WildSnow Reader’s Rides — Mark’s Dynafit FT 12 Rig

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 12, 2009      
Dynafit Backcountry Skiing

Another ride gallops out of the WildSnow shop. Mark had his Black Diamond Factor boots heavily customized by an excellent boot fitter, and was now ready to be Dynafitted. Turned out great.

Dynafit FT12

To do this right you take apart the heel unit. Doing this gives me a chance to walk my victim through the binding, showing them how to adjust release and how the internals work. I also take the opportunity to show how the brake attaches, and how to thread the rear release barrel without cross threading it.

Dynafit FT-12

After removing Mark's Fritschis from his Mantras, we noticed the holes in the ski had a heavy pucker, so a sharp scraper was employed. For a good Dynafit mount you need a smooth platform. Otherwise the binding can do funny things if not seated snuggly on the ski.

All done, another excellent rig for chasing Colorado powder.



55 Responses to “WildSnow Reader’s Rides — Mark’s Dynafit FT 12 Rig”

  1. Sam Reese February 12th, 2009 10:38 am

    Funny he puts the dyna power on some woe-lkls with K2 Bakers, and k2 anti-piste in the background there. Mantras just seem to be a bit too panzer-sized for a human-powered up.

  2. Alfred February 12th, 2009 10:42 am

    Didn’t you have a slight conflict with the Fritschi binding holes when mounting the Dynafit.
    On my swap I found a conflict with the rear holes of the front binding and had to mount the Dynafit binding 5 mm forward of the position that puts my mid sole boot on ski center point.

  3. Lou February 12th, 2009 10:49 am

    In this shop, we never have a conflict with binding holes. If necessary, I just fill with steel wool and JB weld, and do what needs to be done after that. In his case they missed just fine.

  4. Brad February 12th, 2009 11:02 am

    “Mark had his Black Diamond Factor boots heavily customized by an excellent boot fitter,”. What was done and why?

  5. Lou February 12th, 2009 11:07 am

    Brad, the million $$$ question. As far as I saw, he had a lot of punching done, the cant set, custom footbeds molded and the liner molded. Why? To make them fit better and ski better. Because of the amount of punching I call it “heavily customized.” More than that, I’d have used the term “heavily modified.”

  6. marco February 12th, 2009 11:28 am

    Hi Lou,

    I mounted some Low Tech bindings recently using a dynafit jig, and apparently drilled one set of toe mounting holes slightly off as the boot heel is not centered on the binding pins (maybe 5mm off). Each time I attempt to re-center by selectively aligning/tightning of the toe screws, the toe pulls back to miss-alignment once all screws are tight. I’ve had success aligning Comfort/ST/FT type toes this way, but apparently the beveled mounting holes in the Low Tech toe require very precise mounting holes.

    Your thoughts? Is it time to fill with JB Weld and steel wool and re-drill, even though the new holes will only be slightly off center from the existing holes? Will this provide as secure a mount when done, or at this point would it be best to just use the existing holes with a TLT or ST toe, center the heel alignment with the binding pins, and call it good?


  7. Ali E February 12th, 2009 12:16 pm

    Hi Lou. What’s your recipe for JB Weld and steel wool? I want to fill the existing holes in my skis that were drilled for Comfort bindings and then remount the Comforts in the same holes. Should I fill, let it harden and then redrill? Would I need to use a Dynafit jig for a remount?

    These are skis where I replaced the plastic base plate on the toepieces last year, after the original baseplate on one binding fractured. I shoulda got them done by a shop, but I remounted the bindings myself after squeezing some wood glue into the holes. Result: Moisture got in and blew one ski just under the toepiece. I’m looking to fix the delamination with Hysol 608 and C-clamps, and remount the bindings on both skis using your JB Weld and steel wool recipe.

  8. Jonathan Shefftz February 12th, 2009 12:22 pm

    “Didn’t you have a slight conflict with the Fritschi binding holes when mounting the Dynafit.”
    — The degree of potential conflict varies enormously depending on Diamir size and Dynafit BSL.

