State of the Snow Leopard — Dynafit


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 27, 2016      
Dynafit's new branding campaign, 'mountopia.'

Dynafit’s new branding campaign, ‘Mountopia.’ As seen at ISPO trade show this past few days.

At the Dynafit press events, a highlight for me (besides gulping PR Koolaid in indigenous forms such as schnapps or tsipouro) is always CEO Benedikt Böhm’s introductory presentation. Speaking rapidly in German accented but clear English, “Bene” usually gets into the state of the Snow Leopard by relating things beyond the press releases. He even shares a few secrets he swears us all to keep, at least until the ISPO trade show (or at least until a mouth breathing gear blogger steals Dynafit’s embargoed intellectual property and spills the beans in a desperate search for website traffic — as seems to happen frequently.)

This lengthy Dynafit post isn’t intended to be a screed from a fanboy. Rather, it’s me trying to distill a bunch of impressions over the past few years regarding what is still the only ski brand that’s 100% ski touring and boasts a full line from boots to clothing — a brand that many of us are yes, fans of. Yet a brand that seems to always be inventing itself (in a good way). Readers, your comments appreciated. What do you think of all the directions Dynafit has been heading over the past few years? What would you like to see them do?

TLT-7-P to left, Carbonio to right.

TLT-7-P to left, Carbonio to right. Different in name, color, or more?

I typed up this synopsis of his talk for you Dynafit brand fans out there, and dumped in some value-added rumors and factoids. The setting: A small hotel in the Greek mountains, as well as my travels around Europe encountering Dynafit insiders dropping various hints, with my final stop at ISPO monster trade show in Munich.

Bene opened his talk with words about plans to keep spending money on innovation, making products that are “lighter, faster, smarter.” It’s good to hear that, since of all the ski touring oriented companies out there, Dynafit might have the deepest background and resources for coming up with new products. I’m sure that means they’ll have misses as well as hits, but when you’re the brand leader you have to innovate or die. Bring it on.

The question I always have about this sort of thing: how much is innovation and how much is just appearance and branding? Examples, the Carbonio product category and TLT-7 boot.

My take is the Carbonio ski is indeed innovative, in that it’s a wider (in a European sense) “one kilo” class plank that skis well, and is presumably durable enough for normal use. Mitigating that take is the fact that the Carbonio ski continues Dynafit’s habit of making “sidecutty” skis that are not forgiving. Sidecut of the 176 Carbonio is 125/90/109 with a full 35 mm difference between tip and waist — compare that to one of faves in another brand that has only 28 mm cut from tip to waist, and much more rocker. Further, we have to bring up the old bugbear of top skin color. At least in Colorado, a black ski ices more on top than a lighter colored one, so this all-black ski causes me to pause, and wonder.

So, innovative? I’d give Carbonio a score of 5 out of 10 on that. Check out Louie’s review of Carbonio touring ski.

The TLT-7 boot, on the other hand, appears quite (if not excessively) innovative — geek-out score 9/10. The “Shark Nose” toe is crazy cool. Jury definitely out on real-world performance such as kicking steps from the ski lift to the toilet up on the hill, but mounting the tech inserts farther back at the toe is a concept we applaud (Scarpa was the first to try it, way back with the Spirit 3). We’re also undecided on the new shape for the “Masterstep” toe inserts — that’ll require some careful bench testing. I did an informal test at ISPO by sticking Dynafit’s sample boots with Masterstep into various bindings and testing release characteristics. Everything appeared normal. An obvious improvement in the insert department is at the heel, where the insert is said to be bolted in much more firmly than the old style of assembly, which has been known to fail.

Further, with the TLT-7 Dynafit is attempting a “one motion” closure system that eschews a power strap and connects the lower instep buckle to the top cuff buckle with a cable. Snap, downhill mode. Along with that, the new cuff buckle closes flat against your boot cuff, thus no more pesky “buckle bulge” under your pant cuffs.

Where the TLT-7 boots get into a story of appearance vs. substance is perhaps when they take the TLT-7 Performance, add carbon fiber instead of fiberglass, and call it “Carbonio.” You save something like 20 grams with the Carbonio version and it’s probably not any stiffer than the TLT-7-P, but it does look beautiful. They’re only making a few hundred Carbonio boots anyhow, so that alone indicates this to be more of a branding exercise than anything else.

The Carbonio line also includes apparel. Dynafit clothing is quite popular in Europe and definitely has a presence in North America. It’s trim, with color stories many people find attractive (though everyone has a right to their own bad taste, ha ha).

While I’m uncertain about the Carbonio clothing being a specific must-have, an example of Dynafit’s effort to provide relevant clothing is their Mezzalama Alpha PTC ski touring over-shorts. These are a surprisingly excellent item (as is the ski touring skirt for ladies or fashion confident males). Shorts are less bulky than full-length warmup pants and do pretty much the same thing, perfect if you’re fit and like wearing very little on your legs during the uphill — but need some coverage on the down. The shorts are available in the Carbonio collection as well as Dynafit’s main clothing selection.

Dynafit ski touring shorts.

Dynafit ski touring shorts.

In Greece, Bene did not spend much time talking about Dynafit’s internal boot and tech insert standard, but in my opinion this is a HUGE deal. This past Saturday, industry boffins, mavens and even a few trained engineers confabbed in Munich for an introduction to a detailed engineering standard that defines everything from the shape of the ski boot toe to the “tear out” strength of the tech fittings. Along with their engineering document, Dynafit will provide a “gauge” device that fits on a prototype boot or binding and physically tests for clearance and shape that doesn’t cause incompatibilities. More than 14 boot brands are involved in this including of all people, Lange!. (For the technically minded out there: this is not a DIN/ISO standard but rather an “internal standard” of Dynafit’s they are sharing with the industry as a whole, compliance will be voluntary but disobey at your peril!)

Lange Free Tour, me 2 or me 3?

Lange Free Tour, me 2 or me 3? Whatever the case, good example of why the industry needs some kind of standard for the shape of tech compatible ski boots and binding fittings. Up till now, it’s been part guesswork and part copy-cat to come up with boots that work in tech bindings. Result, you never know for sure what boot will work in what binding.

For those of you new to the game, Dynafit has been “certifying” boot inserts for a few years now with a red plastic seal that comes on boots in the box. This new project seeks to go beyond that. If the establishment of a standard is successful, look for an explosion in tech (pintech) compatible bindings and boots — pairings that will work in concert with much fewer issues. (Example of an issue is the boot toe hitting the tech binding front lever and ejecting the user, due to no current industry-agreed standards on binding or boot shapes.)

