Tech For The Masses — Dynafit OEM Ski Touring Gear


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 13, 2015      
Dynafit OEM lineup for 2015/2016.

Dynafit OEM lineup for 2015/2016.

The day has come when you can walk into any ski shop and ask for a tech binding to be mounted on your ski.

Dynafit has created exclusive partnerships with three select brands for 2015/16: Fischer, LOOK/Rossignol/Dynastar, and Movement skis.

Thirty-one years after Fritz Barthel was granted his patent for the tech binding it has reached mainstream ski sales. Since Lou has the experience for the long view of all this, I asked him his opinion:

“Good or bad?” Said Lou, “hard to say.”

“Perhaps the plethora of bindings will eventually drive the price down, but any product that’s over supplied brings the possibility of stifling innovation due to reduced profit. The ideal situation is competition to keep innovation up and the price reasonable, rather than an inflated supply dumbing everything down.

“We backcountry skiers have been privileged to have been coddled with an amazing spate of binding innovation over the last two decades, do we want tech bindings to end up like alpine bindings, with nearly the exact same thing in a different color coming out every year? Could happen. On the other hand, it’ll most certainly be easier to get a shop deal or pro price, and a lot of ski gear is sold that way. So the world domination of the pintech binding will continue.

“Another point I’d bring up is that most tech bindings are not in any way ‘indemnified’ to protect ski shops from lawyers. First step in that is the current “standard” of having a TUV certification to the ISO norm, but few tech bindings have that. It appears some of the re-branded Dynafit bindings are models that do not have TUV certification — I have to wonder how a mainstream ski shop can sell a non-certified and technical binding to a customer who may not have much in the way of chops when it comes to using tech bindings.

“More, it is known that tech bindings have modes and angles where safety release may not be as effective as that of an alpine binding, you thus don’t want to put a learning skier on them who will experience a higher frequency of falling. The rebranded bindings, if they’re ‘mainstream’ could end up with many more skiers of varied ability, and thus might more often be used by beginners. The slick mainstream rebranding might even imply that the tech bindings are bonafide resort bindings — will there come a day when you see a tourist from Mexico in a first-ever ski lesson in Aspen, sporting an OEM tech binding? Like, how in Spanish do you say “sorry sir, but even though you’re a billionaire we can’t let you ski in a lesson with those bindings?’ So much for that private jet ride to Portillo.

“One other thing, the term ‘OEM’ can be confusing. I’ve always used it to define stuff that’s made by the Original Equipment Manufacturer under their _own_ brand. For example, if I bought a trim part for our truck that was from GM it would be OEM, but if it was aftermarket without their brand on it then it would not be OEM. The term OEM now has two meanings in business, as it also refers to rebranded merchandise such as these Dynafit bindings.”

In any case, for each OEM product Dynafit will co-label, introduce exclusive colors, and have different quantities available.

Look toe piece.

Look toe piece.

Look heel piece.

Look heel piece.

Look/Rossignol/Dynastar 15/16 partnership specifics:
-Bindings to say “Engineered by Dynafit”
-4 year contract
-Radical 2 FT – Less than 2500 pairs
-Radical 2 Test – Less than 1500 pairs

Fischer toe piece.

Fischer toe piece.

Fischer heel piece.

Fischer heel piece.

Fischer 15/16 partnership specifics:
-Bindings to say “Engineered by Dynafit”
-5 year contract
-Low Tech Race – less than 1000 pairs
-Speed Radical – approximately 1500 pairs
-Radical 2 ST – less than 4000 pairs
-Radical 2 Test – less than 500 pairs
-Beast 14 – less than 50 pairs
-Beast 16 – less than 50 pairs
-Partnership to include bindings & boot inserts

Movement Skis 15/16 partnership specifics:
-5 year contract
-No specific binding selection available at this time.



