News Roundup — July — Ski Town Zoning, Dynafit Khion Recall

Post by blogger | July 15, 2016      

Just in, Monday July 18: I had a good phone convo with Dynafit about their Khion recall, and put some of the mystery to rest.

First, the “North American mystery.” The deal with that is the more important boot problems such as the lean lock only exist in the first production run of the Khion boots, of which nearly all were shipped to North America. Shipping is done with this timetable because the lengthy shipping delay would otherwise make it difficult or impossible to time North American product releases with those in Europe. That said, from what I’m seeing in reports from other countries as well as using basic intuition, I’d guess that it’s a good idea to upgrade from Khion no matter where you are.

As for what problems triggered the recall, it sounds like the lean-lock failing is the most important, though some cracked plastic and difficulty of the fit did contribute. I was told that the problematic lean lock could be fixed with a “shim” that Dynafit provided, but this was not ideal as the shim could become misaligned when the boots were traveled.

In my opinion, recalls such as this are indicative of Dynafit placing much more importance on getting their products closer to perfect than in the past, when we’ve been frustrated by things like binding problems that might have justified a recall but were instead handled on a case-by-case basis. If you are a North American customer who purchased the Khion, you can swap for a new pair of the Beast model which is the upgrade, or get a refund. Beast does sound good. It’s been in pre-production for some time and we’re more interested in what it looks like once it’s ready for the consumer, so we’ll cover it in more detail as things progress. We do know that the Beast boot is an upgrade of the Khion and is nearly identical. It’s improved with Masterstep inserts, power strap, and small but probably essential reinforcements.

Meanwhile, Dynafit’s line of uber lightweight performance ski touring boots is ever interesting.

You can see the official recall info on the Dynafit website here.

Just in: Dynafit is recalling all North American Khion boots for a somewhat mysterious safety issue that we’ll hopefully detail, soon. The recall info doesn’t go in-depth as to the reason. Our guess is it could be anything from failing tech fittings to defective plastic molding. Dealers tell me that the reasons are everything from cracking plastic, to the lean-lock failing, to the difficulty of the fit.

Our condolences to those in France affected by the Bastille Day terror attack. We’re not clear on what’s really going on in France, but just as we do here in the U.S., they obviously have some challenges to deal with regarding the security of their country.

One has to wonder if the seeming acceleration of attacks, along with things like the Brexit, are going to change how open the EU is for easy traveling? Further, I’ll admit to some personal concern about attending mass events such as ISPO where a large group is vulnerable and exposed with no way of defending themselves. My feelings in that respect go for the U.S. as well. Have to say it’s nice to just go to the mountains and get away from it all. Interesting article about why France keeps getting attacked.

Since my early days in Aspen, living in everything from a van to a closet, I’ve been interested in the issue of resort area housing. Seems many of such areas have a never-ending shortage of affordable shelter. This is obviously due to a shortage of developable land; scarcity that will never end due to the growth spiral (meaning each housed person begets more people needing housing, as in, who cuts your hair and pumps your gas?). But more, one has to wonder if other factors are in play.

The Aspen area has attempted mitigating the housing problem by throwing rather large amounts of cash against the wall to see what sticks. Result, they’ve sheltered around half their worker population fairly close to their jobs (an accomplishment that essentially preserved Aspen as a town instead of a giant hotel). But prices remain high even when “controlled.” How much of that is artificial, driven by restrictive zoning and building codes that do everything from making a foundation cost a fortune, to making it illegal to build and live in a tiny house? Check out this take about zoning and housing at the NYT.

One has to laugh. But seriously… If it’s an innocuous case of foot-in-mouth advertising that violates well know principles of sexual equality, how uptight should we get? Honestly, I don’t have an answer. But I enjoyed laughing and thinking about the last time I was out climbed and out skied by a woman, which wasn’t all that long ago. She was a mom, as well. You’ll see what I mean when you check the link. More here.

And more for grins. I remember various dirt, rock and sand skiing footage over the years. Here is one more recent. Obviously, one really does not need snow. Though the correct binding ramp angle appears to be essential, as well as strong quads.

I had a friend once, “R. B. Johnson,” who said he’d been hiking near Seattle and “found” D.B. Cooper’s money. He subsequently retired with a new identity to a far eastern land where they have good rock climbing, pretty girls who appreciate rich guys, and plenty of local beer. Johnson was a backcountry skier as well, but he gave that up for the sun.

Funny thing, the FBI never pursued Johnson, even though they kept investigating D.B. for about 40 years — till they recently closed one of the longest running efforts in Fibbie history. Others claim to know what happened with Cooper, but my friend R.B. is actually D.B. and the FBI should have given up on their quest many years ago.

