Scarpa Ski Touring Boots and the Salomon-Atomic Shift Binding

By Lou Dawson | January 22, 2019  

(I’m bringing this up to the front of the stack as I’ve done a ton of work on it. Lou)

This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry. They’ll help you toss the ski binding salad.

Confusion of goals and perfection of means seems… to characterize our age.”
— Albert Einstein

The perfection of means is the mission with ski touring gear. But sometimes the path to perfection has a few bumps.

Case in point: Which ski touring boots, exactly, will function correctly in a Salomon-Atomic Shift ski binding? And do the Dynafit fittings (Standard, Quick Step, Master Step) make the boot incompatible?

Short answer: Why is this even a question? Shift is built to a DIN/ISO standard that is specified to work with boots built to a certain DIN/ISO standard. So, if the boots in question conform to the correct standard, they will work. Most Scarpa are built to the necessary ISO standard (excluding race type boots). Nearly all Scarpa boots thus work with the Shift, see below for specific models.

As pictured here, Dynafit Quick Step

Scarpa Maestrale, with Dynafit Quick Step In (QSI) tech fittings, paired with Salomon Shift. The protruding steel rib on the fittings is located just outside and under contact with the binding roller, provided the boot toe shape conforms to ISO 9523, and is THUS COMPATIBLE WITH SHIFT BINDING (see below for more info about what ISO 9523 specifies). This is child’s play to evaluate on the workbench.
(Note that the Dynafit Master Step toe fitting, according to our evaluations, is in our opinion NOT compatible with Shift, while in our opinion the “classic” type tech fittings function well due to their being flush with the boot toe surfaces. Again, MAESTRALE PICTURED HERE HAS THE QSI FITTINGS AND _IS_ COMPATIBLE WITH SHIFT.

The tiny logician living inside your cortex will latch on to the “official” verbiage. Specifically, Salomon’s statement: “Offering Multi-Norm Certification (MNC) and an adjustable toe pedal, the S/LAB SHIFT is the only hybrid binding that is compatible with all norm boots on the market.” This statement can be found here.

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Cotopaxi Tarak 20L — Backpack Review

By Guest Blogger | January 21, 2019  

Aaron Mattix

The 20L Tarak hit a sweet spot both in size and price, but it was the glorious riot of color in the Del Dia option that sold me. The Del Dia series are composed of leftover remnants of fabric from other production runs, with the final combination being left up to the employee sewing it together.

The 20L Tarak hit a sweet spot both in size and price, but it was the glorious riot of color in the Del Dia option that sold me. The Del Dia series are composed of leftover remnants of fabric from other production runs, with the final combination being left up to the employee sewing it together.

As a neophyte to the world of ski touring, I had been re-purposing gear from my trail building and mountain biking collections — with less-than satisfactory results. My trail building pack was way too large for my slack-country missions, and the hydration pack that served me so well on local summer mountain bike laps was stuffed to overflowing with the extra layers and gear that ski touring necessitates even on short yo-yo laps.

Balancing the ethical, and the affordable in gear selection is just as much a crux as choosing between technical performance, and minimalism. The production ethics of the gear we use to go play outdoors highlights a First World moral problem: How does one enjoy the peace and tranquility of the outdoors if the gear you are relying on was created by exploited labor? Cotopaxi offers a solution to this dilemma by offering clothing and bags sustainably sourced at a price point for working class recreationalists.

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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, means “Original Equipment Manufacturer”).

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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring 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 ski touring news and information here.

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