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Comments

44 Responses to “Tech For The Masses — Dynafit OEM Ski Touring Gear”

  1. rangerjake February 13th, 2015 10:29 am

    while this may be a savvy business move by Dynafit to bring in more dollars and expand their reach, it is a real jab in the back of a number of their regional sales and service representatives as well as some shops.

    For a niche enough market, where the pool of consumers is much more limited than the alpine skiing world, having to be an authorized Dynafit dealer meant a lot of protection since there would usually only be one dealer in a specific geographic range. Now, without even having to open a dealer account with Dynafit almost any alpine ski shop can sell these bindings- with no specific knowledge of their function, lineage, and the myriad of little tips/tricks to keeps things working smooth and making basic repairs.

    For the sales/service reps it is basically pulling the rug out from underneath them in terms of bringing in new contracts and getting Dynafit established in a new sector of the market. Since almost every alpine oriented ski shop is already open with Dynastar/Look or Fischer, the pool of available new accounts gets diminished greatly for the core selling bindings.

    Certainly there are other ways to spin this as positive, but I see a lot of loyal Dynafit users, longtime promoters, and businesses centered around ski touring being the casualties of this decision.

  2. powbanger February 13th, 2015 11:38 am

    Unfortunately the only downside with these types of decisions is the distribution network. All of the shops which were protected by Dynafit’s limited market area distribution model are now left unprotected in binding sales. Ski and boot distribution is still under Dynafit’s control.
    Maybe Dynafit feels that tech bindings are like chapstick…the market has so many versions now, why not be sure every dealer who wants a Dynafit binding can have one.
    Dynastar is introducing a couple great light weight AT skis for next year, I’m not sure what Fischer is doing but maybe they have some new stuff as well. It’s a win. win for the Dynafit’s binding numbers unless their dealers choose to go with another binding company to cover their binding needs. That’s what I would do if I were a dealer.

  3. rodan February 13th, 2015 11:50 am

    As a matter of cohesive work planning, I wonder if Dynafit did this to enable its switch to having its skis made by Blizzard, which could be more expensive than its prior ski mfre contract price. The licensing to Look & Fischer could underwrite an expensive change in ski mfre.

    I agree with rangerjake about fragmenting the market. How many existing Look family or Fischer dealers currently serve both alpine and AT? Most alpine ski shops have little or no depth on AT gear. If this targets the few alpine shops that cater to both, it may not work as rangerjake supposes is possible.

    Also I agree with what Lou said in the quote about beginners getting onto tech bindings and having negative results. The organic growth of Dynafit popularity for decades was people evolving as skiers and moving to backcountry once skills/experience were gained. This has changed quickly over the past 5-10 years. Now people hop onto AT gear when they’re hopping into skiing. Someone prone to falling isn’t going to get smooth release from a TLT (non-Beast) toe, should probably be on an alpine binding to learn things. A good shop sales person can walk a customer through this, but sometimes customers have their minds made up and are immune to suggestion.

  4. rangerjake February 13th, 2015 12:41 pm

    I strongly disagree with the idea that THE ONLY downside is for distribution network. I think the customer is put at a huge disservice for the reason that, sure, they can buy a tech binding at any Johnny SkiShop around the corner. But with the pervasiveness of e-tailing there has never been a shortfall when it comes to customers being able to buy a binding.

    Having seen myself the difference between how a true, longtime touring oriented ski shop handles sales/service of tech binding product and how a recent convert alpine shop handles sales/service of the same product I would be very wary of how these bindings are sold, to whom, and for what purpose.

    I would say there will be an almost certain shortfall of good information and service in many places that will now “stock” tech bindings. Buyer beware!

  5. rangerjake February 13th, 2015 12:49 pm

    although, looking at the photos, it seems dynafit gave these companies that inane 5/16″ (IIRC) socket piece for length adjustment on that rental track that these are being sold on.

    So, it’d seem that if you want a standard 24mm (+/-) adjustment track binding that maybe you still need to go through Dynafit?

