineering binding on the planet commercially built. I am not talking about small CNC shop jewelry.
    Be careful out there the pack is shifting!

  92. aviator December 21st, 2010 1:41 am

    @skian
    -Yes, we are talking lateral release, do you have an “official” lateral DIN number on the new dynafit race heel?
    -Remember, without the small cnc shops there wouldnt be any race bindings at all. So far dynafit has been WAY behind the cnc shops on the race bindings. We’ll see if they can catch up now. :D
    Have you tested the other 10 race bindings in the list? 8)

  93. Skian December 21st, 2010 7:17 am

    Dynafit has never been behind

  94. Lou December 21st, 2010 7:30 am

    The first race type bindings (non length adjustable heel, etc.) were made by small machine shops and sold out of car trunks at European rando races. Dynafit noticed, and made their own.

    So yes, regarding race bindings Dynafit was behind at one time, but I really wouldn’t say they’re catching up now (implying they are behind), as the Dynafit race binding is a contender, and they improve things every year just as the other companies do.

    Different features, different weights, different prices, and so on. I’d have a hard time picking who was “ahead.”

  95. aviator December 21st, 2010 9:57 am

    @skian
    I think you forgot a smiley there? :mrgreen:

  96. Jonathan Shefftz December 21st, 2010 10:09 am

    Aviator, yes, that toe platform height adjustment shown in the Dynafit video is impressively innovative! (Just need to combine that with the Plum adjustable pincer width and the ATK RT adjustable tour mode tension for the ultimate in toe unit tweaking.)
    So in the Merelli youtube video, seems like some sort of alternative to the traditional coiled springs in the toe unit – how exactly does it appear in your bindings?

  97. Lou December 21st, 2010 10:24 am

    I know from an insider source that the materials used in the latest Dynafit Race are incredibly sophisticated. Materials that are hard to work with and hard to get, but the binding is quite something. Somewhat of an engineering marvel in terms of manufacture, is what I’ve heard.

  98. Michael Silitch December 21st, 2010 10:45 am

    I’ve been testing a new version of the Merelli Binding and it is looking good–quite sturdy. The biggest innovation of the Merelli is the single springs at the toe instead of double. I’m not quite sure what this gives, but the first protos were too stiff and slower to operate. Now they are right on track. another unique thing about them, woops this might be top secret :) I’ll have to tell later, something to do with changing the lockout (almost like DIN) on the toe.

    Nina is sponsored by ATK Race and I must say, after two seasons we have been super happy with them. Not the very lightest any more, but like, solid and consistent in its performance. Not a dainty little ski mo race binding that will break when you look at it.

  99. Skian December 21st, 2010 11:11 am

    Aviator:) Lou:) et all:) if I smile too much while skiing CB my teeth start to freeze. As for behind… Sorry have to respectfully disagree. Dynafit was the first all others second. There are some great jewelry makers around the world. No doubt with the cottage industry around this product inovations is soaring. Dynafit has always answered back with something better. Score is deuce after January 15 it’s game set match Dynafit:)

  100. Jonathan Shefftz December 21st, 2010 2:15 pm

    When the second-generation Dynafit race binding debuts next month, will the auto-lock toe have an option for a ski mode?

  101. Michael Silitch December 21st, 2010 3:14 pm

    The new Dynafit race binding is already for sale in Chamonix. It has the all in one motion step in and lock toe piece, but look for that to change as the ISMF is studying binding safety and might go to something that releases more easily in the future–it is amazing to see how the gear rules of the ISMF dictate what the manufacturers make. I saw the newest Haereo binding while skinning today in Chamonix. Very “curvy” lines and nice looking. Let’s hope it is better than lasts years which had a “U” heel prongs that were too soft and wore out way too fast, and many I saw siezed up in the heel rotation. But the one thing they have is the two position toe piece and the “non locked” position they say is still pleanty strong to ski on without fear of releasing to easily. i imagine eventually they might publish release values, but not now. ATK Race does sell and “extreme” U prongs that is stiffer than the World Cup U. but I have never heard of anyone coming out of the ATK Race heel. One way the italian shops regulate that is to vary the distance of the heel piece to the boot. Most manufacturers recommend about 4 mm between. an expert mounter I know in Aosta says for lighter skiers he will go to 5 and heavier to three.

