The Making of the PDG 2 — Dynafit Boot Craftings

Post by blogger | October 15, 2018      

(This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.)

Dynafit is proud of their gradated color logos.

Dynafit is proud of their gradated color logos. Said to not be the easiest thing to accomplish on nylon (Grilamid) plastic.

I was recently in Montebelluna, Italy, checking out a full gamut of secret Dynafit boot happenings. Most interesting? Seeing various boots punished on a Fritz Barthel contraption I call the “Butter Churner,” (as a few of the parts came from eponymous machinery).

No photos allowed for now. Fantasy is better anyway. Buxom Tyrolean lass in the midst of a green field full of dairy cows? Not quite. Envision a tower about three feet tall, built with threaded rod, steel plates, and bushings. A worm gear system is attached to a load cell and measurement instrument. Parts of the tower move and load an artificial leg-foot in a boot, which in turn is tightly clamped to a frame.

As the Butter Churner does its thing, you might eventually get a popped rivet in your eye, but not until you’ve taken things way beyond the normal forces of skiing. The main purpose is to compare different model boots, as well as verifying changes in design that result in different flex ratings. “Hey, hold my beer espresso and watch this,” is the kind of thing you might hear as the Butter Churner whirs.

A word about boot testing during the development process. The test boots come to the workshop directly from the injection molding facility, in pieces. Each time the mold is changed they output evaluation parts. A technician hand assembles the boots, one at a time. They’re then tested, on the bench for quantified stiffness and durability, with major iterations skied on-snow for overall performance and feel.

Oh, and about that PDG-2 (a nice lightweight style boot, by the way), how about some factory snapshots?

As with many factories, no reason to tout what goes on inside.

As with many factories, no reason to tout what goes on inside. This is an assembly plant, injection molding is done elsewhere. A few other brand ski boots are made here as well. The hissing of compressed air driven machinery greets you at the door, accompanied by the smell of grease and plastic. Not unpleasant, the sounds and smells of making.

Raw scaffo (lower shell) awaits the fabric front cover.

Raw scaffo (lower shell) awaits the fabric front cover, cuff, etc.

Zipper cover, attached with special adhesive. Handwork results in precise placement without ugly glue overage.

Zipper cover, attached with special adhesive. Handwork results in precise placement without ugly glue overage.

Bellows all glued up and ready to apply.

Bellows all glued up and ready to apply.

Bellows installed.

Bellows installed.

The now classic logo, etched and ready to ski.

The now classic logo, etched and ready to ski. I’m told creating this sort of colored engraving on fabric is not easy. Nothing to do with the boot’s performance, but design details do have a role. How much of a role is debatable, but a discrete logo is ok by me.

I like the look of them all lined up, ready to conquer the world.

All lined up, ready to conquer the world, or at least the PDG?.

Cuffs are pressed at a nearby factory, using carbon pre-preg material.

Cuffs are pressed at a nearby factory, using carbon pre-preg material. The upper buckle and “Ultra-Lock hole is shown, for this to function it’s essential that assembly be accurate. I got curious about how they allocate workers for specific tasks, related to quality. In this case, Dynafit concentrates on individuals performing a limited number of tasks, a perfectly as possible. “In this case, quality control is more important than speed,” according to the production manager. Apparently some factories rotate workers through a variety of work stations, to prevent over-use injuries and boredom. As the ski boot production cycle is not “endless” they can train workers on specific tasks with less concern about such things. The workers appeared to have things down pat.

PDG cuffs include a nice nylon bushing, as does the Hoji. Future boots will have this as well.

PDG cuffs include a nice nylon bushing, as does the Hoji. Future boots will have this as well.

Cuff rivet machine, basic.

Cuff rivet machine, basic.

Cuffs installed, Ultra-Lock in play.

Cuffs installed, Ultra-Lock in play.

How about those Master Step heel fittings?

How about those Master Step heel fittings?

Want a few Master Step?

Want a few Master Step for your running shoes?

The boot is placed in a press that inserts the Master Step.

The boot is placed in a press that inserts the Master Step, fastened from the inside with a torque controlled screwdriver.



The line, machine obscured for privacy reasons.

The line, machine obscured for privacy reasons. Much of the machinery in these factories is custom-made specifically for ski boots. In general, sharing photos is discouraged though most of the gear and operation is industry common.

Boxed and ready for your credit card.

Boxed and ready for your credit card.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


16 Responses to “The Making of the PDG 2 — Dynafit Boot Craftings”

  1. etto October 15th, 2018 6:04 am

    Any rumours about a new boot with hoji-lock? 😉

  2. Lou Dawson 2 October 15th, 2018 11:31 am

    Hi Etto, it’s been a general public take for some time that the Pro Tour would not be the only boot with the Hoji Lock. Logic would dictate that perhaps something lighter, and something heavier would both be in the works. I can’t say more myself due to NDAs, but knowing the way things go you’ll probably be able to get all sorts of information via the usual internet sources for “advanced rumors” and such. Main thing I can say, as I’ve been doing my EU Dynafit thing, is that their boot program is looking *really* good. I’m excited about covering the boots, and skiing them. Dynafit is having some kind of official gear kickoff in about a week, after that I’d imagine everything will go public, and it’ll be the usual winter of advance review tests, and perhaps some limited retail releases, for 2019-2010 product. Retailers tell me the Hoji Pro Tour is selling well. That’s encouraging, as I have immense respect for how much the Dynafit team has put into this boot. Lou

  3. Paul October 15th, 2018 2:24 pm

    Just to whine a little, I wish Dynafit would offer something in their range in 32.5 or 33 MP. They used to back in the day, and Scarpa was on track for one season at least with the Maestrales in 33.