  6. Bob February 13th, 2015 1:08 pm

    This is the trend. Take a look at the array of ski magazines this month… Powder, Skiing, and even Ski Magazine… something on the cover about “backcountry skiing” on every single issue, described as a new, pure, magical world you know you should explore. Backcountry skiing is the industry’s new rockered ski bubble, to be relentlessly pushed on every level of consumer. I’ve already seen nice folks who who clearly are not backcountry skiers – beginner type, cruising Siberia – rocking tech bindings this season and last. Like rockered skis to a degree – they are selling the dream, not the personal reality most purchasers will live in. Does it matter if you don’t have 1/8 of the talent necessary to plan, ascend, and safely ski even an uncomplicated 2K ft 35 degree powder line in the backcountry? Of course not.

    All of that said, I do think people should buy what they want. If they get utility out of buying the “dream”, that is great. I agree with Lou that the key concern is safety, especially if some of these people actually try to take these fancy new bindings beyond the gates (gasp). That and shops are probably pitching them as “easy to walk in” boots for the base area.

  7. powbanger February 13th, 2015 1:13 pm

    Hmm. Maybe… Most shops who’s customer base might want to buy a tech binding should know what they are doing. I doubt big box shops are going to run out and by a bunch of tech bindings just because they can.
    Now I may be biased as to the shops in my state, but the overall majority of them would have no problem responsibly selling, mounting, and servicing a tech binding. The skiing public is not going to run out and buy a tech binding for cruising around the resort. Pricing alone will police the market as the average skier is not going to spend $700 on a boot with tech fittings and another $400 on a tech binding. It is just not going to happen.
    I’m more concerned about the small BC shops which due to e-tailing have enjoyed only a small amount of local distribution protection are now exposed to compete with larger shops which have been toying with AT gear and are now able to purchase the industry standard tech binding. Dynafit will feel the pressure of the new AT boots on the market and their decision to sell their bindings to other manufactures.
    As Lou mentioned above there is a limited number available to the manufactures this year but I’m wondering who set those quantities Dynafit or what the other manufactures were comfortable buying at this time. I think it is the latter of the two. Interesting times for the AT industry.
    Did you see that Salomon is offering backcountry travel and safety videos via website to those who buy their new BC gear. There is a small charge for those who just want to view the information without a purchase.

  8. XXX_er February 13th, 2015 1:32 pm

    Will a rebadged Dynafit actualy make it to North America which is I understand a relatively small market only about the size of an EU country, could there be restrictive trade agreements for this side of the pond?

  9. rangerjake February 13th, 2015 1:34 pm

    This isn’t about “selling the dream”. Fact of the matter is, and this need not be rehashed here since there are so many other threads here about this subject, but tech bindings still do not adhere to the same quality of release as an alpine binding. So playing one as an “apple to apple/ DIN to DIN” as a 10 or 12 DIN alpine binding is misinformation.

    Secondly, many people feel that the most expensive anything should mean it is the best at everything. As someone who has sold hundreds of tech bindings, and talked hundreds of others OUT of buying tech bindings, the performance and longevity lost by hammering a pintech binding (especially the Vertical/Radical design) on resort terrain dozens of days per year will yield more unhappy customers than happy when parts start breaking and play starts developing in a $500 binding only one season into usage.

    This is certainly nitpicking the minority of situations, but the idea that somehow customers are better served by this decision does not make much sense to me. This is not a new company bringing a different, or similar but more nuanced, design to market to push innovation. Just a rebranding of existing design. Business wise? Sure, that probably makes much more sense. But to me this furthers, at least for the time being, the “wild west” environment for a piece of gear that releases in a different manner, has variations on compatibility based on who’s fittings/how much boot sole rubber/when your product was made, and yet to the uneducated would seem to have no difference in function/performance/lifespan than any other binding device.

  10. Martin February 13th, 2015 1:47 pm

    Calling rebranded products ‘OEM’ is indeed utter nonsense!