Where I think you’ll see big changes with Dynafit, for 2016-2017, will be on the ski binding front. Clearly, the Snow Leopard has had a difficult time with his ski bindings over the past couple of years. Beast is not a huge seller — the company’s hope that freeride touring would open a new market has in my opinion not materialized to any significant degree. Fact is, enough people “freeride tour” on wide skis with superlight bindings (including Dynafit employees) as to make beef bindings somewhat of a joke. Sure, if you need them you know who you are, but you are the minority. In terms of binding breakage, problems that appear endemic to a compromised development process seem to come up way too often with the Snow Leopard, example being the breaking Radical 1.0 heel unit. (To be fair, other brands are not immune, but we’re talking about Dynafit here.)

Perhaps the biggest challenge for Dynafit in ski touring bindings? Massive competition that simply did not exist only a few years ago. As I’ve said, this winter of 2015-2016 is when the “binding wars” really commenced. I have no doubt whatsoever the Leopard is feeling the heat. Will the fire be a forge of innovation or a conflagration of disappointment? We think the competition will be good.

To remedy their ski binding durability situation, it’s said Dynafit will instigate a more formalized beta testing program for their bindings. I’m told they’ll pick 100 testers out of the general public, and have those testers attempt to have at least 10 associates also test the bindings. Idea is to get the beta bindings truly field tested. Testopia! Concern is of course the legions of gear bloggers that’ll be panting after getting photos of the bindings as they go out for testing. It’ll be like automobile journalists scamming for images of new model automobiles.

In my view, information about new products gets “accidentally” released so often these days, really, who cares!? I’d say just get the bindings out for testing and don’t look back. A breaking binding is a lot more detrimental to PR than a photo of a prototype. Indeed, having 68 paparazzi chasing around your binding beta testers would do nothing but create awesome buzz! Instead of “chasing the Kardashians,” let’s “keep up with the Dynafits!” (And they can always cloak the bindings with a duct tape shroud, like those new car models.)

Speaking of bindings, a vague rumor I heard is Dynafit may bring back a version of the Vertical series bindings — our clear favorite out of the literally dozens of ski bindings Dynafit has come up with these past years. Wouldn’t it be cool to see a modernized version of the Vertical, instead of what sometimes appears to be over-designed overly-complex machinery? Your prayers are appreciated.

This is where I mention TUV, the for-profit company that certifies ski bindings (among thousands of other things) to DIN/ISO standards. As I’ve alluded to in many other blog posts, TUV certification of ski touring bindings is interesting to bloggers and consumers — if nothing else it’s a marketing tool. Certification is also a way to get “regular” ski shops to sell your bindings due to liability concerns. But I’m not sure a TUV cert is worth the time and expense for most if not all of the involved companies. Or more importantly, I’m not sure adding “features” simply to pass a TUV cert is at all wise. Some of the best tech bindings of the past — and present — do not have a TUV stamp. Again, harken back to the Vertical FT.

So the jury is still out, is the Radical 2.0 any better than the Radical 1.0 (no longer manufactured), even though it is TUV? The 2.0 heel unit appears totally bomber compared to the fragile heel of the 1.0 — but the rotating toe? I’m still formulating my “Lou” take on that. Clearly, due to concerns about breakage of the Radical 1.0 heel, the 2.0 heel is improved, but perhaps the best binding would be a 1.0 toe with a 2.0 heel? It’ll take all winter to figure this stuff out, assuming we don’t run into more fragility problems that steal attention from “normal” testing and blogging (one of the more frustrating things in what we do here at WildSnow).

While in Greece I was sworn to secrecy about Dynafit’s new version 2.0 branding campaign, to be launched at the trade shows. That is now history. The campaign slogan is “Mountopia,” a portmanteau of mountain & utopia. Idea is you go to the mountains to find a sort of nirvana in your encounter with the alpine. (See photo above.) Sure, there is a good dose of hype in this, but the concept has validity and seems more focused than some of the other sport branding “slogan” campaigns we’ve seen over the years. “I am what I am,” for example.

Due to the principle leadership of employees such as Benedikt Böhm and Schorsch Nickaes, as well as umbrella corporation Oberalp owner Heiner Oberrauch, Dynafit really does have a core spirit of substance. I know that because I’ve experienced it in person fairly often for the past nine years. Question is, will a branding campaign such as “Mountopia” dilute or strengthen that core culture, in turn influencing the quality of Dynafit’s products?

To that end (core culture), in concert with Dynafit’s branding campaign Oberalp is attempting a push on their “Corporate Social Responsibility,” otherwise known as CSR. You’re familiar with the concept, perhaps best demonstrated by Patagonia’s sometimes tedious but frequently valid emphasis on environmental causes. At ISPO, Oberalp gave me an 86 page large-format “brand book” based on their CSR program.

Honestly, I had no idea that Oberalp’s CSR was as extensive as it is. I’m somewhat of cynic about this stuff, but I try to be realistic and give credit where credit is due. A good example is the Oberalp (Salewa) HQ building in Italy. I’ve been there a few times and found the climbing wall cute and the “glass cube” look of the building to be stunning. Yet up on the roof they’re harvesting 436,000 KWh of electricity a year — far more than the building uses. That’s real (perhaps a carbon offset for all us ski journalists jetting around the globe?).

Other CSR components that look good to me are Dynafit’s support of the Snow Leopard Trust, and their efforts to reduce possibly harmful chemicals use in their products (a tough issue across the industry, as one reason our modern clothing works so well is a witchy brew of chemicals). I’m also a fan of doing “local” production while possible. To that end, Oberalp does have a goal to manufacture as much product as possible in Europe as opposed to doing things in China. They’re not perfect with that, but it’s interesting to note 100% of Dynafit’s bindings are assembled in Europe, and much of the actual making of the parts is done in the EU as well.

It might interest some of you to know that the spotty issues with quality in Dynafit’s soft goods over the past has been caused (or so I hear) by the company experimenting with different manufacturing locations. From what I’ve seen, quality has been on the upswing and I’d imagine could be acceptable by now, but we need to get out and keep using those zippers and seams before we know for sure.

All the above is fine, but in my view people are what’s most important. The thing to remember about companies such as those under the Oberalp umbrella is they’re operated by real people with real families. People make mistakes and the “corporate” journey to durable functional products is sometimes rough. Yet the core spirit is there — Snow Leopard and his human friends remain worthy.

A company such as Dynafit has to innovate or cease to exist.