  102. aviator December 21st, 2010 4:14 pm

    @lou, I think titanium is always hard to get, nasa and defense industry are buying everything. The merelli is supposed to be 90% titanium, they are sleaker than the dynafit, I think dynafit use as much aluminium as they can.
    Aluminium over time develop stress problems, that’s why I think we have to wait and see how the new dynafit race binding really works long term before we know if they caught up or not. :mrgreen:

  103. aviator December 21st, 2010 4:17 pm

    @jonathan,
    if you add all those features you want it might end up weighing in like the onyx. :D

    if the auto-lock toes, atk, dynafit , plum, (who else?) don’t have a ski mode at all, then the merelli with the haereo is unique in that it works like a classic dynafit with ski/tour mode.

    like michael said, the merelli have single springs and they are hidden. what you see on the sides are many thin washers like in lou’s experiment:
    http://www.wildsnow.com/2794/
    But many more and on the outer side not the inner side of a the spring.
    The washers make them adjustable.

    http://www.scialp.it/notizie/attacchi/vari/vari.htm
    Google translate:
    “The sealing system is the classical two-way lock, but the special features is the system of springs, which allow the adjustment of the coefficient of hardness of the attack simply by adding or not one of them. ”
    Original text:
    “Il sistema di chiusura utilizzato è il classico bloccaggio a due vie, ma la particolarità, è il sistema di molle a tazza, che permettono la regolazione del coefficiente di durezza dell’attacco semplicemente con l’aggiunta o meno di una di esse.”

  104. aviator December 21st, 2010 4:18 pm

    @Michael Silitch, in feb you wrote merelli was having “problems with excesssive pin wear, but they are fixing it.”.
    Was that last years production model, or was that only the protos?
    was that related to the protos being “too stiff”?
    Can they fix this retroactively by adjusting tension or the fix is just on newer models?
    Is there any way i can test or provoke this problem early when still under warranty?

    I’m quite sure I don’t have a proto, but is there some way I can tell for sure?
    The box says “concept”, the receipt says “evolution”, ser nr 01307.
    I have just used them a few times yet but am very happy with how sturdy they feel.
    Apart from no auto-lock I can’t say they are slower to handle, there are no clicks to fiddle with, so you just lock with one single snap.

    They do feel different when you compare to a normal speed toe closing them with your thumbs. They are snappier, but hard to tell if they are really harder.

    Do you think I should decrease the toe spring tension by removing washers to try and avoid the potential pin wear problem?

    do you have a link or picture of the new merelli model?

  105. aviator December 21st, 2010 11:16 pm

    @michael s
    These blue ones are the new merelli r8?
    http://tuttosportlongarone.freehostia.com/2010/11/26/

  106. aviator December 21st, 2010 11:42 pm

    @michael s
    oop… better pic here:
    http://tuttosportlongarone.freehostia.com/2010/11/29/
    they talk about release problems being fixed with the new model?

  107. Michael Silitch December 22nd, 2010 2:14 am

    Wow, aviator is sure good at finding stuff on the internet! even in italian. Yes, the blue binding is the new one and it is not out yet. It is still being tested by athletes as the web site says. In fact, I was not accurate to say they have springs, because it is just the washers that provides the tension. The first version my wife and I tested had too much tension to open the binding–of the blue binding., but now it is much better. They reserved the washers or something like that.

    When I say auto lock, I am talking about the new dynafit, the Atkrace, the Merelli, even the Haereo, I guess–b/c they say it is locked enough to ski without lifting up to the toe lever. All these bindings are opposed to the old dynafit where you must pull up the toe to tour or even descend –or you’ll blow out (that has been my experience while racing).

    Speaking of Titanium, Mr. Merelli told me the old merelli R8 does have titatnium toe pins and they were wearing out, especially with certain boots where the boot toe hole fitting were not super nice (the PG boot holes rub the toe pins but are super light whereas the beautiful Dynafit toe fitting do not wear out pins–the pins were gettting scored around their circumference. So Merelli hasgone to a a hard steel pin instead.
    The top secret is out. You can just see in the photo of the new binding, the nylon set screws which allow you to change how far the toe lever goes towards fully locked. This can be adjusted depending on your preference and also in regards to your ski top sheet surface (smooth or bumpy–can be effectively a different height) and more importantly, the width of the toe of the boot–how much the binding’s toe clamp closes.

    That was a cool website that aviator found. did you use google translate to read the page in English? Or maybe you speak italian, but it says some cool stuff–such as Merelli can customize the top sheet. Nina got a pair in pink with her name on it. check it out on my facebook page.

    So, unless you have blue Merelli bindings like in the photos you found, they are not protos. and unless you have a PG boot and do tons of vert, the pins will probably last a while–I like the looks of the older biding copared to the blue one–maybe though b/c we have just been testing protos.