  11. water February 13th, 2015 2:30 pm

    private label.. is the term, perhaps someone got OEM lost in translation. I’d personally not use the term OEM, why propagate that foolish doublespeak?

    What’s this geographic range constrictions talk?, maybe I am missing it but at least here in Portland there are at least 10 places to buy dynafit bindings all located within about a 10 mile radius. Can think the same in Seattle. Maybe things are radically different in other parts of the country.

  12. Fixed Heeler February 13th, 2015 3:23 pm

    Having worked at a small backcountry shop for years, I agree with the majority of comments I’ve read regarding the effect this might have on the small local shops who’ve been growing the Dynafit business all these years. Dynafit seems to have done a complete about-face on their distribution policy, which has remained relatively limited until now. (To water’s comment on shops in Portland: I worked at one of those shops, and now that I’m no longer in the Portland area I can tell you most of the country does not have that kind of access to Dynafit bindings, or sheer volume of outdoor retailers for that matter).

    I would also point out that to say “The day has come, when you can walk into any ski shop and ask for a tech binding to be mounted on your ski,” is not entirely accurate: not all shops that sell the repackaged tech bindings will mount them. I know I wouldn’t want my tech bindings mounted by most ski techs. There are, as always, plenty of exceptions, but I’ve mounted enough Dynafit bindings to know there are too many pitfalls to trust the mounting to neophytes.

    Finally, let’s not forget the sales reps for Dynafit, who now may be loosing business to their Look/Fischer/Marker… colleagues. I’m not sure if there are any true winners in this story, but certainly everyone in the middle has the potential to be a loser.

  13. Tom Gos February 13th, 2015 4:14 pm

    As a consumer I view this as entirely positive – more availability, more competition, perhaps better pricing.

    Again, as a consumer, I can’t relate to the perspective of the shop folks – they’re comments just sound like cries for protectionism to me. I just don’t have the same bias.

    It does strike me that when you look at the number of bindings being made available to these other manufacturers it seems like a pretty small number. 50 pair of Beast 16? I’ll bet none of those ever see a retailer, they will all go to sponsored athletes and other staff. Does anybody know the total number of Dynafit bindings sold in a year?

    As for limiting innovation, I think the pursuit of the holy DIN/TUV cert will do far more to limit innovation than this will. Having everyone designing to the same narrow standard will create the same convergence we have seen in alpine resort bindings. Its going to take a few iterations to get there, but if the pursuit of DIN/TUV becomes really entrenched then all the pintech bindings will end up looking pretty much the same. I actually applaud Amer for seeming to ignore it completely with their new binding. Kind of ironic that what is probably the largest ski equip manufacturer in the world doesn’t really seem to give a damn about a DIN touring binding.

  14. John S February 13th, 2015 4:20 pm

    This is awesome from a selfish standpoint. Members of the Canadian Ski Instructor Alliance receive pro-purchase pricing from Look/Rossi/Dyna but not from Dynafit. It will now be possible for members to purchase tech bindings below retail. Yay!!

  15. etto February 13th, 2015 4:28 pm
  16. Lou Dawson 2 February 13th, 2015 4:43 pm

    To, total tech bindings sold per year, all brands, somewhere around 175,000 pair. Lou

  17. Tom Gos February 13th, 2015 5:12 pm

    Thanks Lou, I’m not sure if the numbers in the article are per year or total for the multi-year contract. If per year then these deals are less than 10% of annual units. My layperson instinct is that this won’t be too much bother for the existing Dynafit retailers.

  18. water February 13th, 2015 5:28 pm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_label

    By the definition above of OEM this does not fit what so ever with dynafit bindings unless you are considering them part of a greater ‘system’ (of skis, boots which are being assembled by LOOK/Rossi/etc.