  9. Lou February 12th, 2009 12:35 pm

    I use any finer grade steel wool an JB Quick. I first fill the holes wth the JB then stuff in a small bit of steel wool. I then putty over with a bit more JB just to make sure. Cure for a few hours till hard to the fingernail, then clean off with disk sander or rasp and sandpaper. If you’re using existing holes I don’t see any reason you’d need to drill with a jig, but it wouldn’t hurt, and you might want to start with a small sharp bit to avoid any wandering. Tap holes and insert screws with epoxy. If you put in the screws without taping first, it can wreck the JBWeld as it’ll tend to auger it out.

    Here is the blog post about this, feel free to chime in there:


  10. Bill February 12th, 2009 12:50 pm

    I have always used a two part epoxy to fill my holes. But the last set of skis I mounted I did in a shop, after hours with a friend. Two things that worked out for me that I never have used before.
    Plastic hole pulls. Man those things are fantastic. Jam in a plug pound with hammer, shave off exxess. Took about 30 seconds to fill 8+ holes. I am sure you can pick up some at a local ski shop for next to nothing.
    For heavy pukered holed, and hole plug ends, I have always used a flat push razor. But my shop friend pointed to the wood rasp. So clean. The rasp is course enough that it doesn’t tear into the top sheet. It only bites rough turned up edges, such as the edge of holes, etc… Very effective. The rasp is a plane type not a file type.

  11. Bryce February 12th, 2009 1:38 pm

    People are buying these FT12s? We bought several sets at the beginning of the season and haven’t sold a one. Fritschis go like crazy, Vertical STs sell alright, some Naxos have moved. Zero FT12s. (Make an offer if you want some.)

    I can’t figure out why; it seems like a pretty solid binding: High din for those who want that, lighter than the Vertical ST with a brake (at least according to the manufacturer specs, I haven’t weighed them on a postal scale or anything). Maybe it’s just the price.

    And maybe it’s just a small sample size. Anybody on here have a better idea of how the FT is selling this year compared to other Dynafits?

  12. Lou February 12th, 2009 1:50 pm

    Bryce, my crowd has been buying FT12’s like hotcakes, but usually looking for deals before they take the leap. Now that it’s sale season I’ll bet you’ll sell out.

    They are lighter, by 12 grams (two U.S. quarter coins) per binding. Not exactly earth shattering but everything counts and good to see the trend that direction. I couldn’t tell what made them that tiny bit lighter when I did the comparo, probably less plastic and more of that fiberglass material.

    Weight chart here:

    Above said, it’s of course totally logical to just buy the ST unless you need a DIN over 8 or so, but in that case the FT12 is probably better because it gives you a bit more “overhead” when your DIN is set above 8.

  13. Lou February 12th, 2009 2:00 pm

    The plastic hole fillers work fine unless you need to re-use the same holes, or do an overlap. In those cases, it’s best to fill the holes with something radical, such as the JBWeld blend, then start over. Again, see this blog post:


  14. GeorgeT February 12th, 2009 7:28 pm

    Lou: I noticed the K2 Anti Piste (Telemark) ski in your garage. Are you crossing over to the dark side?

  15. Frank Konsella February 12th, 2009 8:13 pm

    Bryce, I’d potentially buy FT12’s off of you for the right price. Send an email through my website or something.

  16. Lou February 12th, 2009 8:33 pm

    George, nope, just playing around with them. A telewacker is out on them at this time, and I’ve got them ready to drill for some Dynafits. They just seemed like cool skis for either discipline, and I wanted to mess around with the inserts and see what kind of issues that brought up.

  17. Simon Isbister February 12th, 2009 9:03 pm

    Hey Lou- so, would you have any concerns about a larger ski like the Mantra, being driven by the dynafits? Is he planning on just using them B/C, or does he expect to do some resort skiing with them?