  108. Michael Silitch December 22nd, 2010 2:18 am

    Lou, is the new dynafit race binding aluminum? I thought they said titanium on the pub. They are already for sale in chamonix and some friends races them in the PDG last year. They do look really sweet and I am sure they will be solid like all things Dynafit.

    As far as the ATK Race RT’s, anyone in the US buy these yet? A report so far???

  109. aviator December 22nd, 2010 3:00 am

    @Michael Silitch
    french/german/spanish is a lot easier, but with italian I use a lot of google translate! It’s good enough to get what they are talking about, not for getting exactly what they are saying unfortunately, LOL

    the dynafit is made out of aluminium, magnesium, titanium
    in the video at dynafit.com he says it’s a 100% aluminium binding, with titanium heel pins .
    sounds strange but it’s what he says
    and the toe part looks thicker and beefier than other bindings at the same weight that’s why I think it’s at least mostly aluminium.
    in the spanish video jonathan posted that guy says it’s an alloy of aluminium, magnesium, titanium but I think that is a misunderstanding listening to what the dynafit guy says?

  110. aviator December 22nd, 2010 3:54 am

    @michael s
    back to my old black (and good looking!) merellis:
    I misunderstood what you said about the protos, i thought you meant old black protos.
    So with the black merellis there has never been been any stainless toe pins, only titanium?
    And the other 2 problems they mention the old merellis had:
    something about release problems and something about “GIOCHI” heel rise problems? Have you seen/heard anything about that?
    ” IL PRODOTTO E’ FINALMENTE OTTIMO.
    GRAN FACILITA’ DI ATTACCO (ALMENO CON LO SCARPA F1 CARBON) E OTTIMO IN FASE DI SGANCIO (UNO DEI DIFETTI DELLA VERSIONE PASSATA). RISOLTI ANCHE I PROBLEMI DEI GIOCHI CHE SI CREAVANO NELLA TALLONIERA.”

    And about the ultra light bindings and auto lock, I’m still a bit confused, is this correct?:
    -haereo: NO auto lock classic ski/tour mode but ski mode is stiff enough to tour with???
    -old black merelli, NO auto lock, classic ski/tour mode
    -new blue merelli: auto lock, no ski mode?
    -new dynafit auto: auto lock, no ski mode?
    -atk race: auto lock, no ski mode?
    -collibri: auto lock, no ski mode?

  111. Jonathan Shefftz December 22nd, 2010 6:34 am

    “When I say auto lock, I am talking about the new dynafit, the Atkrace, the Merelli, even the Haereo, I guess–b/c they say it is locked enough to ski without lifting up to the toe lever.”
    - Setting aside whether Haereo has auto-lock, I do know for sure that Plum has auto-lock. Also, I wouldn’t quite describe it as locked enough to ski without lifting up the toe lever, but rather, upon binding entry the toe lever automatically moves up to the locked/tour position.

    “As far as the ATK Race RT’s, anyone in the US buy these yet?”
    - In discussions to arrange for a demo pair for a WildSnow review.

  112. Lou December 22nd, 2010 7:13 am

    When I was in EU last winter, word was that the Race binding had quite a bit of magnesium. I wrote this blog post about 12 yards from the shop where the prototyping was being done:

    http://www.wildsnow.com/2442/lightweight-dynafit-gear/

    I’d say the binding probably combines ti, alu, magnesium and steel, but it might substitute the magnesium for what was formally titanium. It sounds like the binding may be in limited supply due to the difficulty of getting the space age materials. I’ll have info from the source in about ten days. The thing is amazingly light.

  113. Michael Silitch December 22nd, 2010 9:55 am

    Thanks for the info on the dynafits, I imagine only the engineer/designer knows for sure which parts are what and what the alloy is. I think the major weight savings in from the three hole heel piece (like the new Haereo and the Merelli) and Dynafit offers a titanium screw package for about 40 euro over here.

    So most race binding toe pieces have one position, step in and its locked for skinning up or shredding down. Some have two positions. Haereo for example you can pull up–they decribe it as locked and super duper locked. The standard dynafit toe (not the new race one) has two positions, but one is releasable and the other is locked (I suppose there are a few notches when you pull it up so there is some adjustment in the releasablility but it is hard/impossible to assign release/DIN values.) The ATK RACE RT is ingenious with its conical shaped screw that essentially keeps the lever from locking flat against the ski. The New Merelli has two tiny nylon screws to do the same thing, but it does not have a DIN value like the RT.

  114. Jonathan December 22nd, 2010 2:30 pm

    I see that the MerelliSki website has just been updated with new pictures of the binding.

  115. Michael Silitch December 23rd, 2010 3:13 pm

    http://www.merelliski.it/en/r8-evolution

    Ah Yes, I see Here’s the link. You can see all the aspects of the binding quite clearly, including the nylon set screws.