  19. water February 13th, 2015 5:32 pm

    p.s.: you can get dynafit at REI which is everywhere and is direct competition with all sorts of shops. Hell they have them 20% off the radical ST and the TLT boots… not exactly exclusive or locked pricing.

  20. water February 13th, 2015 5:32 pm

    p.p.s.: http://www.rei.com/product/875560/dynafit-beast-16-randonee-bindings-with-120mm-brakes-20142015

    beast 16 for sale.. so you can get some, not just a professional athlete. sorry for not aggregating my posts.

  21. Bob February 13th, 2015 10:21 pm

    Or you could continue to buy your discounted dynafits on the Internet at backcountry dot com and mount them yourself. This is already a threat to local shops.

    I assume Dybafit has a pricing arrangement on its bindings sold through these guys so they don’t start a price war with themselves. Small volumes though.

    If overall supply on the market is roughly the same and pricing is coordinated between the brands, the price won’t be affected (assuming demand is constant).

  22. afox February 14th, 2015 12:16 am

    as a consumer who buys my bindings online or at local stores (wherever i can get the best price) and mounts them myself I dont see any downsides here. Maybe we’ll be able to buy $200 tech bindings in the next few years? prices on dynafit bindings seem to have dropped dramatically in the past 2 years. Speed radical has been showing up on steep and cheap for $299 recently!!! bc.com did’nt just start selling dynafits recently either. So tech binding prices appear to be falling already, why is this? For years some tele friends have complained that the reason they tele is that AT gear is too expensive, guess that excuse wont hold water anymore. My local authorized dynafit dealer couldn’t even sell me replacement heel volcanoes, it sounds like being an authorized dealer just authorized a shop to charge higher prices. Can someone explain what the downsides are here from the consumer perspective?

  23. Len February 14th, 2015 7:53 am

    Can I remove the brakes from Dynafit TLTS.? Will this affect the binding release/retention functions? Thank you in advance

  24. Bob February 14th, 2015 8:19 am

    Afox no downsides I can think of. Lou did bring up a potential R&D effect. However, if R&D still allows you to gain a product advantage, people will still be incentivized to do it, dynafit included. Take for instance the marker binding, which is appearing to be a step forward in some ways. They used some existing technologies, invested in an R&D process, and now have a serious tech binder that will generate sales and in theory a return for them if priced and sold as they hope. It took a little outside the box thinking to realize we don’t need heel pins and (although they were certainly a great step when developed), and now perhaps we have an important step forward. If it does prove to be better, Dynafit could benefit from their discovery and introduce into some of their own bindings (you took our toe peice, so we’ll take your heel!)

    People will keep innovating, and we should always remember they stand on dynafits shoulders. They should continue to have a brand advantage with serious backcountry skiers which is a lingering effect of their R&D over all the years.

    All good for us as the consumer. Prices will be set where supply meets demand.

    Does 175k tech binders seem high to anyone else? I have a hard time believing there are even 200k backcountry skiers worldwide but that is just a very rough first thought. Just thinking about here in California, maybe I’d put the number at 5k backcoutry skiers (not Tele, not split). Again just a guess…

  25. Tom Gos February 14th, 2015 8:50 am

    Bob – before I went on a ski touring trip to Euroland I would have thought 175,000 pintechs per year must be way high, but after seeing what’s going on over there the number doesn’t surprise me at all. Our back county skiing explosion in the US is a minor ripple of what has already occurred in Europe. It was really mind altering to see.

  26. Lou Dawson 2 February 14th, 2015 9:04 am

    Tom, thanks for the words, if you’ve not seen what’s going on over there you many not quite understand how big this has become. Double digit growth here in North America as well, but we started out with nearly no participants twenty years ago so the growth hasn’t been quite a radical, though go to Teton Pass or Little Cottonwood and you’ll see it if you were there years ago for comparo.