    I demoed some Mantra’s last year, and intend to buy a pair, mainly for resort skiing. However, I definetely want touring bindings on them, for when conditions are just too deep for my G3 Aces. Would you mount mantras (or, any ski, I suppose) with dynafits, if you knew they would see at least 50/50 lift-serviced skiing, on harder, groomed conditions than in the backcountry? Or do you think I would be better off with something like the Markers or Fritschis?

  18. Lynn February 12th, 2009 10:23 pm

    George, I am the telewacker that Lou is referring to and they are pretty fun in the powder. I wondered the same thing, can Lou really be riding a ski that says Telemark on the top sheet? Maybe it is for his reputation that I keep them a few more days:)

  19. dave downing February 12th, 2009 10:36 pm

    @ Simon, I have the FT12s on loan right now, had fritchis, have mantras and BD kilowatts — For your mantra’s go Marker or Dynafit in my opinion. While I never spent large amounts of time inbounds with the fritchi or dynafits, the time I have spent was much more enjoyable on the later. A lower more solid ride. On the other hand, i’m lusting after a pair of Marker Barons for my mantras. BC friendly and a bomber binding for my alpine boots.

    just my 2 cents.

  20. Simon Isbister February 12th, 2009 10:49 pm

    Thanks, Dave! Yeah… I was never too sold on the Fritschis. But, you have no concerns about the Dynafits standing up to regular inbounds use on groomers? The increased daily vertical that comes with a chairlift?

    I don’t know where I read it (if you look at my browser history, it almost has to be here), but I seem to remember someone expressing concern about the Dynafits being up to this sort of challenge. Was I just imagining things, perhaps?

  21. Lee Lau February 13th, 2009 12:18 am

    Dynafits are fine on bigger skis. Mantras aren’t even that particularly big. I’ve seen them on Sumos, Katanas etc

  22. Mark February 13th, 2009 7:29 am

    Mantras are fantastic skis. Care in mounting them is needed as they are thinner base to topsheet than some skis. Check screws and file down as needed. With Dynafit bindings, this likely isn’t needed.

  23. Mark February 13th, 2009 7:32 am

    I was under the impression that re-using holes plugged with the colored plastic plugs common to ski shops only required drilling out the plug material. Obviously this is true if there is no overlap when using the exact holes only.

  24. Lou February 13th, 2009 7:39 am

    Mark, yeah, old screw holes will usually work but I was talking about fixing them when they’d been stripped or had pulled out screws.

  25. Lou February 13th, 2009 8:01 am

    Just a couple of issues with using Dynafits for multiple resort days. For starters, how many days are we talking about? A dozen, two dozen, a hundred? All bindings get beat up if used for lots of resort days and you do more than prissing down groomers. Work in a ski shop, watch the broken alpine bindings come in during a season. Dynafit is really not much different, but does have one wear point that’s unique. That’s the fitting in the rear of the boot that rests on the heel unit pins. Way back when I ran fewer sets of bindings, I did notice that during a winter the heel fitting would start to wear into the heel pins. Never catastrophic, never seemed to affect performance, but was noticeable. The other thing that wears is the inside of the heel unit, where plastic rubs against the heel spindle. This wear happens slow, but it happens. Nothing on the toe wears any more from resort use than anything else, as it’s pretty much static in alpine mode. Another thing that could happen with Dynafits is if used for thousands of resort laps, by an aggressive skier, the heel post/spindle might eventually fatigue and break at the base. Other than the binding getting broken by impact, as with any other binding, those are the only things unique to the Dynafit.

    Bottom line is that Dynafit bindings are built to weigh less, not stand up to hundreds of aggressive resort days. But even so, they’re not that different in terms of just how much resort skiing they can hold up to.

    In my view, the most important aspect of using Dynafit bindings for aggressive resort skiing with big stiff boots is the limited vertical elasticity of the heel release. If you like to fine tune your release settings, you’ll notice this factor as it makes it tougher to set a low release number and not pre-release vertical when doing things like bump skiing. But If you just mash your bindings up to DIN 12, it’s probably not an issue.