    Merry Christmas all you light binding fans and ski rando racers!

  116. Skian December 23rd, 2010 7:55 pm

    That is a piece of art!

  117. aviator December 23rd, 2010 8:03 pm

    they saw us talking and decided they better put that page up… 8)

  118. aviator December 23rd, 2010 8:07 pm

    @ lou,
    when you ask about materials and dynafit race auto, can u follow up asking why the dynafit.com video guy says it’s a “100% aluminium binding with titanium heel pins” if they would say something else to you?

  119. aviator December 23rd, 2010 8:10 pm

    @jonathan
    your question about the new dynafit race auto-lock toe and possible ski mode?
    did u catch the part of the video where he said there are 2 versions, one non-auto-locking version. That MUST be a ski-mode. where else would you be if you step in and don’t get auto-locked?

  120. Skian December 23rd, 2010 8:18 pm

    The Dynafit low tech race is a mix of magnesium, aluminum, and titanium as well as asto-finishing.

  121. aviator December 23rd, 2010 8:24 pm

    @skian
    yea… we talked a lot about magnesium, aluminum, and titanium, check above comments, lou’s question for dynafit is a bit more in depth than that, in the dynafit.com video they say the the body of the binding is 100% aluminium (ie not an alloy?) with separate small parts in other materials, go check it!

  122. Skian December 23rd, 2010 8:35 pm

    Are you talking about Barrabas video?

  123. aviator December 23rd, 2010 8:38 pm

    @skian
    no, I’m not…
    please read the other comments on this page :mrgreen:
    like I said before, I’m talking about the official product video at dynafit.com 8)

  124. Skian December 23rd, 2010 9:11 pm

    Can you ask a straight question. I am trying to answer your question.What you want to know? :)

  125. aviator December 23rd, 2010 9:27 pm

    LOL, but I never asked you a question, you asked me a question LOL. I’m having a discussion with Jonathan, Lou and others, and you if you want to. This is a long discussion with many posts, please read them first, then post. It gets less confusing that way. :D
    My focus in the debate is Dynafit says the new race binding is 100% aluminium with titanium heel pins in the video on their own site. Go watch it if you haven’t seen it, lots of facts there.

  126. Skian December 23rd, 2010 9:33 pm

    Did you ask Lou to ask Dynafit a question? I have worked with the brand for 13 years. I’m skiing at 5 am working till 10pm . I try to chime in on this I phone while I ski drive and eat. The video is fact it is aluminum body yes titanium heel. Next

  127. aviator December 23rd, 2010 9:57 pm

    @skian
    no I did not.
    some had a hard time believing in a 100% aluminium body.
    lou said he will go to “the source” and ask and I wanted to make sure he will point out the video, that’s all.
    read the comments when you get to a computer, everything will be easier to understand I promise, LOL
    LORD, I know you sell dynafit for a living. It’s actually very hard to miss LOL.
    yes NEXT, exactly my point….
    next subject: “is 100% aluminium really strong enough for a binding body?”
    It’s a rhetorical question, let’s dicuss this.
    It’s not a question to you, and DON’T answer “yes it is” , LMAO!

  128. Jørn Henriksen January 7th, 2011 5:44 pm

    Lou; Thank you for a great blog! Following it every day from Lyngen, Norway.

    Was “window shopping” at a used equipment site in Norway and found this combo – TLT and NTN.

    Check out the link: http://www.finn.no/finn/torget/tilsalgs/bilder?finnkode=26130125&reference=2011/1/3/5/261/301/25_1133699458.jpg

  129. ralphy March 8th, 2011 6:28 am

    i have a question :

    regular ski bindings (say alpine ones) and fairly simply built, no fancy materials, plastic, and DIN settings. They seem to hold up pretty well to anything i throw at them : groomers, freeride, the odd jump and some occasional wipe-outs.

    Taking the brake aside, i can not see much difference in term of what a Alpine binding does compare to a dynafit top of the range Ti / Al binding…except that the dynafit allows me to go uphill.

    If a simple alpine binding can let me do what i want to do, i would assume something better engineered, better build, with higher quality materials would let me do so too?

    After all, that dynafit binding is used by some of their guys on 10,000ft+ descends, surely these are far from being groomers descent and put way more strain on those bindings than a good skier on a groomer would.

    What do you guys think?
    thanks.

  130. Greg Moellmer March 8th, 2011 8:07 am

    Ralphy, you’re correct. Probably the only major advantage of the dynafit binding is that you can go uphill and they don’t weigh much.