A company such as Dynafit has to innovate or cease to exist. Hopefully consumers benefit from that reality. Imperfect progress is the name of the game. Does a pack waistbelt like this work? I love to see companies trying this sort of stuff.



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Comments

64 Responses to “State of the Snow Leopard — Dynafit”

  1. wyomingowen January 27th, 2016 10:08 am

    The last couple sentences seems like a Mitt Romney paraphrase. As long as the members of the corporations remember they’re selling to individuals that are real people with families, maybe will have better QC and less “panting”

  2. afox January 27th, 2016 11:16 am

    VERY good article! The kind of writing, insight, and information that can only come from someone with a vast amount of knowledge and experience about the technology and the industry. Personally, if it weren’t for dynafit Id still be on tele bindings. I generally have very little brand loyalty but in the case of a major innovation like the tech binding I feel compelled to give something back to dynafit.

  3. Andy M. January 27th, 2016 11:53 am

    I know you said you’ll post on it later, but why the hate on the Rad 2.0 toes? I bought a pair of them for this season to use on my mid-width skis that I occasionally ride in the resort. The rotating toe was a key selling point to me, after a bad fall on Rad 1.0s in heavy mixed snow that torqued my knee and left it sore for about a month. The new toe also flattens the ramp angle out significantly.

    I’ve got 10 days on them so far this season, with no complaints, other than stepping in for ski mode requires that you aim the heel a bit, or lock the toe temporarily.

    If anything, I wish they’d make a Speed Rad 2.0 so I can get the added safety features on my fat powder skis too.

  4. Lou Dawson 2 January 27th, 2016 1:29 pm

    Andy, if that’s hate I’d hate to see what love is! I just said the jury is still out as far as I’m concerned, and that I’m of the opinion that the Vertical series bindings can be pretty good.. As for Radical 2.0 being safer, there is no data whatsoever that bears that out, though to be fair I myself have mentioned that the whole point of rotating toe is to eliminate the possibility of the boot fittings “catching” and blocking release, something that can be evaluated in 45 seconds on the work bench.

    As for the Speed Rad 2.0, stick a Rad 2.0 on a ski with a Speed heel, set release values using a release checker, and enjoy.

    Lou

  5. Lou Dawson 2 January 27th, 2016 1:33 pm

    Wyoming, it works both ways, hating corporations because they’re corporations is just as lame as corporations “hating” people. Especially in the case of smaller closely held companies, the fact that people make their livings and feed their families is something that I always try to keep in mind, both at a writer and consumer.

    And should I change careers to writing speech copy for politicians (grin)?

    Lou

  6. Lou Dawson 2 January 27th, 2016 1:47 pm

    I have to apologize for spelling Carbonio as Carbonium. For some reason my fingers keep wanting to do that, it’s like they have a life of their own! Lou

  7. Splitboard January 27th, 2016 2:14 pm

    “What would you like to see them do?” A real (Soft-) Snowboard Boot with Tech Inserts.

  8. Mark January 27th, 2016 3:03 pm

    Thanks Lou, a very pleasurable read of a sometimes dry subject matter.

    I work in a shop, talking daily to customers regarding tech bindings, each brand’s individual take and USPs of the contenders. You guys have talked at length in the past about some of the misconceptions the buying public have regarding safety release, RV, lateral toe release etc of ‘tech’, ‘low tech’ or ‘pin’ bindings (whichever you prefer): it’s becoming more and more difficult to navigate through the maze of boot compatibility, lateral release, strength, retention and most of all reliability. I guess this is what happens when so many new players burst onto the tech scene with dramatically different offerings!

    Cheers for the low down,

    Bring on tech 2.0:)

    Sincerely,

    Mark Robertson

  9. Tuck January 27th, 2016 3:18 pm

    “As long as the members of the corporations remember they’re selling to individuals that are real people with families, maybe will have better QC and less “panting””

    Best line I’ve ever heard about QC, from a guy who worked in QC at Black Diamond: “My job is to make sure my friends don’t die.”

    Nice to hear from Lou about how Dynafit people ski their products. This is really our best protection.

    Great post, Lou. Thanks.

  10. Tuck January 27th, 2016 3:28 pm

    “In my view, information about new products gets “accidentally” released so often these days, really, who cares!? I’d say just get the bindings out for testing and don’t look back. A breaking binding is a lot more detrimental to PR than a photo of a prototype. Indeed, having 68 paparazzi chasing around your binding beta testers would do nothing but create awesome buzz!”

    What would that leave the Marketing deptartment to do? No product launches, or marketing blitzes… 🙂

  11. andrew January 27th, 2016 5:06 pm

    They need to drop the price on their low tech race 2.0 bindings – $799 for a 110g binding while Plum offers a 99g binding for $599

  12. Buck January 27th, 2016 5:23 pm

    maybe Plum could up their price so they could afford to fund some customer service?

  13. XXX_rr January 27th, 2016 9:38 pm

    Imo Dynafit do not have a handle on rad 1 heel problem where skinny guys are blowing these things up still in warranty so what’s gona happen when warranty is over… Gona take care of Dynafit ???

    Bc guides in bc are well aware of this and since g3 is offering deeper discounts to the pro’s … Expect to see your guide on g3 skis/skins/bindings

    The Vulcan was a hit , the follow on product being the khion not so much, was panned recently as a side country boot discounted before the season is half thru

    So better get yer poop lined up Dynafit and so bringing back the vertical would be a good start

  14. biggb January 28th, 2016 1:40 am

    20 days on the Radical 2.0 so far this year on my backcountry ski (BD Carbon Converts) and all around / area / patrol ski (K2 Pinnacle 95). Coming from only having used Speed Rads for years (w/ spinner heels to boot).

    Have to say … so far so good.

    No problems with the brakes staying put nor heel spinning while touring. Only one strange double toe release i’d attribute to trying to do too much in deep snow. Have had a few releases on two big wipe-outs going too fast in the bumps and was glad for it. Have been doing plenty of small rock jumps (<6ft) and no problems there either.

    All and all … so far so good for me.

  15. Thom Mackris January 28th, 2016 2:27 am

    Good write-up, Lou. Thanks!

    I’ll bet there’s more than a bit of price sensitivity relating to the Beasts … just a guess, regarding their sales numbers.

    Regarding the Rad 2.0, I can see the possibility of them being safer – indirectly resulting from a potential improvement of the toe’s retention characteristics. People would be less inclined to bump the RV by a number or two to prevent undesired releases.

    I used the word “potential” because I haven’t had the opportunity to play with any of the pivoting toe Dynafiddles on a bench.

    Agreed about the Vertical heel.