Want some DPS skis? Sometimes the Drake Powder Slayer is tough to get a deal on. The guys at DPS are smart, they know diehard backcountry skiers don’t stop shopping just because we’re due for a record heat furnace in most of the United States. In fact, the heat keeps them indoors looking for deals! So, check out the DPS Summer Dreamtime and see if anything makes sense to your credit card. More here.

Lastly, just be glad you don’t ride ski lifts. Or do you?


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


23 Responses to “News Roundup — July — Ski Town Zoning, Dynafit Khion Recall”

  1. Greg July 15th, 2016 9:47 am

    I remember the time that I went mtn biking with a friend who brought along a couple of his friends; a mother and her son. I got smoked by both of them.

  2. Tyler July 15th, 2016 11:54 am

    Your “more here” DPS ski link doesn’t appear to be functioning.

  3. Lou Dawson 2 July 15th, 2016 6:32 pm

    Thanks Tyler, probably best just to link to I was trying to get fancy.

  4. Mack July 15th, 2016 11:56 pm

    Dynafit Khion recall is most likely due to failing cuff/walkmode integration. We (being the shop i work at) returned our entire stock early in the winter season after a number of boots released into walk mode after aggressive flexing (eg landing a cliff).

  5. Lou Dawson 2 July 16th, 2016 8:42 am

    Mack, I was thinking the same thing. More soon I’m sure. Lou

  6. Jeremy C July 16th, 2016 9:30 am

    Based on the review of the replacement Dynafit Beast boot on the Earn Your Turns website, the current Khion has been updated all over, with a new liner, materials and even a booster strap. It also has the new master step front and rear inserts, so no need to replace the heel fitting if using the Beast bindings.

  7. Dominik July 18th, 2016 7:38 am

    Regarding Khion. I wonder what about Europe? Different ski boot?

  8. Lou Dawson 2 July 18th, 2016 8:43 am

    The TLT 7 has the Masterstep inserts. Very interesting boot.

  9. Lou Dawson 2 July 18th, 2016 9:47 am

    Dominik, I added new info to the blog post, mystery solved.

  10. Diminik July 18th, 2016 10:55 am

    Thank you Lou!
    Funny thing about Khion. I have MS version in 265 mondo and I’m very happy with it. Friend of mine had 290 and it was a hudge disapointement. I guess the whole idea works great in small sizes while it is problematic in larger scale as the whole boot works as a one ‘monolith’. In small size you can notice how the boot is very stiff, but you unbuckle middle buckle or even a top one and it goes soft instantly. I guess this concept does not scale well due to material limitations… We have been comparing both sizes with the skis on. Mine has been very progressive and behave very well while flexing, while his cracked and seemed like falling apart at any time. Well just mine 2 cents.

  11. Tom Gos July 18th, 2016 12:06 pm

    It sure seems that Dynafit is earning a reputation as a company that produces products that aren’t ready for market. That’s too bad, for a long time I regarded their products (primarily bindings) as very reliable and durable. Now I’m skeptical. I think I’d prefer to buy a used Dynafit product that has been verified by consumers rather than a new product. Any company with used market products that are more highly regarded than current line products is probably doomed.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 July 18th, 2016 12:35 pm

    Tom, I know for a fact that the competitive landscape has shifted 180 degrees for ski touring companies, especially Dynafit. In the days of TLT5 and Zzero, there was Scarpa and a few others, now it seems like everyone has a beefier boot they’re trying to sell. The lighter touring boots are harder to make, so Dynafit still does well with that, but they’re really feeling the heat with the “bigger” boots. Bindings have of course changed as well. My point is that there is a huge amount of pressure to bring product to market, sometimes with timing that indeed appears too soon. They’re of course not the only company to have this problem! Seems like the whole industry needs to sit back and breath for a moment. Lou

  13. Mat July 19th, 2016 4:31 am

    HI Lou, thank for your post,
    I’m an italian skier and I own a pair of Khion carbon fron november 2015, I’m happy with them and I’ve used them really a lot until a couple weeks ago.
    I write here to let you know that in the end of may I had (I think) the problem that caused the recall, I was skiing on a pretty steep slope with 40 cm of fresh but a bit heavy powder, and I felt a “crack” and the ski/walk mecanism released. there was no way to keep it locked again so I putted a bd ski strap and I went home (pissed!). then I took a look and saw that the mechanism was slightly bended, so I took a clamp a bended it again with the other boot as template. now the boot work fine but I think that if dynafit is recalling the boots for this reason my boot is one of those affected by this problem, even if bought in Europe (but in early season).
    now I’m thinking about sending them back even if I’m in Europe. Do you have any advice on how to act about?
    Thank you


  14. Lou Dawson 2 July 19th, 2016 8:28 am

    Mat, you are not the first to share with me that their European Khion had a problem with the lean lock. Clearly, the early production boots did not all go to North America, which is entirely understandable. I have to guess but I’d say what Europe is doing is treating this as a warranty issue since most European boots are from a later production run that ostensibly does not have the problem.