  26. dave downing February 13th, 2009 8:10 am

    @simon, basically I was saying that the dynafits ski better than the fritchis (opinion) and, from the movement I’ve experienced in the heal of the fritchis, would probably hold up just as well. That being said, for a true 1 quiver set up, I would go with a Marker. From skiing them last year and a bit this year, the Dukes and Barons are a sweet Alpine Binding that happens to have a functional (though not perfect) touring mode.

  27. Simon Isbister February 13th, 2009 8:40 am

    Thanks all for the great feedback- i have a new baby right now, so there won’t be new skis at least until next year, but I’ll let you know what I go with!

  28. Phil February 13th, 2009 10:16 am

    Hello, I’am from austria and interested reader of your blog :-). What do you think about the FT12s ‘torsion-bridge’? What’s the benefit of this bridge? Did you have the chance to test this? And if you want I could translate the PIEPS DSP changelog of the latest firmware (one of you latest posts) 😉

  29. Lou February 13th, 2009 11:21 am

    My opinion is that the ‘torsion bridge” is a nice looking feature that makes the binding appear more beefy and is thus of psychological benefit as it makes skiers more confident. In terms of actual measured performance, I believe it has little if any effect but might introduce a very tiny amount of stiffness under the foot. it’s true that a binding can stiffen a ski under the foot, but accomplishing this requires a fairly beefy rigid plate to have any significant effect.

  30. BryanL February 14th, 2009 9:41 am

    Have you tried removing one of the duplicate springs to soften up the action on the ski brake? I’ve seen it recommended to make it easier to simultaneously push the brake down and turn the heelpiece to put it in touring mode. On the other hand (foot?), I suppose it could affect the brake’s bite on hard snow.

  31. GeorgeT February 14th, 2009 5:14 pm

    Lou & Lynn: I really like my K2 AP in 181 cm. Lou, please report on your mods to accomodate dynafit bindings. Lynn — Are you hooked?

  32. Lou February 15th, 2009 5:08 pm

    Bryan, I’ve done that but I still felt it was best to retract the brake by hand before rotating binding. As for the Dynafits on the APs, I’ve got to get them back from Lynn first, so I’ll work on that.

  33. Lynn February 16th, 2009 8:38 am

    George, I used thes Anti Piste’s at Marble on Friday and as the snow covered my goggles with each turn I was very pleased to have such a big platform to ride upon! They were sweet, got away from me a couple of times, but overall a great ride. There will be a video of Fridays exploits in the not to distant future as long as Lou permits a video with rando, tele and a splitboarder on his site:)

    Maybe the bliss of his romantic weekend will dull his senses and we can pass this video through like a stimulus bill. Did I just use stimulus in the same sentence as romantic weekend, in a backcountry skiing post, yikes.

  34. Lou February 16th, 2009 3:00 pm

    Latest on Mark’s ride. I saw him in Marble today and he’d upgraded to a pair of Dynafit Manaslus!

  35. Mike February 17th, 2009 11:35 am

    Use of Vert. FT (old yellow version) w/o the brakes.

    I have a set of the older Vertical Ft (yellow version lower DIN).
    I’m mounting them on Insanes and the ski-barke is not wide enough (108 waist). I only have the BLACK compression springs)
    two questions.
    1) the FAQ section notes that the black springs are softer by 1 DIN. Therefore, if I remove the brakes and use the black springs, do I dial the release barrel one DIN higher than the other setting to compensate for the softer spring?

    2) is this good enough,.or should I get a set of the stiffer springs so I don’t lose the highest DIN this binding affords

    (BD Method boots, MONDO 29, 190lbs)

  36. Lou February 17th, 2009 1:35 pm

    1. Yes
    2. Depends on what DIN setting you use, at your weight you probably want the stiffer springs…

  37. Mike February 17th, 2009 3:09 pm

    thanks for the confirmation inre the FT brake/spring question. Good to know how to balance the DIN settings.