    Cheers,
    Thom

  16. Lou Dawson 2 January 28th, 2016 3:25 am

    Thom, with all due respect to binding engineers at Dynafit, let us all be clear that when a tech binding such as Radical 2.0 has any lateral elasticity, it is based on the heel of the boot moving to the side and rotating the heel unit. Whether to toe of the boot rotates due to ball/socket of fittings or a rotating toe turntable does not increase or decrease this as far as I know, or if the turntable toe did add some elasticity it would be very little. All such bindings rotate the heel the same distance before you pre-release, and I thus do not see how a rotating toe would have any better “retention characteristics” than a non rotating toe (provided the ball/socket interface at the toe worked correctly.)

    Another thing to remember is that the 2.0 toe is still “blocked” at a certain point in lateral release, as are all other classic tech binding toes. Vipec binding is not “blocked,” but on the other hand does not release to the side at the heel, and side release at the heel is said to possibly protect your knees better!

    Considering all of above, I don’t think the words “safer” or “safety” should be used in any marketing for these bindings, at least until epidemiological studies are done as well as exact numbers are provided for retention characteristics.

    Just getting a TUV certification is not enough, IMHO.

    Lou

  17. Lou Dawson 2 January 28th, 2016 3:27 am

    BiggB and all reporting about your success in using ANY binding, your reports are meaningless unless you report:
    1. What release values you have vertical and lateral set to.
    2. Your weight and skiing style.
    3. Your chart recommended release settings.
    4. Whether you lock the toe, or not, while skiing downhill.

    Thanks, Lou

  18. Lou Dawson 2 January 28th, 2016 3:39 am

    I should have mentioned that it’s unfortunate Dynafit did not go for Tech 2.0 when they probably could have (before the real binding wars began). Perhaps they’re still working on that and it’s top secret. They’re certainly the ones to do it. What would Tech 2.0 look like? Wider fitting at the boot heel with more room for vertical travel, or clever/simpler vertical elasticity built into the heel unit. Wider base on both toe and heel, uber durability, no TUV monkey business (grin). Divorced brake (like Plum) that doesn’t require rube goldberg cataches and retractors to work when you step in, and would be removable like Superlite 2.0. Lots of aluminum, titanium and Delrin so it stayed light. Etc. Anything else you guys want? Lou

  19. Pablo January 28th, 2016 7:19 am

    Lou, when talking about tech 2.0, you always says wider fittings at heel.
    Do you mean pins to be more separate or wider pins?

    If you mean pins instaled wider, that would be problematic to the tower to turn as it needs more space to do it. It’s needed a bigger “heel gap”.

    I think that tech 2.0 maybe actually exist: Skitrab TR or even Kingpin.

    I’m pretty sure that there’s full of room to evolve with this two systems reducing weight and size.

    This two sistems present an advantage to replace traditional heel pins: they could be complementary and live togeter.
    This means Industry and specially users dont need to change boots and bindings at the same time.

    New Lasportiva boots are compatibles with Skitrab TR system and tech 1.0 bindings. so You could buy this boots and wait to a more ligheer versión of TR binding…

    Also Kingpin binding could be used with traditional tech1.0 boots. So you don’t need to change your current boots in waiting for a smaller and lighter binding with a Kingpin style heel.

    I think Tech 2.0 will need to have a progressive introduction and simply widener current heel pins could be too much disruptive as it couldn’t be compatible with tech 1.0 heel fittings and that forces to replace binding and boots at the same time…

  20. TB January 28th, 2016 7:26 am

    “What would you like to see them do?”

    Support industry heavy users: guides and avalanche workers. Dynafit are unappealingly arrogant. They pander to image-boys whilst ignoring the core of real daily users. G3 are not making this error.

  21. Stewart January 28th, 2016 7:36 am

    When Dynafit was the only option, we’d make their Eurocentric gear work for us. But now, with so much competition from brands actually designing gear for a North American sensibility, they seem out of touch. I know they’re trying (hiring pros like Hoji and Cody), but that isn’t translating into market leading products. Their recent attempts, such as the Khion boot, 2015 freeride skis, Beast/Radical 2.0 bindings, and Yotei outerwear have all been flops, for reasons that would have been obvious to anyone that lived and breathed North American ski culture. Dynafit needs to reinvent their corporate/design/marketing culture if they want remain relevant (witness what Salomon have achieved in such a short time) or stick to selling Lycra to Italians, or whoever it is that gets inspired by Mountopia.

  22. Andy M. January 28th, 2016 8:15 am

    1. What release values you have vertical and lateral set to.
    * 8 & 8
    2. Your weight and skiing style.
    * 155 lbs (without gear), advanced / strong / confident
    3. Your chart recommended release settings.
    * I think 6… way too low.
    4. Whether you lock the toe, or not, while skiing downhill.
    * never on Rad 2.0. Sometimes (rarely) on 1.0.

  23. See January 28th, 2016 8:26 am

    Maybe the rotating toe improves retention by keeping the pins fully engaged with the sockets through the initial few degrees of lateral boot displacement. I don’t use radicals, but it seems like this would mean that the pins start to disengage later than with non-rotating toes. In other words, the heel rotates further before the boot releases. (And the boot is held more securely at the toe when the boot is only slightly displaced.) I should repeat that my only experience with Radicals is from checking them out in a friends garage/the shop.

  24. Matt January 28th, 2016 10:26 am

    “Beast is not a huge seller — the company’s hope that freeride touring would open a new market has in my opinion not materialized to any significant degree. Fact is, enough people “freeride tour” on wide skis with superlight bindings as to make beef bindings somewhat of a joke. Sure, if you need them you know who you are, but you are the minority.”

    Gotta say I totally disagree with this. Sure, there’s a limited market of people who need 16 DIN when touring, but there’s a huge amount of people (IMV) who want their touring bindings to feel as solid and dependable as their resort bindings, yet not suck as much going uphill as a frame binding.

    A lot of people just don’t seem to get the concept that this is about how the binding FEELS when skiing, not about what the release value is; i.e. not rattling so much on hardback that you’re dialling your dentist for a checkup before you’re even back at the car.

    The real reason the Beasts have flopped is that the price is absolutely NUTS: almost €700 for the Beast 16?! The only people who would consider dropping that much on a binding are people who live in a city to make bank, thus not the (regularly skiing) target market at all. Also damn hard to get a deal from Dynafit…

    They need to knock at least €200 off for most of their market (at least the ones who pay full price) to start to even contemplate the Beast. And add a flat touring mode. Meanwhile I’m very happy with my Kingpin (which *feels* SO MUCH nicer to ski than my old TLT Speeds).

