The Making of the PDG 2 — Dynafit Boot Craftings

By Lou Dawson | October 15, 2018  

(This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.)

Dynafit is proud of their gradated color logos.

Dynafit is proud of their gradated color logos. Said to not be the easiest thing to accomplish on nylon (Grilamid) plastic.

I was recently in Montebelluna, Italy, checking out a full gamut of secret Dynafit boot happenings. Most interesting? Seeing various boots punished on a Fritz Barthel contraption I call the “Butter Churner,” (as a few of the parts came from eponymous machinery).

No photos allowed for now. Fantasy is better anyway. Buxom Tyrolean lass in the midst of a green field full of dairy cows? Not quite. Envision a tower about three feet tall, built with threaded rod, steel plates and bushings. A worm gear system is attached to a load cell and measurement instrument. Parts of the tower move and load an artificial leg-foot in a boot, which in turn is tightly clamped to a frame.

As the Butter Churner does it’s thing, you might eventually get a popped rivet in your eye, but not until you’ve taken things way beyond the normal forces of skiing. The main purpose is to compare different model boots, as well as verifying changes in design that result in different flex ratings. “Hey, hold my beer espresso and watch this,” is the kind of thing you might hear as the Butter Churner whirs.

Oh, and about that PDG-2 (a nice lightweight style boot, by the way), how about some factory snapshots?

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An Average Ascent of Denali’s West Buttress: Part 1

By Guest Blogger | October 11, 2018  

Leif Whittaker

All the gear for an expedition to Denali.

All the gear for an expedition to Denali.

The West Buttress of Denali is not where you find solitude or mystery. Each spring, more than a thousand people attempt the climb, a number that has remained roughly the same since the mid ‘90s. As for the route itself, fixed lines and climbing anchors are installed on most of the exposed sections. Like the standard routes on many of the seven summits, it is routinely criticized by serious alpinists as a tame “walk-up,” best suited to guided clients who pay to check it off their bucket lists.

A search for “Denali West Buttress” on YouTube produces dozens of videos, all of which will give you a good sense of the experience at a much lower financial, physical, and emotional cost than the real thing. I knew all this, and had even watched some videos, but I was not deterred. Solitude and mystery might be extinct, but the mountain had plenty to teach me.

The day before our departure I laid out my gear on the garage floor and wondered if it was possible to carry it all up a mountain. Conveniently, the airline weight limit of 50 pounds per bag was similar to the maximum I could imagine placing on my body. The challenge wasn’t deciding what to bring, but what not to bring. I supplemented a basic gear list with ski-specific equipment, group items, and essential foods that I thought would be difficult to find in Anchorage, such as powdered chai lattes and tiny smoked oysters. I packed, unpacked, and repacked three times until each bag weighed 49.8 pounds. Then I zipped them closed and spent a sleepless night thinking about everything I might have forgotten.

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“All In” Movie Review – Matchstick Productions

By Guest Blogger | October 9, 2018  

Alex Dierker

Audience members eagerly line up early outside Boulder Theater for MSP's "All In"

Audience eagerly line up early outside Boulder Theater for MSP’s “All In”

Boulder Theater, September 26, 2018

For some here in Colorado, it is tough to build winter ski psych during shoulder season. The days get shorter, and as the rainy, cool fall weather appears, my coworkers bemoan the fact that summer in the Front Range is ending. No more cragging in Boulder Canyon, gone are the casual Boulder bike path commutes to the office, a jacket may be required, and heaven forbid a beanie!

But for the rest of us (aka all readers of WildSnow dot com), it’s the start of the new year. Maybe you’re like us in the Dierker/Perrot residence: checking the skins (hopefully well-preserved in the salad drawer of the fridge); re-molding ski boot liners; doing thousands of box jumps, weighted step ups, goblet squats, and long runs; debating gear to upgrade; and of course, rewatching beloved ski flicks and attending new film premiers for the season.

Our viewing pleasure kicked off with a fabulous one this year produced by Matchstick Productions and directed by Scott Gaffney: “All In.”

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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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