  4. David Field October 15th, 2018 5:02 pm

    Looks like an espresso machine in the last picture that’s obscured!

  5. Cody October 15th, 2018 7:03 pm

    All we really want to know Lou, is there going to be a Hoji boot with a waterfowl part on it?

  6. Lou Dawson 2 October 16th, 2018 10:23 am

    That’s the problem with being a world famous embedded journalist, those pesky non disclosure agreements would mess up my 8 figure contract with CNN if I go “off the reservation” (a politically incorrect term that would get me fired in a minute from CNN and perhaps from WildSnow?). In any case, nothing stopping you guys from trading rumors, I enjoy watching. Lou

  7. skier6 October 17th, 2018 12:58 pm

    “All we really want to know Lou, is there going to be a Hoji boot with a waterfowl part on it?”

    As in a ski boot with a “duck butt” ? I am guessing, he means a new, lightweight NTN tele boot. The underboot extrusion that locks into an NTN binding, is called the “duck butt”

  8. Lou Dawson 2 October 17th, 2018 9:13 pm

    Actually, the amusing allusion of “waterfowl’ probably refers to a version of Hoji having a regular toe instead of the often despised but always interesting Speed Nose. I doubt they are considering a telemark boot, but you never know…

  9. Paul Simon October 17th, 2018 10:44 pm

    Still love my TLT5s and 6s. But when they stupidly removed the edge that is needed to attach crampons they lost me as a customer for their new stuff. I wasn’t too impressed by their latest bindings as well: that ST Radical 2 is heavy piece of junk in my opinion. Impossible to put on in steep terrain with that rotating toe piece. Since there meanwhile is enough competition in the tech binding / boot market (several pairs of ATKs never let me down and they even look good!) it’s not too bad for me. But still disappointing for a long time customer (got my first Dynafit binding in 1998 when I was 14) to see this company focussing so much on people that only walk up groomed runs.

  10. Other Aaron October 18th, 2018 4:44 pm

    Can you please tell them to give us a hoji boot that I can use with my MNC bindings. The flexibility to only bring one pair of boots on a trip would be much appreciated.

    Also having lugs big enough for step-ins

  11. Yet Another Aaron October 19th, 2018 7:11 am

    The Speed Nose feature seems to be a classic example of answering questions no one is asking; “How can I gain a toad hair of efficiency at the expense of compatibility with the rest of the ski industry?” I like the premise of quicker transitions, and improved downhill performance, but the Speed Nose feature transforms this boot from quiver-killer to questionable addition.

  12. XXX_er October 19th, 2018 8:46 am

    Any skier who owns the Salomon Shift, the Kingpin or any AT frame binding, the exact focus group of users who would be looking at the Hoji will not be buying a shark nosed boot from Dynafit because of the incompatibility.

    While it could be rationalized on the TLT 7 the shark nose doesn’t make sense in the big boot class, add to that the rumor that the boot will change I wonder how many Dynafit are gona sell?

    Did they make another dud in the big boot category, I guess they can always knock the dust off the Vulcan molds ?

  13. Cody October 19th, 2018 10:36 am

    Yeah I was definitely talking about a front bill/ lip on the Hoji.

    It’s weight puts it with all of the other beef tour boots that you could use for a 50/50 boot (Atomix XTD, Technica Zero G, even the Maestrale) yet the Hoji doesn’t let you do the other %50 (which honestly probably is more of a 60/40 or 70/30 for most people).

  14. The Other Aaron, Yet Again October 19th, 2018 11:00 am

    Just when I was hoping that the cycling industry was settling down with their proprietary BS, it has to continue in the Ski industry

  15. Paul Simon October 19th, 2018 12:26 pm

    I will be using the LaSportiva Raceborg in the upcoming season because Dynafit obviously didn’t care about those who want to conveniently put on crampons. I spend my winters in Chamonix. I climb steep ice and mixed terrain nearly every day. Absolute dealbreaker not having a front lip/rim for crampons.

  16. Herb Jones October 30th, 2018 11:14 am

    I am looking at the Atomic XTD 130 and considering the scaffo spread stretch for easing entry. Any chance you could show area of the boot you heated and temp. My bootfitter will not consider ever doing something like that to a scaffo.!?? I don’t know his reasoning yet. I am willing to try it on some dumpster boots to see how well it works (or not ) before actually doing the XTD.

    Thanks for encouraging the moders among us and not being stuck in a “one way fit” mode.!!

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