I’m Here, Garmisch, Dynafit

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 14, 2009      

Wow, to finally be in Garmisch, Germany. So much history you can feel it seeping from the pores of the ground, the trees, the stones. Driving here I was imagining the where this country has come, through WWII and on to the present. Hung out with the Marker engineers this morning, after that we hit an authentic Bavarian restaurant for the biggest juiciest pork chop I’ve ever consumed (thanks Markus and Robert, more on that later), then some Euro driving up to the mountains, and now at a “hut” you reach by a mega cable car, Kreuzeckbahn. Dinner time at Kreuzeck Hutte. I’m at a table with a bunch of crazy Italians and the obligatory journalist from Skiing Magazine who appears to be enjoying the EU Dynafit scene, though jet leg intrudes. More tomorrow after we ski tour. A bit of snow tonight, but the mountains are pretty much covered with a sheet of ice after several weeks without snow, and it’ll take more than the predicted four centimeters to fix that. Dull edged demo skis? Pffffft. Hardcore.

Backcountry Skiing

Parking at Kreuzeckbahn, total ski bum style changing clothing in the parking lot. The big mountains are up in the clouds beyond the crags in the photo. I'm up here at the hut you reach via the cable car. Cool new Dynafit stuff being fondled by all the journalists, but I'm sworn to secrecy about it all. Hint, new boots at both ends of the spectrum.

The ski tour is one thing, but they say one has to ski the Kandahar downhill course before leaving and experience a vertical ice skating rink. Best on touring skis for total adrenalin. Preferably at night. Just kidding.


21 Responses to “I’m Here, Garmisch, Dynafit”

  1. Jernej January 14th, 2009 1:29 pm

    Surprised you haven’t learned by now never to lean skis on the car :p More often than not they’ll leave a nice deep scar in the paint as they tumble down.

  2. Carver January 14th, 2009 2:57 pm

    Don’t do it, Lou!! Ice is not natural in Colorado – so why?

  3. Larry January 14th, 2009 3:38 pm

    Lou, I lived at the Kreuzeck Haus for 2 winters in the late forties. The only way to ski the Kandahar is to stay in the middle – don’t try to turn, for when you do nothing happens except to pointing your skiis in a direction other than your line of flight. It is very difficult to maintain your composure when you are flying down the hill at mach 2 with your skiis perdendicular to your line of flight.

  4. bryan Wickenhauser January 14th, 2009 8:57 pm

    Lou -please say hi to Bennie and Botsie (from Dynafit Germany)for Sully and me!

  5. Njord January 14th, 2009 9:43 pm


    Enjoy Garmisch… this was my “old” home for several seasons. Great OB right off the Kreutzeck Bahn. Also, if things suck on the Alpspitz section, you can always take either the cable car or the cog rail up to the Zugspitze, which can be completely different than the rest of the valley.

    Garmisch is Aspen sister city for reason. 3 different ski mountains, and no where to change into your boots except the back of your car… just like over here!

    Also, there is a huge “underground” American ski scene in town… local employees of AFRC/Edelweiss and the US Military.

  6. Rob Staudinger January 15th, 2009 4:31 am

    New boots, interesting! Makes is easier to put off making the call between ZZeus and Zzero4.

  7. Lou January 15th, 2009 6:29 am

    Rob, I think that’s a call you might still have to make…

  8. Rob Staudinger January 15th, 2009 7:40 am

    Lou, heh, yeah. Call me a poser, but Zzero4 in Zzeus colour would make it easier 🙂

    No, seriously, i’ll be looking out for on sale / used Zzero4 in spring.

  9. Lou January 15th, 2009 9:32 am

    Rob, one word, paint.

  10. Lou January 15th, 2009 9:46 am

    Errr, it’s an old Skoda with a bunch of dings…

  11. Rob Staudinger January 15th, 2009 9:49 am

    Lou: what would be a good, durable (somewhat scratch resistant) type of paint?

  12. Lou January 15th, 2009 10:01 am

    Pebax and PU are difficult to paint. The best you can do in my experience is to sand all surfaces and paint with the Krylon paint made specifically for plastic. I’ve seen guys do it, but their boots always end up looking pretty bad after they get scraped up.