    All, I’m guessing a HUGE effect of the OEM and possible lower prices will be the innovative “garage” manufacturers getting shut out unless they up their game. Thusfar, the high price of tech bindings has enabled small manufactures to be able to afford small scale industrialization. Knock the overall price structure down, say, 20% and I have no doubt it’ll have an effect on those guys. Perhaps that’s part of Dynafit’s strategy, as it’s pretty basic. But Dynafit as market leader has to INNOVATE and deliver quality or they will not continue leading, that’s just business 101.

  27. Lou Dawson 2 February 14th, 2015 9:35 am

    Bob, the number of backcountry skiers worldwide depends of course on how you define “backcountry skier,” but it’s way more than 200k people doing the sport.

    Good reports I’ve read from the ski industry estimate something around 100 million skiers worldwide with a small amount of growth. A small subset of those are backcountry skiers who would use touring gear (not sidecountry on alpine gear), but even a small subset is quite a few.

    There are indeed an enormous number of real ski touring skiers in Europe. Way more than I think most North Americans realize.

    http://www.isiaski.org/download/20140517_ISIA_Vuokatti_1b_presentation_vanat.pdf

    Lou

  28. XXX_er February 14th, 2015 10:59 am

    Lou you wrote somewhere that the NA market #’s were only about the size of a typical EU country?

  29. Lou Dawson 2 February 14th, 2015 11:08 am

    Yes, the North American market is said to be about the size of Switzerland. The most ski tourers per country are in Austria. Lou

  30. powbanger February 14th, 2015 12:26 pm

    afox – You nailed it. The retail AT customer is not going to be hurt by Dynafit’s decision, it’s Dynafit’s customers (retailers) which will see the largest impact. I spoken with two shops who are going to look elsewhere to buy Dynafit bindings and in one case bindings and boots.
    We as retail customers will see the windfall of hopefully lower prices on current designs and more innovation from manufacturers.
    Tom – here’s a real life example of how it will hurt some retailers but help others. Currently there is one shop you can buy Dynafit bindings at in Breckenridge. Now there is a possibility of six.

  31. Kevin S February 15th, 2015 10:12 am

    Rangerjake’s Dynafit comments remind me of my days running a mountain shop in the 80’s and a unnamed boot manufacturer (shhh Tecnica) had problems with their shells. They fixed the problem and started selling to the big shops and left the specialty stores to find another boutique boot to sell. Well I left the ski industry 25 years ago and like being a consumer but don’t like how much I paid for my Dynafit bindings last year after evolving from Silverettas to Fritchi’s and now PinTech. So this broader distribution will be a win for the consumer and yes the wholesaler and specialty shops will have a short lived “butthurt” but all will evolve and survive. As I skin up CB’s runs this week watching my youngest race I’ll thank Dynafit for this change as I contemplate how to pay for the 9 pairs of race skis I have to buy for my two kids next season- Thanks Dynafit for the future savings!

  32. Lenka K. February 16th, 2015 4:46 am

    I couldn’t avoid noticing the return to a Vertical-style front unit, with a longer lever and an easy-to-use ski crampon attachment. Yipee!

    But maybe I just missed this when I ignored the hype about Radical2 :).

    Lenka K.

  33. rangerjake February 16th, 2015 10:44 am

    I find it a little funny how a number of the preceding posts conclude this deal is good for the consumer solely for the reason that it, and this is no guarantee, will bring down the aggregate price of a pair of tech bindings.

    Yet here, on WS, there is a multi year, many hundred of response long thread about the “best ski shops” and who can handle things like remembering to put brake clips on the bindings that would need them, and that can recommend good setups where components match and are harmonious.

    From reading that thread, those shops lauded are the exact same ones that this deal hurts. Yet we all still clamor for any chance to save $10, $20, $30 on specialized gear. Do you think your token purchases of some voile straps or a bar of wax will keep these folks in business when every other ski shop is eating their lunch? Will you post here to rant when one of these shops decides to charge you major bucks to handle simple repairs/warranties when you need them to handle your broken binding (purchased elsewhere) in an expeditious manner so you can resume the activity that is your lifeblood? Do you think BC.com (bad example cause there scale allows them to have an otherworldly return policy) or the big local alpine clearing house will have that sweet new demo setup they can give you for free for a few days while your setup is fixed up- cause you are a loyal customer?