  25. jasper January 28th, 2016 10:40 am

    I used Dynafit exclusively for the last 6 years: vertical FT, radical FT, speed radicals, This year a change was in the air. I debated German green or French aluminum. Ultimately the Plum Guide won out over Superlite 2.0. The Plums are beautiful. When you rotate the heel or adjust the release value you can feel the quality of machining and assembly. No excess parts or gimmicks make them sleek and attractive. There is no slop or play anywhere! Slop is something I got used to over the years from rattling brakes and toe levers, cracked housing, and just plain loose heels. All of this is gone with French machining and it feels so good. However I question Plums release with my certified Scarpa inserts. I had to shave quite a bit of rubber off the toes, and the 4mm (Plum spec) gap at the heel seems to interfere with the heel ledge of the boot before release. I applaud Dynafit for attempting to make a tech standard, and think this is one of the more important aspects of the touring industry, but I am disappointed with the overall quality and assembly of the bindings. They should focus on increasing standards in this regard. As Matt said we want bindings that actually feel solid and don’t just have numbers and tricks. Plum took the original design and made it feel just plain good. Dynafit should do the same. On another note, I might add that the amount of time I have waited for radical 2.0 users to click in is nothing short of significant. They seem generally dissatisfied with the rotating toe. Thanks for listening and keep skiing and keep innovating!

  26. Thom Mackris January 28th, 2016 12:02 pm

    ” Thom, with all due respect to binding engineers at Dynafit, let us all be clear that when a tech binding such as Radical 2.0 has any lateral elasticity, it is based on the heel of the boot moving to the side and rotating the heel unit. Whether to toe of the boot rotates due to ball/socket of fittings or a rotating toe turntable does not increase or decrease this as far as I know, or if the turntable toe did add some elasticity it would be very little. All such bindings rotate the heel the same distance before you pre-release, and I thus do not see how a rotating toe would have any better “retention characteristics” than a non rotating toe (provided the ball/socket interface at the toe worked correctly.)”

    Thanks Lou,

    Perhaps I’m not thinking about this correctly, but I’m looking at this from the perspective that a rotating toe (whether or not it’s blocked) may allow for all of the elasticity built into the heel. In this sense, the user may tend to run his bindings at a slightly lower setting (or alternatively, be less inclined to lock the toe).

    Here’s the scenario I just tried to simulate on the bench with a pair of Verticals and Orange Maestrales. With the boot mounted, I rotated at the heel, to the point where one heel pin was barely engaged in the heel socket. By eyeball, this is about 5 degrees of boot rotation and maybe 15-20 degrees of heel rotation. At this point, there’s some perceptible movement of the pins in the toe socket (beginning to disengage).

    Combine this with a bit of a side shock and I can visualize a lower threshold for blowing out from the toe, even though the heel piece is ready to return to position.

    It seems to me, that both the blocking on the Radical 2.0 toe (to the 5 degree point, I believe?) as well as its rotation is designed to allow for better retention by not compromising some of the shock absorption built into the heel. I’d love to play with the binding, as I’m thinking the ideal Dynafit setup would be a Rad 2.0 toe with a Vertical heel.

    BTW, that earlier article you published on knees was great – that bindings whose lateral release at the heel is biased toward protecting ACL (at the expense of tib/fib), with the reverse being true for bindings that release at the toe.

    Regards,
    Thom

  27. Buck January 28th, 2016 12:26 pm

    TB – “Support industry heavy users: guides and avalanche workers. Dynafit are unappealingly arrogant. They pander to image-boys whilst ignoring the core of real daily users. G3 are not making this error.”

    no, what’s unappealingly arrogant is the notion that “the core of real daily users” = guides and avalanche workers. That’s a pretty limited subset of skiers to consider the core.

    The real core is regular folks who pay full retail and ski , not “industry heavy users” who expect cheap gear and fawning.

    Dynafit should stop pandering to “image boys”, and start pandering to you instead? They’re arrogant for not fawning over you? I think the arrogance is right there in your attitude. Do your job, pay for your tools. Simple.

    How about no pandering at all? Spend that effort and money on customer service & better beta programs. Sick of subsidizing industry “pros”.

  28. Thom Mackris January 28th, 2016 1:01 pm

    Wow! There are some strong sentiments being expressed.

    I forgot to mention the absence of a flat mode for the Beast (thanks for bringing this up, Matt!). Like Matt, I believe that the target user will consider flat mode to be a requirement, bordering on making the Beast a non-starter for the target audience. Yes, the price is way out of line.

    I can’t speak to Dynafit’s treatment of industry professionals, and I think this warrants its own thread – one on fair pay for industry professionals. I am an advocate of subsidizing instructors, patrollers and guides – both from the perspective of fairness (grossly underpaid for doing dangerous work in the case of guides and patrollers) as well as enlightened self-interest.

    By enlightened self-interest, I mean two things: (1) product placement, and (2) product feedback.

    Pro deals can easily be justified as coming from the advertising budget. After all, a pro deal ends up as a wholesale sale (what a shop would pay for gear). I say this, even though it’s been a long time since I’ve walked in my boots as an industry professional.

    Dynafit’s branding strategy? A bit meh to me, but perhaps this is a North American vs. Euro thing. When I get a G3 mailing in my inbox, I feel as if they’re talking to me. Dynafit? Not so much.

    From a product vision and marketing perspective, Dynafit is very much like Nikon in the camera world – a company with great engineering teams but with a diffused perception about what constitutes a coherent product line.

    Dynafit’s proliferation of product models is dizzying. I can’t even count the number of bindings they have in their lineup. This is of course, an inventory nightmare for the dealer and creates doubt in the mind of the customer – doubt that they didn’t get the right model. This is not a trivial point, IMHO.

    Having so many overlapping models serves no one. At some point, a manufacturer needs to be a thought leader and relieve the burden of decision making from the customer.

    I’m not arguing for no choice, but rather a focused, coherent product lineup. This is where G3 gets it right with their Ion lineup. About the only thing “missing” is a skimo racing binding. That would raise the total in the lineup to 4 models. Ok … make a Din-16 version of the Ion and bring it up to 5 for the big bro’s.

    All of Dynafit’s “errors” are easily correctable. They’re clearly innovative and I applaud them for trying to push the envelope. If they can connect all of the different development groups working in separate silos and get in touch with the North American consumer, I think they’ll serve themselves and their customers better – even their European customers.

    The Tech 2.0 concept … very provocative.