    P.S. That’s a pretty important advantage for people that frequent this site.

  131. Skian March 8th, 2011 8:25 am

    OK, that being said… I throw two words at you. Swing weight.
    If you take the same ski and put it in motion on groomers with a standard alpine binder and then with a light weight 4 point contact system you get two completely different feelings. One is a bowling ball and one has life. You cant generalize Alpine Binders (they are all different). Just like you can’t throw 4 point systems all in one group. So there are times i want a bowling ball like trying to follow the locals in Ketchum, and times i want light and fast swing weight.
    Also remember just because it’s a 10,000 foot descent does not mean I’m skiing balls out. If your in the Himalaya’s 6 days trek to civilization you don’t charge like running tram runs at Jackson.
    Up is not the only advantage, transfer of power to the edge is superior with 4 point systems. Minimal toe piece flex. This varies quite a bit on plate AT binders and also Alpine. But take a performance or race stock alpine binding and it’s hold and power transfer is superior to the 4 point systems but it weigh’s 3 to 4 times as much. Ski width has a big factor in all this. But that is another thread. this is about binders.

  132. ralphy March 8th, 2011 8:26 am

    @greg : thanks for the reply, and i didn’t mean to insult anyone at all.

    The reason behind me asking is that for my 35th b’day i am getting a pair of custom carbon skis which weight 1.7 Kg and i refuse to put on a set of bindings which will not do them justice, hence the search for light and technically pleasing bindings…

    I had a feeling that it might be ok, but i wanted to hear it from the horses mouth.

    on a side note, having read a lot about light gear, you guys seems to have a lot of fun going up those hills…i may have to try it out at some point!!

  133. Skian March 8th, 2011 8:37 am

    @Ralphy. Remember “light is right but weight is great”. You don’t have to go up to enjoy light weight…but if you have the option someday you just might look outside that gate and say…What the hell let’s go. But before you do educate your brain into side country travel. :D

  134. Lou March 8th, 2011 8:41 am

    What Skian said. Yes, tech bindings actually ski downhill better in many cases! This was a surprise to us early adopters, who simply started using the binding because it went UP so well.

    Caveat: Tech bindings provide such a rigid connection of boot to ski, you may experience behavior you are not familiar with as you don’t have a rolling/wobbling binding acting as a shock absorber. The behavior may require a different fit or buckling pattern in your boots, or even a damper ski — or — may demand better ski technique of all things!

    And yes, what goes uphill best tends to get our attention around here (grin).

  135. ralphy March 8th, 2011 8:41 am

    @skian : for sure, no way i would start to do this on my own without lessons / advices / guides..etc…i’d like to enjoy it, not having a foolish idea turning into a nightmare for my health and my family.

    also with reference to your previous post, i had the same thoughts as you, and i will look more into it.

    So if i was not to go ahead with this type of bindings, what would be my next “lightest” Alpine binding choice for a pair of 1.7Kg skis?

  136. Lou March 8th, 2011 8:48 am

    BTW Ralphy, while I extol the virtues of tech bindings, don’t get the idea I recommend them for lift served alpine skiing that involves more than cruising groomers. I don’t, other than occasional use. Others may disagree.

  137. Skian March 8th, 2011 9:23 am

    @Ralphy, My sons a bootpacker… hike to build kicka’s! that’s their mantra. He skis Kungfuhas in the BC and his skiiny skis are for the park. Choosing an alpine binding is personal just like your touring setup. Most sidecountry guys I ski with including the GROM club like FR12 markers or knew Freeride pro. Thats a walking plate. My kid prefers Jesters no walk mode good retention fairly light etc. I am sure there are others out there. This could be getting away from Jonathon’s original post. Sounds like a good research project and another review on lighter side country alpine boot packer bindings. The crew here has done some great reviews on the plate touring binders you can check out. Good luck and keep looking outside the lines!
    Skian

  138. See March 8th, 2011 10:05 am

    Salomon z12 Ti’s are light alpine bindings, (maybe too light for some.)

  139. ralphy March 8th, 2011 2:42 pm

    i guess i just found my answer :

    http://www.fixation-plum.com/news.php

    glenn plake skis on plum!!! if those are good enough for him, they are sure good enough for me!!! rock on!!!!!

  140. Jen March 8th, 2011 3:06 pm

    Answer to the alpine vs. Dynafit conundrum:

    I replaced my touring skis with a Naxo setup with a pair of lighter skis and Dynafits. Here’s what I found:

    Going uphill you are moving only your heel, not your heel and a binding. Less weight AND fewer blisters. Awesome. I will never ski anything but tech bindings again in the backcountry.