    I probably don’t need to get above a DIN 8 (90% bc skiing), but I’ll keep an eye out for some stock springs anyway.

    I forgot Q3.
    Know anyone who sells after-market brake wires that are extra wide?

    It seems that the if the wire diameter was close to that on the Dynafit, one could repalce just the wire brake parts relatively easy.

    Not willing to try to bend some of my own wires (wouldn’t trust that they were not stressed; though they get infrequent use, they seemingly still get some force when stepping in)

  38. Lou February 17th, 2009 3:22 pm

    Mike, you can get a few extra millimeters by grinding the plastic off the inside of the brakes, and they can be bent a hair as well.

  39. Matt F February 18th, 2009 5:07 am

    I live in the east but am heading west for a few weeks in a couple of days. Going through Denver, Winter Park, out I-70. Skiing on Manaslus/FT 12s, Scarpa TXs. Not getting along with the boots, need a good fitter. Any recommendations?


  40. miles randell February 22nd, 2009 10:32 am

    Hi Mike,
    There’s a guy in Whistler that makes after market wider brakes and ski crampons for Dynafit’s. Try http://www.thefixinc.com

  41. chris trollan April 23rd, 2009 12:36 pm

    Hi there.
    Seems like a fair amount of chatter in here about appropriate gear. I would add that such bias reflects an individual preference and style. For me, a pair of Movement Goliaths with Dynafit FT 12’s are perfectly appropriate.
    All the hardcore bc people in Juneau have a bias towards heavy gear. It suits our heavy and variable snow. We also tend to push our abilities to take advantage of all convoluted terrain features – at speed. This requires staying fast and light/hard on the snow, and or staying out in front of the sluff.
    I ski on 6 year old dalbellos that have a releasable cuff. Haven’t found a boot to replace them with yet. Fritchis have never let me down. My Sandstorms have about a million days on them too.
    Point Is, is that I need this stuff to do what I do. The light gear CANNOT. I will drag this stuff out into the b/c for days to make dreams come true. I have light gear for less performance oriented downhill pursuits.
    Please qualify your comments about the appropriatness of gear.
    A person should recognize that there will aways be a compromise between uphill performance and downhill performance based on the weight and sturdiness of the gear. To say that a particular mix of gear is unsuitable for everyone because it is unsuitable for you unnecessarily mixes fact with opinion. I regularly knock out 6500′ climbing for runs with a guy who has Big Daddies, Salomon s900’s and Trekkers.
    It all just depends.


  42. Slave.To.Turns April 23rd, 2009 2:08 pm


    Anyone using trekkers, salo900’s and such is, clearly, on the wrong gear for uphill travel. I don’t think this is really debateable, even among those ‘hardcore Juneau people”. There is simply put, better equipment available these days.

    Somet hings ski better for some days…somethings ski better for others.We all agree on that. Some boots tour better, some boots ski better. What I am most curious about is your Dalbello alpine boot hiking addiction….?!

    Chacon son gout.

  43. chris trollan April 23rd, 2009 5:24 pm

    Hi Slave. Yes, I think we have finally beat some sense into the Trekker guy. He is on the extreme end, but at 6’3″ and 235lbs., what is heavy for him proves my point about things being somewhat relative. My boots are Dabello CRX Superides. They have Walk Mode. And thank God. AT boots have been like little toys (opinion). Manufacturers are just now getting around to building boots that are as capable.
    Thanks Dalbello for a great last 6 seasons! I have 100s of tours on them. Let me again qualify my position. I may take a run down the middle of the bowl for the powder, but if conditions allow, I need a setup that handles extreme Alaskan lines, because that is what I live amongst.
    You are absolutely right , it is VERY addictive. I have sights on a new steep mini bowl on the north side of Douglas island that includes lots of spines, hanging ramps, and double-cliffs. Now if I only had the Dalbello Virus and FT 12’s to shed a few more pounds…..