    Cheers,
    Thom

  29. TB January 28th, 2016 10:13 pm

    “Sick of subsidizing industry “pros””

    You revealed your hand there, right at the end. The rest was angry bile.

  30. wyomingowen January 29th, 2016 12:57 am

    Lou,

    FTR, I’ve got more Dynafit hard goods AND soft goods than I care to count. Corporations are not people, so I frown on any product that beguiles the consumers confidence. That’s the recourse issue, there’s money involved, any corp saying sorry after the transaction is unfortunate. Supporting your local shop creates different expectations and I think standards of care than a Brah-form.

    I can name 3 other big name co’s that have let the ski community down over the years. I own plenty of their products too.

    I wonder if Nader can go out for dawn patrol?

  31. Lou 2 January 29th, 2016 4:54 am

    Good info and opinions Wildsnowers.

    Which company should we put the spotlight on next?

    Lou

  32. Bruno Schull January 29th, 2016 7:24 am

    Hi folks. Lou wrote, “…when you’re the brand leader you have to innovate or die.” That is certainly the generally accepted wisdom; we constantly hear about one or another company striving to innovate, or how innovation is integral to growth, and so on. But, I would say, more important than innovation is refinement. I don’t think any product can reach its potential without a few generations of change, sometimes big, sometimes small, but always improving…lightening a part here, increasing clearance there, etc.

    For example, Dynafit could have just stayed with the original Vertical, or Radical, or TLT systems, and let them develop into mature products. In terms of bindings, they could fix the parts that were breaking, eliminate old legacy features, maybe incorporate things like flat mode, lifters, or brakes as needed, adjust toe spring strength or toe or heel height, and so on. In terms of boots, they could make the buckles lie flat when both open and closed, increase articulation, play with fit, trim weight.

    I don’t think it’s necessary to come up with completely new products every few years, and certainly not every year. I would say that, if you truly have the best product, you will succeed, and furthermore that the only way to get the best product is through gradual refinement. And I think that’s becoming an almost revolutionary belief, that if make a good simple product, or a few good simple products, you can succeed. I guess how you feel about this is related to how cynical/optimistic you are about the buying habits of consumers: do we buy what works best, or what is best advertised? Will we be happy with good products, or do we always new the newest, latest, sexiest features?

    In terms of Dynafit’s branding and diversification, I agree with much that has been said. I live in Europe, even the German speaking part of Europe, and, still, I don’t really get where Dynafit stands…are they a skimo racing company? A company that makes bindings for the everyday back country skier? For Himalayan expeditions? All of the above? How does the design and branding of the soft goods align with the hardwear? It’s all a bit diffuse. I get a much clearer message from Marker, G3, or Plum.

    All that said, I think Dynafit makes good stuff. I just wish they made their boots bigger 🙂

  33. Kris January 29th, 2016 8:03 am

    “Which company should we put the spotlight on next?”

    La Sportiva

  34. XXX_er January 29th, 2016 8:53 am

    My point would be that after a bunch of broken Rad heelpieces G3 is stealing Dynafits breakfast,

    As for “Pandering?” to industry pro’s everybody I know has to work like dogs at seasonal jobs to make ends meet and they are not getting rich

  35. Pablo January 29th, 2016 9:45 am

    Maybe G3 is starting to take a piece of the american skitouring market pie.
    But as an euro i can tell you that, in europe, G3 is really insignificant.
    Smaller than plum, Atk or Fritschi and way way down from Dynafit.

    Euro skitouring market is way bigger and older than american, so for Dynafit their priority are the euro trends.

  36. Lou Dawson 2 January 29th, 2016 1:44 pm

    Kris, yeah, that would probably work… might have to wait till next winter since when I do one of these articles I like to have a current visit to the company for color and so I can at least try to get some insider info. Thanks, Lou

  37. Lou Dawson 2 January 29th, 2016 2:05 pm

    Good points Bruno, thanks. One thing to remember is that Dynafit does more of a 3-year product development cycle. In other words they don’t have tons of new ski/boots/bindings/clothing every year, but it’s staggered. Nonetheless, I am totally with you in thinking they could mature their hardware for longer cycles. If they’d thickened the heel spindle on the Vertical FT, strengthened the brake tab that broke off, made a brake with stronger springs and thicker arms, and used a wider and thicker base under the toe, wow, what a binding that would have been. Shoot, perhaps they could have even done a removable brake like that of the Superlite 2. Lou

  38. XXX_er January 29th, 2016 4:02 pm

    I seem to remember reading somewhere on wildsnow that the NA market is really only the size of one euro country … Pablo has a good point

  39. rick martin January 29th, 2016 4:13 pm

    Lou, thanks for keeping us informed on the latest greatest gear. I am about to mount up some G3 Ion LT’s and want them to fit both me size 28 TLT6 (bsl 307) my factors (bsl 326) and possibly in the future a size 28 TLT7. looks to me like the bullet nosed TLT 7 will require a shorter binding length adjustment then the TLT6. Do you know what that difference is? Thanks Rick

  40. wyomingowen January 30th, 2016 5:45 am

    “As for “Pandering?” to industry pro’s everybody I know has to work like dogs at seasonal jobs to make ends meet and they are not getting rich”

    xxx, you’re making me feel old, it’s called skid luxury, we all make choices, which is why I’ll hike glory now before taking my kids to ski school this morning and be at the resort w/ panters and go-pros the rest of the day

    I’m just trying to say the “face” is the ski tech at the local shop, not some engineer at some desk/factory. When we as consumers feel wronged we go back to the face. If you circumvent the process for a deal than maybe you are a guinea pig and your expectations should be different.

    Your “work like dog” folks usually can’t get their forms filled until the real pros are satiated and the consumer avenues are open.

    I just want to question corporate culture as to decision making since share holders by intent are “faceless”

    And no I’m not a pro, just a dad who likes BC and needs pristine pow to make a pretty turn.

  41. Harpo January 30th, 2016 10:08 am

    I would love to be able to replace my Vert St’s, Mercuries, and TLT6p’s (green) with similar products when my stash wears out. None of Dynafit’s innovations since those came out really interest me.

  42. atfred January 30th, 2016 10:39 am

    +1 “If the shoe fits….”

  43. Lou Dawson 2 January 30th, 2016 11:38 am

    Rick, I’m not sure if there is an accurate number, but remember that all you have to do is, with mechanical shop jig, be sure the boot sole midpoint mark is lined up with the location on ski where you want it, or if using a paper DIY mount, set the boot on the ski with a binding toe clamped to it, and mark a couple of screw holes you’ll use to line up the paper. It’s easy.