    Now to the in-resort part: Since I got this new setup I have only one pair of skis. I do everything in them – steeps, powder, bumps – you name it, I ski it on Dynafits. I have released about five times and three of those were a good thing. Two were unexpected releases, but totally understandable when you consider the terrain: both were on bumps covered in a coat of powder where the ski flexed a lot. Alpine bindings are often connected toe to heel with a stiff plate or platform so that when the tip and tail flex the toe and heel of the binding remain a fixed distance from one another. The lighter bindings are not counting on this type of flex and have less stiffness under the foot. When you slam a ski betwixt two moguls unexpectedly, the ski releases. Fine – I can deal with that.

    That said, I will still probably only ski this setup exclusively. I am way less fatigued and way more nimble with this light stuff on. And the release of the Dynafit is so gentle – no giant snap, just a sigh and you’re out of your ski. My knees are big fans.

    Caveat: I weigh 115 pounds and spend a considerable amount of time on nordic skis, so these feel bomber compared to those. I still think they are, though, and lots of bigger folks than me are raging on these.

    Many folks here in Was-angeles are skiing the older style (non-tech) bindings like Fritschi etc. inbounds and are finding them to be the happy medium – skis like an alpine binding at about half the weight (when paired with touring boots and a lighter ski).

    I ain’t hucking cliffs here, but if I was I think I would be hard pressed to find a difference between the Dynafit and Naxo – if you land right you land right, and if you land wrong you hope they release.

    Either way, find boots that fit and have a blast!

  141. ralphy March 8th, 2011 11:17 pm

    @jen : 115 lbs, you meant 215 lbs, right? :lol:

    thanks for the insight, i guess i will have to try it and if it fails, well…just feel sad and sell the bindings / boots to someone of x15 lbs!!!

  142. AndyC May 2nd, 2011 1:31 pm

    I’ve spent quite a few hours searching Wildsnow and the rest of the web, but I can not find explicit information on the how the heel of the Low Tech Lite binding works, and pictures on e-store sites show 2 versions of the heel piece. From what I can gather there are two heel positions for climbing: low and medium (a flippable plate on top of the spring prongs). I would love to see a picture of a boot on the low heel position. And, a description of how one switches from the low heel position to the locked down/medium height heel position. Would be much appreciated!

  143. Jonathan Shefftz May 2nd, 2011 1:41 pm

    Pretty much all (or close to all) these race bindings have three positions/configurations for the heel:
    1. Ski mode, so pins forward, and cover flipped back.
    2. Tour mode with slightly *negative* heel elevator, accomplished by rotating heel unit 90 degrees so pins are perpendicular to long axis of ski.
    3. Tour mode with low elevator, accomplished by keeping pins forward but flipping the cover forward on top of the pins so that the pins do not engage the boot.
    (Note that rotating the binding 180 degrees from ski mode with the cover up would gain you a bit of heel elevator over mode #3, but the binding components are not designed to withstand such forces, so super highly *NOT* recommended!)
    For rando races with nicely graded skintracks, you alternate between modes # 1 & 3, never bothering with #2. In other words, all you ever do is flip the cover, never rotating the binding.
    BTW, the pics of the Low Tech Lite binding with the three-hole pattern are incorrect: the actual heel unit is last year’s Low Tech Race with a four-hole pattern. Actual weight (w/ screws) is 17 oz per pair.

  144. AndyC May 2nd, 2011 3:04 pm

    Thanks, Jonathan, that helps! I’m using Vertical STs on Karhu Guides for my Nordic ski patrol (22 days this year); our trails are often ungroomed or roughly groomed. Most are inclined such that the medium and high raised heel aren’t necessary. My problem is that since I break trail a lot in 4-30 inches of often wet or sun-affected snow, snow builds up quickly (often turns to ice) under my heel on the low touring position, which means on the flat or slightly downhill grades, the ramp angle of my TLT5 boot with the upper buckle loose causes my foot to press forward which after 60 miles of patrol in one week led to metarsalalgia & a developing corn. The snow can build up so quickly one doesn’t go for more than 3-4 strides before having to stop to clear it out. I was hoping the Low Tech wouldn’t have the same kind of heel pocket the Vertical does.

  145. Jonathan Shefftz May 2nd, 2011 4:15 pm

    Hmm, interesting, never thought about that heel shape with regards to snow buildup. Comfort/Vertical/Radical has that kind of sculpted heel shape complete with little platform/ledge. Dynafit Speed and Plum Guide have a sculpted heel shape but no platform/ledge. Race bindings by contrast have a big gap between the pared-down heel and the boot.