  44. Tim May 29th, 2009 5:22 pm

    When you mounted up the Anti Piste with Dynafits were there any issues with screw holes & inserts? I have been thinking about puting a set of FT 12 with 297 bsl mount points on a 174 Anti Piste but haven’t wanted to spend the money to have things not work.

  45. Lou May 29th, 2009 5:29 pm

    Tim, no issues with this mount… I was on them today.

  46. rod georgiu July 27th, 2009 5:08 pm

    I bc ski in the Eastern Sierra, March thru June, about 30 days plus 50 in the resort. I am a pretty good skier, and my favorite bc terrain is steep couloirs (45-50+ degrees). I ski on Mantras 184, two pairs, resort and backcountry.

    A lot of my powder days are a few days afther the storm, and the snow skis hard, even though I penetrate to my knee when booting up. And of course the rest is corn snow.

    I am thinking of getting a lighter ski for bc. Hold on firm is important because often I encounter it.

    Is there anything that will ski as well as the Mantra? Which I like a lot, both for soft and hard snow.
    One ski that was recommended is the BD Kilowatt???

    Thank you.

  47. Lou July 27th, 2009 7:11 pm

    It’ll be tough to get a lighter ski that has the edgehold of a Mantra. I doubt the Kilowatt is much lighter…

  48. Evan May 11th, 2011 5:51 pm

    Hey Lou,
    About the Anti-pistes, do dynafits line up with mounting inserts on the skis?

  49. Lou May 11th, 2011 7:45 pm


  50. Evan May 12th, 2011 4:51 pm

    Thanks for the reply…….Looks like i’ll have to drill if want the mount the AP’s AT…

  51. Lou May 12th, 2011 5:12 pm

    B&D used to sell and perhaps still sell a shift plate that can mount Dynafit on K2 inserts. See B&D ad to left. Lou

  52. Evan May 13th, 2011 11:11 am

    Hey Thanks a bunch Lou,
    With the progression of age and knee surgery last year dropping a knee (tele) is going to have to give way to the AT world…I’m looking forward to learning something new after 20 years of teleskiing. As my friends would say, “I’m going over to the dark side…

  53. Jon Moceri May 14th, 2011 7:21 pm

    Evan, I’ve drilled my K2 Anti Piste’s several times for Dynafit bindings with no problems.

    Also, I’ve had four knee surgeries. I’ve torn and had both ACL’s reconstructed. Plus, I’ve had two torn meniscus’s taken care of.

    My only advice is to get some really good ski coaching. It’s amazing what you can do when you stand up in good form and let the ski do the work. I’ve had a lot of coaching in the last 10 years, and I ski much better now at age 52 than I ever did in my twenties.

  54. Lou May 15th, 2011 6:09 am

    Evan, you are going over to the light and free side! The side without exaggerated body movements. The relaxed side. The efficient side. The side where you can turn a ski practically by just thinking about it, rather than going to all sorts of trouble genuflecting your way down the mountain. Tele is still hip, but being hip isn’t everything (grin).

    That being said, I’d repeat Jon. I’ve seen a lot of telemarkers switch over and have quite a bit of trouble learning modern parallel skiing due to habits they’ve picked up from telemarking. Be prepared for a learning curve if you really want fixed heel skiing to work for you. Most importantly, realize that a well executed modern parallel turn is just as graceful and fun as a telemark turn, and a poorly executed parallel turn is just as un satisfying as a tiptoe shaky arm flailing tele turn. As for the uphill, no contest, but be mentally prepared for the Dynafiddle.

  55. Evan May 17th, 2011 4:49 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement guys. I’m looking forward to the new challenges and benefits of AT. The learning curve maybe a little longer due to the fact that I spend maybe 2 days a season resort and the rest BC. When I learned to tele I Skied in the BC for probably 5 seasons and then I moved to a couple of ski towns (Whitefish, MT and Mammoth Lakes,Ca) to really learn how to ski. The BC is where my heart is and the nearest resort is 3 hrs away, and those place have a lot of people at them haha, so the BC is where I will have to learn to parallel ski…..Thanks again Lou, and Jon…

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