  13. gonzoskijohnny January 15th, 2009 1:04 pm

    Here’s a friendly and timely greeting/question from my colleague, Don Bruns–timely because (a) he’s of German ancestry and (b) has has a Dynafit problem preventing his wife Cheryl from getting out on with her new AT setup (G3 Sirens with Dynafit Verticals):

    She’s a lightweight to begin with, compounded by an old ACL injury and cannot obtain the desired forward heel release setting. Her pro shop gear consultants, release testing results, and her own legs suggest a lighter (3.5 DIN) release setting. Some suggest filing off the corners of her Scarpa Dynafit boot latch plate, others say slide the heel bracket further back. But the best suggestion yet has been to contact Dynafit for a lighter forward releasing heel spring. And Cheryl doesn’t want to abandon her Dynafits either!

    While you’re there in the old country, Lou, can you please ask Dynafit’s engineering wizards if they can supply a set of lighter springs? Or another more reliable work around than carving on her boots! Thanks very much, and continue enjoying your skiing holiday!

  14. Rob Staudinger January 16th, 2009 3:36 am

    Lou, or I’ll just take a closer look at the Scarpa Skookum :-). Am very satisfied with my Lasers (though your stiff tongue mode may be in order), but increased confidence in my skiing (after 12 years of snowboarding) and better fitness is whetting my appetite for beefy gear (around 95mm waist range like Manaslu, Kilowatt, though the wider K2 Coomba and BD Verdict are getting nice reviews too).

    Any take on freeride oriented gear for the Austrian Alps?

  15. Lou January 16th, 2009 10:10 am

    Gonzo, you can easily decrease torsional by removing inner spring from spring pack. Only problem with that is if you get too low on the DIN, you can pull the heel unit off the spindle/post it rotates on. Experiment. As for vertical release, try increasing the gap between boot heel and binding by a millimeter. That should create a noticeable difference in vertical release, but does add the danger of the pins pulling out of the boot during decamber of a flexible ski by an aggressive skier. Your call.

  16. Lou January 16th, 2009 10:22 am

    Rob, Dynafit has a boot stiffer than ZZeus, if you need that kind of monster leverage and support. I’ll blog a bit about it in a few days (I’m not panicking) as it’s not exactly causing an increase in my heart rate. It’s called the Titan, and is said to be same weight as ZZeus but made with stiffer plastic.

    As for freeride skis, Manaslu is only recommended for 3 centimeters or more of fresh, everyone should please keep that in mind. It’s a great ski and I’d hate to see pressure on Dynafit to redesign because a bunch of freeriders get bummed out when using it for hardpack.

  17. Lou January 16th, 2009 10:26 am

    You guys are keeping me too busy. I’ve got a bunch of travel blogs I should be working on! Visit to Marker was incredible, to bring up one small example (grin)….

  18. Rob Staudinger January 16th, 2009 10:33 am

    Stiffer than ZZeus? I don’t think so 🙂
    Was under the impression that the Skookum was somewhere between ZZero and ZZeus, at least regarding weight.

    Regarding skis, Manaslu and Verdict were the most positively reviewed boards as far as I can tell after some rather intense google sessions, while Coomba and Kilowatt were not praised as much (they were still rated positively), and Zealot having being a rather narrow big mountain scope.

  19. Lou January 16th, 2009 10:53 am

    Rob, I know what you mean. When I put a ZZeus on I feel like someone wrapped a steel collar around my lower leg. To have it even stiffer I can’t imagine. But for bigger harder skiing guys it’ll probably be great.

  20. Kerry May 14th, 2013 5:38 pm

    Will be in Garmisch in July ’13 and would like to demo AT gear, would you recommend a shop, or should I drive over to see the folks at Dynafit & Trab. Know if the glacier would have conditions suitable for trying out ski gear?
    Interested in the Low Tech Light binding, PDG ski and boot, TLT-6 boot, Trab’s Maestro ski and any entry-level race gear that I might not be aware of in the US.

  21. Lou Dawson May 14th, 2013 5:49 pm

    Hey Kerry, I’d be very surprised if there was _not_ a shop in Garm that has that stuff for demo. But I don’t know who it would be. You can probably just ask around. Lou

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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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