  146. Mason May 2nd, 2011 6:22 pm

    Jonathan, I wonder if Dynafit/Salewa will sell next years Superlight toe pieces and Speed heels separately? and is this recommended?

  147. Jonathan Shefftz May 2nd, 2011 6:40 pm

    Seems like an odd combination. I mean, the Speed Superlite will combine the pared-down race toe with an adjustable-RV heel (albeit no fore/aft length adjustment, and apparently the lateral and forward RV is not independently adjustable). So you want the pared-down race toe instead of the old Speed toe or new Speed Radical toe, but want to retain the Speed heel (or Speed Radical heel)? If those are truly your preferences, then you could just buy the Speed plus the Plum race toes, and sell the Speed toes to some slowboarders or TTS blasphemer or whatever.

  148. Mason May 3rd, 2011 5:18 pm

    I like the idea of the Superlight toes being lighter than Speed toes, but the Superlight heels don’t have enough rise so I would put Speed Radical heels on there (new speed has longer pins than the old speed, and Speed has adjustable fore and aft).

  149. Jonathan Shefftz May 9th, 2011 12:16 pm

    Some teaser pics out of the new PG binding. The few definitive elements appear to be compatibility only w/ PG boots, weight about half of any other binding, and price that is surprisingly in line w/ the competition (if you were already planning to buy a pair of new PG boots).

  150. aviator May 9th, 2011 1:03 pm

    you can see them up close in the Killian vid and he talks about them:
    http://www.pierregignoux.fr/Videos/video_Killian.php

  151. Lou May 9th, 2011 1:20 pm

    Killian isn’t human so anything he does is suspect.

  152. Jonathan Shefftz May 9th, 2011 1:26 pm

    The toe design is the ultimate in simplicity!
    I didn’t see any good shots of the heel unit though.
    And I love how that price boot + binding combo is mounted on the least expensive rando race ski…

  153. aviator May 9th, 2011 1:29 pm

    MIchael S started talking about these like a year ago so surely he must have LOTS to tell us by now?
    Killian, Laetitia Roux and others? have been using them a full season now?

  154. aviator May 9th, 2011 1:30 pm

    Atomic is Killian’s sponsor?

  155. aviator May 9th, 2011 1:36 pm

    A few weeks ago I found the heels only for sale on skitour.fr for about EUR 100. But I was too slow…

  156. Jonathan Shefftz May 9th, 2011 1:45 pm

    I don’t think there’s lots to be told about the toe units — just those few seconds of video reveals everything. Plus a hushed awe is more appropriate anyway.

  157. Jonathan Shefftz May 10th, 2011 8:00 am

    Some glimpses of the heel units at the beginning of uTRhtG2uXaA on YouTube.

  158. Simon May 10th, 2011 8:45 am

    I saw the bindings in use in the world cup sprint at Pelvoux. They seemed super easy to get the boot back into the binding, perfect for the sprint where one small mistake on the transition leaves you trailing in last position.

  159. rod georgiu June 2nd, 2011 5:21 pm

    I use FT-12s with Powerplates, st at 11.5 both vertical and lateral, with K2 Hardside skis.

    Last time I skiedI had an autorotate problem, and I think it was fromthe middle heel raise position middle to flat. This means that as I was skinning, the rear binding would rotate and go into the flat position. I used the FT-12s for about 60 days, and this is the first time this happened.
    Anyone knows what could cause this problem?

    That same day, skiing something firm,pretty steep (45-50 degrees), I locked my toes as I usually do in bad conditions.
    I slipped on ice, went head first backwards and started cartwheeling, for about 600 ft.The angle got mellower and the snow much softer, so I was .finally able to stop.

    My right ski came off, but the left one stayed on. When I stopped, I noticed that the toe lever was now in ski mode??

    Anyway,as I was cartwheeling backwards, I could feel once or twice (or many more times?) my tails sticking in the snow, not sure how this was possible.
    I ended up with a broken bone in my ankle and a torn achiles tendon.
    Now I am worried about my left ski not releasing. Is there a way to test this?

    Also, I understand that the toe lockup works only for the lateral relase. It seems to me that cartwheeling would put the stress primarily in a vertical mode. Any thoughts?

  160. Lou June 2nd, 2011 7:19 pm

    Main thought it that for all but huge people setting RV at 11 or 12 will produce injurious forces in many fall scenarios before the binding can release. Combine that with locked toes, and you’re basically not skiing a “safety” binding and all bets are off once you fall.

    What is more, no release binding can protect you at all angles, in all types of falls.

    That sounds like a very serious fall, glad you’re ok and just have a few injuries.