    One other thing. If the pin fittings at the boot toe are _significantly_ farther back than “normal” that’ll still get compensated by using the boot sole midpoint, but basic geometry says that the position of your foot on the ski might end up a few mm farther forward than if using an older style boot. If so, it’s just a few mm and shouldn’t make any difference, but is something to keep in mind. Same thing happens when you using a bigger size boot with the same size foot, only in reverse, e.g., your foot (and tibia) ends up a bit farther back. Lou

  44. XXX_rr January 30th, 2016 3:40 pm

    I think of the pro’s as the guides & aviyvtechs, so what they provide to G3 or Dynafit is a whole lot of feedback on whether a product works under sustained hard use, also their clients may look at what the pro is using ask their opinion and possibly buy the same gear which is good for everybody involved, I think they just call up the distributor and get stuff shipped to them and When they aren’t snow pro’s they run saws, bang nails … Work hard

    I personally don’t need to or want to work that hard and will continue on in my career as a gentleman skier, becuz a as a bro pointed out … we make too much money to be ski bums

  45. VT skier January 30th, 2016 6:00 pm

    “Speaking of bindings, a vague rumor I heard is Dynafit may bring back a version of the Vertical series bindings — our clear favorite”

    I was talking to a ski pro I tour with, today in a liftline. He was on his Rad 2.0s, and showed another skier how the Dynafit toe works for skinning. Took him about four tries to lock his heel back down, with the toe piece rotating every time. Wonder how that would work in powder?
    We both lamented the demise of the Verticals, how you can use a ski pole to spin the heel, from Tour to Ski mode without taking the ski off. Also with the Verts, one can easily change brake width,(for new skis) or remove the brake completely without de-mounting the whole binding.
    I would like a beefier toe piece, for the Verts, so I don’t feel a need to lock out the toe for steep terrain. Maybe I will mount my Radical ST toes with a Vertical heel? Waiting for the Vertical 3.0

    p.s.I still have two saved pairs of Vertical STs.

  46. Thom Mackris January 30th, 2016 6:29 pm

    XXX-er: exactly what I was trying to say about hard working pros.

    VT Skier: If you didn’t have a stash of Verticals, it sounds as if you’d be looking at Ions, ATK’s, Plums, or Vipecs. Dynafit may have temporarily(?) screwed the pooch, but we have more good choices than ever before.

    Cheers,
    Thom

  47. XXX_rr January 30th, 2016 8:01 pm

    I have a rad toe with vertical heels/ Salomon guardian 130mm brake arms … Works fine

  48. Raph January 30th, 2016 8:25 pm

    Thanks Lou for the description of the inner workings of the tech king.

    I’ve heard a few complaints about the transition issues with the new 2.0 as mentioned above. I haven’t heard much about the DH performance (does the rotating toe actually make a significant difference in terms of dampening?) or if the 2.0 provides the confidence NOT to lock to toes. As much as people praise the verts (I’ve had a pair), I had issues with prereleases that I got rid of them. We’re approaching mid season and I’m hoping to hear a few more comments about impressions relating to the 2.0. If it addresses the pre-release issues and provides an improved, less rigid DH performance (better than the KP?), I think the 2.0 is a winner, despite the awkward transitioning issues.

  49. Lou Dawson 2 January 31st, 2016 8:06 am

    I’d agree with you guys there is a chance the rotating toe of the Rad 2 adds a bit of elastic travel to the system in the lateral direction, vertical travel at the heel is unchanged. Any increase in elasticity should be easy to measure, I’ll work on it.

    Of more importance, I repeat, is that the Rad 2 will function with substandard tech fittings in the boot toe.

    Raph, the Vertical FT with stronger toe spring doesn’t appear to have any significant problem with pre-release, but yeah the Radical toes with Power Towers might be a bit better provided the boot toe plastic is fairly close to the towers. Using a Radical toe with Vertical heel is totally doable, just be sure to do some release checks, since the strength of the toe springs contributes to lateral release, and the toe spring strength will change a bit between bindings.

    Andy, thanks for the info, at 155 lbs expert I think I’d set you at release value 7 to be in there with the chart, but know that even down at value 6 there are easily modes and angles that could blow out a knee in a fall. If you are skiing tech bindings set on 8 you are definitely not protected per the DIN/ISO standards based on scientific research. Thus, if you injured a knee on any binding set to 8, I would not blame the binding. Along with that, remember that the values printed on the binding are allowed to vary in relation to what the binding would measure on a machine, I recall it’s something like 10%, thus your supposed 8 could even be about 9, or perhaps just a measly 7 something.

    Fact of the matter, as I’m written countless times, is if you want the retention and release performance of an alpine binding, you still probably need to be using an alpine binding (or something like Duke or another beefy frame binding). Kingpin, Beast, Vipec, Trab all attempt to get close with pin or hybrid pin bindings, but all have little niggling issues that don’t let them win the prize of being equal to a top quality alpine binding, in my opinion anyhow.

    Lou

  50. Lou Dawson 2 January 31st, 2016 8:16 am

    It might be worth mentioning here that skiing with locked toe tech bindings results in greatly reduced lateral elasticity-travel, while at the same time indeed reducing chances of pre-release and increasing chances of injury if you do take a fall. Not sure how many people understand that faustian bargain.

  51. See January 31st, 2016 10:39 am

    Sorry if I missed the explanation somewhere in the Wildsnow encyclopedia, but how does the rotating toe enable the radical 2 to function properly with bad toe sockets? Unless the the boot can twist far enough to release at the heel with the toe pins still fully engaged, I don’t understand how that works. If the pins don’t cam out of the sockets properly, that would seem to be a problem at x degrees of toe rotation as much as at 0 degrees.

  52. Raph January 31st, 2016 11:12 am

    Hi Lou,

    Thank you for an excellent thoughtful response.

    My comments about the verts (FT) are based on my own experience. Just lost confidence with the set up since I’ve had a few prereleases and ended up locking toes.

    Lou, with all due respect, you seem to be quite skeptical whether the rotating toe on the 2.0 provides any significant improvement in performance and safety. Given that dynafit has had a rotating toe available on the Beast since 2013, I thought there would be some sort of consensus by now if the rotating toes actually does makes a difference in DH performance, retention, elasticity and confidence. The beast 14 and 2.0 have the same toe (and similarly functioning heel piece), I would think that the 2.0 would provide the same level of performance and elasticity as the Beasts? Can we infer that the 2.0 should perform at a similar level to the Beasts? Does one feel confident enough to NOT lock the toes on the 2.0? From my understanding, the KP and Beasts inspires this level of convenience, not sure about the 2.0…thoughts?

