La Sportiva Tech Fittings — Overview

By Lou Dawson | January 15, 2019  

Readers asked me to detail the La Sportiva tech fittings. Here you go.

La Sportiva started their ski touring boot line around 2012 (has it been that long?). They’ve experimented with tech fittings since the fine day their first pair of ski touring shoes exited the injection mold. You could argue their S3 and S4 inserts, combined with the Trab TR2 binding, are the “Tech 2.0” that I ballyhoo more than is appropriate. Whatever the case, Sportiva tech fittings are not well documented. Perhaps the following will help.

Sportiva attempted to copy Dynafit fittings for their first effort,  circa 1012.

Sportiva attempted to use an aftermarket copy of Dynafit fittings for their first effort, circa 2012. These were the same fittings used by Garmont. During my testing the fittings had uneven performance. Some were fine, others did not release as smoothly as I like. Sportiva reportedly attempted to obtain fittings from Dynafit, but at the time Scarpa was the only licensee. These factors led to the Sportiva S3 fittings, covered below. For want of a better moniker, let’s call these originals the “S1” fitting, but they were really just an attempt to imitate the Dynafit OEM fittings. (The term OEM, as used here at, mans Original Equipment Manufacturer).

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TNF Gloves CloseFit Gloves — Gore-Tex Infinium

By Lou Dawson | January 15, 2019  
The North Face -- CloseFit Glove

The North Face — CloseFit Glove

Heads up on something excellent from The North Face. For decades I’ve sought the ultimate “thin glove” for ski touring. Criteria: Tight and form-fitting on the hands, waterproof-breathable membrane. Purpose: General use during warmer days, with warm hands, and handling snowy things such as ski bindings and climbing skins. Apparently TNF read my mind. Out they come with the CloseFit, a thin, read that T-H-I-N glove that includes a ePTFE layer (engineered by Gore-tex under their Infinium brand-extension).

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RIP Manfred Barthel — The Master

By Lou Dawson | January 12, 2019  
Fritz Barthel's father Manfred, at Sol Austria in 2015 looking at historical Dynafit tech bindings on display.

Manfred Barthel, at Sol Austria in 2015 looking at historical Dynafit tech bindings on display. Click to enlarge.

I posted this back in January of 2009, during one of my early Europe trips, covering Dynafit and Austrian ski culture. I had the honor of skiing with and getting to know Manfred Barthel, father of Fritz Barthel, inventor of the tech binding. Manfred ski toured until just a few years ago, when his health rapidly deteriorated and led to his passing last week. Manfred liked nothing better than being out on the snow, clocking off another classic Austrian ski tour in the mountains around Kitzbuhl and Innsbruck. He was a sweet man. Generous, smart, loyal to his family. He’s now clocking off those same tours in the sky. Farewell Manfred! (I left a few appropriate comments from the older post. You can find another Manfred post here)

Manfred Barthel on Steinbergstein.

Manfred Barthel on Steinbergstein, 2009.

(Original post follows)
Ski touring is supposed to be fun. So, if the avalanche danger is nil I’ll take it and smile like a waiter realizing they just got a 50% gratuity on an eight person meal, with wine. Today was like that here in Austria. Sure, Steinbergstein is a simple tour with just one climb of 3,600 vert and the subsequent descent of a mellow peak. But. The sublime weather. The historic Alps. Companionship of one of the area’s masters. We even saw wildlife — and did eat pastries. Read more backcountry ski touring



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