    I am not saying that this dystopia is here. The numbers allocated in these deals are small enough that it won’t dramatically alter the landscape right away. But it’s coming. And there will be major growing pains. These pains will be endured by deal hunters and the ignorant everywhere.

    I am just of the opinion that what is good for the consumer doesn’t begin and end with the sale price of a given piece of equipment. Especially something as nuanced as a backcountry skiing binding.

  34. rangerjake February 16th, 2015 10:46 am

    and,

    do everyone a favor. Find the best price you can- from an alpine shop, from BC.com, et al. Take that price to your most core and local shop and give them the opportunity to match the price as best they can. They know what deals they can swing and what they can’t.

    Give the opportunity for them to keep your business. Even say that you are willing to pay a bit of a local premium. It will go a long way and is probably the very best way to ensure everyone is happy at days end.

  35. Kevin S February 16th, 2015 3:42 pm

    Rangerjake- spot on with respect to shop local and most smart retailers these days have a web presence to compete beyond local as that is the best way to broaden your audience. I bought my latest AT setup from a shop in my area that happens to have a strong online presence. I also spent over $500 today on race wax for my kids race skis at local shops. To your assertion, the relationship between manufacturing and retail pricing/margins has and always will be tied to volume. If there is broader distribution and sell through then manufacturers and retailers can increase their margins and pass those savings on to consumers come sale time. But that doesn’t mean full retail price points will drop but if margins increase the specialty retailer will win with bigger margin cushions to better compete against online stores. So from a simplistic standpoint, local shops struggle to survive without an online presence, would you agree?

  36. See February 16th, 2015 6:23 pm

    For what it’s worth, people might want to consider how their small local hardware or bookstores are doing.

  37. Lou Dawson 2 February 17th, 2015 7:50 am

    I just ran across my notes from one industry insider I visited in Austria this past january, who really knows the ski touring market. He said in Austria alone there are about 350,000 people ski touring.

    Austria has the most ski tourers of any one country, but some of the other European alpine countries are not far behind that number.

    The other number I got from insiders, as I related above, is that about 175,000 pair of tech bindings get sold each year, worldwide.

    Lou

  38. Todd Frank February 18th, 2015 11:56 am

    Lots of good info here mostly as this site is in general focused on the end consumer. As a small shop owner in a small market (montana has just a a million folks total and our market is about 70-100k of total bodies) my perspective is a bit different.

    Bottom line is we simply do not know what the effect will be, just another risk we accept to be “in the business” for the last 10 or so years we have watched the ski side of our business founder as tons of small folks started building and selling skis on a limited basis. Skis like DPS while cool in a small niche way never got any real growth until they started working with shops. But skis are emotional purchases while bindings are generally more based on specific need and generally money (at least here).

    So from my perspective Dynafit/Salewa NA (a separate business unit from Europe) may be the ones who initially get the short stick. The lose all the bindings guys like me will buy from Fisher or Look, that I would have bought from Dynafit.

    In fairness I understand the move based on Steve’s explanation at the show, they seem to want to kill any real competitors like Plume, etal or even perhaps G3 who potentially could have made the same deals with Look, Fischer or Movement. Kind of a way to pinch out folks as Lou seems to agree. Then once the competition has dried up prices will not be as competitive for the end consumer.

    But as I said Dynafit USA is getting the screw on this one. While they have been one of the single most challenging companies to work with as a retailer I sorta understand why they have been so lame. Given the growth they have had and the lack of legitimate competitors they could maintain a lot of hubris and ego that was not helpful as a retailer.