    As for the inadvertent rotation, that’s a common problem usually caused by snow or ice building up on the heel unit and pushing it to the side.

  161. Jonathan September 4th, 2011 7:00 pm

    The newly updated Sportiva North American website (as opposed to the Euro La Sportiva website, which still doesn’t have much info) has the details on their new RSR rando race binding. Unlike their RT, it’s not a repainted ATK — unless ATK has significantly changed its race binding for the 2011-12 season, but the ATK website is currently under [re]construction, so no idea there. Actually, the RSR reminds me a lot of what I remember about the Merelli binding, but that website isn’t updated either, so no idea…although then again, the La Sportiva Stratos rando race boot is designed in cooperation with Merelli, so maybe La Sportiva has some sort of relationship with Merelli for the race binding too.
    Anyway, the chart is rather outdated now, but I’ll wait until the various company websites are updated for 2011-12 to do a comprehensive overhaul here.

  162. Jonathan Shefftz September 9th, 2011 11:14 am

    Following up on the discussion (either here or maybe some other post) re ISMF ban of auto-locking toes, that’s now slated for the following season:
    “It is recommended to use a safety release system in the front part, which will be compulsory from the season 2012-2013. For the season 2012-2013, a minimal distance of 4mm will be imposed between the rear part of the boot and the heel piece. For the season 2013-2014, the ski stoppers will be compulsory.”
    (And no, I have no idea if “ski stoppers” entails just leashes, or . . . full-on brakes?)

    Also:
    “For the season 2013-2014, the notched soles will have to cover the 100% of the boot surface.”

    I didn’t see any significant changes for this coming season. Well, other than:
    “The skins of wild animal origin are strictly forbidden.”

  163. Jonathan Shefftz September 13th, 2011 12:27 pm

    The recently updated Dynafit website shows the 2010-11 Low Tech Lite essentially replaced with the new Low Tech Radical: combines the full-on three-hole race heel from the Low Tech Race (as opposed to the prior season’s four-hole heel) with the new four-hole Speed Radical toe (as opposed to the venerable Speed/Classic/Tech five-hold toe).
    So that renders the summary chart even more outdated now, but I’ll wait until all the various company websites are updated for 2011-12 to do a comprehensive overhaul here.

  164. Lou September 13th, 2011 12:39 pm

    Sounds good Jonathan, thanks. The stuff in the chart is probably still in the retail pipeline, so it’s functional. Hard to keep this stuff 100% perfect. Better than print magazines, anyway, as we can certainly fix it… Lou

  165. Jonathan Shefftz September 16th, 2011 12:48 pm

    The recently updated ATK website shows the NX/NX-R replaced by the new SL/SL-R. Looks like some nice improvements, along with a weight reduction. Also, an optional ~one ounce accessory (apparently not pictured) prevents the toe from going into autolock (in anticipation of the future ISMF regs).

  166. Richard Siberell November 18th, 2012 8:38 pm

    I recently mounted some PLUM Guides on a set of Sportiva Hi5′s and have been experimenting with various leash options/ designs. Having messed around with this sort of thing (leashes and ski gear) for many years, (having once paid a stiff price for neglecting the safest possible set-up), I’m reluctant to leash-up. The many many posts from thoughtful and very experienced skiers does not go without respect. Im just wanting to create a brake that’s worthy of the binding/ ski/ boot (TLT5) set-up. AND, I’m impatient, and dont want to wait for PLUM to make a $1,000.00 binding w beautiful brakes. (Anyone who knows me, knows that I’d gladly support the boys over there though…..)
    One idea is to craft some brakes ALA Voile spring steel type (very light, just slightly inconvenient to retain during tour mode, and release during ski mode), not that difficult with a few tools and a nice wire bender…..or, I just stumbled onto these http://www.telebry.com/index.html which look and appear to have been through a lot of thought and prototyping. Not specifically designed for TECH type bindings, but the thought is there…….any of you engineer types care to comment or have a good solution to the PLUM binding w no available brakes?

  167. Eric Steig November 18th, 2012 10:40 pm

    Regarding innovative brakes, these:

    http://www.atkrace.it/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=16&Itemid=140&lang=en

    look pretty darn interesting. The don’t release due to boot pressure being removed; they release when the boot pulls on a cord. So you have a “safety strap” but it isn’t attached to the ski, but instead to the brake-deployment system. Neat, because to the extent it works, it’ll work with any ski and binding system. Dynafit, telemark, whatever.

    Looks very worth checking out.

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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.

All material on this website online magazine is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked.. Permission required for reproduction, electronic or otherwise. This includes publication and display on other websites by whatever means. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

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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