Bollinger’s Dynafit Leash System


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | November 4, 2008      

Bill Bollinger of B&D Ski Gear told me a while ago he had a leash system he liked. He’s brought his design to market and sent me a pair for feedback and blogin’. (Note, this system adapts to other bindings as well.)

Ski leash

B&D Ski Leash system.

Above shows the whole system. According to Bill, “A few years ago I started working on leashes that utilized shock cord and coiled cords. My goal was to have a cord that would stretch enough to where I wouldn’t have to remove it when I removed my boots from bindings to clear ice, etc. In the last few years I used a shock cord that had 200% stretch. These worked but had too much tension when extended. I tried several coiled cords…but was never able to find material that fit my needs perfectly until this summer when I came across some coiled cord at Outdoor Retailer.”

Backcountry skiing ski leash

Pieces and parts, everything you need to get leashed.

The system works like this:
1. Coiled cord stretches without much force, but returns to coiled shape to hug boot and binding. Added benefit is the stretching cord absorbs some of the force in a fall that would otherwise break a deliberately weak cord attachment.

2. Loop in toe unit is created by sleeving a cable tie with vinyl tubing, then threading this through the toe unit as shown in photo below. The tubing protects the cable tie from sharp edges, and makes it easier to clip.

3. Snap hook can be quickly opened with thick gloves.

Backcountry Skiing

Detail of toe loop.

When I first installed the toe loop it appeared to obstruct operation of the touring lock. In practice you can feel a bit of resistance when you operate the lock, but it seems to work fine. Plastic in the area indicated by arrow could be clearanced a milliliter or two and this would be a total non issue.

I like Bill’s system as a simple solution you’ll be able to get without a day of shopping to cobble your own. Main benefit in my view is you can step out of your skis and have plenty of slack. It’s a bit heavy (46 grams each, as the coils are steel cable). I’m certain that during harsh bushwhacks you’d find the coil leash catching on branches and twigs, as I’ve even had my shorter leash system do on occasion. Most people don’t ski in heavy brush, so minor issue.

One of the best things about this is Bill figured out how to make a “fuse” that will break under a given amount of force. This is done by choosing between two different sizes of cable ties to create the toe loop. According to Bill, the thinner tie he provides broke at 50 pounds of force, while the thicker broke at 70. With the shock absorbing feature as well as length of the coil, I’d imagine using the weaker tie would work fine for most people skiing soft snow outside of resorts. At the resort you’d want to use the thicker tie for insurance, as hurting or killing someone with your runaway ski would be rather crass.

Caveat about cable ties: If you use them, buy high quality ones from an auto parts store or electrical supply. The discount store variety might be good for bundling wires behind your desk, but I’ve seen them break like cotton thread. Also, once you’ve installed a cable tie be sure to test by yarding on it a bit.

Lou’s System
Rob’s System

Comments

7 Responses to “Bollinger’s Dynafit Leash System”

  1. Charles Ray November 4th, 2008 12:14 pm

    Lou,

    Good advice on the selection of quality cable ties instead of variety store junk. In 30+ years as a electrician (skier/gear tinkerer, too) , I find T&B (Thomas & Betts) cable ties to be far superior to others in strength and reliability.

    On the ski leash subject….. Once I figured out the scheme, I’m fairly satisfied with the Dynafit leashes.

    Enjoy!
    CR

  2. Lou November 4th, 2008 12:27 pm

    Yeah, lets not forget that the Dynafit leashes are well designed. One thing nice about them and other Euro leashes is they are easy to pop off quick or when under tension.

    I still like my method best…

  3. Bill Bollinger November 4th, 2008 2:30 pm

    A few notes:

    The system is designed to work as a unit. Without the shock absorption of the coiled cords excessive force is applied to the cable ties. I had experimented with short-coupled leashes to try to get a consistent breakaway capability, but the shock forces in a normal fall are too high. It would even break the shock cord.
    The main element of the system I enjoy is that I do not have to remove the leashes all day. I am able to install and remove skins without having to unhook my leashes and I even set down and take breaks with the ski leashes attached. I attach the cords in somewhat a reverse way then Lou shows keeping the leash tied to my skis and looping the leash around my boot. This way I do not have to reach forward to unclip. It is more conveniently at my ankles. As far as weight, with the split ring they weigh the same as Dynafit leashes and without the split ring they are about 5 grams less -which is the way I use them.

  4. simon April 1st, 2009 10:50 am

    Hi there Lou – great site! as a first time Dynafit user, your site has been very helpful – thanks. i just switched to some FT12s mid season on some 113mm waist skis and rigged up a breakaway powder leash setup and am looking for some feedback/ways to improve. instead of describing the leash setup, i tried to attach a pic but i don’t think it worked. here’s a link:

    http://bb.nsmb.com/album.php?albumid=102&pictureid=127

    the setup basically uses the steel ring and “catch” from some traditional leases as a quick attachment method with the ring attached to the toe buckle with 3mm mammut line, the “catch” attached with flat webbed line (seems to be required to work properly – rope doesn’t appear to work as well) to a zap strap (breakaway link) and the zap strap attached with 3mm mammut line to the binding toe piece through the metal (same as bill’s setup above).

    in addition (since i only ski powder, am paranoid about losing my sweet new skis and not having brakes for the first time) the zap strap holds a traditional powder leash such that when the zap strap snaps and the ski is released, the powder leash will assist in locating the ski.

    i’ve only just started using this setup and the dynafits but i’m looking for any feedback/suggestions from some long time users.

    thanks,
    Simon
    N. Vancouver, BC

  5. Lou April 1st, 2009 1:38 pm

    Simon, that looks like an excellent setup. I wonder if attaching to the boot buckle is ok, however. Seems like it could get damaged when yanked on.

  6. simon April 1st, 2009 6:06 pm

    thx Lou, appreciate it. good point – definitely a weakness. i’ll look for a better method to attached to the BD Factors.

  7. Steve March 6th, 2012 1:23 pm

    FWIW the issue of whether the lobster clamp goes on the weak link with the leash going around the leg and through the key ring (as shown in the pic at top) or the key ring attaches to the weak link and the lobster claw is used to close the loop of leash around the leg (as recommended in Bill Bollingers’s post above) seems actually be quite important for durability of the clamp.

    WIth the clamp on the weak link it seems to be exposed to a lot more risk of breakage and I’ve broken two this way in the last two months. Bill has been great about replacing the broken ones for me, but from what he told me he attributes the breakages to my “wildsnow” style rigging and advises against going that route. I think rigging that way should be considered to “void your warrantee”.

    Steve

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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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