    My two cents on the rotating toe…I think if it weren’t for dynafit’s patent on a rotating tech toe piece, most, if not all the other manufacturers would likely have a similar offering.

    Speaking of patents, we shouldn’t forget that the recent explosion in tech offerings is primarily b/c of dynafit’s tech binding patent expiring which allowed for g3 and plum to offer an alternative to dynafits…and a few years later we have the so called “tech binding wars”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but from my understanding, other than Plum and Marker, all of the other tech binding manufacturers (vipec, ion, atk) pay licensing fees to dynafit for the integrated brake/tech heel piece (which is one of the major reasons why Marker went with an alpine style heel in the first place).

    I like dynafit’s brand strategy (though the Mountopia is pretty corny). To me, when I think of alpine touring, dynafit is the first brand to come to mind (similar to how extreme sports is synonymous with red bull). Their product offerings (although confusing), cement this in my mind. No other brand dominants this segment like DF and based on Lou’s article, it doesn’t look like they’ll be letting up anytime soon.

  53. Lou Dawson 2 January 31st, 2016 1:28 pm

    See, the idea is that once the boot is out of the heel, everything is flopping around and the binding easily comes off the boot. I’ve experimented with this, but can’t say I’ve simulated things perfectly, probably nobody has. But also important, the rotating toe allows elasticity when fittings are bad and “catch” instead of allowing the ball/socket joint to work as it was originally designed.

    Raph, yes, as to the operative word “significant” I am skeptical. The rotating toe ads complexity, play, cost, and weight, it’s fiddly, and you can’t tour uphill with the binding toe unlocked. If a person is willing to trade those things for better downhill performance that’s fine, but I’d hope the downhill part of the equation is quantified somehow and not just theory. Like I said, I’ll do some eval here in the shop eventually.

    I was not aware of other binding makers paying licensing fee to Dynafit for the brake being integrated with the binding. If so, that’s pretty sad, as the best brake out there is the Plum one that is not integrated. Ironic.

    BTW, do you have a link for “Dynafit’s patent on rotating toe” ? I was not aware they could patent that and would like to be sure that’s true before going down that trail.

    Lou

  54. Raph January 31st, 2016 3:01 pm

    Hi Lou,

    RE: Dynafit’s Patented rotating toe piece:

    http://www.dynafit.com/en/blog/news/radical2-binding-tuev-seal/

    The ad specifically mentions “rotating toe patented by Dynafit”

    I see your point regarding trade offs (fiddle factor vs performance gains). That said, reviewers have focused mostly on the fiddle factors without providing much commentary regarding any improvements in DH performance of the Rad II. As you said, the operative word is “significant”. The reviews of the Kingpin so far seem to support the notion that the KP provides “significant” improvement in DH performance vs traditional tech bindings. I’ve heard the same said about the Beasts, as well. The Rad 2? Does the rotating toe and ‘kiss’ heel provide a ‘significant’ difference on the DH? Doesn’t the beasts have the same mechanics as the Rad 2?

    Lou, I am all for more fiddle if it improves performance (with minimal impact on durability); there’s a reason why I tour with AT gear instead of leather boots and 75mm bindings 🙂

    The tech standard that you mention in your article is HUGE news. it will solidify dynafit’s place in the AT industry. It also sounds the death knell for Trab’s TR2 bindings and other ‘tech type’ bindings.

  55. Lou Dawson 2 January 31st, 2016 4:03 pm

    Anyone can say something is patented if one small part of it or a concept pertaining to it is patented, it’s a meaningless term when used as a blanket term (especially in advertising) as the patent is very specific and needs to be referred to by number and country. It is possible they patented the exact mechanism, but I doubt they were able to patent the concept as the turntable toe is an old idea been around for 50 years. But you never know for sure. I’ll ask around.

    Good point about levels of fiddle factor…

    And yes the tech “standard” is HUGE — provided the companies voluntarily adopt it.

    Lou

  56. smudge January 31st, 2016 8:16 pm

    Bring Back the Vertical!

  57. Zorba February 1st, 2016 12:31 am

    Tech 2.0: lateral heel & toe release so you aren’t picking ACL or tib/fib destruction. With bleak employment and healthcare situation (in NA anyway) plus more new skiers touring, injury prevention looks like a pretty important consideration for buyers.

  58. Zorba February 1st, 2016 2:10 am

    Should have said US, not NA above sorry!

  59. Lenka K. February 1st, 2016 4:32 am

    +1 on bringing back the Verticals!

    Hopefully the two pairs I own will last until then.

    Could it also be that someone finally heard the customers’ clamoring for a well-functioning and sturdy product? Innovation is important, but there’s a nice word in German that describes innovation gone awry: “Verschlimmbesserung” (“worsening improvement”?).

    Lenka K.

  60. Lou Dawson 2 February 1st, 2016 5:02 am

    Lenka, you are kidding, does that word really exist? It’s basically meaning “solutions without a problem!” That is awesome.

    Verschlimmbesserung wow

    As for Verticals, they are not without problems (worst IMHO is the heel rest breaking off the heel unit when using heel-flat mode), but just think of the road the Radical has been on since it was first introduced… beginning with the brake AFD coming apart, then the heel elevators breaking off the top plate, the anti-twist causing the heel housing to break apart, on up to the latest with the heel unit top section braking off. It’s pretty amazing, really. Vertical series was much less problematic, especially if you knew little tricks like using the power block under the toe of the FT, and being careful about the heel rest and how hard you twisted the heel to change elevators.

    Thought experiment: what is the ultimate Vertical Dynafit binding for those of us who are fans of simplicity?

    Use a Radical 2.0 heel, remove brake, and use a Radical FT 1.0 toe? Or leave brake on? A bit heavy in weight, but how cool? Am I allowed to dream?

    Lou

  61. Lenka K. February 1st, 2016 2:18 pm

    Yeah, Verschlimmbesserung, that’s the beauty of the German language right there :). Perhaps it better translates as: “Why did someone try to fix what ain’t broke???”

    Lenka K.

  62. Eric Steig February 3rd, 2016 9:41 pm

    Yes, bring back the Vertical! Best binding ever.

  63. G. Kuchyt February 16th, 2016 8:05 pm

    Any idea if the boot sole length on the TLT 7 is going to be different compared to the TLT 5/6 for a given size?

  64. Tuck February 20th, 2016 6:04 pm

    No word on what bindings they were using:

    Snow leopard surprises skiers in India;

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/4758105517001/snow-leopard-surprises-skiers/?#sp=show-clips





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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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