Reader’s Rides — Matt’s Dynafit FT12 Setup

Post by blogger | November 7, 2008      

Matt is one of the stronger skiers around here. His badges include a third place in the 24 Hours of Aspen ski race back in his “day” — and more recently snapping a pair of BD Kilowatts in half by just looking at them. So when he asked for some help making sure his Dynafit FT-12 binders got mounted right I figured I’d better put in some time for the team and help out. Follow along.

Backcountry Skiing

Matt works on his FT12 heel units during the mount.

As I’ve mentioned in my homebrew Dynafit mounting instructions, the trick with Dynafit (and all other tech bindings) is going slow and keeping everything aligned in various ways. While I’ve done dozens of mounts using our WildSnow paper templates, we now have a jig so drilling the skis is much easier. Even so, you don’t just slam these things on like an alpine binding mount.

One gotcha we noticed was the FT12 fiberglass topskin on the binding base plates made it tougher to know when you’d torqued the screws enough. Also, the screws tended to thread into the binding baseplate as well as the ski, resulting in the baseplate not seating on the ski correctly. Solution was to pay attention and hold the binding tight to ski while setting the screws, as well as give the screws a firm final twist. One binding was stubborn in terms of seating, so I pulled it off and removed the pucker at the top of the screw holes. Next mount on a ski such as Kilowatt I’ll probably trim (countersink) the top edge of the screw holes a bit so they don’t pucker so much.

(Skis such as the Killowatt have beefy binding mount plate, so they can stand up to fairly heavy screw torque. But stripping a screw is always a possibility so better careful than agro.)

Backcountry Skiing

Matt learns the Dynafit tricks."What, you have to take the thing apart to mount it?"

First step with a precise Dynafit mount is to divorce the brakes, which involves surgically removing the upper portion of the rear unit. Doing so isn’t as complex as repairing an espresso machine, but nonetheless appears daunting the first time you do it. Probably the most difficult part is reassembly, when you have to be super careful not to strip the plastic threads you screw the aluminum spring cap into.

Backcountry Skiing

Time to rodeo? Yep, those be Black Diamond Factors

After the mount, carpet time (or in this case, old rags on concrete). For a guy like Matt who’s grown up with step-in bindings, getting used to fiddling with Dynafits is going to be a process. We got him started by practicing on the workshop floor. Probably the first and last time I’ll ever get to coach Matt Ross!

I also reminded Matt about cleaning ice from the boot sockets and sometimes from under the toe unit wings, and to remember the release lock-out for touring. Why was I not surprised when he asked, “how about I ski downhill with that thing locked?” I replied that with his ’12s mashed down to DIN 12, he might want to try ’em that way first, as does he really need DIN 19? (Besides, the Dynafit release lock only plugs your lateral release; it has no effect on vertical ejection.)

Backcountry Skiing

Ready to rock, Factors, Dynafit FT12s, Killowats. My only concern, how will I keep up with these guys from the Aspen power team once they're all on Dynafit?

More Dynafit FT 12 info here.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


15 Responses to “Reader’s Rides — Matt’s Dynafit FT12 Setup”

  1. Bob November 7th, 2008 9:24 am

    Where did you get the BD AT soles for your Factors? I’m going with the same boot binding combo but no one has the AT soles yet. Any word on when they will be in stores?

  2. dave downing November 7th, 2008 10:16 am

    @Bob — I think you have to order them online or call BD directly. I haven’t found out for sure, but have a request out since I’ll be picking up a pair of Alpine Blocks for my Methods. I’ll let you know what I find out.

  3. Kirk November 7th, 2008 10:25 am

    Lame that you have to buy AT soles separately but that looks like a worthy rig, otherwise! I don’t have the wontons to mount my new FT12s to my new Manaslus, although Lou always makes it sound so simple!

  4. Lou November 7th, 2008 10:39 am

    Bob, apparently they made a few AT sole blocks that got out via various back channels, of which Matt has. They looked good, seemed to fit the Dynafit binding just fine. But they need to be tested. Good there are fearless guys like Matt to do the job.

  5. dave downing November 7th, 2008 12:10 pm

    @Bob — BD has let us know that the blocks will be available to purchase from their website within the next few days.

  6. John Gloor November 7th, 2008 1:40 pm

    I just got back from skiing Montezuma with Matt and Mike. He seems really pleased with his setup. The rigid lateral toe connection was appreciated when skinning up the heinous windslab! Really terrible skiing up there, but the approach 4wheeling was fun.

  7. matt ross November 7th, 2008 4:08 pm

    hey, thanks for the props lou, love the set up today, although as Gloor said it was heinous.
    I was an honor to have you help me mount these, loved the shop.
    FYI, i did not snap those in half, split the ski under the boot, not quite as dramatic.
    take care and have a great weekend

  8. Lou November 7th, 2008 4:23 pm

    Hey Matt, keep the myth alive (grin). I hope you got some ribbing from Gloor about how you eat Kilowatts for breakfast. So much for alternative energy sources.

  9. Chris Tennal November 7th, 2008 7:34 pm

    Matt Ross on a Dynafit rig?

    If he can ski that set-up, there isn’t a “rockstar” out there that they won’t hold up for. Stop by Mountain Outfitters next time your in Breckenridge and we’ll get out and climb and ski something in the ten mile. CT

    Thanks for all of the Dynafit info Lou, your doing every backcountry skier a great service.

  10. Ian McLendon November 8th, 2008 2:06 pm

    Yeah Baby Rhino AKA Matt Sickbird Ross strikes again!!!!! I can’t wait to get mine set up and go after some turns with you! Hope I run into you again Lou, I had a blast skiing with you and the boys on Maroon Peak last season.

  11. John W November 9th, 2008 9:31 am

    I have done a bit of DIY Dynafit mounting and agree that the plastic plates often interfere with tight binding to ski mounting. This is especially true if you tap the holes. My solution is to drill out the plastic plate so the screw turns freely inside it. OK idea?? (its only purpose seems to be to hold the screws while in the box). What about tapping in general? Old school?

    I would also like a tour of your work bench and tools. You clearly have more jigs and specialized tools than most ‘garage shops’ but it looks like you have some simple / clever set-ups too.

    Ditto on thanks for the ongoing info stream.

  12. Lou November 9th, 2008 3:24 pm

    Hi John, yeah, I think that’s totally ok so long as you used an exact sized bit and didn’t go oversize.

    Workshop blog is now on the list!

  13. John W November 9th, 2008 4:07 pm

    What about tapping screw holes?

    Also, beam me in to the workshop blog, I’m not smart enough to find it.


  14. dave downing November 20th, 2008 11:42 pm

    @Bob — I noticed that the BD sole blocks are available on the website now —

  15. scott putnam March 9th, 2010 8:52 pm

    hey matt-
    2 questions.
    1) What do you think is the effective DIN when in locked touring mode? Would you be just as comfortable landing a cornice jump in your dynafits as a pair of Salomon’s set at 15?

    2) If you were caught in an avalanche in while in locked touring mode, and your heel released from the violent motion, do you think the toe would release? and how?

    Hope your doing well.

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