    In other words, Dynafit Europe doesn’t feel the need to recall all boots, as they did in North America.

    An insider also told me that the litigious nature of the U.S. as opposed to Europe could have something to do with all this. I have trouble buying that kind of spin and get tired of hearing it, as European Union product safety laws, regulations, etc. exist and are strict., and though the legal structure is different you can still take legal action if a defective product contributes to an injury.

    Perhaps the difference is that in the U.S., product liability lawsuits are run as a for-profit business by law firms as well as financial backers as an investment system. Thus forming a sometimes problematic feedback system that inspires large and frequent lawsuits. Not sure if that structure really exists in EU, would like to know more.


  15. Dominik July 19th, 2016 9:48 am


    Just from curiosity – what size khion do you own?


  16. XXX_er July 19th, 2016 12:11 pm

    “An insider also told me that the litigious nature of the U.S. as opposed to Europe could have something to do with all this. I have trouble buying that kind of spin and get tired of hearing it, as European Union product safety laws, regulations, etc. exist and are strict., and though the legal structure is different you can still take legal action if a defective product contributes to an injury.”

    it would be nice if Dynafit are finally being proactive cuz IMO looking at the tri-step toe and the myriad of problems with the radical, Dynafit has been purposely aleep at the switch hoping all their problems will eventually go away

  17. Mat July 20th, 2016 2:50 am

    Thanks for the reply Lou,

    I think that the easiest think I can do is to bring them back to the shop and see what the italian dynafit manager would say about it, then if you want I can report it here.
    I really don’t want to start legal action or stuff like this, I would just like to have my boots changed let me resume why:
    First of all
    -I had so many problems when ordering this boot with dynafit let me resume them:
    First I have ordered a 26,5 size, but then they called me saying there was no 26,5 size until january, so had to choose between 26 or 27 (they were missing the liner on that size) then when the 26 sized boot arrived i checked the boot and the “wedge?” (i’m not sure about the name in english, I mean the black plastic raiser that is between the boot and the liner of one boot was the wrong size, so I had to send them back again!
    Then finally I received the boots and started using them a lot, as i said I love the ski feeling but beside the ski/walk locker problems, I noticed many defects_

    -the lower buckles “cart” that become loose really fast and I always have to take care to not let it bending down (a friend of many broke it really fast),
    -the liner boa system string is always really close to get cut by the boot when left loose for walking.

    That’s why I feel like it is a great boot but maybe the engineering process was not 100% ready for putting it on the market last year.

    Hope that these information would be interesting for someone else..

    Again thank you


  18. Lou Dawson 2 July 20th, 2016 10:58 am

    Thanks Mattia, a report here would be valuable. I’d imagine you’ll have success. Let us know how it goes. Lou

  19. Mat August 8th, 2016 7:48 am

    Hi Lou,
    Just to keep you updated I’ve already brought my khions to the shop and the Italian Dynafit representant has seen them..
    First of all he said the they’re not the same “batch” as the American ones. He explained me that in America they pressed to have khion really early and that’s why the production had to be pushed really fast and got some problems.
    Anyway they sent them back to the factory and they said that they will check them and either change or repair them.

    I will let you know what they will do.



  20. Lou Dawson 2 August 8th, 2016 8:31 am

    Thanks Mat, really helpful to have reports from the “trenches.” Lou

  21. Mat August 22nd, 2016 11:05 am

    Hi Lou,
    I got my boot back from dynafit here is what they did:
    -they changed the whole locking system included the lime green “magnesium” spoiler on both boots
    -they fixed the loose lower buckles
    -they replaced the malleolus protection stickers inside the boot

    I noticed that the locking system looks slightly different in the part where it is attached to the boot.

    I have to say that I’m quite happy on the customer care that they offered to me and they have been very fast. Now I have to test them on the snow.. but I still have to wait a bit here in the alps!

    Hope this can be helpful



  22. Lou Dawson 2 August 22nd, 2016 1:48 pm

    Hi Mat, I truly appreciate you dropping back by with your report! Glad to hear it turned out well. Lou

  23. Max September 25th, 2016 4:09 pm

    Hi Lou, this issue caught my eye since I purchased a pair of 26.0 Khion MS in Austria at the end of the season. No idea about production batch but I did run into a serious problem when I lost balance in heavy spring snow and severely injured my ligaments and broke my leg. The boot felt like it suddenly collapsed transferring all the force to my leg. I recall that I was very surprised by this as I normally ski on Atomic CS plug boots where such a fall would not have been an issue. I am wondering if the sudden collapse I felt could be related to the engineering issue, I will contact Dynafit and let you know the outcome.

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