Big Al and his son Will visited the WildSnow shop a few days ago for our special treatment. We mounted a set of Dynafit ST bindings on a sweet pair of Manaslus. Al’s also going for it with a brand spanking new pair of ZZeus boots. That’s like buying a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and immediately upgrading the engine and tires. Result? A phenomenal setup for backcountry skiing powder.
The mount had some interesting aspects. We used the Manaslu binding screw inserts. Even though Al has shorter feet, I put him in the rearward position since this is a Colorado pow and crud rig. Idea is that being a bit back on the ski will make them ride smooth and powerful. At the same time, I tried to set it up so we can swap the toe units to the forward position without removing the heel units. Not a big deal, just a time saver if Al wants the ski to be a bit more responsive, or at some point just wants to try a different foot position.
Some of you will probably wonder at the length of those planks as compared to Al’s height. He’s a stocky guy and the Manaslu looks longer than it skis. So Al’s chosen length combined with the Manaslu’s long tip and tail make them appear like a longer than normal choice. He probably could have gone one step shorter, but definitely would not get as much of the float effect you seek with this sort of rig. Only real downsides of the longer length choice are a bit more weight and slightly more difficulty making kick turns. On the down, they’ll be more than fun — probably a revelation.
We also did a de-tune on the Manasalu tips and tails, which come from the factory somewhat sharp. The ZZeus shoes looked good, but as seems to frequently be the case the sole block screws were loose. Everyone, remember to check those sole block screws on any boot with swapable soles.
Another thing we do during these projects is throw the skis down on the floor and school the Dynafit newbie on how to get in and out of the bindings and how to rotate the heel units for different climbing heights. Al took to that well, but as is frequently the case, finding his best style of heel unit rotation took some experimentation.
Nice rig Al. We’re looking forward to skiing with you and Will!