    I was sales manager at an apparel company that cratered hard 3-4 years ago told me once, everyone that does a good job gets a turn at the front of the line, the best anyone can hope for is to stay a little longer than who they replaced.

    I think the fastest way to kill a great product or company is to get greedy and over distribute the product, it opens doors for retailers like me to find new innovative products that simply could not pry my open to buy away from an established brand.

    But that takes time and often a few false starts, ask me some day about all the telemark bindings I sold and watched explode.

    Someone is going to have a game changing binding and making another rip off of the original binding will not be it, but as much as Dynafit wants to have total market domination of the platform that is what is going to create the opportunity for a new approach, the world is made up of lots of engineers who love to ski and have time to tinker.

    In the end time will tell as it always does and I personally dont have a strong sense for anything except that things are changing very fast and Dynafit has now given the most valuable part of the line to some very good competitors.

    As for local shops surviving most of the comments fall into 2 camps 1. F the local shops, they are charging way too much or 2. The local shops are what have built this whole category and we as consumers need them.

    I have never begrudged a consumer for being a consumer and doing what is best for them, but lets be clear, If you want to support us then do your best to support us, don’t ask us to match every online price and then be pissed when we want to add in mounting and service charges that at least cover the cost of the work we do.

    I see a day in our near future where we will happily work on products we sold you but if you get a deal (pro/bro, online, or big box) take all that money you saved stuff in in the boots you got a deal on and see if that makes them fit better. Or spend all your free time watching YouTube Videos of how to mount your skis. After all it’s not rocket science, but neither is changing the starter in your car, try buying one and asking your mechanic to put it in for free.

    No one goes to work to not get paid Change is in the air.

  39. Todd Frank February 19th, 2015 10:11 am

    As a follow up to how challenging Dynafit is to work with. We this week sold all out Crampons (as many in 3 days as all year last year). While it is a testament to how hard the snow is this year these are items we don’t sell a ton, so we rarely buy many for stock. Yesterday we had special orders for 2 pair. the site is down so we cannot figure out if they have them. Finally get a CS rep this morning on the phone. they are closed all week to move to a new Warehouse. Are you Fing kidding me Mid Feb Warehouse move, what a total Moronic move, and then no promises made that they could ship them monday when they reopen. Again showing how hard they are to work with. I can only hope that the changes in store will force them to change the culture of working with shops.

  40. Lou Dawson 2 February 19th, 2015 12:36 pm

    Todd, easy on the negative B-to-B stuff. I guess this is ok because it perhaps informs the consumer about reality, but on the other hand I don’t want this to turn into a forum for business owner complaints. It’s best to take that up with the source. Lou

  41. Todd Frank February 19th, 2015 5:38 pm

    Lou, Just assumed that since it was OK to hammer on shops the vendors should be subjected to the same level of scrutiny…..

    your comments from the marker discussion

    Weird, a dealer that doesn’t do “satisfaction guaranteed” for a recent sale? No wonder they get taken out by mail-order. I’m so tired of hearing about these lamers, they whine and moan about staying in business, and can’t even support a customer by swapping out a product that might have a known defect? Do they have a mental problem? Lou

  42. Lou Dawson 2 February 19th, 2015 6:49 pm

    Ok, whatever, let’s just not get too out of hand with the complaining as a shop, you’re supposed to present an aura of confidence, ruling the world of distribution and wholesale (grin), not making people wonder if you can even get product. If you can’t get product because of a distributor problems I guess that’s fair to share if you want to get into specifics, but overall bashing and gnashing of teeth is probably something for other forums, including when I do it.

    If I was out of line, remember that two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Lou

  43. Frame February 20th, 2015 7:56 am

    Interesting to hear more of the story on how the industry works and have some insight into the challenges.

  44. AT March 27th, 2017 5:39 pm

    Hey lou- I’m somewhat confused by this post. Are the Fischer bindings just rebranded dynafit st 2.0’s? Do either of these have what is considered toe release properties? Thanks





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